back to article So: 6,500 Win 8 laptops later, how are BT's field engineers coping?

An unheard-of decline in PC sales figures since launch, a grumbling press and a user base that struggles without a touchscreen: Windows 8 is easy to take a swipe at. Yet BT announced in November last year it was deploying 5,900 Win 8 Panasonic Toughbooks for its "last mile" Openreach division – the engineers who walk the line …

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  1. mhoneywell

    Very good indeed

    That was very interesting. It's nice to find out if and how Win 8 is being used.

    I have reservations, like most people. It certainly looks and feels like a jumbled effort. But still, nice to get the word from the street - instead of the usual straight up trashing.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Very good indeed

      I've gone from XP to Win8 + touchscreen.

      I've found I'm using the keyboard more than I did with XP.

      Still using a mouse but things like shutdown are just poke at the desktop and alt-F4 then another poke -- takes less time than wiggling the mouse about.

      Some annoyances -- like the arrow keys have acquired a 'snap' function when not in text entry.

      Unticked the box for log-in on start-up and the bugger gives me another log-in screen instead.

      But it's faster than XP and I've had no problems with 'x86' programmes at all.

      1. Test Man
        Thumb Up

        Re: Very good indeed

        Elmer Phud "Still using a mouse but things like shutdown are just poke at the desktop and alt-F4 then another poke -- takes less time than wiggling the mouse about."

        In fact, just setting the power button to "Shutdown" in the Power Options applet in Control Panel, then just pressing it once is quicker than any other method - and has worked since Windows 95.

        1. Elmer Phud Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Very good indeed

          Ta, you learn something every day.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very good indeed @ Elmer Phud

        How is the three fingered poke at the screen coming along ?

    2. Return To Sender

      Re: Very good indeed

      Yup, real-life case beats uninformed opinion every time. But am I the only one that interpreted this mainly as the engineers benefitting from getting decent kit, rather than getting W8 as such? If developers are taking the opportunity to put better and more relevant/functional frontends on their applications (mobile or otherwise), does the underlying OS actually matter these days? Just asking...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very good indeed

        "If developers are taking the opportunity to put better and more relevant/functional frontends on their applications (mobile or otherwise), does the underlying OS actually matter these days?"

        Good point, given in most screen shots it's in desktop mode and being used with a stylus, the OS experience as far as using those applications goes is no different to the old XP swivel top tablet/slate things released around the same time as XP.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate_PC

        1. Keith 72

          Re: Very good indeed

          If you spend most of your time in a front end app then you'd experience very little of the Win8 new experience pain, but you'd gain better power management and faster startup and shutdown times over XP.

        2. quarky
          WTF?

          Re: Very good indeed

          What is "desktop mode"?

          The start screen replaces the start menu, but the desktop is still there just like it has been before. Is Windows 7 or Windows XP in "desktop mode" when the start menu isn't open?

          1. Daniel B.
            Boffin

            @quarky

            "desktop mode" is what you're in when you're not using the "Fabulous Fred" interface mode.

            That said, it seems the engineers are mostly using a front-end app, so they don't suffer from interface change pain. Also, it's a touchscreen device so it does take advantage of the extra stuff, and being a newer OS than XP, driver support must be much better.

      3. Corborg

        Re: Very good indeed

        The underlying OS should never have mattered in the first place. It should be invisible, and definitely not worthy of fanfare and launch parties. It should just do its job.

      4. itzman

        Re: Very good indeed

        yes. If you look at what they do, really any decent bit of kit would have worked. Win8 was chosen as much because it was backward compatible with minimal porting with existing custom in-house apps.

        Now if someone aid to me 'select the OS for brand new customs apps' i'd write them for either platform independent HTML/javascript, java or native C on a linux like platform.

        As for productivity, I've yet to see more data processed faster than on a wyse50, complete with an operator who learnt what the apps function keys did, and could touch type.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very good indeed

      ask the engineer for a real world view of 8, not the guy in charge of procurement!

      1. xj25vm

        Re: Very good indeed

        I agree. Overall the article does bring forward interesting information. However, from practical experience, far too many managers have an overly and unjustifiable positive bias - so I'm a bit weary of just taking the word of the guy who was in charge of it all and who wouldn't have an interest in making his efforts look crap - if there were any actual problems. So useful, but could have done with the contribution of some third party with less personal stake in the project, as well.

    4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Very good indeed

        Do you read that BT are hating Windows 8?

        These are people actually doing work with some technology, not wasting hours, months of their life telling others how they think something is bad (even though they've never used it).

        Get a life Eadon, people actually find uses for all sorts of technology. Every tool has a use, even you.

    5. Vince

      Re: Very good indeed

      Beyond the interface changes (which aren't that big a deal in my view), it's just normal windows, but more solid, more robust and actually pretty damn good.

      The only thing I don't like is the new IE, but I don't like the same new IE on Windows 7 either.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very good indeed

      Indeed. This is why this mindless bashing of technology (whether it be Microsoft, Apple, Unix) is daft. There is a use case for things, and if the OS fulfils the need for that use case, why not use it just because it's a specific vendor/platform?

      :-)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very good indeed

      Yes....how very amazing when you have teams of engineers working on the legacy apps and all the bugs for months...

      Hate to be Joe Schmo trying to get those buckets of shit working all by ones self...

  2. Marvin the Martian
    Paris Hilton

    Wait, What?

    BT field engineers process parking fines?

    "This BT division [...] has seen how well the convenience of this platform works in the field: from photographing and reporting damage on-site to swift processing of parking fines."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, What?

      Because overzealous, commission based, parking zealots slap parking tickets on the vans when they shouldn't so I can guess they can prove where they were and for how long.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, What?

      It's an occupational hazard. The vans spend a lot of time parked where they shouldn't be - the technicians have to carry too much stuff to park it in a multi-storey and walk to their jobs. Imagine the productivity hit if they had to spend 20 minutes walking to the van and back every time they need a new tool or tester or box opener or reel of cable.

      In the past traffic wardens would turn a blind eye if the van wasn't causing an obstruction and was otherwise safely parked. These days they seem to actively seek out the vans as an easy source of income. The end result is that utility employees can get two or three parking tickets a day in urban areas. Automating the process of reclaiming those fines probably saves those people an hour a day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Parked up prats

        the problem is that when a BT van is parked there... other people assume that their needs are equally as urgent... maybe (for example) you cant expect the average IT bod to walk 50 paces to a cashpoint machine when he can simply park on the DYL "oh and just pop into the sandwich shop... oh and I need some more smokes.... 30 seconds becomes 10 minutes or more, and tyou would be surprised how many people DONT understand how much room a bus or a truck needs to navigate your carelessly abandoned car, far easier to say "if you want to park.. get a proper official) dispensation - the facility exists... just people are too idle to use it.

        What is actually needed is for the councils and operations like BT to come up with a form that sets out the venues for an engineers work each day that could be issued by the LA on request by BT. Otherwise it becomes a case of joe public getting upset with a "Im gonna punch your head in - you booked me but not him...."

