Yeah, that part was annoying. When I went to the US last year, I took a phone that could handle most US 4G frequencies, and I could *see* the 4G networks when I went looking for them, but just couldn't connect to them. On the other hand, the 3G coverage I got was generally fine, and it is great that free roaming to the US is being offered by someone, so I am not going to complain much.
249 posts • joined 14 Aug 2008
Re: Does it take into account
The purpose of customer retentions people is to retain customers. If you tell them "This is what you have to offer me to make me stay", you make their job easy for them, or at least you do if what you ask for is something they are able to offer. If you are asking them to match another advertised offer, they can usually do that. (Fairly often they can do better than that, too, if you are willing to negotiate for a bit).
A large amount of 2600MHz spectrum was auctioned last time. Vodafone bought as much as they needed, and Three and O2 did not buy any of it. (They each bought some 800MHz spectrum). The bulk of it was then bought by EE and BT at a bargain price, and when they merged this made the situation worse. However, the reason Three are short of spectrum is because they didn't bid enough money last time. It really is as simple as that. They seem to think that they can do better by lobbying the regulator than by putting money up. They may be right, but I am not very sympathetic to them.
If Uber in LA could institute a ban on drivers telling their passengers about "the screenplay I am working on", that would certainly be an improvement.
Re: "These airwaves could be used immediately after release"
Virtually every high end phone sold in the UK in the last year has support for TD-LTE at least on Band 40 (2.3GHz, which is the important band) , and mostly other bands as well. So do an increasing number of mid-market phones. Quite a few phones sold between one and three years ago do have such support, but it's hard to predict which ones. TD-LTE and FD-LTE are used alongside each other in many Asian markets, and whether the phone sold here supported TD-LTE depended on whether the manufacturer was selling a different variant in Europe from Asia or not. Some were, and some weren't.
For instance, the last three generations of iPhone sold in the UK do have such support. The Samsung Galaxy S7 sold in the UK has it, but the Galaxy S6 does not. For other manufacturers it varies.
If we assume that most heavy data users have phones that are reasonably high end and/or fairly new, I think the claim is fair that TD-LTE on 2.3GHz will be used pretty heavily here the moment it is switched on.
Re: "These airwaves could be used immediately after release"
Indeed. Three was complaining to the regulator that it did not have enough spectrum before the last auction, and then only bought a small amount of spectrum at that auction. They could have got a lot more if they had been willing to spend a little more money. (As it was, EE and BT bought up the final lots for a song, before then merging with one another, which explains the current situation).
Of course, Three also persuaded the regulator to force EE to give it 2x15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum when T-Mobile and Orange merged as a condition of the merger. Three now uses the spectrum for the bulk of its 4G networks. Now they have been lobbying regulators to force BT/EE to be forced to give up spectrum again. It's almost like Three thinks that they can get a better deal through politics than what they could get if they simply went and bought stuff. Funny that.
T-Mobile once belonged to Mercury/C&W (mostly). Then was sold to Deutsche Telecom.
Orange once belonged to Hutchison. Then was sold to Mannesman. Then was sold to France Telecom.
Freeserve once belonged to Dixons. Then was spun off as an independent company. Then got bought by France Telecom and became Wanadoo. Then become Orange Broadband and ultimately EE broadband.
Orange was then merged with T-Mobile to become Everything Everywhere and then EE.
Now the whole thing has been bought by BT. At this point the resulting entity has bits of the corporate cultures of all of the above, seemingly contantly at war with one another.
The SE/30 was a beast
I remember just how screamingly fast the SE/30 was considered when it came out. Essentially it was the guts of the much bigger and more powerful (and more expensive) Mac IIx fitted into the classic Mac form factor.
"Chiba City", described that way and part of greater Tokyo, is a frequent location in William Gibson's Neuromancer, sequels, and connected short stories. "The Sprawl" is another frequent location in these same writings, but is a location in North America - also referred to as the "Boston Atlanta Metropolitan Axis". So "The Sprawl, Chiba City, Japan", is clearly a William Gibson reference, but an oddly anachronistic one. "Tessier-Ashpool" is a fictional Swiss-Australian family owned corporation in the same set of books, so the Gibson references are clearly fairly deliberate.
Vodafone Australia was always awful.
>Customer service teams were overrun and Vodafone Australia became a byword for poor service.
To be fair, Vodafone Australia was a buzzword for poor service already, and had been pretty much forever before that.
Carphone and Talktalk: the same weakness?
