* Posts by John P

271 posts • joined 18 Oct 2007

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Hello, Barclays? Why hello, John Smith. We meet again

John P

Re: Not impressed with Barclays

Barclays are horrifically backwards in some senses.

I signed up for an ISA a year ago and the information pack that came through informed me that I could only put money in to that ISA by visiting a branch.

Screw that, I closed the ISA almost immediately.

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Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft's own metric – it won't hit one billion devices by mid-2018

John P

I'm less bothered by the existence of the telemetry than I am by how shady MS implemented them. If they just offered a screen on install with simple toggles to allow you to customise which bits are sent, most home users will just click ok to all anyway and those of us who are more conscious of these things could turn off all the bits that bother us without having to resort to third-party apps to dig in and set all the registry keys for them.

As a user, I haven't really noticed that the updates are any more forced that on previous versions, but I can appreciate the concern that network admins have about this. Again, being a bit more upfront about the whole situation and providing better GPO control of these things would eliminate virtually all of the worries admins have about these.

It's the same old MS in that they could've so easily alleviated all of these concerns, but seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot at every turn.

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

John P

I've had the SP4 since November and have never had any power issues with it. Some have though, I'm not sure if recent driver updates have fixed it for the SP4.

Side note: Where in the article does it say that MS won't fix it, as per the headline? Did I miss or is that a click-bait headline?

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Your anger is our energy, says Microsoft as it fixes Surface

John P

Re: Early adopters ....

While it's the 4th gen of Surface, it's only the 2nd of the current form factor I think, although I fully agree that they really should've got their act together by now.

One has to wonder though what percentage of Surface users have actually had problems, as the ones with issues will always be the ones to post on forums, social media, etc.

I've had the SP4 since early November and have had no real issues with it. I get the occasional screen flicker when watching videos in Edge, but that's about it. Overall, I've been incredibly happy with it, most reliable machine I've ever had that I didn't build myself.

5
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Windows 10 won't come to old WinPhones until some time in early 2016

John P

Rather than persist moaning about WM10, I decided to just do it and upgrade using the Insider Preview.

1. Performance is generally on a par with WP8.1, slower in some areas, faster in others.

2. Tiles are bigger than I would like, but the "Use more tiles" option makes them too small!

3. Settings app is immeasurably better.

4. Now they've re-added linked inboxes, the mail app is better than the WP8.1 mail app, although admittedly a little slower to load.

5. Navigation is a bit screwy as they've still got multiple navigation methods in use, but it's not as annoying as I thought it would be.

6. I'm yet to decide if the "hold down the Start button to bring the screen down so you can access controls at the top of the phone with one hand" feature is a nasty hack to get around the idiotic decision to follow Android and put all navigation at the top of the phone away from the user's hand, or a clever trick to get around the idiotic decision to follow Android and put all navigation at the top of the phone away from the user's hand.

The upgrade itself went very smoothly. Took about an hour and everything was exactly where I left it when it came back, even down to the Start layout which wasn't preserved when upgrading 8.1 to 10 on the desktop.

Kudos for attention to detail though, as I had the old neutered Office app pinned to my start screen, the upgrade downloaded the new Excel, Word, and Powerpoint apps and put them in a tile group in the same spot where the old Office app was pinned. Not a massive feat of software engineering, but a nice touch.

Overall, the upgrade is much like going from Windows 8.1 to 10 on the desktop, generally a non-event with a few niggles that I'm confident will disappear over time. It's a good start, MS just need to stick to this way of doing apps and not change their minds and reinvent the wheel in a year's time when it doesn't immediately work, because it's not going to.

IF it works at all in turning around the fortunes of Windows apps, I don't think we'll see any significant uptick before the end of next year, as it will take time for companies to evaluate the platform, decide whether to go with it, and then develop the apps themselves.

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It's nearly 2016, and Windows DNS servers can be pwned remotely

John P

Can we please quit with the 'it's nearly x and y is still being pwned by z' headlines, they're getting a bit tiresome now.

