# My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Don't you just love it at this time of the year when Some Experts predict the new technologies most likely to catch on over the next 12 months? Me neither. Three Januarys ago I proposed five technologies NOT to look out for. Reading it again today, I get the impression I may as well copy and paste it here for 2019. IoT, VR, 5G …

14. ANYTHING with Windows 10 on it !

1. #### Re: Might I add...

I would upvote that, but my log in to post comments does not work for when I want to upvote (or downvote). Hence this utter-waste-of-time post.

That said, there's a half-baked solution for the W10 problem, i.e. longbench, which can be downloaded for testing purposes from the usual linux distro sources...

1. #### Re: Might I add...

"half-baked solution for the W10 problem" ??

give it another try, and you can win an award for vagueness... :) :)

I do believe ubuntu solved it...

1. #### Re: Might I add...

I do believe ubuntu solved it...

Right up until they were infested with systemd..

Yes, linux with systemd is still better than Windows, but only just.

2. #### Re: Might I add...

Upvote from me, but there's a caveat!

I bought three PC laptops (new) for my own use in the last year or so. One cheap, go-everywhere, passive-cooled, all day battery life model, another one a few months later for that same role that was a big upgrade over the first and offered at a price I could not pass up, and the third a DTR for when I am able to set up camp while out and about (ie plug in and not have to haul it around everywhere).

All three came pre-infected with Windows 10, which I was prepared for, so I cured that pretty quickly. All three are now running Linux, with everything working save the fingerprint reader on one of them (the second in the sequence), whose OEM as usual did not release a Linux driver and does not have an open-source one yet. I would not be using that anyway, so no big deal.

Buying with Windows and wiping it is still the best way for consumer-level shoppers to get Linux PCs, since so few come that way from the factory, and those that do tend to be costly (even without the MS tax) and/or come with distros I would wipe and replace with my own anyway. One of the things I like about the PC world, as opposed to the Mac world, is the broad variety of hardware choices and manufacturers, and most of that goes away if you stick to models and OEMs that have Linux as an option.

It does annoy me to pay Microsoft for garbage that is so full of moneygrubbing attempts that it should at best be a "freemium" product, not a commercial one, but MS has demonstrated that licensing fees for Windows aren't their focus anymore in the consumer sector... it's about the monetizing, and they're not getting any of that if I'm not using Windows 10.

They pushed so hard to try to force me to use 10 that they lost a nearly three decade long user of Windows. The more they tighten their grip, the more star systems slip through their fingers.

1. #### Re: Might I add...

There's an apparently increasingly common snag with this: 'bugs' in the UEFI system that prevent the installation of Linux without jumping through major hoops. Acer, I'm looking at you - my wife's machine, a cheap and cheerful goes-all-day-on-a-charge laptop won't boot anything except Windows from an internal drive; I have to keep a tiny USB stick with a bootloader on it to allow it to run the Linux which has completely replaced W10.

It's quite happy to boot from that external drive...

1. #### rEFInd

You might find that using 'rEFInd' will allow you to boot your wife's Acer laptop without a tiny USB stick.

Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REFInd

Actual website: https://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/

It is not a simple proposition*, but as a reader and commentator on 'El Reg', you probably have the smarts to deal with it.

I have an Acer laptop where the UEFI is set up to expect only the Windows EFI module. If you replace that module with the rEFInd module, you can then subsequently choose to boot any available Operating System from a convenient menu. The Acer UEFI is not standards compliant as it should correctly boot with a module placed in the fallback default location if there is not one in the (Windows) standard location, but it doesn't. I also have to disable Secure Boot via a non-intuitive process.

*It involves mucking about with the contents of the EFI System Partition, and modifying NVRAM UEFI boot variables. If you get it wrong, it might brick the system unrecoverably. In principle, you can use GRUB2 as a boot manager also, but I've not got a large enough collection of round tuits to have a go at doing that yet.

1. #### Re: rEFInd

I don't recall the details - it's been a few months - but I couldn't get anything to stick in the EFI module. It reported everything fine, but after a reboot it forgot. I have rEFInd booting from the external USB stick, but it's not really a major issue now since most of the time she simply suspends the OS (Mint) by closing the lid.

2. #### "Hospitality"

Last year I finally persuaded my wife that non-chain small hotels with friendly staff were at least as good as renting other people's houses. Almost all of the dystopic "advances" are intended to stop us interacting with other people at all. I suspect it's so that when the 0.1% have solved global warming by killing the rest of us, they won't notice the difference.