Okay, a few months ago there was a breach at Carphone Warehouse (okay, Dixons Carphone), and my personal data was compromised. Now there is this one at TalkTalk, and my personal data has been compromised again.
CPW and Talktalk are separate companies, but they used to be the same company and one was spun off the other. I suspect they use a lot of the same systems, and share a lot of common code for their customer systems and/or websites. (To add to the complications, both companies are the product of a lot of mergers / acquisitions, so there are probably lots of barely compatible things lashed together as well).
I wonder if it is possible that both data breaches came from exploiting the same/similar weaknesses. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they did.
Re: Why 90,000 customers out of 2.5 million?
When you sign up for a contract, they usually ask for your bank account details for the direct debit for your monthly payment, and they also ask for your credit card details. If there is any up-front charge, they normally charge this to a credit card. If there isn't, they normally make a tiny charge (1p, sometimes) to the credit card as a form of identity verification. (Credit card companies don't like this practice, but it still happens fairly often).
Carphone Warehouse have bought many other businesses over the years. This includes a number of web based mobile phone dealers - e2save, mobiles.co.uk and onestopphoneshop. They have typically kept these brands alive as separate brands. If you go to their websites, it is not obvious that they are Carphone Warehouse unless you read the small print (although if you actually buy a contract from them, they then become open about it after you have signed up). The prices on these websites are usually better than those on Carphone's own branded website or in their store, so I have bought phone contracts that way. I haven't yet received an e-mail from them telling me that they have lost my data, but maybe I will.
What it seems is that Carphone have not fully (or possibly at all) integrated their customer records from all the businesses that they have bought. Probably their systems are a horrible ad-hoc mess of incompatible systems nastily stitched together. Security practices are probably inconsistent and of varying quality. They have therefore had some customer records compromised and not others, and they took three days figuring out precisely which.
I've done business with this bit of CPW. They are cheap. I have received customer service and sales calls from them on occasion, though, in which they have called me, have attempted to sell me an upgrade, I have said yes, and then they have asked me for my address, date of birth, mother's maiden name etc in order that I identify myself. I have refused, on the basis that I don't give personal information to people who have called me, although I might when I have called them. They have then been mystified as to why the two cases might be different. This is not inspiring.
It's about expectations
Before a profit announcement, there are expectations amongst market participants as to what the results are going to be. These are a consequence of profit guidance from Apple, leaks, analysis, and rumours about the likely results. The price before the announcement reflects these expectations. If the actual results are better than the expectations, the price goes up. If they are worse, it goes down. Such movements have little to do objectively with whether the company is doing well or badly, but they just reflect the accuracy of the expectations.
Re: Who actually wears a watch anymore? And why?
I think the world consists of people who don't wear a watch, and cannot conceive that anyone else would, and people who do wear a watch, and cannot conceive that anyone else wouldn't, actually.
I think techies tend more to be the second category (I haven't worn a watch in decades), but that smart watches are more easy to sell to the second category. Which means they are possibly easier to sell to non-techies. However, techies are more likely to be early adopters,, making it an interesting challenge.
I have several times heard people say that a watch is an easier sell than Google Glass or other smart glasses, because people are used to wearing something on their wrist all the time, but smart glasses are something extra to wear. I find this a little strange - I don't wear a watch but I do wear glasses - but I have to believe that there are a lot of people like that.
Well, there is a 128Gb option, whereas there was a 64Gb maximum for the old one. So there is more storage if you are willing to pay for it.
People like to play games on these things: the A8 means it will run all the latest ones, whereas the A5 in the old model is not going to be up to running a lot of things.
Software is what this upgrade is all about really. The old iPod touch was getting to the point where it was hard work for Apple to keep supporting it with current software, and it wasn't going to provide good performance for third party apps. Apple either had to discontinue it or update it. Having decided to update, they gave it a good upgrade, so they can continue to sell it for another three years without having to think about it much.
Re: You won't have the power to walk away
Always pay the invoices. That way they can't ruin your credit record or anything like that. Once you have done that, make a claim against them in a small claims court to get the money - you can do it easily enough online and it takes 10 minutes. At this point, the issue has been transferred from the billing department to the legal department. The job of the legal department is to make things go away, and if they are even slightly competent you will get a call fairly shortly afterwards from someone who will sort it out for you.
Re: That Cisco policy
I think it is more the GPU, in this case. Apple decided in 2008 that the Intel graphics on its lower-end machines were not good enough, and as a consequence they switched their entire product line to nVidia graphics in 2008-9. They didn't make any machines at all that used only Intel graphics until 2011, by which time Intel had rather upped their game. OS-X 10.11 (and 10.10, and 10.9) support any machine released after that switch to nVidia graphics, and any machine from about 2007 that had discrete graphics rather than integrated Intel graphics.