        PS Most of the rules - including a lack of discretion - are set by the LA operating the restricted area... you wanna bitch? your local councilor is the guy to talk to. Classic case here last week.. Mr BT parked on a DYL outside a bank NOTHING could pass once a bus came along and couldnt pass his nicely liveried BT Vauxhall van while he stood in the cashier queue (not enquiries) in Santander! Luckily no ambulances or Fire appliances arrived on their way to a 999 call... one day it could be your house - or life - threatened by some prat who is too tired to walk anywhere.

        Here come the down-votes from the twunts who think they should be able to drive door to door with parking anywhere they fancy stopping.

        1. Eponymous Cowherd
          Thumb Down

          Re: Parked up prats

          "What is actually needed is for the councils and operations like BT to come up with a form that sets out the venues for an engineers work each day that could be issued by the LA on request by BT. Otherwise it becomes a case of joe public getting upset with a "Im gonna punch your head in - you booked me but not him...."

          Hmmm, and I'm sure the people without broadband, gas, electricity, etc will be really pleased when their service hasn't been restored because the utility company is waiting for authorization to park up for what may be a 20 minute job.

      2. Magnus_Pym

        Re: Wait, What?

        " Imagine the productivity hit if they had to spend 20 minutes walking to the van and back every time they need a new tool or tester or box opener or reel of cable."

        But that's an excuse anyone can use. You might as well say 'but how can my business make money if I have to abide by the law?' The only reason there is space for BT vans to park there is because most other people don't. Let's here you complain about overzealous traffic wardens when the Fire Brigade can't get to your burning house because some arse has parked badly at the end of the street.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wait, What?

          " Let's here you complain about overzealous traffic wardens when the Fire Brigade can't get to your burning house because some arse has parked badly at the end of the street."

          That'll be why I said 'not causing an obstruction and otherwise parked safely'. We're not talking about vehicles parked diagonally over a zebra crossing, most of these tickets are obtained from parking in residents' parking bays or in other places that have time of day restrictions.

          In the past council employed traffic wardens would not actively ticket utility or works vehicles parked safely but illegally if the drivers were working nearby. Most drivers had a wipe clean board that they'd write their phone number and the address they were working in on. Nowadays traffic wardens will go after any and all ticketing opportunities and their focus has changed from managing traffic and parking towards pure revenue raising.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, What?

      I used to work for BT Payphones, many years ago and had a memorable encounter with one such "over zealous" idiot.

      I was clearing a cash jam.. Now a payphone cashbox can hold several hundred quid, so I don't want to be parking away from the box and walking around the town with it. I, therefore, parked right next to the box on the pedestrianised section and switched on the ARB.

      Along comes <insert name of favourite evil dictator, here>, the local parking enforcement arsehole (Pea, for short):-

      Pea: "You can't park that there"

      Me: "I just have"

      Pea: "You'll have to move it"

      Me: "Nope"

      Pea: "If you don't move it, you'll get a ticked"

      Me: "Fine, go ahead"

      Pea: "I mean it"

      Me: "I'm sure you do, either get on with it or piss of, as I have work to do"

      Pea: "I don't think your boss will be happy if he has to pay a parking fine"

      Me (getting a bit pissed off, now): "What will actually happen is my boss will call your boss and complain about you harassing someone who is lawfully parked (pointing at ARB and guards) and doing his job and will probably result in you getting your ugly arse kicked. Now either write the ticket or fuck off.

      He fucked off.

      The best bit was the round of applause from the small crowed who had stopped to listen to the altercation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait, What?

        He was clearly a half wit who needed retraining, CIT vehicles and the like (which call box collection vehicles are classified as) are exempt from restrictions - as are street works, postal packets and blue light vehicles.

        He would have got a real ass kicking from me if he was on my team (Former Parking Control Supervisor) possibly followed by a hearing with the Contract Manager - or a referral for re-training - or both.

        Councils can be so two faced.. One London Borough used to complain about vehicles parked (or waiting to pick up passengers from a nearby office block) in a recessed area resembling a layby but in a restricted area and included in the restriction. They complained like mad when I issued to a mobile library parked there and I simply pointed out to them that the law applies to them as much as the members of the public that they had insisted we ticket over previous months. They soon removed the restriction - which was a pointless one anyhow.

        The parking bods get as frustrated as anyone else with silly pointless lines... but they are monitored by the Councils and penalties exist for non enforcement especially is the enforcement is under contract

      2. zb

        Acronymns Really Bite

        I do wish people would not use jargon and expect others to know what they mean. Which one of these did you point at?

        ARB Arbitrage

        Business » General

        ARB The Architectural Review Board

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Angiotensin Receptor Blocker

        Medical » Laboratory

        ARB Angiotensin Receptor Blocker

        Medical » Human Genome

        ARB Architecture Review Board

        Governmental » US Government

        ARB Accounting Research Bulletins

        Business » Accounting

        ARB Alpha Ralpha Boulevard

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Acquisition Review Board

        Governmental » US Government

        ARB Acquisition Review Board

        Governmental » Military

        ARB American Realty Trust, Inc.

        Business » NYSE Symbols

        ARB Accident Report Book

        Governmental » Police

        ARB Asociación de Radio Banda

        International » Guatemalan

        ARB Aij Request Block

        Computing » Assembly

        ARB Active Rere Beam

        Academic & Science » Physics

        ARB Acronymns Really Bite

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Anti Roll Bracket

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Automatic Remote Brakes

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Athiest Religion Beliefs

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Argentine Rainbow Boa

        Miscellaneous » Unclassified

        ARB Australian Roo Bar

        1. Terry Barnes
          Happy

          Re: Acronymns Really Bite

          I expect he meant Amber Rotating Beacon. An acronym that anyone who has ever driven any kind of utility vehicle will know.

          Interestingly, if you've ever had to drive on an airport, you'll have used an AFB instead.

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    signature capture ?

    Has anyone ever managed to write something resembling their signature on this sort of screen? And has their bank ever shown signs of caring anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: signature capture ?

      These aren't the crappy slow, low resolution resistive touchscreens that the like of UPS et al use, they're high resolution capacitive screens, like the current iPad, which allows some pretty fine capture with a stylus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: signature capture ?

      Yes, it looks like an illegible squiggly mess, just like it does on paper.

      My handwriting is so atrocious these days I've taken to hiding my shopping lists from other shoppers.

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: signature capture ?

        "My handwriting is so atrocious these days I've taken to hiding my shopping lists from other shoppers."

        Many years ago I created a spreadsheet in Excel for my shopping lists and it has grown and grown. It now has a list of standard (and not-so-standard) items with their normal prices[1] and locations in the supermarket (or a code indicating that it's in a different shop). A set of columns allows entering the specifics that I'm buying this week along with quantities. The Printing Area is set to print a third zone containing the actual shopping list, complete with quantities and locations. Items that have a quantity are formatted in blue, and it's all sorted so I can just go round the shop in a specific order and pick stuff up in shopping-list order.

