* Posts by M_W

52 posts • joined 17 Mar 2012

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Dear Britain's mast-fearing Nimbys: Do you want your phone to work or not?

M_W

Re: Mast sharing?

Yep. We actually only have 2 physical networks in the UK - MBNL which is EE and Three, and Cornerstone which is Vodafone and O2. Every other UK network is an MVNO to one of the core 4 networks.

The differentiation in coverage from the two vendors on the same physical network comes from the different spectrum allocated, in the main.

On this subject, I remember sitting in a pub in a village near where my parents live in Worcestershire. The locals were whining about the lack of coverage in the village on any network. (It was in a dip in a valley and although a few hundred houses had pretty poor coverage).

I informed them that both physical carriers had tried (and failed) to remediate this by putting a cell site in the bell tower of the church and both times the planning was denied by NIMBY rejections.

They were ‘well we don’t want a transmitter’ - I did try to explain that their only solution was a transmitter to provide service (funny that) and that the church would have made some money from way leaves too, but they didn’t seem very receptive to the idea.

I said as long as you reject the planning you won’t get coverage...

Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: 'Faulty' dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril

M_W

"Firstly, no serious diver would use a Suunto (and certainly no technical diver). There are plenty of alternatives out there - OTSC and Shearwater to name just two."

Next you'll be telling us you're a DIR diver. ;-) (Sorry, GUE. JJ will have my guts for garters...!)

As someone who has been diving for over 30 years, and dived with many different computers, whilst I may well agree with other points you raise, I would argue the Suunto HelO2 is actually a really good technical dive computer - I use it as a backup and I do have a Shearwater as my primary - but the HelO2 was my primary for many years and if you take care of the unit, make sure it's clean and well looked after then it has few issues.

Having owned a VR3 that died on it's arse at 50m and ended up having to rely on a Suunto D6 as a backup, an Aladin Air X that just said 'SOS' in the middle of a dive (the other reason why I never use Air Integrated and use redundant different brand computers), and witnessed an OSTC unit have a complete meltdown underwater (It stuck at depth and failed to ascend - we were at 6m but the OSTC thought we were at 30m), I would suggest that Suunto are pretty much the same as the other manufacturers when it comes to failure rates.

So whilst Dive Computers aren't a replacement for a brain, you can't also write that Suunto make the worst ones (they don't - remember the Apeks quantum?)

Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

M_W

Similar experience in the USA

Where I landed in Orlando late on Christmas Eve and after a long drive wanted to fill up my rental car prior to Christmas Day - but knowing the automatic pumps are notoriously horrific (they require your ZIP code which us brits don't of course have - and 90210 doesn't work as it doesn't match your CC) I drove around until I found a 7-11 gas station that was manned. Except they don't trust the americans not to drive off after filling up without paying, so if you're paying cash, you have to pre-pay the teller a guessed amount first (he said $40) and I filled up ($35) so he gave me the change afterwards.

Apparently I learned afterwards that some gas stations let you either use 00000 or the digits from your postcode padded with zeros - so if you're E17 8RG for example, you would enter 000178. I didn't try it so YMMV of course.

Microsoft says Windows 10 April update is fit for business rollout

M_W

Unless you're running any corporate McAfee software

Such as HIPS, which, as usual, doesn't support the latest version of Windows 10 1803....

You'd think they'd work this out by now....

The great wearables myth busted: Apps never, ever mattered

M_W

It's not surprising

I had a Garmin Fenix 2 before the Apple Watch came out - it worked well for a while but you couldn't connect it to bluetooth without it killing both your phone and watch battery. Then after a while it died and I had it replaced by Garmin. In the meantime I bought an Apple Watch, which, in my opinion, was flawed from the outset. The device itself was flaky, the raise to turn on didn't work 50% of the time, it ran out of batteries within a few hours, but for me the massive flaw was that the fitness tracking was (and still is) very limited. It didn't do swimming properly, didn't do triathlon multi-sport, didn't do open water swimming, cycling wasn't reliable, GPS wasn't reliable and tracking for runs was way off.

Ultimately when I got to my 3rd Garmin Fenix 2 replacement, the Fenix 3 had been released and Garmin gave me the option of either a replacement 2 or a brand new 3 and I pay a small amount to upgrade.

