* Posts by AndrueC

3788 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day

AndrueC
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Meh

I don't think they are proposing beam shaping down to that level. From the sound of it it's just going to divide the mast coverage area into discrete sections. So instead of the mast talking to a single group of 12,000 properties it deals with a dozen groups of 1000 properties. That still involves sharing bandwidth but isn't that far removed from what TPON, FTTC and cable are doing so it's improving.

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AndrueC
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A very interesting read, thank you. It's interesting to note that the article suggests a massive increase in the number of masts needed which seems to be to be a tacit admission that the technology itself doesn't actually address the shared bandwidth problem. Also one wonders how roll-out is going to be cheap if we have to install ten times as many masts. And what feeds each 'mast-on-a-lampost'? Fibre? The cost of getting fibre to a lamp post is probably 80%+ of the cost of getting fibre to the homes the lampost lights so why not just go FTTP and be done with it? A mast per roadside cabinet would avoid that problem of course but it's not entirely clear from that article if that density would be enough.

Mind you even more 'interesting' are some of the comments on that article. It's clear that some people are still scared about radio waves. Oh and some religious nut job thinks that 5G is the beginning of the End Times.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

It isn't shared, 5G uses a lot of beam steering - see here for what looks like a prototype, but lots of work is being done on this now.

Naturally it won't be able to always have the situation where each user gets their own full capacity beam, but it'll be a lot better than sharing the bandwidth.

Interesting. Do you have any idea how many discrete beams can be created and/or how big an area they cover? As another poster mentioned most modern wired solutions have an element of sharing. Currently all roll-outs are TPON so there is an aggregation node which is shared like a mast is. However aggregation nodes can be upgraded just by lighting/blowing more fibre or upgrading the receivers.

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AndrueC
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Meh

5G has the potential to make cable and DSL as antiquated and pointless as using a horse and a cart to drive to the supermarket. And it's already here.

I'm not convinced. 5G might offer 'as much bandwidth as most people currently need' therefore making a wired connection no longer a necessity but it can't ever beat a wired solution for throughput.

Radio waves have limited bandwidth and unless you use beam shaping that bandwidth is shared by the entire catchment area. I can't find any information on what bandwidth is available from a single 5G mast but I'd guess it's a few Gb/s at most. Say it's 5Gb/s. Now put that transmitter in a town so that it covers 5,000 properties. That's a paltry 1Mb/s per property. Now to be fair that's not really as bad as it sounds because it's rare for every property to be downloading at the same time. But still, in this day of Netflix et al. I'd question if an average of 1Mb/s per property was really adequate. By contrast an FTTP roll-out in the same area gives a potential of several Gb/s per property. Of course that's backhaul and ISP dependant but then that's true of a mast as well.

You could increase transmitter density but there are limits on that (planning permits for one but also just avoiding frequency overlapping). And anyway each mast uses a wired connection so eventually you're just approaching one mast per property which is the same as a wired solution.

So radio will only replace wired solutions if/when end user bandwidth requirements cease to grow and if they do so at a point where several hundred properties sharing a single mast can assure that level of bandwidth per property. I'm not saying it'll never happen but I remain sceptical.

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Visual Studio 2017 15.9 is here! Fire up your Windows on Arm laptops. All four of you

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Xamarin.Android build performance improvement

Yeah I've been working with them a bit on improving the mobile development experience. It sounds like they might be getting closer to resolving the 'I just can't be bothered to launch the debugger this time around' that causes so much annoyance. Also it's doing fewer rebuilds which is reducing cycle times.

Still annoying but slightly less painful.

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Brits shun country life over phone not-spot fears

AndrueC
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Re: Internet is fine. Mobile signal sucks.

Vodafone do a device that piggy backs your broadband to provide a better mobile signal

They do but it only supports 3G and if your area has 4G coverage the phone will ignore the SureSignal unless you disable 4G on the phone. Also anything downloaded through it comes out of your mobile allowance. It also used to run disturbingly hot and has been known to burst into flames.

Luckily when 4G came to my area I no longer needed the SS. A single bar of 4G offers a perfectly acceptable service whereas the 3G signal in my area often left me unable to even send a text.

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AndrueC
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As several have said - this seems like a bonus to me. Meanwhile I live in my 12k pop. town and have a 70Mb/s broadband connection and 4G mobile that can deliver 21Mb/s indoors. Should I be mad enough to want to experience city life I'm only an hour from London or Birmingham.