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So, what should Atlassian spend its post-IPO riches on?

John P

They could spend it on stabilising their system so it stays online for over a week at a time. Bitbucket is a great service but is too unstable recently. I rely on it for Continuous Deployment to Azure Web Apps and am desperately looking for more reliable alternatives.

2
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Sneaky Microsoft renamed its data slurper before sticking it back in Windows 10

John P

Re: Cortana Knows my name...(so does MS and 'partners', uncles, aunts, 2nd cousins...)

Of course the answer to why is Cortana. As fun as conspiracy theories are, I think the simplest answer here is also the most likely to be true.

In order for their digital assistant to work in any half-decent way, it needs all of this information to build up a profile of you.

This does not take in to account the fact that many users with Windows 10 do not use Cortana. I like the ability to set quick reminders by typing plain English, but other than that I have no use for it. I'm not against the concept and can see how it could be useful for some people, but I'm just not sufficiently disorganised that I need a constant watcher to organise my life for me.

I'm okay with this being the price if you really want to use Cortana and enable it to do all the recommendation, telling you about flights, informing you its your wedding anniversary tomorrow and your wife is already pissed off with you because she texted you complaining that you hadn't done the washing up again, but Cortana, along with all the information it needs to work, should have a simple and complete off-switch.

If MS just provide this, all those who hate the idea of MS slurping their data and who don't need Cortana will be happy, and all those willing to pay the data price for having Cortana work will also be happy. Simple.

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

John P

I like Windows 10, it has pros and cons versus Windows 7 and 8 but it strikes a decent balance. I've had none of the problems others have experienced, the upgrade and fresh install experiences being much improved over previous Windows versions.

But the pushiness of MS to get people to upgrade, plus the mess over the telemetry Windows 10 sends back to MS, is a perfect example of Microsoft's talent for grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.

I've got no problem with them wanting more information on how their OS is used, but just adding a consent dialog with switches for individual pieces in to the setup process would have largely prevented the privacy complaints.

I've also got no problem with them wanting people to upgrade from previous versions. What company doesn't want to be supporting less versions of their software? The initial GWX taskbar adware was, in my opinion, just about acceptable. It was unintrusive and once you'd clicked on it to satisfy your curiosity, you could take it or leave it.

But MS are only going to get people's backs up if they continue to be so aggressive and underhanded in their attempts to get systems upgraded to W10.

If Windows-as-a-Service is going to succeed, customers have to trust that they won't abuse automatic Windows updates. I have always allowed auto updates as they have never caused me any problem, but I can see a lot of people reaching for the off button if this goes on much longer.

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Windows 10 out, users happy, PCs upgraded, my work here is done – says Microsoft OS chief

John P

Re: Warning! Incoming - JimS

We've got a few MFPs and an ancient HP LaserJet 2300, which just works and is still going strong.

Windows 7 dealt with all of these pretty well once you found the right drivers. Windows 8 was a massive ball-ache to get set up for all of them, lots of patching inf files and trying 17 different ways to use a driver it really didn't want to use. Windows 10 however, upon being told to look for printers on the network, found all of them almost instantly and set itself up with absolutely no intervention from me.

I had to send a test page to each one as I thought it was lying to me. No OS will ever be perfect but, from my personal experience, Windows 10 has made massive improvements in both the upgrade and peripheral experience.

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Fixing Windows 10: New build tweaks Edge, sucks in Skype

John P

Re: preview on mouseover in Edge?

The preview is when you hover over a tab, not a link.

I remember when Opera had that feature back in the day, it's really useful if you're doing a lot of research on websites with extremely unhelpful titles.

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Team Microsoft: Device Police... 'Are you pumped? I'm pumped'

John P

Re: Oh dear

Focusing on Enterprise for WP seems to be the trick MS are missing currently. The decline of Blackberry is leaving a gap that MS would be the natural candidate to fill given that most IT departments run AD and Microsoft device management products. WP is a good product, just way too late to the party, I really hope they can find a good healthy market for it.