        The latest addition was some formatting so that items I want to bring home (i.e. Saturday lunch!) are marked in red. Everything without the red marker goes home via Carrefour's excellent home delivery service (except frozen, fragile, and hazchem such as hydrochloric acid or ammonia).

        There's even room around the edge for hand-scrawled last-minute additions...

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: signature capture ?

          "normal prices[1]"

          This part is woefully out of date, partly because of laziness and partly because Carrefour updates some prices on week-to-week basis.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Steve the Cynic (Re: signature capture ?)

          OCD is indeed a debilitating illness.

          1. keithpeter
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: @Steve the Cynic (signature capture ?)

            @Steve the Cynic, mutatedwombat. An upvote each, those posts made my day.

            Now to find the anti-static cleaner and some wipes, I was on the thinkpad

          2. Ted Treen
            Joke

            Re: @mutatedwombat

            ODC?

            That's CDO (in alphabetical order as it should be!)

        3. TheOtherHobbes
          Flame

          Re: signature capture ?

          Your Carrefour stocks ammonia and hydrochloric acid?

          1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: signature capture ?

            "Your Carrefour stocks ammonia and hydrochloric acid?"

            Yup. It's one of the big ones, in the Euralille shopping centre across from Lille Europe station, where the Eurostars stop in Lille. Downstairs is normal supermarket stuff like food, makeup, toothpaste, and basic cleaning products. Upstairs is clothes, stationery, DVDs, electronics, kitchenware, light bulbs, a small amount of DIY stuff, and some exotica like five-litre bottles of semi-dilute hydrochloric acid and ammonia (not in the same bottle, mind).

            It surprised me when I first saw it.

        4. Whitespace

          Re: signature capture ?

          Did the same thing a few years ago with an Open Office Spreadsheet and some scripting.

          It printed out the shopping list in walking-up-and-down-the-aisles order to minimize the time spent in the shop.

          All it taught me was that my local Auchan makes subtle and sometimes dramatic changes to its layout every week, and I spent more time updating my database than I saved by shopping efficiently.

          Back of an envelope for me!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: signature capture ?

            > Auchan makes subtle and sometimes dramatic changes to its layout every week

            M&S in Belfast used to do that. I remember an assistant getting seriously annoyed when I made the innocent query "where have you put the milk this week?". Guess I wasn't the first person to have asked...

            1. Ivan Headache

              Re: signature capture ?

              This is bizarre. I've just answered the door - and there is a UPS man with a thingy for me to sign.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: signature capture ?

                > a thingy for me to sign.

                I do hope it wasn't shaped like a turnip...

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: signature capture ?

          This is just so so sad. :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: signature capture ?

      I make a point of always making the signature as illegible as possible, so I can deny it later, if required :-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: signature capture ?

      Then again, any laptop with an Alps or Synaptics touchpad can already do acceptably good signature capture with a conductive stylus. They're capacitive too and have an amazing resolution for what they're designed for. Synaptics used to give away a WIndows app to do it.

      1. The Serpent

        Re: signature capture ?

        "I make a point of always making the signature as illegible as possible, so I can deny it later, if required :-)"

        I once worked for a fella who would sign absolutely anything because no one knew that what passed for his signature was supposed to be a signature - it looked exactly like a 'personal hair' lying on the page

    5. M7S

      Re: signature capture ?

      Admittedly at the bank I sign correctly but for all deliveries etc I "print" my name. Why would anyone give an electronic (and therefore easily reproduced) copy of their signature to a person/company with whom at the very least they probably have no contractual relationship, and about who's data security practices we know nothing? It'll be the next equivalent of card skimming.

      1. itzman

        Re: signature capture ?

        I have never found it possible to give an accurate copy of my sig to anyoine using a fake pencil on a slippery pice of glass.

        It must be over 3 weeks since I last actually used a pen and paper anyway.

        I have almost forgotten how to write.

    6. c:\boot.ini

      Re: signature capture ?

      I always sign somebody else's name, often politicians I dislike ... and there are many to choose from.

      I once signed a speeding fine in France with the name of famous German dictator ... perfectly readable ... no problems at all.

      A hotel I often go to has figured it out and lets me do it ... they know the company will pay anyway ... ;-)

  4. Mike 29
    Facepalm

    Gotta admit, skimmed a little, but I didn't see anything that Windows 8 enabled over the same hardware with Windows 7, and without getting initial drop in productivity while they struggle to get that Metro UI crap off their screen and into the applications they actually want.

    But hey, I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism.

    1. Mark Allread

      "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

      Nah, you're just writing a typical Windows 8 hater comment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

        "but for now, a substantial number of its engineers are feeling the benefit of nifty new PC hardware rather than touchy feely software"

        There is nothing in this story (apart from one "tiles offer neat shortcuts" comment) which demonstrates Windows 8 is of any benefit over 7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

          "There is nothing in this story (apart from one "tiles offer neat shortcuts" comment) which demonstrates Windows 8 is of any benefit over 7."

          I thought that too, then realised that so does the Windows 7 desktop, without having to press the Windows key to get to it.

          Also, their screenshots are pretty much always in desktop mode using a stylus so really "massive square shortcuts" is the only real benefit they've touched on.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

            >There is nothing in this story ...

            The other thing in this story is that in-spite of what some MS fanboy's have been saying that Win8 is a consumer release, it will be deployed into the Enterprise. So we were right to raise questions about the missing enterprise features ...

        2. frank ly Silver badge

          @AC 09:37 Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment ....... "

          "There is nothing in this story (apart from one "tiles offer neat shortcuts" comment) which demonstrates Windows 8 is of any benefit over 7."

          Win2K to Win XP had shortcuts. They had user definable pop-out menu bars with user definable layout and appearance that contained user definable icons that were user definable shortcuts to whatever the user wanted. Then, in Win 7, Microsoft removed them!

      2. Paul 135

        Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

        And you seem to be writing the typical defending the indefensible comment similar to a Microsoft shill. As he said, there is nothing in the article where engineers particularly praised Windows 8. Nothing that couldn't have been done in Windows 7.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: "I'm not writing puff advertisment pieces and passing them off as journalism"

          There are several pro-W8 comments, and precisely 1 pro-Metro comment.

          But I guess reading the article and stating facts makes me a shill.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ JDX

            Several pro-W8 comments and 1 pro-Metro comment, which you were unable to quote to add weight to your argument...

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: @ JDX

              It's not my job to baby-feed it to you. The article is literally one click away.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ JDX

                Haha, good one - "no, I'm not going to demonstrate my belief to you with, y'know, evidence and fact, I'm just gonna sit here and claim it's true, with my fingers in my ears, lalalalalalalalaa"

                I've read it again, and apart from the one tiles-as-shortcut comment, there is no compelling advantage mentioned W8 brought over W7.

                1. JDX Gold badge

                  Re: @ JDX

                  The tiles comment is the one METRO-specific comment, which I already pointed out. I'll give you a clue... every review of W8 has said it is faster and better than W7 in desktop mode. No go read the damn article a 3rd time and you'll spot mention of super-quick standby/reboot/etc. These are all areas W8 improves on W7.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @ JDX

                    "...start up times are substantially better than previous kit.