Re: That Cisco policy
I have a 2007 Macbook Pro that is presently running 10.10 Yosemite and which Apple have just announced will run 10.11 El Capitan. There are one or two machines that are a bit newer than that which are not supported, but every computer Apple has released since 2009 will support the latest OS for at least another year. This is the third new OS release from Apple that has not dropped support for any hardware at all compared to the previous release. Apple has not always been good in this department, but they have really raised their game in this respect recently.
Reminds me a little of the old Scart cable/plug, for connecting televisions to other devices. The same connector was capable of composite video, component video, and RGB. Having (say) an RGB capable DVD player connected to an RGB capable TV using composite video was extremely common, due to people plugging in the cable, saying "it works" and then not realising that they could improve the picture quality considerably by changing a setting in the on-screen menus. I hope USB-C is going to be a little smarter than this, but I am not sure I would completely bet on it.
The television industry has traditionally quoted the number of lines (480p, 720p, 1080i) etc.
The film industry (or at least, the associated FX business) has traditionally quoted the number of columns, rounded to the nearest thousand (2k, 4k, etc).
For some reason the TV and computer industries have been switching to the convention of the film industry in recent times. Possibly because editing movies is one of the more important applications of screens like this, but mainly I suspect because the numbers are bigger this way and it sounds more impressive.
Nobody knows anything
William Goldman - author of The Princess Bride and screenwriter of many famous movies including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All the President's Men - not William Golding (author of Lord of the Flies and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature). He said it grammatically correctly, too, in his 1983 book "Adventures in the Screen Trade".`
I think you could argue that there are no stars who can open a movie on 3000 screens any more. Everything is franchises and sequels these days. And occasional hits that come from left field, yes.
At least USB-C does not lock you in to Apple.
The one annoying thing about Magsafe is that Apple ruthlessly protects it, so if you want another charger there are no discount ones. The good thing about USB-C is that it is not an Apple only standard, so although Apple's adaptors and chargers are expensive, there is nothing stopping you buying cheaper products from other manufacturers. Or at least there won't be once those products start shipping.
Re: It's all wrong
Nope, it doesn't. Once there have been two or three generations more generations of CPU from Intel and you can get a bit more CPU power into the platform, though, it will be quite nice. The original Macbook Air in 2008 was also ludicrously underpowered, but by 2011 it was quite useful, and it's a pretty mainstream laptop in terms of CPU and GPU power these days. (It had more ports, too). So I might be looking at getting one of these in 2017 or 2018.
Motorola should have updated the SoC
There's also a Brazilian dual-SIM version of this - it comes with 16Gb storage. It looks essentially the same as the Chinese version, except for support for different frequencies.
I have the 3G dual-SIM second generation version. It was great when it was on Android 4.4.4, but it is rather struggling on 5.0.2. Also, 8Gb isn't really enough storage. (Yes, I have a 32Gb SD card in it, but the internal storage keeps filling up just the same). The cameras are not especially great, but I think that is forgivable at this price point.
I think Motorola might have made a better call if they had ditched the 8Gb options for the 2nd generation and only offered 16Gb, and also if they had provided some upgrade to the SoC for the second generation. That they did this for the Moto E but not the G, and the 4G variant of the E has a more powerful SoC than the G is very strange.
Re: And now we know ...
Well, they still have the spectrum, so they haven't turned those gains into cash.
The spectrum has definitely improved their network, though
Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?
Mostly, they are going to be recording these videos and pictures on an iPhone, and Apple then wants them to upload them to iCloud.
Re: 1 USB port? Seriously?
I take a lot of photos on a proper camera that uses full size SD cards. Most people who are serious about photography do. (Newer cameras are often wireless capable, to be fair). The retina display on this laptop makes it a pretty nice computer for photographic purposes, but getting the photos from my camera is going to involve plugging an adaptor from USB-C to regular USB into the computer, then plugging a USB card reader into that, and then plugging an SD card into that. This is going to be a pain, and lots of things might break.
Re: Range v Capacity
This is why you want a bit of both. Assuming the mergers go through, O2/Three are going to be strong on low frequencies but weak on high, whereas EE/BT are going to be weak on low frequencies but strong on high. Only Vodafone is going to have a good balance. This may be due to the company having grown fairly organically rather than being a product of mad mergers, and due to being a company where the engineers are listened to by managements. (There are lots of other things wrong with Vodafone, but they have this relatively right).