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Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck

AndrueC
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Re: The browser is the limitation

Web apps will always be second class citizens because of their dependence on a browser. That doesn't mean that a web app can't look and feel almost as good as a native app but at the end of the day the cart cannot push the horse. Native applications can exist without web apps. Web apps cannot exist without native apps.

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France: Let's make the internet safer. America, Russia, China: Let's go with 'no' on that

AndrueC
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Re: Strange bedfellows here...

No, Germany (Allemagne) and the UK (Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord) are both there.

Reminds of the the time I ordered tickets to the French F1 Grand Prix. There was a drop down list of countries for some reason and, yes, we were under 'R'. It's fair enough in a French communique but it seemed bizarre for an international purchasing website to list the user's country in a foreign language. Especially since 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' is the official name and 'UK' the official abbreviation.

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UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: headcode

Trainy McTrainFace?

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AndrueC
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FAIL

One of the several things I hate about Windows is focus stealing. Several years ago they implemented flashing icons on the Task bar (and they are still present) but applications can still steal focus. You can be half way through typing a password and and something else grabs the focus and suddenly half your password is in plain sight. And it makes trying to launch an application in the background painful.

Focus should stay where the user put it. If you want to attract their attention flash an icon or - if you must - popup an unfocused message bubble in a corner.

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British fixed broadband is cheap … and, er, fairly nasty – global survey

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: streams rather than downloads?

Um ... the bits are coming down the pipe whether it's a download or a stream.

True, but streaming allows for a thinner pipe because the end-user won't have to wait for the download to finish before they can use it. Although there is also a relationship between 'pipe size' and latency so thinner pipes might only be adequate in theory.

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AndrueC
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Meh

But as Thinkbroadband pointed out if people in the UK actually went for the best package available to them rather than the cheapest we could be number one.

Ironic (and sad?) considering how cheap broadband is here compared to most places.

"Combining the ADSL2+ to VDSL2 and a 200 Mbps minimum for cable services would lift our average to around 53.3 Mbps and the Ofcom equivalent to around 75.4 Mbps and potentially lift the Mlabs figure to something like 41.17 Mbps lifting the UK to a potential top 3 position, add in some of the FTTP and G.fast roll-outs already underway and a number 1 position is possible."

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Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: how to distinguish this laser from pulsars

Well not let's emulate a pulsar then. Broadband never seems to live up to the hype.

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Shift-work: Keyboards heaped in a field push North Yorks council's fly-tipping buttons

AndrueC
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Re: Why

I don't know if they were pressure treated as they were very old (might have been from previous property owner for all I know) but they probably were. I would never put them in the recycling bin but I had no idea they were classed as hazardous material. Turns out they are. Thank you for pointing that out.

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AndrueC
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WTF?

Re: Why

You can't take business waste to your local recycling centre, you have to pay.

True. I took some rubbish to my local centre last week. They happily accepted the remains of two flat pack wardrobes, and metal frames from deck chairs but wanted to charge me £2 for two broken slats from a garden fence.

So I took the slats back home and put them in my general waste bin. Hey ho.

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If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

AndrueC
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Re: Talk talk came third?

They didn't come third on the more tech-savvy survey I posted ;)

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AndrueC
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Re: From A&A to Z?

For another survey (with self selection for generally more tech savvy users) try this one. That puts AAISP at the top with IDNet (also my ISP) second and Zen third. Only those three rate above 90%. You get what you pay for ;)

My assumption would be that AAISP and IDNet fail to appear on the Which? survey because of cost. A lot (most?) people subscribe to Which? to find the cheapest deal.

VM's almost constant appearance at the bottom of the chart is a sad indictment of the way they run their network. Suck customers in with headline speeds but do the bear minimum to provide those speeds in practice.

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Budget 2018: UK goes it alone on digital sales tax for tech giants

AndrueC
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Meh

..and the corporations will pass the cost of that tax straight on to us as higher prices. Thanks Phil.

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Britain's rail ticket-booking systems go TITSUP*

AndrueC
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Facepalm

That's true. I got this one last week courtesy of WPF:

'Cannot attach type "TextBoxEnterKeyUpdateBehaviour" to type "TextEdit". Instances of type "TextBoxEnterKeyUpdateBehaviour" can only be attached to objects of type "TextEdit"'

Of course it being WPF meant that when I eventually tracked it down it was only tangentially related to the XAML line where the error was being reported.