I've got the Band 1, mainly to give myself a kick up the ass to get a bit fitter. But I have found it invaluable for the notifications. Emails and texts come through, and with a quick peak at the band I can see if they're worth reading in full or not, the phone comes out of my pocket a lot less often these days, which gives the kids much less opportunity to try and steal it for gaming. Also, having it tell me how many steps I've done, miles, etc, is a really good motivator for a naturally physically-lazy individual such as myself.

One minor correction on the HoloLens though, it is untethered so you're not plugged in to a PC, you're wearing it. I suspect this will go the way of the Kinect, a great idea in theory but with very little mainstream use. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though as the Kinect is a profitable unit despite being a niche product.

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If you wanted Windows 10, it looks like you've already installed it

John P

I've so far personally upgraded 4 machines and have colleagues who have updated another 3 or 4 and none of us have had any issues thus far.

Having said that, if any non-techie users ask what they should do, my advice is simply this: regardless of whether you're on 7, 8 or 8.1, if you're happy where you are, stay there until after christmas to give MS more time to squash issues. If you're not happy, go for it, you've got 30 days to change your mind anyway and I have tested the rollback on one machine with no issues at all.

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Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 Mobile preview update

John P

And the apps look like Android too!

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Pro tip: Servers belong in dry server rooms, not wet cloakrooms

John P

Re: Rain, Rain, Go Away

A friend of mine had a similar situation, a council's server room was located underground directly under some public toilets. Every time they overflowed or there was a bit of rain, it rained in the server room and it filled up with several feet of water.

Their solution: Raise the servers up AND build a corrugated plastic roof over the servers with guttering to move the rain away. Wellies were provided at the door with explicit instructions to not ask what was in the water!

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WinPhone community descends into CANNIBALISM and WOE

John P

Re: Angst

Have you tried WinPhone 10?

WP8 is the first mobile OS I have actually liked using. WP10 currently looks like a cheap Android imitation, most if not all of the UI features of WP8 that I like are gone or on the way out. I sincerely hope they make some drastic changes before release, but I think that is unlikely at this point.

I'm not liking the way this is going...

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Microsoft boosts Azure's VM creds with price cuts and GS

John P

I've used Azure a lot and AWS a small amount, I did a comparison last year of the two and I was really surprised to see that Azure Storage was faster at all operations with the exception of listing blobs. I really expected it to be a more even spread.

Do you have a link to the Nasuni comparison? Might be an interesting read.

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Windows 10: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to Microsoft's long apology for Windows 8

John P

Re: Just one thing left to make it good

The problem I always had with the old start menu was down to the fact that every manufacturer laid out their directories differently, and a lot of suppliers aren't even consistent within their own application, Microsoft included.

Once you've got a decent amount of applications installed, it soon became a mess. I always ended up manually organising it myself in to categories, but this had its own downside when you came to uninstalling or upgrading things.

I never used Search before Windows 8 as it was just too slow. While it still isn't 100% perfect, it works for me now 99% of the time and it is definitely lower maintenance than organising things myself.

Search isn't a silver bullet, but for day to day use, I find it serves me pretty well these days.

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Windows 10 on Mobile under the scope: Flaws, confusion, and going nowhere fast

John P

I normally find El Reg's reviews to have a mostly unfair anti-MS stance, but I can't really disagree on any of the author's points here.

I am a fan of WP8.1, I came from Android and the user experience is far nicer and smoother for all the reasons the author noted. WP10 at this point just looks like a half-assed Android clone, losing the really nice things about WP and taking on Android/iOS' flaws.

MS have got to improve things before launching WP10/Windows 10 Mobile/whatever, or the few users they do have will soon lose any reason to stick with Windows over Android.

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

John P

After being hurt more than once by failed upgrades, I was as sceptical as anyone that the upgrade from Win 7 to Win 8 would actually work without murdering my machine.

I approached it with the expectation that I would have to do a clean install anyway, thus relegating the upgrade to just an experiment. To my surprise, it worked perfectly and I didn't have a single problem with it for the 6 months I used it before I bought an SSD and decided it would be nice to have a clean install rather than transfer the existing install.