                    This will be a factor that the on-board SSD makes a large contribution to."

                    So again, down to the new hardware and whizzy SSD, not Windows 8.

  5. Tezfair
    FAIL

    "now they just carry an iPhone"

    Says it all really, all the whohar over a W8 laptop but they don't use a W8 mobile.

    I suspect that the laptops are highly locked down with only the few tools on the screen they need to use so in some sense its not really metro they are using, just chuffing large shortcuts on the desktop.

    It does make you wonder why if they can do the same job using an iphone why BT didn't just have a cheap tablet.

    Seems there was a very large discounted deal to be had to get MS's sales figures up.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "now they just carry an iPhone"

      They already had the iPhones... if they're running 7yo laptops they are not going to drop 6000 iPhones and a bespoke app.

      1. Bob H

        Re: "now they just carry an iPhone"

        Thinking back to the days when I needed to do things like working on frames like those I would much rather have a phone than a tablet. The main reason being that I would generally have a tool or some test equipment in the one hand and the reference information in the other hand. You can then check the appropriate connections with confidence and if you need a second hand you can just put the phone in your pocket.

        As for the comments about Windows 8, the article didn't give me any confidence that there was an advantage to it over Windows 7 and having tried it several times I can say with confidence that I won't be using it unless I am brutally forced to. Other than that I didn't see it as a shill article; it was an interesting review of a difficult deployment to replace a complex legacy system.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "now they just carry an iPhone"

      Is it likely that one company buying a few thousand seats is going to make any noticeable difference to the sales figures of a product that comes pre-installed on pretty much every single new PC sold in the world? I don't think it will.

  6. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Interesting but.....

    I can't help but wonder for how much of the change is Windows 8 critical. It seems to me much more like they have taken a multi-years old working methodology and taken advantage of recent technology to fix it.

    A good advert for Windows 8 to be fair but I suspect that they could have almost any current OS to get the same benefits, especially as the mention that changing from Windows Xp was such a significant part of the upheaval.

    Whilst change for the sake of change is normally not good, any business process needs to be shown the light of day once in a while to see if it is still appropriate and can result in improvements.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Win 8 is a grower

    I would characterise my experiences with Win 8 as follows; 2 days of excitement at the speed gains and all the shiny newness of Win 8. A week of fear and loathing as all the changes sink in. Now month after month of growing appreciation of the OS. It was brave of MS to release this in one go but, hey, who would go back to Office without the ribbon now. I love it!

    Mind you, BT need a special edition of Win 8 to translate their indecipherable emails that the staff receive on an hourly basis. You know, the ones talking about 'Knowledge towers', 'reverse business process engineering' and , God forbid, the fact that one of their business unit managers has 'had a vision'.

    1. Jonathan 29
      Thumb Down

      Re: Win 8 is a grower

      I would recommend anyone retries Office without the ribbon. I was quite amazed at how easy it was to find and use functions on Office XP compared to the usual hunting and cursing I do with Office 2010.

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Win 8 is a grower

        "compared to the usual hunting and cursing I do with Office 2010"

        It occurs to me that the problem cited here isn't the ribbon as such, but rather the placement of stuff on the various pages of the ribbon. As I use Off2010 more, I'm getting used to where the stuff is on the ribbon (and a lot of the stuff I use is on the default initial page of the ribbon), so it is becoming easier. It's made harder because I have also had to learn what they called things in French...

        And the menubar fanbois would do well to remember the bad habit that Bill's Boys had, of moving commands around the menus at each new version of Office. I distinctly remember a version of Office where "Page setup" (where you set up margins and so on) was part of the Format menu, not part of the File menu. Then I got Office97, and had to forget all that...

    2. Chris Long
      Thumb Up

      Re: Win 8 is a grower

      Agreed, I really can't believe that most/any of the Win8 haters have actually tried it. I keep reading comments implying that people are forced to use 'the touch interface' when using Win8 on a desktop, which is utter bollocks. If you're on a desktop, the only issue is that, when (after about 5 seconds from hitting the power button) the new and terrifying Start screen appears, you just have to suppress the rising panic long enough to click 'Desktop' and you're back to a completely normal Win7 desktop, fully mouse-/keyboard-controlled and with absolutely no requirement to use any special 'touch' interface at all.

      This quote from the article:

      "Even so, Norton remarks that most still use the device in clamshell mode, “because there’s an adjustment period until they get used to a new way of working and operating it in a slate form”."

      gives the game away - any trouble the BT OpenReach people had was due to being required to switch to working in slate form. There was absolutely no need for OpenReach to make that switch just because they moved to Win8 - they could have carried on using the old XP apps (perhaps with a few minor tweaks) if they'd chosen that path, but they didn't.

      My Win8 desktop is set up with VS2010, Firefox, Thunderbird, PaintShop Pro, Blender, Google Earth, FoxIt Reader, OpenOffice, Putty, Xming, all with absolutely no problems.

      It makes me laugh a bit when I read comments to the effect that these Reg articles are just thinly-veiled Microsoft marketing. It must be very confusing to be inside the hater's heads... "Microsoft is an evil, stupid, hopeless dinosaur of a company with no future... what have they done to my lovely Windows 7, that was a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic OS, the work of the most noble geniuses... oh, wait."

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Win 8 is a grower

        "Microsoft is an evil, stupid, hopeless dinosaur of a company with no future... what have they done to my lovely Windows 7, that was a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic OS, the work of the most noble geniuses... oh, wait."

        Not really. Win 7 was good enough - a bit better than Win XP, which was also good enough, finally.

        Win 8 has some technical improvements and is a bit faster. But what real benefits does the UI offer?

        Everyone is saying 'Well, I got used to it.'

        Excellent! Why did you have to get used to it? What critical life-changing computing tasks can you do with Win 8 that were impossible on Win 7?

        1. Chris Long

          Re: Win 8 is a grower

          @TheOtherHobbes

          "What critical life-changing computing tasks can you do with Win 8 that were impossible on Win 7?"

          On a desktop - none. That's beside the point. I'm trying to offer an experienced opinion to counteract the myriad voices saying 'Win 8 is rubbish", "I'll never use Win 8 unless I'm forced", "Win 8's UI is horribly broken", etc etc. Once you get past the Start screen, which itself isn't as bad as people make out, it's just an incremental improvement over Win 7. Personally I much prefer the muted aesthetic in 8 - I moved to Win 8 when upgrading to a new machine in December and find it much easier on the eye than the awful visual bling that Vista (and 7, to some extent) was afflicted with ("16.7 million colours?! Really?! Let's use all of them!").

          If you're using Win 7 on a desktop now, there's absolutely no rush to upgrade, carry on as long as you like. When/if you move to Win 8, you will NOT find the transition to be 'difficult' or 'painful' so long as you can remember how to press the Windows key on your keyboard (maybe write it on a Post-It if you have trouble with this).

        2. WP7Mango

          Re: Win 8 is a grower

          The real benefit of the Windows 8 UI is when you are using it on a hybrid device or a tablet. Most traditional desktop users won't understand these benefits. But as soon as you use one of these new hybrid devices, that's when you really see the benefits of Windows 8.