Re: An error
I meant "Three presently owns 30MHz (2x15MHz) at 1800MHz". Muphry strikes again.
I think there is an error in the second table. Three presently owns 20MHz (2x15MHz) at 1800MHz, and O2 owns 12MHz (2x6MHz). That's a total of 42MHz, while it has just been shown as 12MHz in the table.
In addition to that, there were TDD spectrum allocations at 1900MHz (band 39) that were part of the 3G auction in 2000. These have never been used, but I suspect that the operators still have them. They are not mentioned in the table, though. EE have 10MHz, O2 have 5MHz, and 3 have 5MHz. (Vodafone doesn't have any). These could conceivably be used for TD-LTE, although I have no idea if anyone is considering it.
Re: Possible problems
Three and O2s spectrum holdings fit together pretty well, I think. They are presently third and fourth in terms of spectrum holdings, with Three having more 3G and 4G spectrum than O2, and O2 having a 2G holding at 900MHz that Three lacks. Merge them together and they will have a (very slightly) larger holding than Vodafone and a much smaller one than EE. I can't see any competition issues with the spectrum holdings. The network share agreements might take a little time to untangle, but I am sure this can be done. The regulator may be involved, or might not. A similar untangling was necessary after the T-Mobile/Orange merger, but they managed it.
There may be spectrum issues with the EE/BT merger, though. EE has a lot more spectrum than any other network, and BT has an additional holding at 2600MHz that they bought in the 4G auction and aren't using. It is likely that divestiture of this holding (or some of EEs other spectrum somewhere) will be a requirement if the BT/EE merger is going to be permitted. In this case it will be interesting to see who ends up with it. Without an O2/Three merger one would expect it would likely end up with O2, who are at present quite short of 4G spectrum. With an O2/Three merger, it's harder to tell.
Re: Other way round, I think,
>FWIW the European Commission was forced to act because they discovered evidence
>of illegal collusion between operators over roaming.
I'm not disputing any of this. To it I would add that the way GSM roaming was initially set up - itself a regulatory matter, although one in which the regulators probably just rubber stamped what the operators and equipment manufacturers presented them with - positively encouraged this kind of collusion. Something clearly had to change, and the operators deserved to have someone crack down on them, but I don't think what we got - regulatory price fixing - was the right way for things to change.
Other way round, I think,
>Which meant low income were subsidising EU travellers with expense accounts ...
>which is hardly a progressive move.
I think the situation was more that EU travellers with expense accounts had previously been subsidising low income mobile users, and the impact of the regulation of roaming charges reduced the level of these subsidies, honestly. Margins on roaming were (and in the case of non-EU roaming, still are) huge, and mobile operators were using these to subsidise their very competitive, high-capex, low margin domestic businesses. Various decisions - both regulatory and operator led - caused the industry to evolve with this structure, but I don't think the result was either healthy or sustainable. For one thing, it discouraged the large number of travellers who are paying their own phone bills and who do not have expense accounts from using mobile services at all, even though the infrastructure is there, the service was likely to be useful to them, and the price they would be willing to pay is considerably more than the marginal cost to operators of providing for it. The operators were making so much money from travellers with expense accounts that they were willing to forgo this business, but the trouble was that the regulatory structure prevented anyone else from bidding for it.
Ms Kroes' solution - which led to regulators setting prices, basically - was a bad one, but it was an attempt to address a real problem. Good solutions would have instead involved networks being able to bid on price for incoming roaming customers. You travel to Germany and receive a text from each German operator stating the price of roaming to them. You then reply with another text choosing an operator, and you are charged the rates of that operator. Something like that. Possibly you also have the ability to nominate the choice on a website or app before you travel. (This still leaves the issue of what exactly your local operator charges for forwarding your calls when you are away and for billing you later, but this is a smaller issue to resolve).
Re: It's Complicated
Well, no. It's one of the biggest industries in the world. All industries tend to end up being by a small clubs of people, however.
Re: Once upon a time ...
It's a very rare (possibly nonexistent) "merger" that isn't really one company taking over another.
Re: Once upon a time ...
One of the basic rules of company mergers is that when a series of mergers occur and the company name is constructed by combining the names of the parties that merged, then *eventually* the company name will revert to that of the company that was dominant in all this. Hence "Total Elf Fina" reverting to "Total", "Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Discover" (the comma in that one was a work of genius) reverting to "Morgan Stanley", "Maersk Sealand" merging with "P&O Nedlloyd" to form "Maersk", and "British Sky Broadcasting" merging with various other companies to form "Sky".