I will approach the Win 8.1 to Win 10 upgrade with the same view, but considering upgrading from 8.1 through 5 or 6 Win 10 preview builds has been pretty smooth for me so far, I'm cautiously optimistic.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

John P

Re: That Reminds Me

While this is pretty bad news in many ways, part of me wonders if getting out of the rat-race competing with actual phone hardware companies, will allow them to create a good reference device, like a Surface Phone. Could get interesting...

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Microsoft to release Visual Studio 2015 ahead of Windows 10

John P

Re: Uninstaller??

MS have acknowledged recently what we have all known for ages, it is impossible to completely remove an application as if it was never there. Once an application is on the system it can do too many things completely uncontrolled for that to be possible.

They're now starting to advertise appx as the solution to this. As appx gives the application it's own hive for registry and file system, it should theoretically be a lot easier to remove an application as it's changes have been isolated.

I think they're only advertising it for UWP apps at the moment, but as the appx format came from their purchase of Softgrid, which later became AppV, I'm hoping they'll give some guidance on using it with Win32 apps as well, hopefully something that doesn't involve sequencing!

Of course, it'll take the various divisions of Microsoft another 20 years to switch from MSI to appx, so whether that will be of any help for MS applications in the short term is another question.

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Microsoft U-turns on 'free' Windows 10 upgrade promise for ALL previewers

John P

You can happily use Windows without an MSA, you just need an MSA to download apps from the store, which is exactly the same as needing an iTunes account to download from the Apple App Store and a Google account to download apps from Google Play.

Why is it that when Google or Apple do these things, no one bats an eyelid, the second MS do it, everyone cries evil conspiracy!

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Feature-rich work in progress: Windows Mobile 10 build 10136

John P

Re: US Engineering

I don't get it, swiping up from the bottom for menus is so natural and easy, why must they break the good parts!

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John P

Glad to see they've made the menus easier to use, that is one of my biggest gripes with WP10 so far.

The app gap is one of those rather tricky chicken-and-egg problems. No one writes for WP because there are no users, there are no users because no one writes for WP.

The UWP apps, if they actually deliver on the promise of one app for all Windows platforms, may help in this regard if they make it essentially a no-brainer for anyone writing UWP apps for Windows Desktop to also make it work on WP. That still leaves the problem of getting developers to write UWP apps in the first place.

On this front, it looks like MS are using the carrot rather than the stick this time as you allegedly will be able to use certain UWP features in Win32 apps, making UWP something you slowly transform in to using rather than having to rewrite everything from scratch in one go. If they get it right, it may work, but it's not going to be an overnight solution.

The question is whether MS will stick with it or just try to re-imagine the experience again next year, thus putting everyone back at square one again.

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There's a new build of Windows 10 Mobile, but you can't upgrade to it

John P

Bugs aside, as noted by many it is a Technical Preview so those are to be expected, I really dislike Windows Phone 10.

The thing I like the best about WP8 is that swipe is a universal action. In all screens, all apps, you can swipe left or right to get to another page within the app or you can swipe up from bottom to get the menu. These paradigms are pretty much universal to the platform and that kind of one handed use is really handy when you've got two under-4s in the house and are trying to read email or Reddit while stopping them from propelling themselves off of the furniture.

WP10 seems to be going for hamburger menu in the top left where it is most inconvenient and left/right swipe is all but gone in all the UWP apps that have been released so far, opting instead for the rather dull and unimaginitive press a button to go somewhere in the app.

The imho better navigation model was one of my main reasons for ditching Android, that and the better battery life. With that gone, the reasons for sticking with WP reduce drastically.

In their rush to look like everyone else, they're risking alienating the users they do have.

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Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key

John P

"That Toshiba feels the need to do so also hints that perhaps Windows 10 isn't doing a great job of making Cortana attentive by itself"

Cortana is already too attentive for my liking, I'm thankful you can turn it off.