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Florida man won't be compelled to reveal iPhone passcode, yet

AndrueC
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Meh

Yeah it lies at the heart of the difference between the two legal systems. The US is (supposedly) concerned with protecting the individual whereas the UK system is concerned (supposedly) with finding the truth.

This is why the US has strong legal privilege protections whereas the UK has barely any. Also why in the US tainted evidence can result in a case being thrown out whereas in the UK tainted evidence is still admissible.

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In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream

AndrueC
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Re: Wait til the November update screws up even more computers

Someone should light a bonfire under Microsoft.

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Microsoft Windows 10 October update giving HP users BSOD

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: HP keyboards are special?

The last W10 update hosed the key I used,

Run the hot key installer.

As per that link my setup was in 'C:\SWSETUP\APP\Applications\HP\HPHotkeyS_SS9NB2\6.2.40.1\src'. Ran that, rebooted and keys were working again. If can't change brightness even from display settings, manually update the graphics driver.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

My HP laptop (ProBook 470 G5) seems okay but I did have a bit of hassle. After the reboot my screen was at full brightness and the hot keys to adjust it didn't work. There were no options in the Windows display settings page either. When I checked Device Manager there was an exclamation mark against the Intel display driver. I manually updated it and it found a newer version. After that the display settings page allowed me to adjust the brightness but hot keys still didn't work. Ran the HP hot keys installer and they came back.

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Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on

AndrueC
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ASCII

Or as we used to refer to it several years ago 'Arthur's Code'.

This came about because early versions of The Sphere by Michael Crichton spelt it that way.

One of several mistakes in the text, actually. Another was a transmission of a block of digits they receive (and it was only digits in the text) that one character identifies as a hex dump. Shortly after another character claims it can't coming from a 68000 processor "because the 68000 doesn't work in hex".

The film was better. Just.

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Microsoft's elderly .NET Framework shakes stick at whippersnapper Core while Visual Studio drops another preview

AndrueC
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Mushroom

I'd just like the VS team to fix the various stability issues. I just want VS to build shit when I ask it, to debug for as long as I need it and not to crash out at random (but seemingly the most inconvenient) moments.

It used to be a goodtolerable IDE. Now it just gets in the way,

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Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Oh, go on then

Definitely one of my least favourite medical memories, although I did get to see the inside of my own bladder, which I suppose few people can say.

Are you taking the p...

No. Best not. Not gonna get any respect for such an obvious pun.

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Day two – and Windows 10 October 2018 Update trips over Intel audio

AndrueC
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FAIL

They seem to think that software developers will tolerate it from Visual Studio as well. That's also on a rapid release cycle and is become rank. Nothing serious, mind, just:

* Sometimes can't reopen a source file after it's been closed.

* Builds stalling because of a file saving/locking race condition (possibly fixed in a forthcoming release).

* Debugger sometimes just gives up and will go no further.

* Sometimes just freezes and takes Task Manager with it often along with Explorer.

So it's becoming an IDE that doesn't always allow files to be edited, doesn't always build projects, can only debug for a while and sometimes leaves you no option other than force rebooting the computer.

Way to go Microsoft :(

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UK.gov asks biz for ideas on how to 'overcome' data privacy concerns in NHS

AndrueC
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Boffin

Force standardisation of the *interfaces* between systems - that does make sense.

HL7 made good inroads despite being a bit of a ball-ache to work with. Speaking as a developer I'd prefer it if FHIR got more traction. Helluva lot easier to work with especially if (as we are) you're just a consumer of data.

RESTful is way easier than getting involved in passing ASCII messages around.

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UK comms watchdog Ofcom pokes probe into Vodafone and EE over network coverage numbers

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Well there's no Vodafone signal in and around Brailes, Warwickshire. Not even enough to send or receive an SMS. Thankfully I only go there to play golf so it's a good thing for me but Brailes isn't all that small nor isolated half way up a mountain. Kind of shocking to find a large village in the South East with no mobile coverage.

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New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

AndrueC
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Re: I wonder who

..and did they leave any ice cream?

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Tech to solve post-Brexit customs woes doesn't exist yet, peers say

AndrueC
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Re: The answer is...