          See, Apple deliberately seperate the tablet from the desktop - there is no crossover. But that means that quite often, Apple users need to carry two devices - an iPad and a Macbook. It also means that an OSX application can't be run on the iPad and an iPad app can't be run on the Macbook.

          The benefit of Windows 8 is that it allows you to carry a single device, which can be used as a tablet or as a laptop, or even as a desktop base unit, and you can run both tablet apps and full desktop apps on the same device, as and when you need. It allows you, the user, to opt for the device which best meets your usage scenarios by choosing a suitable hybrid. Some people want a tablet which can be used as a desktop, some want mainly a laptop which can also be used occasionally as a tablet, some want mainly a tablet which can occasionally be used as a laptop, etc etc. Windows 8 is what facilitates this wide choice of devices for different users.

      2. jason 7
        Facepalm

        Re: Win 8 is a grower

        I know it's crazy isn't it.

        Just hitting Enter after start up shifts me into Desktop and that's where I stay for the rest of the day. Metro/Modern never appears till I switch it back on again the next day. Metro time per day? About 1 second.

        And we keep saying, like concerned parents with puzzled looks on our faces as though talking to a distressed 5 year old, "but you don't have to use Metro!"

        Yet the haters just still keep going "but I have to use Metro!" or "You cant avoid Metro!" or "Metro is unusable!"

        You do really have to wonder at whether they have actually used the damn thing or their claimed level of IT proficiency.

        Never has so much hate and anger been wasted on something so trivial and almost non-existent.

      3. Chad H.

        Re: Win 8 is a grower

        Except when you decide to run another program, and poof, back to Metro until you find it.

        Terribly annoying when you have TV playing in one corner, and IM on a second, and want to have sonething productive in a third (that's right MS, I like having THREE programs open!)

        1. jason 7

          Re: Win 8 is a grower

          @Chad H

          Erm just set your application defaults to the desktop ones. Have you not done that before? I've got three or four items of software open on my Windows 8 desktop right now. Still haven't seen Metro since 9.03am this morning.

          I rolled out a Windows 8 laptop to a 75 year old lady yesterday. She took to it just fine. In fact she was really pleased with it. I skyped her today to check up and she's still there, happy and getting on with it.

          At no time did she jump up and down screaming that it was terrible, pissed her pants, threw shit around the room and shouted "Windows 8 lover FAGGGG!!" in my face.

        2. Chris Long

          Re: Win 8 is a grower

          @Chad H.

          If you know which program you want to use, hit 'Windows key + R' and start it from there. That's only the first time, then you pin it to the taskbar (or create a Desktop shortcut) and you're golden. If you regularly need to go to Metro to find yet another program whose name you've forgotten, which I accept is a bit jarring to the user experience, then you're probably doing something wrong.

          @Everyone

          Please stop referring to 'the Windows 8 UI'; if you're whinging specifically about Metro / the Start screen, please make that clear. If you've got a problem with the Windows 8 desktop, please explain what it is. The Start screen / Metro and the Desktop are two different, complementary ways to use the same machine.

        3. EvilGav 1
          FAIL

          @Chad H. Re: Win 8 is a grower

          What utter gibberish.

          I run loads of app's at the same time, across multiple monitors and very rarely do I look at the Metro UI. The only time you would go to Metro is for little used app's (and that doesn't include Control Panel, which you can have as a pop-up menu on your desktop toolbar). Any app that you use regularly I would expect to be pinned to your desktop, just like every version of Windows since 95. If you want to de-clutter, create a folder with short-cuts to all your app's in it and add that as a pop-up on your toolbar.

          Here's an even better thought, if you don't like how it's working right now - change it. It's kind of the point, that you can make it act however you want it too.

          1. Chad H.

            Re: @Chad H. Win 8 is a grower

            This after years of a cluttered desktop being considered bad form?

            Can I make the start menu act like a start menu and not needlessly take over the whole desktop space (without third party utilities?)

            1. Daniel B.

              Re: @Chad H. Win 8 is a grower

              Oh dear, MS wants to copy Apple yet again, and this time they succeeded partially.

              They've created MS fanboi legions that are as defensive of their crap as the Apple fanbois are! Admit it, TIFKA Metro looks like an oversized Fabulous Fred and is fugly to use! This article at no point mentions any improvement by the Metro interface.

              1. jason 7

                Re: @Chad H. Win 8 is a grower

                No, all we are saying is if you don't like Metro then you don't have to use it.

                There is no gun to your head. When you actually get round to trying it properly you'll find that quite quickly.

            2. jason 7

              Re: @Chad H. Win 8 is a grower

              So you don't use the Taskbar that on a standard 1920x1080p panel will accommodate around 25 applications?

              Maybe another dozen on the desktop for lesser used applications? So thats nearly 40 applications in easy fast reach. You don't have to go crazy, but its not like the days of 3.1 when icons ate up the ram and performance.

              Much quicker than drilling down through folder after folder of applications in the Start Menu.

              You know things move on and change.

              How hard do you find it to buy spats and antimacassars these days?;-)

  8. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Windows

    the crucial

    line is "we went from underpowered win xp machines to nearly the latest win8 machines with SSD "

    Bet they would have got an equal performance gain from buying any new'ish laptop and installing any modern OS on them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the crucial

      erm - which is what they did. New hardware, modern OS.

  9. Fuzz

    improvement not from windows 8

    The improvement the engineers are seeing is from having new hardware to run on, although they seem to have downgraded on quality. The old CF-29 was a beast capable of surviving drops from huge height and had no need for a case. The new equivalent would be the CD-31.

    It sounds like they're trying to write some windows 8 style apps though so maybe that will make it worthwhile. Somehow I doubt it, I find that as long as you have a keyboard it gets used over an onscreen replica

    1. Chris Long
      Trollface

      Re: improvement not from windows 8

      Perhaps you'll let me add:

      "Problems not from Windows 8 either"

      just to give a fully accurate summary.

      This is me on starting Win 8 for the first time: "Hmm, a new Start screen, let's explore".

      This is (apparently) most IT professionals on starting Win 8 for the first time: "Arrrgghhh what are all those little square things why are they moving what do I do know I don't understand cool wet grass cool wet grass NURSE!!!!!!!!!"

  10. Paul 135

    surprised at the use of iPhones.

    No sensible company would tie themselves to Apple as their sole mobile supplier like this. Sounds like a fanboi in the purchasing department.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

      I guess there are a lot of non-sensible companies out there. Non-sensible, highly profitable companies.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

        Dear JDX,

        Are you actually inferring that the usage of IPhones is somehow related to being highly profitable.

        How exactly would that relate to the Chavs then ? They certainly don't appear to be very profitable,although I agree that they are Non-Sensible.

        Having a hard day in the office Dear.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

          Never mind Khaptain, if you don't get it you don't get it.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

            @JDX

            If your intial post was sarcastic or ironic, your right I didn't get it. Strange I usually pick up on that side of things...