Given that MS seem to be trying to discourage OEMs from loading Windows up with crapware (about time), is this the new way for OEMs to remove value?

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What's broken in this week's build of Windows 10? Installing it, for one

John P

Not everyone is having trouble with this. Successfully updated on VM, Lenovo Helix, and Surface Pro with no problems at all.

0
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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

John P

Re: Insider here

I think what you probably needed to do was link your local account to a Microsoft account, thereby getting the best of both worlds as you still log in to your PC with your local account, but the Microsoft account is there for applications that need it. I do this on my machine at home and my domain-joined machines at work and have never had any problems.

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The time on Microsoft Azure will be: Different by a second, everywhere

John P

Re: There's 15 minutes difference between Nepal time and India time

The description of the Google method is confusing. It says they're slowing down their clocks and adding the second at the end. But surely, if they're just adding the second, they don't need to slow the clocks down first?

AWS are lengthening their seconds so the leap second will have been added in tiny proportions every second until it is back in sync with how it should be.

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John P

Re: Obvious

How do you know that the reason they don't foresee any problems is because they have tested it?

Same comment could be made about Google or AWS, do we know whether or not they have tested their own ways of handling the leap second?

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Tesco tries to talk Tesco Mobile up from 'Value' to 'Finest' ahead of sale

John P

Re: overstreched

and dictionaries :)

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Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft's effort to keep malware off PCs

John P

It clearly states "when enabled by an administrator", so this is going to be much like Bitlocker or any other security feature that MS have introduced over the last 10 years, a great feature but you only turn it on if you know it won't cause you any issues.

3
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Microsoft uses Windows Update to force Windows 10 ads onto older PCs

John P

Re: You haven't used Windows 10 Build 10041 yet then.

10049 is even worse, made my laptop completely unusable. On a positive front,a fresh install of 8.1 then upgrade to 10041 and finally 10049 is looking much more positive.

Pre-10041 I was feeling quite confident about Windows 10 given the smoothness of the upgrade from 7 to 8, it looked like Microsoft were going to achieve the same success again. Now I'm a little worried and am preparing for a fresh install and possibly wait until the 364th day of the 1 year free upgrade.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 build list snowballs for Lumia mobes

John P

We've found things to be a bit hit and miss with the desktop builds so far, the 9926 build was pretty stable on both my Lenovo Helix and my boss' Surface Pro 1, bar running them both a little hot.

However, build 10041 has caused nothing but problems on the Surface but no longer runs hot on the Helix, however it does now have some slight font rendering issues in services.msc.

As much as I like to be on the cutting edge, I think my 1020 will be staying on 8.1 for a little longer.

3
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Siri, you're fired: Microsoft Cortana's elbows into iOS, Android

John P

Re: When do we see an Windows phone with Android?

I'm a WP user and would probably also qualify as one of those "MS" fans, I couldn't care less if Cortana is on IOS,Android,Blackberry or any other phone OS. I don't use them so it doesn't affect me in the slightest.

I've got no issue with MS going after market share, it's a good way to raise recognition of MS in the mobile space and maybe even improve WP's market share a bit.

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Snowden leaks LEGALISED GCHQ's 'illegal' dragnet spying, rules British tribunal

John P

Am I reading this correctly?

So when they were doing this in secret, it was illegal. But now we know they're doing it, it's totally fine.

That does not make a lick of sense!

6
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Microsoft eyes slice of Raspberry Pi with free Windows 10 sprinkled on top

John P

Re: Good work MS

That was my first thought, but according to Scott Hanselman there won't be a shell.

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheNewRaspberryPi2WillRunWindows10AndRunUniversalApps.aspx

So while possibly not a super-cheap office PC, I can still see loads of uses for this.

MS have achieved one thing with this though, getting up to speed with Universal apps is now looking like it may just be worth it.

2
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Elon Musk: Wanna see a multimillion-dollar rocket EXPLODE? WATCH THIS

John P

I believe the barge is a remote controlled drone, so no humans in danger at any point.