My daughter now has my Apple watch after my wife having it for a while and hating it, having moved back to a normal swatch. I have been a happy Fenix 3 user for nearly 3 years. It's pretty reliable when it comes to all the activities I want to track. Granted - it does have it's flaws - but you get to learn them and it's much more customizable, and the notifications are good too, and it goes for ages on one charge. Says something that lots of Fenix 3 people have stuck with it even when they released the 5 as there's no reason to upgrade yet. I might do in a couple of years when this one dies.

Windows 10 April 2018 Update lands today... ish

M_W

Re: "Keep clicking, Windows-lovers! It's bound to come along soon."

They just changed it's name;

Current Branch for Business = Semi-Annual Channel (Broad)

Current Branch (i.e. today's release) = Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) (Pilot)

Long Term Service Branch (LTSB) = LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel)

And Beta = Windows Insider

EE: Data goes TITSUP* for Brit mobile customers

M_W

Where you are is the key phrase there.

Where I am, I was on Orange and EE for years. When the merger happened they turned off my local mast so my coverage went from 4 bars 3G to 2 bars 2G. No 4G at all.

Whereas my O2 phone which I've now had for a couple of years has 4 bars 4G and will happily speed test at 25Mbits/s consistently.

And this isn't the first time EE have had major data issues. When I was a customer it was every few months that they would lose data. To be fair, since I moved to O2 I think I've seen 1 outage in 5 years...

Skype for Biz users: Go watch nature vids. Microsoft wants you to get good at migration

M_W

Without meaning to be picky

This is old news - this doc isn't much different to the one they previously published at the end of October 2017.

Has El Reg only just picked up on it?

Dodgy parking firms to be denied access to Brit driver database

M_W

Re: dodgy parking companies

Had something similar.

Needed to pick up something from John Lewis at the new out of town shopping centre in York so went at 9:00am one Saturday morning. Picked up what I needed and left within 10 minutes, stopping off at a couple of different places on the way home.

Later same day, visited same out of town shopping centre and visited a couple of shops and then had some dinner with my wife. Was there less than an hour in total during the day. Parked in a completely different spot to the morning.

Came back to the car to find a PCN stuck on my windscreen for £75 because they thought I'd been there for more than 6 hours. Went over to the management hut to find knuckle dragging security guard. Showed him the ticket. He went 'Yeah, I put that on. You've been here since 9:00am - you even parked in the same parking space'. After asking him whether said restaurant and John Lewis were at the same side of the park 'No - they're at opposite ends' - I explained that he'd cocked up, I parked in 2 spots, was there less than 1 hour in total, and that I had plenty of evidence to back me up (I use Waze, so my google maps tracking showed movements all day, along with a dashcam with GPS tracking) but he said 'It's been done now'. I didn't get shirty as I knew this guy was a bit dim, so I asked for the site manager's details but he wouldn't tell me. I think he knew he was in the shit.

A bit of googling got me the complaints department for the parking company, the site manager, the john lewis manager for that site and the manager of the restaurant we'd been in. I sent a very matter of fact email to all of them with a PDF showing tracks of where I'd been and pretty much cast iron evidence to show where I'd come in/gone out and screenshots from cameras etc - obviously CC'ing them all in.

On the Monday afternoon I got a very apologetic email from the embarrassed site manager telling me that the security guard for the parking company had been doing this 'quite a bit' and had lots of complaints, and that they are putting in ANPR to combat the issue, and then CC'd me in on an email to the parking company explaining how they'd cocked up and requesting my parking charge be reversed (they confirmed that was the case and cancelled the PCN). I also got a phone call from the John Lewis manager and the restaurant manager apologising. I'm not sure if the same parking company still runs it (I don't think they do) and there's massive signs up now when you drive in that shows you your reg number and how long you have parking for.

Still makes me think twice about going shopping there though as I plainly don't trust they're not going to try it on again.

Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

M_W

It's better than a Dacia Sandero. Just...

Might have posted this before, so sorry for the repost. I'll not go into the hateful Dacia Sandero Stepway I got as a rental car in Germany.

But there used to be an issue in the UK with inadvertent jamming of car locking frequencies.

So Frankie and Benny's imported from the USA a load of 'your table is ready' pagers - you know the ones, look like a fat plastic beermat, full of red LED's and a vibrator. Buzz when your table is ready whilst you're sat at the bar.

Except because they imported them they weren't approved for UK use, and would broadcast pretty powerfully on 433Mhz - on exactly the same frequency that Peugeot used for their keyfobs.

