* Posts by Alex Bailey

34 posts • joined 10 May 2007

Use Brexit to save smokers' lives and plug vaping, say peers

Alex Bailey

Ban the vape!

Many kids who would have avoided smoking the real thing seem to be picking up vapes because it's seen as the "in thing". Its bad enough having to still walk through clouds of tobacco smoke because people stand in office and shop doorways to get their fix but to have to put up with sickly-sweet vape clouds too... enough is enough.

Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Alex Bailey
Devil

Free? Phah!

On the one hand it's about time. I've been pretty pissed off over the years at having to pay fees to use hospital phones and TV's, being told by hospital staff that handheld TV's are not permitted because the deal with the in-house TV provider did not permit it and that mobiles had to be turned off at all times.

On the other hand it's been a long time since I've seen truly free WiFi in the UK since every one insists on you handing over your email address at the very least. I wonder how much of the Spam I get on a daily basis can be attributed to the odd occasion that I've had little choice but to do so.

And that's before they start to apply nanny-filters to everybody.

Eclipse staggers to feet, gets smacked by second DDoS

Alex Bailey

To be honest I thought it was business as usual...

I've been a domestic customer of Eclipse for 13 years and until recently they were really good but I upgraded to their unlimited fibre broadband service in the summer (after being hit by caps on the cheaper services) only to find that they throttle many services (YouTube and streaming services such as iTunes and Sky TV being the main ones - which is far from useful when you work from home AND have teenagers in the house) which I'm told is because of an apparent "fair usage policy".

When the DDoS started on Monday I merely assumed they'd ramped up their throttling!

Apple Pay's Brit biz bashed by banks planning to Zapp it out

Alex Bailey

Re: Sorry don't see the point

I'll bite too... my Nationwide debit card currently does not have NFC (and the card has another two years before it expires) so this gives me the feature without having to go through the trouble of getting a replacement card.

I do also shop at enough places that are on board that it will save me time. I already pay at Starbucks using their card and the passbook app on my watch (though my local branch only have the scanner working at the drive-thru window) and I'm more than happy to not have to fumble around in my pockets for cash or card, more so at the drive thru.

I also like the fact that the feature on my watch is only turned on when I want to use it so no danger from these folks we keep hearing about who can wander around scanning people's pockets!

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

Alex Bailey
Flame

Well that's just great news!

I hate dealing with BT... the fact that wherever I buy from then provide the backbone to my landline and fibre broadband service because I live in an area where there are no alternatives (unless I want to add a layer of complexity when things break). The fact BT insist on charging me extra because I refuse to pay by direct debit when they won't give me a chance to see my bill before they take my money if I do.

I switched my mobile service from Vodafone to EE in the spring to improve my 3G coverage and get a decent 4G service; I've always avoided O2 because of their past connections with BT and 3 just weren't cutting it in my area.

Now I have the displeasure that I will be giving more of my hard earned to BT for at least the remainder of my 2 year contract. After that?

Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.

EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages

Alex Bailey

Earlier this year, and after spending months testing different SIM cards in my iPad, I discontinued a 15+ year contract with Vodafone because of their poor network coverage and switched to EE because it seemed to be the best.

Having dealt with all the networks at some point in the last year I can confirm that despite their brilliant network coverage EE's customer services are indeed the worst. Vodafone were probably the best.

In the space of 6 months I have found that EE have no place on-line to make complaints about network issues, nor do they seem to provide updates on said issues. All of which Vodafone did well.

It took me nearly a week to switch a T-Mobile SIM card to EE-4G because, despite their website clearly stating that you could do so with no effect on your contract and no matter how long you'd had your contract, the Customer Services staff would not believe this was possible.

I also got chewed out by a customer services rep having migrated my iPad from T-Mobile to EE in-store. I only wanted to cancel the old T-Mobile card (which for some reason the store could not do for me) but wound up on the phone for nearly half hour repeating the mantra "all I want to do is cancel my SIM card!"

I even wound up paying Orange to unlock an iPhone because they told me a T-Mobile or EE SIM would not work in it without doing so, something I later found out I could. Oh... and having to pay for an unlock? Vodafone did that for free.

I their 4G coverage wasn't so good I wouldn't be staying with them, if their 3G network had been half decent I'd have stayed with Vodafone. So long as I don't have to use customer services again I guess my time with EE won't be all that bad.