            Oh well , back to the grind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

      I doubt you've ever worked in a large corporate if you think the views of a single 'fanboi' can determine purchasing strategy. This stuff gets debated for months, evidence has to be produced showing why the decision taken is the optimum one with the knowledge available, a string of senior managers need to sign it off - corporate decisions take a long time but you can be sure that no one person has had undue influence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

        B.S. All it takes is one VP to make a decision,and you have a new standard because no Director or C-level manager is going to tell a VP that his new shiny is unsupported.

        1. EvilGav 1
          Thumb Up

          @theodore Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

          Not sure why you got a downvote.

          We have iPads for all our "top" management, because a previous CTO decided we needed to look modern and stylish (not to mention, he already had one). Cue the requirement to have wi-fi throughout our buildings and ensuring the firewall/network etc coped with them.

          We'll ignore the more pressing concern (at least for those at the front end of IT) that we're still on XP and it's in service life is all but over - we must have the shinies working first!!

          1. Darryl

            Re: @theodore surprised at the use of iPhones.

            My experience here is almost word-for-word the same as EvilGav 1's... Only difference was the VP who decided we were supporting iPads didn't already have his own - he'd decided that he'd wait until he could have the company buy one for him.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

      Management chains just caving in to the moaning and bellyaching from the masses wanting to have the latest iPhone to show off when out in the field.

      In the long run it's probably still cheaper to shell-out for iPhones then give workers other "benefits" such as pay rises.

    4. Don Constance

      Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

      They like the locked-down aspect of iOS, the Openreach iphones (originally referred to as Ophones) are even more locked down than normal. No way to install other apps and attempting to do anything unauthorised is a sacking offence. Same with the laptops.

    5. Rob Moir
      FAIL

      Re: surprised at the use of iPhones.

      Why wouldn't they? If the iPhone does what they need then why not standardise on it?

      There's a certain benefit from standardising on *anything* that does the job, and it may be they got a good deal on the iphone for buying in bulk, or that certain apps they needed were available / easier to develop in house for the iphone, or they did a study and determined that training costs would be less for that platform than others they looked at.

      It's painfully obvious you've never managed a large fleet of devices of any kind if you think this was down to a "fanboi in the purchasing department".

  11. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I particularly like the way the upper corners of the screen are obscured by the carry case straps. 21st century luggage design at its best :)

  12. sabroni Silver badge

    But it's no better than 7

    The original argument against 8 was that it was worse than 7. I think the fact that it's being used in the real world without all the massive difficulties that the gui is supposed to cause is interesting.

    And who uses windows 7 on a touch screen device? Anyone with real experience of that? Is it as good as 8 on touch?

    1. Arctic fox
      Windows

      @sabroni "windows 7 on a touch screen device? Anyone with real experience of that?"

      Yes, I had an Acer W500 with Win7 preinstalled and lived with that for about 3 months until they released the build version of Win8. The experience of Win7 on a tablet is not to be recommended (although it is of course a fine desktop os). The W500 was very painful with Win7 on board for all the reasons you might anticipate, installing Win8 made it at least usable despite the C50 cpu and the limited amount of RAM (2 Gb). If you do have a user case for installing Windows on a touch device, make it Win8.

    2. El Andy

      Re: But it's no better than 7

      @sabroni: "And who uses windows 7 on a touch screen device? Anyone with real experience of that? Is it as good as 8 on touch?"

      I did for some time (Dell Latitude XT) and whilst it was better than previous incarnations of Windows with touch screens, it was still massively lacking and all too often you end up having to resorting to keyboard/mouse or at least a stylus to get things done. By comparison, Windows 8, even on the desktop is a massive improvement.

  13. Charles Calthrop

    :toppa:

    :ninja:

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 at BT

    It's all gone to POTS

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hah hah hah

    The haters are starting panic!! They are all like 'cough, splutter all my nerdy mates said that Win8 was rubbish and, although I had not used it myself, I felt I had to agree to seem cool!!'

    The reality is that Win8 is on a roll, steam rolling any freetards or linux lovers that stand in its path!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hah hah hah

      What is all this haters and lovers nonsense? An OS is a tool. Any given one will either run on the hardware you need for your apps or not, and it will either run those apps well or not.

      If it meets your needs, use it - and if it doesn't, don't. Choosing an OS is not a moral decision, there's no path to righteousness.

      I despair that there might actually be people who use the term 'linux lovers' who are actually employed as IT professionals. I employ people for their skills, experience and knowledge and I expect them to use it without prejudice. In some instances the right answer is Linux, in others it's Windows, even iOS has its place in a corporate environment.

      All moaning aside - if you want a successful, long-term career in IT, I suggest you grow up.

  16. TRT Silver badge

    What I get from this is...

    that the custom apps that they use do the job, that they can integrate GeoDBs with Google maps which is great, and that whenever they drop into the Win 8 environment to demo something to a customer, they lose the plot and get all frustrated. So the thing that comes out shining is the new form factor / hardware and the BT bespoke software rather than Win 8 itself which appears to be a source of frustration.

  17. M7S
    Thumb Up

    Earlier Windows with touchscreens

    For those arguing that there's nothing here that couldn't be done with Win7 and (presumably) a touchscreen, my current (personally owned) laptop for ambulance use is a touchscreen enabled rugged laptop still with the original installation of Windows XP so nyah nyah. (I fully expect someone to counter with Windows 3.0 by return post)

    That said the seemingly incessant carping about how these articles are just advertising for a company and/or how this could be done with another OS/piece of kit is getting a little repetitive. I'm surprised Eadon hasn't already posted something critical of BT as a sizeable and mostly technically capable company for not running the whole project using home built hardware running Linux.

    I personally was pleased to read about a successful large scale deployment of this technology, as I am with other bits of tech. Personally I'm sceptical about whether or not I'll upgrade to Win8 anytime soon or even at all, either for myself or my various employers, and I know that in a day or so the cheap online option expires, but if I were to read only the comments on the site I'd be even more depressed. Yes, there's lots of things wrong with IT and the relentless pressure to upgrade that I've also commented on elsewhere on this site but this is a success guys, it's the sort of thing that keeps many of us in employment.

    I'm not a schill (promise) for any of the companies mentioned, but if the nice people at BT read this and could just get in touch about upgrading my broadband or passing me an old unit to replace my antique, I wouldn't say no........ mwah mwah.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I'd like to know is

    What would Almon Strowger and Agner Erlang make of all this?

  19. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "laptop says no"

    Just wanted to see that again!

  20. dz-015

    So basically the manager who was most likely given a backhander by Microsoft to force the engineers to use this crap says that the project has been a success. What an amazing surprise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He was pretty complimentary about the iPhones too... Is he taking bribes from competing companies?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Backhanders?

      Have you ever worked in corporateland - especially one that used to be part of the government? No single person gets to make a decision like this. Hell, no single panel of experts gets to make a decision like this.

  21. Sil

    Outstanding article

    Outstanding article, looking forward to reading more articles on how businesses are using technology, what feedback they get from the field.