1. #### Re: "Hospitality"

When the 0.1% have killed the rest of us to solve global warming, the 0.01% will promptly turn their attention to subjugating those with less than 8-digit fortunes into drones worthy only of wiping 8, 9 and 10-digit bums.

1. #### Re: "Hospitality"

Ah yes - "Gentleman of the Bedchamber." Gets to empty king's potty.

1. #### Re: "Hospitality"

"Gentleman of the Bedchamber."

A good and sought after role. It brought influence. The modern equivalent would be lobbyist. Which would be the dirtier job?

1. @Doctor,

I must admit I didn't expect the question mark at the end of the sentence.

1. Rhetorical questions are still questions and thus require the question mark.

1. Rhetorical questions are still questions and thus require the question mark.

Indeed but I think the point being made was that if you omit the question mark from that sentence it rendered not-a-question and thus no longer needs one as well as humorously altering the meaning.

2. #### Re: "Hospitality"

Well, every human needs their potty changed, like it or not. It is not something that only affects those funny old rulers.

Nor are we grateful to those vital sewerage workers who eventually empty all our 'potties'.

2. #### Re: "Hospitality"

shhhhhhh you might be on to something there watch your back ; )

3. #### Hospitality sector had it coming

I'm fairly old, I was born in the late 50's and I'm fully conversant with how travel agents used to operate back in the day.

last year I went to a high street travel agent to book a holiday, after giving her the details she happily logged into .... booking.com...

Sorry I am not paying a 10% surcharge for someone to surf the internet for me, I created my own account on Booking and the holiday and the flights were booked just fine.

Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate, even being able to describe the country and hotel are irrelevant now as you can find no end of videos on YouTube.

These days they are about as relevant as Hansom Cab lamp fitters

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate, even being able to describe the country and hotel are irrelevant now as you can find no end of videos on YouTube.

Oh I don't know, we have a small indy agency near us who are cracking. Staff are accredited to the tourist boards of various countries and very useful for "off the beaten track" type stuff - actual off-the-beaten track, not stuff which was off-the-beaten-track until three years ago when "influencers" and youtubers invaded the place. They're also quite good at getting flights changed without incurring a change fee.

But I will concede they are the minority, specialising in high-end travel. I've used them on occasion (honeymoon) but anything "mainstream" like European city breaks I do online. There will always be a niche at the higher end of things.

The majority of high street travel agencies are entirely superfluous to requirements and just selling you packages out their catalogue, which you could just as easily do on their website.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Oh there will always be a market for efficient, knowledgeable people providing specialist services, I was referring to the run of the mill general high street establishments.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Oh there will always be a market for efficient, knowledgeable people providing specialist services

Much like opticians. I would rather not go to somewhere like Specsavers where they seem to specialise in grabbing just-qualified opticians and then burning them out..

I'll stick with my traditional opticians thankyouverymuch. The place where I know all the staff, they know me and, if I've managed to pull off one of the nose pads on my glasses (again!) will replace it without bothering to charge me..

2. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

"The majority of high street businesses are entirely superfluous to requirements".

3. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Sounds a bit like real-estate agents. I didn't understand the point of them until I came into contact with one of the rare really-good ones!

2. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Like mortgage brokers, I also don't understand how and why travel agents still exist.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Big difference between mortgage brokers and travel agents, though.

People often book flghts / hotels now, so are confident in doing so. Plus, if you screw up, you've screwed up 2 weeks maximum.

When it comes to things with huge financial risk, and which are not done frequently, like mortgages, people are happy to pay 200 quid for peace of mind. Same as why I think estate agents still exist. What do they do? Take worse photos than you or i, with their iphone, apply no artistc thought to them, stick a listing on rightmove and get someone else to show you around? Yet I will probably use them if I ever move again, because, wankers that they are, I would rather use their expertise than mine

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Same as why I think estate agents still exist. What do they do?

Do they still do all that?

I thought they're purpose was to put leaflets through your door telling you to move away because someone nicer and more deserving aught to live there - Also a popular pastime in certain parts of Northern Ireland (and maybe Gaza).

I'm honestly surprised one half haven't eaten the others yet....

2. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Mortgage brokers exist for people like me, who don't have the time to go dredging through the myriad offers on the market to find the one that both fits my circumstances and is actually affordable.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Travel agents, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, etc., help you save time. How much is your time worth? Mine is not only expensive but on short supply.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

"How much is your time worth? Mine is not only expensive but on short supply."

So much so in fact that you spend your time posting comments on The Register? I freely admit that I'm here because my time seems to be cheap and plentiful.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Really? I'm here because my time is currently being paid for by someone else :) My -own- time is an extremely precious commodity to me.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

"Really? I'm here because my time is currently being paid for by someone else :) My -own- time is an extremely precious commodity to me."

All the more reason to do your own holiday finding online during "work" time! Not only do you not pay for the service, you actually get paid to do it ;-)

2. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Is that you Phillip Schofield?

3. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

You know, of course, that Time doesn't exist. Everything is only in the Present. But I appreciate the joke.

2. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

I simply used an independent product comparison website, it really wasn't that onerous. You may also choose to use a trailing commission refund service to claw back the thousands of dollars the mortgage broker makes off you (or, if you don't use one, that the bank keeps for itself).

3. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Our mortgage broker definitely found me a deal I wouldn't have found myself, probably saving thousands over the length of the mortgage, as well as explaining things like the way rates are calculated (e.g. your rate won't improve unless you can get your deposit above this level...).

Total cost to me? Zero! They did it based on commission from the building society (but still it was better than any rate I could find publicly). So as far as I'm concerned it was a win. The same person has also helped several friends and family too.

This was Nick at www.privatepremierfinance.co.uk - I hope the mods won't mind me posting that here.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Thank you for posting that link. I wish more people would post details when they post about exceptional service. In this case it's not relevant to me but I'm sure it could be helpful to someone to have a recommendation directly from someone with firsthand knowledge.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Mmm..Yes and no. In the context of how this site has historically been run, and the acceptance of its membership to certain limits, then yes I agree with you, but opening the door to spammers, even just an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bit could prove disastrous.

On the other hand, if posting links in your comment was limited to badge holders, then yes, that would work.

4. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

"Like mortgage brokers"

Here in the northern colony, they do amazing work for people with less than ideal credit ratings; they certainly save on shoe leather and disappointments. They will also usually get you a better rate than if you walked into a bank yourself.

1. #### Re: Mortgage brokers

...they do amazing work for people with less than ideal credit ratings...

Well thank fuck someone was around to help subprime borrowers acquire mortgages. Imagine a world where that never happened

1. #### Re: Mortgage brokers

@'s water music

Rather short sighted. My credit rating took a bit of a hammering several years ago and is still recovering (6 month looking for work and your credit rating would also look like a pay day lender's wet dream unless you're fortunate enough to have a small inheritance to fall back on). However I do earn enough to be more than capable to repay a mortgage (which I do).

Subprime lending in the USA however was a totally different ball game that involved lending to people who they knew were unable to make repayments.

2. #### Re: Mortgage brokers

Not everyone with a poor credit rating is a financial risk. I once had to have a credit check because I was involved with managing a business, and it was appalling. The reason was that I've never borrowed money in my life and pay off my credit card every month. Mortgage rates for someone with my credit rating are sky-high, so instead I purchased the house outright.

5. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Wait, what? Mortgage brokers don't understand how or why travel agents exist?

3. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

One area I thought they might be useful was in helping arrange a winter golf trip. The logistics on that are a little more complex and I felt that talking to a specialist in the area would smooth the process. I've also noticed that booking a couple is far more expensive per person than going as part of a group and thought maybe they'd be able to organise groups from willing customers. So the year before last I called two of them, spent nearly half an hour with each discussing my needs. Both said they'd send me emails with options.

Neither of them bothered. And I never have problems with emails vanishing. I don't use anti-spam or anti-junk software so there's no junk folder where important emails can be placed. I run my own mail server so I can look at the logs and see exactly what emails have arrived over SMTP - neither company ever sent anything.

Huh.

Fast forward to yesterday and out of the blue YGT send me a spam SMS touting for business, over 18 months after my attempt to buy a holiday through them.

Well done, guys :-/

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Well you were looking for a golfing holiday (a good walk wasted during a wasted holiday :-?)

4. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

this has hit a nerve, last time I dealt with travel agency was in early 1990s, when I was booking a flight. To think now, that I would have searched the back pages of a free magazine, then called them, one by one, then went for one that... I dunno why, but I did some sort of (semi) due dilligence...