Nah the real answer is IoT - Importation of Things.

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First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

AndrueC
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Re: designed entirely BY computer

And stop that incessant snapping of their whips. Bloody keeps me awake all day.

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World's oldest URL – fragments 73,000 years old – discovered in cave

AndrueC
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Joke

Reminds me of a cartoon in an old Sinclair Spectrum magazine. There are two cavemen in a cave (well - where else would you find them) and one is drawing an animal. The other has written 'PUSH BC; RET;' and is saying "I bet that'll confuse the archaeologists" :)

Mind you when I read it I thought "It'll confuse a few programmers, as well".

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Microsoft: You don't want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

AndrueC
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Not just insider preview. I took delivery of a new laptop yesterday and got the same 'in your face' adverts when I downloaded Chrome. And of course when you visit MSDN or a lot of other MS sites in A.N.Other browser it suggests that you try Edge.

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Vodafone cops ads rap over Martin Freeman's vanishing spaceship

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: The only useful measure

Yeah. What we need is some kind of concept of 'it'll be as good as we can make it, all things considered'. Something like the current law on service provision that says the service doesn't actually have to be fit for the purpose or achieve any particular target :)

But more seriously another aspect I've run into a lot is machines that just don't perform network I/O well. Almost every laptop I've bought has exhibited this. Run the Thinkbroadband speed test and they show poor single threaded throughput but multi-threaded is fine. Classic signs of congestion or possibly TCP window configuration issues. Interestingly though I've just bought an HP Pro Book 470 and for the first time in several years it actually has the same single and multi-threaded speed test results.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Throughput speed is the real-world maximum once realistic physical limitations and the like are taken into account.

Um..and congestion. The only aspect of the end-user observed data rate that all UK ISPs can control and therefore the most important if you're going to attempt to rate an internet connection ;)

I'm also impressed that it appears the ASA have more technical knowledge about broadband delivery than I have previously credited them with. I still think they are wasting their time trying to create a useful speed measure though. End-user observed data rates are specific to their router, their LAN and their telephone line. Adverts are regional or national so any figures they quote are always going to need interpretation.

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Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

AndrueC
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Thanks, I'll look at that phone.

As for my email client it's currently Google Mail (I have my server forward emails to my GMail account). Unfortunately any other client needs to use IMAP and all of the ones I've tried soon get put to sleep for longer than half an hour and the connection drops. From that point on they won't connect again until I wake the app to check for mail. Google Mail will eventually notify me of an email by itself, albeit sometimes up to three hours late. Or else it will reconnect when the phone wakes up and then notify me. It's quite common for me to pick my jacket up to go out for lunch and have an email notification sound.

And yes I've whitelisted and exempted all mail clients from battery savings but ultimately there seems nothing anyone can do to prevent Android from putting them to sleep if you leave the phone idle for long enough (a couple of hours seems to suffice).

Unfortunately I doubt your other battery saving tips will help. I'm one of those rare people who can genuinely leave their phone alone for hours at a time. Thus Android ends up putting the phone into 'full on' doze mode. Consequently almost everything except the radio and phone functionality ends up asleep. That's presumably how I manage to keep battery discharging down to 1% an hour since most people seem to struggle to avoid charging the phone once a day. The screen is probably on for less than 15 minutes out of every 24 hours and the CPU hardly ever worked hard.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

I'm at the end of my 2 year phone+contract right now. I'm waiting to see if Vodafone will reduce my next month's bill without me having to chase them. I currently have an S7 Edge and looking around can't see anything worth upgrading to. The one thing that might tempt me (better battery life) doesn't seem to be on offer. I'm not a heavy user (a very light user in fact) and I'd like to be able to charge my battery just once a week. But apparently that's not possible. When it's in a good mood my S7 Edge can sometimes make it Monday to Friday without needing a charge but other times it's down to 20% by mid-week and needs a top-up.

And to make it worse, for all their much vaunted attempts to extend battery life all Google's developers have managed so far is to make email unreliable because the phone goes to sleep and now it seems SMS notifications are unreliable as well. What next - is the phone going to be so deeply asleep that it can't ring when a call comes in?