    What would have interested me is why use iPhones when some of the development was done for Windows 8. Was the choice made when WP8 wasn't available? Was the promise of write for Windows 8, run on WP8 not held? Was this a strategically motivated decision not to put all eggs in the same basket?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outstanding article

      The iPhones have been out there for some time and I guess a lot of time and money has been spent on developing the apps they use on those phones.

  22. Piro

    Isn't the real benefit..

    ... a much, much, much faster machine with an SSD, rather than Windows 8 as such?

  23. Chad H.

    This advertisement brought to you by....

    All that was missing from this article was an 0845 number to buy a Panasonic laptop with BT Broadband...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This advertisement brought to you by....

      "This article must be a paid advertisement, because it does not agree with my infallible opinion."

      Get over yourself

      1. Chad H.

        Re: This advertisement brought to you by....

        No it's an advertisement because its just an uncritical testement on technology used in one company. It reads exactly like those other paid for stories you read in the printed media.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This advertisement brought to you by....

      Right, because it would be a much more informative article about the widepsread rollout of new kit to field engineering teams if it talked about "an unnamed company using phones and laptops from other unnamed companies, running operating systems we don't want to mention". That would be much more interesting.

      I think Microsoft, Apple, BT and Panasonic have big enough advertising budgets to draw attention to their products on their own. I'm not sure how a balanced article that equally praises and criticises products from competing manufacturers could be seen as an advert.

  24. Youvegottobe Joking

    Win 8 with touchscreen device is a much different experience than non-touchscreen devices

    I used Win 8 on a standard laptop for work and it was a speedy OS, a good bit faster than Win 7 on the same hardware....but the usability was poor and my colleagues experience was the same, productivity took a nosedive. However on a touchscreen device it works ok, true it takes time to find where stuff lives, but it is not bad at all.

    AC @10:44 hah hah hah

    El Reg, please remove the ability to post anonymously, the amount of really crap attempts at trolling is getting out of hand. Or maybe put in a button alongside the crap troll so if a counter hits 10? 20? 30? then the user gets moved to a "freaking idiot" group, dont tell them they are in it, just dont display their posts. Should stop the cretins posting...... eventually. The build up of bile might lead them to break their computer so that would be a win too.

    1. Chris Long

      Re: Win 8 with touchscreen device is a much different experience than non-touchscreen devices

      @Youvegottobe Joking

      "usability was poor and my colleagues experience was the same, productivity took a nosedive"

      That's interesting - can you provide some examples of the issues that affected you and your colleagues? Specifically, were the issues with normal Windows desktop apps, or with Win 8 Metro apps? How long did the dip in productivity last?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win 8 with touchscreen device is a much different experience than non-touchscreen devices

      Oh yeah, that'd do the site a whole load of good - all the partisan "Windows vs Linux" people would get each other barred and all the people who try to be neutral pointing out where each OS is better or worse than the other, would also get barred because the fanboys interpret any criticism as a personal attack, regardless of if the posts are balanced or not.

      As for not posting anonymously - I'll do that when everyone posts under their given name. Until such a point, you may as well be anonymous and I can't see the behavior of certain commentors improving until that point.

  25. Rob Moir

    Windows 8

    I've had my doubts, but this sounds like a good application of it.

    I think that at least 50% of the benefits mentioned are simply from getting up to date kit of /any/ sort into the hands of the field engineers though, but as someone who does a bit of scrabbling around in network cabinets I can certainly agree that a tablet form factor for an on-screen checklist, diagram or whatever is A Good Thing.

  26. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    I'd like to add..

    ..that BT could have bought diamond encrusted iThings with the amount of money that they have squeezed out of the public. *Unscrupulous bastards!

    *Phorm, and labyrinthine small print on all their products which always ends, "More terms and conditions apply, see www.bt.com".

    OK the article is about Openreach but I fancied a rant anyway.

  27. Kendo
    Unhappy

    What a waste

    Am I only only one dismayed by the money BT is throwing about keeping Apple and Microsoft rich? If they used Galaxy Note tablets (with stylus), and inexpensive android phones they would have only 1 OS to deal with, would cost a fraction what they have paid and would be much more portable and easy to replace. Pff, what a waste of money.

    I find it difficult to believe a BT engineer really needs the power of a laptop, it's not as if they are simulating the network!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a waste

      And how many ruggedised Galaxy Notes are there? Why are you keen on Samsung being kept in the money and not Apple/MS?

    2. Lone Gunman

      Re: What a waste

      Have you got any frigging clue what telecoms engineers do? Coz it really isn't sat drinking tea reading the Current Bun all sodding day (some of that may happen but its pretty rare in most telcos).

      A large proportion of the software they need to use is bespoke and will probably only work in a Windows environment unless they want to start again. Even off-the-shelf software is very platform limited. Add to that the multiple types of diagnostic tools now required because they are dealing with multiple types of network and you need something very capable to deal with it. None of it is cheap and whatever you implement is likely to be in use for the next 5-6 years (hardware at least).

      Anything that helps when they are at the customer site, untangling problems in green boxes, in the exchange or down a manhole repairing fibre is a damn good thing. Automating anything in the paperwork will make a huge difference, let alone being able to see routing plans, wiring diagrams, full details about the job will make a massive difference.

  28. Da Weezil
    Mushroom

    No improvement in quality

    All this tech and they still cant stop my line dropping at random as it has done for 10+ years - now they are blaming CP equipment that has only been available in the area for 10 months.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No improvement in quality

      A line I used to have dropped randomly, mostly in the Winter - We had NTL round again and again to fix it, they failed for nearly six months. When BT came to take over from NTL, they found the problem in about 20 minutes - a cable clip stapled through the cable behind a radiator. When the radiator was on, it was on the cable expanded causing a short.

      My suggestion (which you may well already have tried)? Have they replaced your internal wiring? Do you get drop-outs when you've connected directly into the internal socket in the master socket (not sure what the proper name is for it). Have you cut your bell line this helped a friend of mine, but check out advise on the internet first?

      1. Da Weezil
        Flame

        Re: No improvement in quality

        Removed EVERYTHING even the phone some years ago - yep paying for a voice line that I cant use cos the first thing that happens in that Openjoke try to blame our stuff. Everything electrical has changed here during thetime I have had broadband. Several routers have been tried including 585v6 and HGV2700s and now a Fritzbox.

        I moved 10 months ago to an LLU service and STILL the problem persists, even after a pair change between the Cabinet and Exchange. It has to be between my NTE5 and the cabinet, but Openjoke are reluctant to try to fix this any more. BT cant even sort out the line length. According to one person I spoke to at BT some time ago - and this fits with the estimators at Kitz and other sites... my line is a shade under 3 km, However the Be checker claims that the BT database gives my line as being 2665 metres.

        When they invest in tech that actually gets faults fixed then it will be newsworthy!

        1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Re: No improvement in quality

          @Da Weezil

          "However the Be checker claims that the BT database gives my line as being 2665 metres."

          Ah, their database is always right you see.

          Just like the way their database was right that I still had an old style telephone socket in my house back in the 1990s. Except of course I had the new style socket.