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GRENADE! Project Zero pops pin on ANOTHER WINDOWS 0-DAY

John P

Re: About time....

If MS or any other vendor ignore reports of bugs, then they should be disclosed in order to shame them in to sorting it out.

However, in both the recent cases, MS have said they have a fix and have asked Google to withhold disclosure for a short amount of time until they can get it out. Where a software vendor is clearly taking the bugs reported by Google seriously and is doing something about it, but just needs a little extra time to issue a fix, Google should be more flexible and work with the vendors in that situation.

In my work, we have a few software packages that run on WES7/8, XP, 7 and 8. To fix bugs and fully test them can take a week or more depending on their severity and how many platforms the issue is present on, and I dare say MS have a lot more platforms to test against. Testing takes time, and sticking to the 90 day limit rigidly either exposes users to flaws unnecessarily or will encourage vendors to rush fixes out without proper testing, which may cause more damage than it prevents.

11
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Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' SLABLET phones (in Puerto Rico)

John P

Re: No way, no how

My last phone was a HTC One X, a great phone when it came out with good battery life, but successive Android updates rendered it unable to last a working day, otherwise I was satisfied with the phone. If had been able to just buy a new higher-capacity battery module for a reasonable price, I probably would've.

The other reason I eventually went with the Lumia 1020 was for the excellent camera as my existing separate digital camera was no longer up to the job. Again, if I'd been able to just buy a better camera module for a reasonable price, I would've done that.

Having the upgradeability that the Ara range provides for a reasonable price probably would've kept me on Android.

0
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DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

John P

Re: Sorry, but Google were uttely wrong.

If MS had completely ignored Google and not given them any information on when a fix would be available, I would have less of an issue with what Google did and the blame would be on MS for not communicating properly with them on the matter.

But MS did tell them that a fix was coming with a release date and asked them to delay disclosure for a couple of weeks until it was out. Google had a definitive time frame when a fix would be available and they stuck to the 90 days anyway, knowingly creating risk for users who may be vulnerable to the exploit.

So in this case, Google are firmly in the wrong IMHO.

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John P

“By removing the ability of a vendor to withhold the details of security issues indefinitely, we give users the opportunity to react to vulnerabilities in a timely manner, and to exercise their power as a customer to request an expedited vendor response.”

Which doesn't apply in this case as Microsoft told them there was a fix and asked them to hold off for an extra couple of weeks until it was released.

Seems like Google stuck to their guns just to generate a bit of bad press for MS, to the possible detriment of customers.

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Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

John P

Excellent, that'll save me excluding the browser choice updates on every new PC I set up.

2
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Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

John P

The question is who has the stronger claim to using LCA?

Am currently at work so can't do the research to see who, ahem, came first.

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Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work

John P

Facebook vs Yammer is a bit of a tenuous link, but how is this going to compete with Google Drive? Surely it's a competitor for Google+, shouldn't be too hard to lure away the 6 Google+ users..

0
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Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes

John P

I think the 930 is the current flagship, From the Reg review it seems to be a decent phone but I don't know how it stacks up against the phones you mentioned.

Although HTC are releasing a WinPho One M8 so that will be interesting...

0
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Microsoft discovers long-lost phone division down back of sofa

John P

No Microsoft, No. Don't for the love of <deity/> put your name on it. Lumia is a good brand and it would've served them well to keep using it and keep their name off of those devices.

I say that as a very happy Lumia 1020 owner and Windows 8 user, but you'd have to be stupid to not be aware that Microsoft's name doesn't necessarily have the best reputation amongst consumers these days.

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Satya Nadella's $84.3m pay packet: Did he use the 'female superpower' to get it?

John P

Couldn't agree more.

What he said last week was terribly phrased, no denying that, but it must take a massive act of wilful ignorance to not be able to clearly see what he was *trying* (very badly) to say.

MS CEO gets paid a s**tload of money, not exactly a headline story there El Reg. So far Nadella has made one cock-up, and seems to be receiving a disproportionate amount of attacks for it.

The MS hate seems to overriding proportionality and reason even more than usual.

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