Re: illicit viewers?
I have a Philips Blu-Ray player that adds "Smart TV" functionality to my (older and not very smart) TV. Just about the most useful function of this player was that it ran an iPlayer app. However, a month or two back it stopped working and I started receiving "iPlayer is not supported by your device" errors instead. This is. well, annoying, as I now need to find another way to stream iPlayer to my TV.
Is the explanation given in this article why it no longer works?
Re: Bad Apple
The reason I don’t really like all-in-ones like the iMac is that screens are the longest lasting part of a PC for me. I tend to use a multi-screen setup with my newest monitor as the primary monitor, the next oldest as a second monitor, and the third oldest as a third monitor (if the graphics hardware allows it). I don’t want to throw a perfectly good monitor away every time I buy a new PC. Target monitor mode at least partly alleviates this (particularly when an iMac costs about the same as an equivalent screen on its own - this is not the first time this has happened) and the lack of it is a deal-killer for me.
I’m not into conspiracy theories as to why Apple has disallowed it - the explanation is that the present version of Thunderbolt can’t handle the bandwidth. I am sure the next version of this iMac will fix this, which is a good reason to wait for it.
I think the big reason why contactless travel has just increased on buses is that we now have capping. If you are making multiple journeys in a day or changing from one mode of transport to another, you now pay no more than a Travelcard and/or daily bus pass. Up until now, although contactless has worked on buses, you simply paid a single fare for each journey - no matter how many you made in a day. This means that it is now reasonable to simply use your contactless credit card to pay for all your daily travel, whereas in the past it was useful for those emergency situations when you had run out of money on your Oyster card (or left it at home) but you probably didn't want to use it for your regular use.
Re: They are making profits of over £100m...
There is a class of middle-men (Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U, Buymobiles etc) that exist between the mobile networks and many of their customers. These retailers are very expensive for the mobile networks, the networks have always resented their existence and have always thought that the profits being made by these people are rightfully theirs. The trouble is that many customers keep using the third party retailers rather than the mobile networks own direct sales businesses. This is because of the astounding level of incompetence of the networks' own in-house retail businesses. The networks are unaware of the level of their own incompetence at retail, which has made this very hard for them to fix. (Phones 4 U are pretty awful themselves, so their continued existence kind of baffles me, but they and the other third party retailers are providing *something* that the networks themselves are not).
It has always been inevitable that the networks would at some point squeeze out the third party retailers by simply refusing to do business with them. This explains Carphone Warehouse's attempts over the last few years to transform itself into a general consumer electronics retail business, variously by stocking other products in its shops (remember when they were full of laptops?), doing an ultimately disastrous deal with Best Buy, and ultimately through a merger with Dixons/Currys/PC World. I am not sure that this means better service for customers - in fact I am pretty sure it means worse - but that's where we are.
Re: What about the unlicensed ones?
As long as the driver claims on some policy and that policy pays, then there really isn't a problem. If the normal situation is that the driver uses his own insurance, but that Uber also has "last resort" insurance for cases where this goes wrong, that seems fine to me. In fact, that seems good to me.
If you they are making most of your calls indoors and there is not a lot of ambient noise, they may just be putting everyone on speaker, too.
Re: Phones with a 7"+ screen???
These are people who have never owned PCs, and don't make a lot of voice calls.
Re: No problem at all.
Clearly not, no.
Re: No problem at all.
Some of us really like a £ symbol above the 3, too.
There will be new iPhones and new iPads in September and October, as there have been for several years. As for Macs, Intel is late with its next generation (Broadwell) hardware. Until Intel delivers this, all Apple can do is the occasional minor speed bump like this one. Intel is highly unlikely to deliver in significant quantities until next year. There have been a few rumours that Apple has a 12 inch retina display Macbook Air in the works. I suppose it is not unimaginable that they could release this with current Haswell hardware, but they will probably wait.
Ah ye, another technology for which usage peaks long after it has become obsolete
He has something that works for him, so he keeps using it. Nothing wrong with that.
Given that GRRM's published writing career goes back to the early 1970s, he presumably did originally use typewriters. I'm curious about when exactly he switched to a word processor. Did he use Wordstar on CP/M before on DOS?
Re: Without any fanfare
Apple gave one of its products a minor spec bump and a price cut. Both these things would be welcome if I were looking to buy one right now. (I am not, although I have the 2011 model and am happy enough with it for now. Undoubtedly some people are). Total non-story for everyone else, though.