          Dunno what happened in that instance but at a previous address I discovered that paperwork could get lost in the BT system and the database didn't get updated.

  29. The Alpha Klutz

    I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

    because they deserve it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

      Why would you hope or think that?

      I mean, really why? They're just normal people doing their jobs.

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

        I don't think so. They think they're too good to let me work for them. Well they're not. They take a shit through the same hole as everybody else! but they think they're so much better. They wouldn't know talent if it hit them in the face like a big red telephone box. That's why it's such a horrid place to work and why I'm happy I don't work there and why I think they're all scum. I'm sorry the truth is so painful to you.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. The Alpha Klutz

            Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

            hey ho maybe something bad will happen to you and then I can stroke my chin and say maybe the process fucked you over correctly. maybe it will be something like a disease. yeah.

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

              "hey ho maybe something bad will happen to you"

              Perhaps now would be a good time to take a break from the internet for a few hours.

              C.

    2. M7S
      WTF?

      Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

      Which in turn would knock onto their customers.

      Thanks a bundle. Really. No I don't want my phone line fixed promptly when it's not working and I really like problems with broadband meaning that I cannot download my emails etc. Perhaps when you next spot an openreach technician you could scatter some caltrops around his tyres so that he can't help anyone else either.

      (To be clear, officer I'm not attempting to incite an offence. I'm feeling sarcastic)

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: I hope this causes the BT staff lots of problems

        it would be nice to see them helping people in the first place and not just constantly lying that its their internal wiring.

  30. g dot assasin
    WTF?

    "Biggest investment to date"

    Sooooo, does this mean they spent more on some shiny new laptops than they've spent on upgrading the infrastructure they were given pretty much for free by us taxpayers?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Biggest investment to date"

      I think you'll find that the vast majority of that infrastructure has been replaced in the time they've owned it and that if you want to blame anyone about the sell off of BT, it should be the Tory part.

      That would be the same Tory party who sold them off, then spent a long time preventing them from making any proper upgrades to their network, such as FTTP which was suggested in the 80s and for competition rules they weren't allowed to proceed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Biggest investment to date"

      Unlikely I think.

      Firstly because the network was sold, not given away. When BT was privatised, as with all the other utilities, the assets were sold to anyone who wanted to buy them. If you sell something then a) you're not giving it away and b) it's not yours any more.

      Secondly, before privatisation, the GPO or whatever they were called then *subsidised* the taxpayer. The telecoms business was a net contributor to the exchequer. There was no kindly civil servant handing out gold coins to the GPO to go and invest wisely. All revenue went to the government, the utilities then had to beg for some of it back to pay their staff and if there was any left over, to buy new kit.

      Thirdly, the network at privatisation was on its knees. Decades of under-investment meant that many telephone exchanges were like working museums and potential new customers went on the bottom of a queue that could last for months. I don't know for sure, but I expect that the cost of replacing thousands of telephone exchanges and the entire national transmission system with digital technology probably cost more than a lorry full of laptops.

      I expect that's a longer answer than you were wanting, but you did ask.

  31. theloon
    Devil

    Do OR guys then book the boot time of the BT build on their daily sheets?

    Oh the fun of a BT laptop with a BT internal IT build on it.

    Last time I saw one of these it was just under 20mins to boot up and load all the 'security' soft/mal-ware install by BT IT. The constant hangs and crashes and totally draconian restrictions on Internet access, as the Internet is seen as a bad thing inside the corp, for stealing all their lovely telco revenue and destroying the 'walled garden'

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OMFG windows 8 is UGLY FAIL

      Does your mum know you're on the Internet unsupervised?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OMFG windows 8 is UGLY FAIL

        I just asked your mum the same question.

  33. Dave Lawton
    WTF?

    Consistency

    I recently had occasion to visit my local (the nearest ones - there's 5 of each within 25 miles) PC World / Currys, not that I needed to buy anything since I already have 4 laptops, & 4 desktops in current use.

    With all that's been said about W8, I thought I would look it over. I expected that all the laptops would be locked down, with pretty much the same basic installation of W8.

    However on a random sample of 5 makes, trying to establish what the maximum screen resolution was required me to follow 5 different approaches (actually 4 - I failed completely on one) to get to the necessary screen.

    Now I'm not going to try & remember what I did in each case, nor do I want detailed instructions on how to do it.

    What I'm hoping for is reasoned responses (I know, I know), is this sort of thing other peoples experience or not ?

    Please bear in mind that I am not wanting the likes of 'W8 is great on my computer', or 'W8 was crap on my computer, so I zapped it', it's the experience of those who have had to deal with multiple instances, hopefully on different brands, that I'm hoping for.

    1. EvilGav 1
      Happy

      @Dave Lawton Re: Consistency

      All I can give you is the process on my and the dozen or so friends who have all installed W8 - this means a multitude of different home built machines, varying hardware (from old C2Q LGA775 up to Ivybridge LGA1155 motherboards, both AMD and nVidia GFX and so on).

      In all cases, the screen resolution is located in the same way :

      In desktop mode (where the screen looks basically the same as it has done for the last 17 years), right click and select Properties. The box that then pops up should be familiar to everyone.

      In Metro mode, type Control Panel and proceed as per any previous version of Windows.

      That's for W8 Pro on old-school desktop, I cant tell you how it works on a Surface (which may well have been what you were using) or indeed how you right-click on a touch-screen (never had to do it, as I don't have one). Without knowing what the different hardware was you were using, it's hard to answer more fully than that.

      1. Dave Lawton

        Re: @Dave Lawton Consistency

        OK, thanks for your response.

        All machines were laptops, just used keyboard + trackpad.

        As described above :-

        AFAICR on one (at least) your desktop route didn't work.

        On one (at least) Metro mode didn't work.

        Anyone else ?

  34. Arachnoid

    There is nothing in this story

    Not Windows 8 per se but the improved hardware specs are indicated as improving the time required to run various applications on a per job basis thus increasing efficiency and reducing stress.

    The limitations admittedly seem to have been hardware specific and Im sure a partial solution would have been to just upgrade the hardware but the OS and applications were also upgraded at the same time somewhat muddying the water results wise.

    After all why have only a lamb when you can afford a whole sheep.

  35. John 62
    Facepalm

    circular trackpad?!?!?

    who thought a circular trackpad would be a good idea?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a bit dishonest

    A little bit dishonest this article as BT receive a huge discount from Microsoft for licences and as part of the deal they agree to promote Windows and other Microsoft products.

    Part of being a GOLD Partner.

    This article is an advert not an independant review. The reg shoul make that clear.

    In any case if Windows is so great why does BT use LINUX and BSD on all its servers?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A mate of mine who works for BT but in a regional office, rather than on the ground mentioned this. He also said that there were plans to update desktops in the company with Windows 8. However he has been informed that office users will have a choice between Windows 7 or Windows 8, which is the first time he can remember having any say over what's on his computer. Normally they are just given a new version of Windows and told to get on with it. Surely they couldn't be concerned that Windows 8 isn't going to be so unpopular that people are going to kick off, if it's forced on them...

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