Bitcoin was illegal in California? Whoops, governor fixes that 165-year-old money law

Alex Bailey
Devil

Shame they couldn't have banned Disney Dollars before fixing the law :)

Carphone Warehouse, Dixons embroiled in £3.7bn merger rumour

Alex Bailey
Flame

My experience with both companies has been bad enough that I would NEVER buy anything from either and would strongly recommend that anybody thinking of doing so should go elsewhere... doesn't matter what they wind up being called they'll still be crap.

It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Alex Bailey

Mirrors my experience

I've been with Vodafone for 18 years so when over the last few years they managed to not upgrade their networks as quickly as they kept promising I decided I was going to have to change.

Cue different SIM cards for my iPad. One from 3, one from O2 and one from T-Mobile. Over the space of 6 months I swapped the SIM cards in my iPad and compared against the Vodafone in my iPhone (a 4S at first but now a 5S). I used both while stationary, while mobile I used maps apps in satellite mode to see how quickly and efficiently they updated. Not very scientific but it certainly gave me the data I needed.

My conclusion... EE gave the best coverage while Vodafone gave the worst. Strangely similar to the Root Metrics test. So in January I switched to T-Mobile (I live in an area with no 4G coverage) and suddenly I can use Siri in places I'd never been able to before, Waze actually updates routes when I have to take detours instead of informing me there's no network and my Facebook and Foursquare check ins don't rely on me having to go outdoors and hold my phone in the air.

Vodafone really should take this report seriously... even if only in private because I know of other people who are switching away from them for the very same reasons.

Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

Alex Bailey

Remember SCART?

Seriously folks? Let the EU legislate on this and it effectively stops phone manufacturers coming up with something new and good that might not work on the standardised port. If legislating connector types in this manner did any good then why did SCART never take off in North America?

So long as the other end fits into a standard USB socket I couldn't care less what shape hole I have to use to plug it into my phone. I made the choice to buy a phone with a "non standard" socket so that's my problem not yours.

I like the EU... if it doesn't keep interfering in places where it's not needed.

SPACE VID: Watch JUMBO ASTEROID 2000 EM26 buzzing Earth

Alex Bailey
Stop

Re: Today? Today where?

And here's me, being British, wondering why everybody has a problem with timezones and the metric system. Are we less intelligent than the rest of the planet who do seem to be able to cope with these?

That said, the times given for this ARE confusing. Has it happened or is it yet to happen?

Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

Alex Bailey
FAIL

48 hours ago I finally waved goodbye to Vodafone and switched to EE... after 18 years as a loyal subscriber.

Why? When I got my first iPhone (my 3GS) they assured me that, despite issues with their 3G network on my old Nokia feature phone, that they would have it sorted out in a year or so. When I got my 4S they said the same, so when it came to upgrade to the 5S and things hadn't changed very much it was a no brainer.

The fact that during my last "upgrade" they slashed my data allowance and then increased the price didn't help.

The fact I had trouble finding an iPad-friendly service from them early on didn't help, the T-Mobile card I finally settled on was so good I just couldn't, in all reality, go anywhere else!

HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY, International Space Station! NASA man reveals life on-board

Alex Bailey

Re: Puny US gallons

But either of those only apply in the dumbed down world of old measures. Those of us who speak modern know that 1 litre of water is 1 kg and that's the same whatever country you happen to be in.

Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Alex Bailey

I see a few major problems with forcing the adoption of digital radio in the UK.

First of all, despite the years of expansion of commercial stations there still doesn't seem to be the diversity of choice that there is in the USA. This is even an issue with analogue FM radio which seems to be flooded with national BBC channels with little room for local alternatives that play anything other than "general pop".

Then there's the usage issue. More and more people are only casual listeners these days and nobody wants to spend out for expensive digital receivers, either for the car or home, when they're only likely to use it for 10 minutes a week. Now if ALL receivers were capable of receiving digital alongside analogue and were priced similarly to current analogue only models that might change - but somebody please listen, put in some way to disable the analogue tuner, I have dual analogue-digital TV's that default to analogue if they have an issue and now we can't get analogue channels are absolutely hopeless (I even have one that turns itself off after 20 minutes if it receives no analogue channels!!!)

Finally there's the emergency aspect. We need a way of getting out information in the case of a natural disaster, analogue is ideal for that as it's cheaper to broadcast and cheaper to receive. We can't rely on power stations and the mobile network being active if we get hit by a comment or have a massive earthquake!

ITU to Europe: One charger for all mobes good. One to rule them ALL? Better

Alex Bailey

I like standards, they make things simple for everybody and not having to carry several different chargers around is great... but surely this stifles innovation as new features start to get harder to add on, it also makes if easier to blow your phone up because that cheap-and-nasty charger looks so tempting compared to the manufacturer-approved version.