Today, I'm crapping my pants when I think of booking anything through travel agent. And I have had a near brush, saw well-prices flights to the US on a well-known travel comparison site, tried to book through one agency with 4.5 out of 5 ratings, it turns out all those (attractive) fares are "no longer available". What IS available is what's more expensive than on the airline's own site (which is expensive).

And then, there's hidden charges and vague wording re. "main luggage" (charges), and total "fuckyou" attitute from the airline when you didn't book with them direct... That said, total "fuckyou" from the airline, period :)

But yeah, travel agents, why do they still exist?

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

I usually try comparison websites for flights (Usually clearing my cache between sites) & then cross reference with the airline itself.

Sometimes just playing with the dates\times brings up interesting permutations like my $30 &$50 (plus taxes) flights to Blighty & return for the same flights, only happened the once like getting a 40 - 50 quid first class return from Paddington - Exeter on a Bank Holiday weekend, whereas normally it was 55 for second class for the same journey.

5. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

My previous employer used to use a local travel agent, or Reisebüro, and, whilst it was often cheaper to book directly, when it came to flights and hotels in foreign climbs for trips, which could be changed at the last minute (different people flying, different dates or different departure and arrival airports), the travel agent dealt with everything - and knowing this could happen, always ensured we had the flexible tickets that allowed such chopping and changing.

It might not have been cheaper, initially, than doing it "ourselves", but given the amount of time staff would have spent re-organizing things they weren't expert in, and not doing their real work, plus all those cancelled, non-refundable flights they had booked, because they were cheaper, it probably saved them a fortune over the years.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Last time my employer required flights to be booked through a travel agent (~10 years ago) it always took more of my time than if I did it myself online. It was almost impossible to book next day flights unless I looked the times up on the airline website and phoned the travel agent with the exact details of the flight I wanted. Sometimes they still could not put me on the correct flight and it always cost more.

6. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Hansom cab light fitters.

You trying to do me out of a job?

1. #### mmmmbop

you should be ugly like me, then you'd be safe

Last time I went into a bank to discuss a mortgage the "mortgage advisor" - who I needed an appointment to see just loaded the same damn website and typed in exactly the same as I did.

Apparently it's all handled in mortgage call centers now, not in branch.. jesus no wonder branches are closing!

1. #### Re: What about banks?

I personally would still use a travel agent - as long as they are a "proper" one.

That means they know what the company prices on the website are, and more importantly what additional discounts are available via the backend or some other back channel.

Its also worth bearing in mind that in some cases the agent may still have access to sources that are not on the interwebs. There are hundreds of private network or intranet type sources in the travel industry.

You should walk out on anyone who uses booking.com for anything but a price/amenities baseline.

It should also be noted that content and rate reference data management in Travel is absolutely lousy and the chances of a better deal being out there somewhere are quite high, but the chances of an individual being able to find it are quite low, unless they have old skool mad travel agent skillz.

Like most things its experience and aptitude though.

8. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Travel agents are a historical hangover who probably only still exist because of people who are not IT literate

You could add Insurance brokerages to that - This year mine happily offered a renewal my car insurance at nearly double last years cost.

I found the online big websites a useless waste of time also - had to actually talk to someone on the phone In this day and age???

It's not that I don't think that it shouldn't be necessary but that companies are trying to convince us other methods work as well - they don't.

1. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

The fortunes made by London's financial services, is mostly based on making it virtually impossible to deal directly with the organ grinder.

2. #### Re: Talk to someone on the phone

Indeed. Humanity invented the art of writing thousands of years ago, amongst other things so that we could have conversations with each other without having to both be present in the same place at the same time, and with the usual side benefit of creating a record of what was said.

Although the option to contact a company by phone should be there for those who want it (or for something genuinely time critical), there is no excuse for any medium or large business not to have a secure messaging system nowadays, to allow customers to contact them at a time that suits themselves.

1. #### Re: Talk to someone on the phone

Worse, when they DO have an email option and it goes something like this:

Me: “Please cancel my service effective upon my renewal date.”

Them: “ Please call our customer service department at 555-000-0000 for information concerning terminating service .”

And the primary reason you emailed is because you can’t reach a live person via their interactive response system, and the voice menu doesn’t give you an option for ending the service.

9. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Didn't they cease to be relevant with the onset of Oracle (Teletext) for flight bookings.

10. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

A good travel agent, and a good any other agent/retailer etc, is worth a little more expense because of "value add". You pay for their expertise and knowledge.

For travel agents we have a good local one that gets to know us and can recommend which companies will best suit our need (we don't need local "entertainment", we do want to interact with the locals). The last holiday they helped with the airport hotel stay after returning rather than before going because of flight times (this can be a way of saving on airport parking, free 14 night parking if you stay one night and stress getting to airport on time). They also know the destinations and so forth.

Trouble is too many are little more than a way for some part timer to get more money off you. But the good ones have a major issue with rent and rates that favour the bigger operators. We've lost far too many local, specialist shops because of that.

11. #### Re: Hospitality sector had it coming

Booking.com buried my bed bug horror story about the small motel where I experienced enough discomfort to seek medical treatment (photos of my neck and arms still make me itch). TripAdvisor.com did not.

Guess which one I recommend folks use for researching their stays?

46. #### Music on vinyl?

Just eat a pack of crisps while you listen to your MP3 and you'll be back in the 70's - I'm still digitizing my collection with Audacity and it's tons of fun!

47. #### Fixated with automatically ordered toilet rolls

Ok Mr Dabs, you mentioned them twice in the same article.

Come clean. What happened? Did you get a good price for them down the market afterwards, and do you still squirm every time you see a toilet roll?

48. #### 3&7

That could have been me saying that. On top of what you wrote for autonomous cars you can add "shelling out several grand when the battery dies" or, in Renault's case, never owning the bloody thing in the first place.

As for number five, many of those who said they wouldn't probably already do.

"That? Oh, it's a dog toy, Vicar. Yes, the vibration knocks all the tartar off his teeth."

I suspect by "robot" they mean "android". This is why this industry is leaking talent like a sieve: Even the experts don't know how to categorise their shit.

Sadly, your IoTosh going mainstream prediction fell flat judging by the number of those Ring video doorbells I see in my new, much sexier job as a parcel bloke (at least I'm getting exercise and decent money), usually on houses with pretentious names that begin with "High" which is probably what the sign-writer was when he painted the bloody thing if its legibility is anything to go by...

"No, sir, unless your fancy Internet of Vulnerabilities doorbell can actually sign for this and take it indoors, it's going back to the depot and you can collect it from there."

49. #### Dear Alistair - you've nailed it

Do you think that the FBI/CIA/MI6 et al have been developing AI to filter out the fart noises from all the Home 'Assistant' voice feeds.

And if so could Fart Code become the new Morse Code !?!

50. #### Quarantine - 95/96

"Any computer game invented after 1994"

Ever played Quarantine from 1995/1996? That was really original then and too bloody for some countries which required censorship of the blood.

51. THANKS for the laugh.

You already interact with A.I., silly person. Wake up. Educate yourself.

Sheesh!

52. #### Robots (misprint)

No no no.... You'll find its one in four would sleep with a Robert. They mis-heard / mis-read the question and started thinking about Robert Downey Jr, or similar.

Either that or they consider their Ann Summers Rabbit a robot?

53. #### I was with you until No 13

I recently started to listen to Vinyl again and realised how crap most CD's are.

14) Windows 10

15) Using any Amazon service or store be it online or physical especially the ones with no staff.

and

16) Giving Social Media the big finger.

54. #### Useful Stuff

For the holiday, I upgraded my computer's memory from 4 gigs to 16 gigs. I also installed an SSD, replacing a very old but highly reliable HDD. Only time will tell if the SSD can prove itself being as reliable as the old HDD. In the meanwhile, I backup my system weekly onto ....... an HDD.

55. #### A.I. will replace {insert professional here]

I sit there as a doctor, seeing patients, and for something rare I will go to dr google, adding restriction other search terms to make sure not USA, but UK guideline or Oz or NZ medical sites.. Alas the patient says "I could have done that! But you did not, and you did not know how or would have settled on Gwenneth Paltrow instead I retort. Similarly I still use Travel Agents for the more complex trips and their always find a better deal than I could extract on the internet

Why the fuck do Estate Agents still exist in this internet age. Thier demise has been predicted for decades long before the crap term AI was all the rage.

May I add any household appliance with a color LCD touchscreen?

57. #### AI or AI?

I am always amused by the abbreviation AI for artificial intelligence because it is also used for artificial insemination. Only one of these technologies will leave you right royally screwed.

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