And despite all of that the phone is no better at staying charged than it ever was. I thought Google was supposed to employ only clever people? I might have to upgrade in a while anyway simply because there's a dead area developing on one scren edge. So far it's nowhere of any importance but I hear these things spread. Curious how it started just toward the end of the contract period :-/

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Quit that job and earn $185k... cleaning up San Francisco's notoriously crappy sidewalks

AndrueC
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Joke

It certainly seems like a crap solution.

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Ex-UK comms minister's constituents plagued by wonky broadband over ... wireless radio link?

AndrueC
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Unhappy

So the village was difficult and expensive to lay a fibre to. Someone wanted to make a point and decided to opt for a radio link. Still not a particularly cheap option so they didn't spec it particularly well. Link is not doing what it should.

Sounds to me like someone tried to stretch the money too far. Would be interesting to know where that decision came from. I'm envisaging a situation where a bunch of mid-level managers sat around a table and picked that village as some kind of 'poster child' showing how too little money could be stretched to do the job.

Puts me in mind of this cartoon.

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Rejoice! Thousands more kids flock to computing A-level

AndrueC
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I've been programming computers for a living for nearly 30 years now. Taught myself to do it on a Speccy at home and a Beeb at college. I've made a pretty good living at it with only a total of about two months redundancy over all that time. I have nearly always enjoyed it and still do. I've never wanted to be anything other than a programmer and am pleased that I avoided getting pulled into a management role.

30 years, decent pay and an enjoyable career and all without a computing qualification to my name :)

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Visual Studio gains some go-faster stripes for Android emulation

AndrueC
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Yup, been doing that for years. Unfortunately it wasn't having it. I think a few things came back with the import but most of it didn't. And I'd spent ages trimming down the context menus :(

The weird thing is small numbers of people keep getting this from VS updates. Just seems like there's some hidden lottery and this time I was one of the ones affected. It suggests something not being initialised somewhere in the settings management engine :-/

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AndrueC
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I guess the problem with procedural code like C is that intellisense can't really work with it. The functions are not *in* the object and in 99% of the time, the object is an opaque pointer anyway so there is no way to extract a nice fancy list of "stuff I can do".

Borland Builder managed it back in the day. It used to run the compiler in the background to figure out what was available at that point. It even used type checking to eliminate things from expressions that weren't valid. It had a few glitches, mind, but it mostly worked really well.

And MS intellisense works well with C# so I don't think being procedural is of any concern.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Hopefully it won't trash all my settings like the 15.7.5 did :-/

Took me several days before I'd got all my windows and key mappings back where I wanted them :(

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Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Details of the mechanism...

Maybe you can fax the source code for the malware.

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You won't believe this but... everyone hates their cable company: Bombshell study lands

AndrueC
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Alert

This is why we shouldn't push too hard for competitors to put BT out of business. BT is the only telecoms company in the UK that is required by its license to allow other CPs to offer a service over its cables. That's why almost every property in the UK (those outside Hull basically) currently have a wide choice of CPs.

The upstart FTTP providers like Hyperoptic are helping kick start the revolution but being stuck with one provider is not good. And if the alternative is other CPs overbuilding their own fibre network that is a silly and unlikely solution.

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Oh, fore putt's sake: Golf org PGA bunkered up by ransomware attack just days before tournament

AndrueC
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Joke

Any way you slice it that's rough. I bet the criminals get a fairway before being caught. Do you think we all need to chip in and help?

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New age discrim row: Accenture, Facebook sued by sales boss for favoring 'new blood'

AndrueC
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WTF?

I mis-read that headline as meaning that a chap in his 30s had lost his job to a younger underling.

As a fifty-one year old I was rather shocked at first :)

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Alaskan borough dusts off the typewriters after ransomware crims pwn entire network

AndrueC
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Stop

Yep, blame the victim, that always helps.

Finding the root cause of a problem usually does. Attempting to gloss over it or 'move on' means less chance of anyone learning from the mistake. Absolutely it shouldn't be a witch hunt and no-one should lose their job over it unless criminal intent or utter incompetence is discovered. But those responsible need to be made aware of what they did wrong so that they work out how to stop it happening again.

That's why I dislike the term 'car accident'. By dismissing such events as 'accidental' you're implying that there's nothing anyone could have done different and therefore no reason for anyone to change the way they drive.

Things go wrong. Mistakes get made. People shouldn't be vilified over them but people who make mistakes should be told then helped to avoid repeating them.

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