And no matter how much you try to "standardise" you'll always get one manufacturer who will screw things up by adding something just outside the specs which will make your shiny device useless when you upgrade your phone. SCART anybody?

OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Alex Bailey
Holmes

Seriously... this is the same company that charges domestic customers an extra 50p per month on their phone bill if they refuse to pay by Direct Debit but also do not send out bills in good time so that those same customers can query a bill BEFORE the bank hands over their money.

BT may not be the monopoly telecoms provider they once were but they still behave as though purely because a large part of it's customer base won't switch from something they've always known, especially given the reputation of some other company's customer service departments... and the fact that they still manage the network of cables that run into most people's homes.

Microsoft holds off on shooting Windows Live Messenger

Alex Bailey
FAIL

Merging messengers messed with my mind!

I love Skype, it's great for serious video and audio communications. I love MSN because it's great for one-off communications.

I don't want to use Skype for the later, I use MSN for "acquaintances" so they don't get mixed up with proper friends and family on Skype. MSN isn't perfect but it does a job and so did Skype until I was forced to integrate my accounts, now I can't delete any of the MSN contacts that I no longer require and am forced to add anybody new as a Skype contact. Grrr!

I can see myself not using either in the near future, thankfully many of my close friends and family have iPhones/iPads/iPods so I can use Facetime instead. Goodbye Micro$oft!

Tracy brothers are back: Thunderbirds Are Go! again in 5... 4... 3...

Alex Bailey

I'd like to see this but ITV have a habit of either ruining or killing anything they touch... partly through being inconsistent with schedules, usually allowing unimportant sporting events, soaps and reality TV to take priority and not telling people when it is on. I've yet to see the remake of The Prisoner because of this. I even lost track of Law and Order UK for the same reason!

Yay for iOS 6.1, grey Wi-Fi iPhone bug is fix- AWW, SNAP

Alex Bailey
FAIL

But what about BLUETOOTH???

Apple keep rolling out these fixes but there are a whole bunch of us who have been wanting fixes for Bluetooth ranging to problems with audio devices since iOS 6 was introduced right back to problems with hands free car kits which were broken back when iOS 5 was launched.

Bluetooth has some very long threads on the Apple support communities too but Apple and their genius bar staff seem to be doing nothing more than shrugging their shoulders and pointing us back at the manufacturers of the third party hardware. Sigh.

Apple releases iOS 6.1, adds LTE carriers, tweaks security

Alex Bailey
FAIL

But what about fixing Bluetooth

My Nokia hands free car kit is still not fully functional with iPhone... despite the fact it was when I got my 3GS several years ago and does with the new Blackberry that my employers gave me. Come on Apple, how about fixing something that should be relatively simple to fix?

O2 network staggers across UK

Alex Bailey
FAIL

As a Vodafone subscriber I'm a little concerned... having heard that Vodafone and O2 plan to mimic T-Mobile and Orange to create another "EE" I'm extremely concerned that my currently stable phone network could become less so sometime in the future.

Ironically I put an O2 SIM in my iPad to ensure coverage in places that Vodafone can't currently reach!

ISS crew fling out arm, grab SpaceX Dragon capsule

Alex Bailey
Devil

Re: What's with the..

Oops... 400 kg! Damned conversion errors!

Alex Bailey
Devil

Re: What's with the..

Agree completely... I recall reading a story just yesterday when Reg suggested that SI should be the standard. 10 metres and 300 kg please! :)

iPhones, iPads to be FULL OF FACEBOOK and NOT GOOGLE

Alex Bailey
FAIL

But what about fixing what's broken?

I can see a lot of things in iOS 6 that I think I will really like... but seeing this "eyes free" thing does make me a little mad.

I've very much had this with my Nokia bluetooth hands free car kit for many years, it worked perfectly through iOS 4, the display telling me a whole load of things about the status of the network and my calls.

Then comes iOS5 and suddenly half of that no longer works. Patiently waiting for the first patches made no difference and despite the many comments on the Apple Communities forum there is still no fix. My local Apple store fobbed me off telling me "it must be the Nokia, get them to upgrade it"... which they can't because it's not made to be able to do that! Sending feedback via their website has made no difference either.

So, come on Apple, you have made some brilliant devices and have some fantastic ideas but how about listening to your customers and fixing what's broken?

Pints under attack as Lord Howe demands metric-only UK

Alex Bailey
Go

Where else in the world...

...is it actually illegal for a pub to sell beer in metric units or to put metric measures on a road sign? There is no such prohibition on either of these anywhere else in the world, even the USA has some road signs (although hard to find) with km on them.

And come on Zog, if British minds are more agile then why is it that Britain and the USA are both way down on international league tables when it comes to mathematics ratings in schools?

A little consistency would go a long way to saving the country money and helping us regain our place in industry. Almost the entire world uses metric, by not finishing conversion we're doing nothing more than cutting off our collective noses to spite our faces.

Apple updates iOS, mum on Wi-Fi, battery fixes

Alex Bailey
FAIL

Re: Except for ____ of course

...and the Bluetooth incompatibilities that were introduced in iOS 5.0.

A lot of people have complained about Bluetooth devices that no longer work properly with the iPhone, particularly hands free car kits. Shame the press haven't picked up on this in the same way as the battery life issues as we may have otherwise had it fixed by now!

New Yorker sues Apple: 'Misleading and deceptive' Siri ads

Alex Bailey
Stop

Siri is beta, period. Nobody in their right mind should expect a beta product to work properly. I've tried it several times since getting my phone, usually just for a laugh, and generally wind up turning it off because it messes up voice dialling and music player features, particularly when I have poor network reception.

Sky's mobile movies move leaves Apple, Amazon gasping

Alex Bailey

Good so far,but...

Just read the comment about it being unavailable outside the UK despite your subscription - shame as I was hoping to use it when I leave the country for 2 weeks this coming weekend.

The small fact that the iPad version refuses to work through HDMI or Apple TV also sucks.

BT hires another battalion of troops to speed fibre rollout

Alex Bailey
Stop

All well and good if they can finish the job in the areas they started. My exchange was upgraded to FTTC in October and a number of new cabinets have been installed... but they stopped short of the one near my house (on a new housing estate no less) and seem now to be working on the neighbouring town which isn't due for the upgrade (at least according to Sam Knows) until January - and in that case I'm seeing shiny new cabinets installed even in outlaying villages!!!

I was actually quite annoyed when I read last week that BT only has to convert a certain percentage of an exchanges coverage area for it to be considered an upgrade... and to be able to tick one town off their list to make their figures look better.

Voda in 3G blackhole probe by ASA

Alex Bailey

Just Glasgow?

I've been happy with Vodafone for many years... until I got my first iPhone last year. I know I get patchy 3G where I live in Northants but even when I have a full Edge/2G signal I can barely get any data, I also spend a lot of time in Coventry and have found in some parts of the city centre my phone is completely unusable! In the case of Coventry Vodafone have told me they're aware of the problem, but how long do we have to wait for an "aware" to become "fixed"?

I'm due my next upgrade in a few weeks and to be honest I really don't want to switch from a network that has served me well for 10+ years... but I'm already looking at the alternatives!

BT superfast home fibre plans fall behind schedule. Again

Alex Bailey

But what about FTTC? My own exchange was slated for the roll-out in September... SamKnows now marks it as "available in some areas". I've put a few addresses into the BT checker and guess what, nothing. Funny since I see fibre cabinets being installed in villages outside Stamford, just a short distance from here, an area not slated for FTTC until sometime in the new year when I'm still waiting for one to be installed near my house!

Australia imposes parental lock for digital TVs

Alex Bailey
Unhappy

Isn't this already happening in the UK?

For several years now I've been unable to watch certain films on my Sky subscription without having to enter my 4 digit PIN code first... and despite living alone with no children in the house AND having turned off all of the parental controls Sky tell me that Offcom won't let them turn the feature off.

iPhone 4: Perfect for everyone, except humans

Alex Bailey

It's not just the 4G!!!

Funny, my 3GS does this too (I just tried it!) as did my last 3 Nokias (since they removed the external antenna!)

I sometimes daydream of the days when phones had a plug for an external antenna in the car so I could actually have an unbroken conversation (using a hands free kit, of course!)

Sun may never set on British Empire's pint

Alex Bailey

Missing the pint?

All these people here arguing about losing their pint and having to pay more if it's in metric (due to pubs using conversion as an excuse to increase prices) are missing the point.

What you buy in the pub is more expensive than in the supermarket or off-license anyway, but the difference is the latter is sold in metric so you can't easilly do a price comparison.

If pubs sold in metric you'd be able to do an instant comparison of the price of your lager and what you buy in Tesco... currently you'd need a calculator so the landlord wins either way!

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