Cue Peugeot parents parking up in F&B carparks with little Timmy excited for his overpriced party, and then looking surprised when they either couldn't lock or unlock their cars with the remote.

The local F&B to us was right next door to the cinema, and at the time I had a hateful Peugeot (I had 3 - I thought it was normal for your car to spend more time in the garage being repaired than on the road, until I got a lease car and realised I'd never buy a Peugeot again) and every time I parked at F&B I would struggle to lock the car. Even getting back in and driving it further away from F&B at the other side of the car park would usually remedy the situation. (No - I couldn't lock it using the key - they took the sodding door locks off the drivers side, and only 1 lock on the passenger side that didn't activate the central locking or the alarm. Dozy french designers)

And having had the misfortune to have to park outside a few different F&B's in different locations and having the exact same issue happen with the Peugeot, and then checking the frequency of their little mat things, it clicked as to what the issue was.

Once F&B got rumbled and replaced the dodgy LED mat things with UK frequency approved ones, it mysteriously stopped happening.

Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

M_W

Re: Benefits

Get yourself an iBoost linked to your PV and it will do that automatically :)

Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

M_W

Re: Microsoft 365?

I would suggest your issues don't lie in the MS end of the platform. I've been a 365 user for 6 years, and seen maybe 3 days of outage total in 6 years (granted - there was a couple of hours the other day) - as much as I love to give MS some stick, the 365 platform is pretty rock solid tbh.

The main issues I've seen with O365 is when the local IT don't know how to manage ADFS and DirSync/AAD Connect and make the platform look broken when it's actually the local AD/Authentication that's snookered.

Hackers waste Xbox One, PS4, MacBook, Pixel, with USB zapper

M_W

No shit, sherlock

In other news, man destroys PC by flicking PSU switch to 110V and plugging it in to UK 240V power socket. (I've seen far too many early Dell dimension desktops that have gone pop like this working at a transatlantic company!)

Any interface can, if you connect to it inappropriately, potentially cause damage. Heck, I blew up a Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1 second by swiping a screwdriver over the edge connector at the back of the device causing a spark and blowing something up inside. (Mum and Dad got it replaced under warranty - it blew up? No idea why.... )

HomeKit is where the dearth is – no one wants Apple's IoT tech

M_W

Re: But I don't want any of them

Google Nest and Philips Hue talk together via Zigbee.

If the Nest Protect smoke alarm detects CO, it turns off the boiler, and at the same time the hue lights turn on in the house. If the fire alarm goes off, you get the early warning first where it makes the lights flash yellow then turn on, and if it gets worse, it pulses the lights red a couple of times (like 50% to 100%) and then turns them all on full.

Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

M_W

It's not unique in the world of ISDN

A cellular comms rental company I worked for (as an NT/Exchange engineer) decided they wanted to open an office in the middle of the continental USA.

However, the date for go-live of the site didn't match with the date estimated by Sprint for the connectivity to be successfully installed into the site. But the site in the US had a few ISDN lines in, and the site in the UK also had some ISDN lines in.

My boss then went out and bought a pair of Cisco 2500 routers with ISDN cards in and suggested I configure them. Bearing in mind, at this time, I hadn't actually touched a Cisco device before in my life. (for my sins I'm now a Cisco CCSP).

Cue boss standing over my desk whilst I stuggle to configure the devices, although the early days of internet allowed me to at least search the cisco website and understand what I was doing.

Boss - 'Make sure it drops the calls when there's no traffic'.

Hmm. Can't find that IOS command anywhere, can't find any settings in the config.

Me - 'Can I please go on a basic Cisco course because I'm struggling a bit here'

Boss - 'No - no time and no budget'.

Me - 'I'm worried that this will be expensive as the ISDN calls between the UK and the USA and vice-versa will be huge'

Boss - 'Can't do much about that with the timescales'

Ok then...

So I configure the router the best I can, set up a dial up modem at each side so I can get into the routers remotely. The router lands in the office in the USA and I'm flown out to set it all up (at a cost probably close to the cisco training course including hotels). Never set up a large network before, but I get to work setting up the LAN and setting up the router. Remember - I'm a Microsoft server engineer never having touched network kit before.

Anyway - by luck or judgement, it all works swimmingly, office is open on time, happy faces all round, and I get to visit the museum where John F Kennedy got shot during my downtime before my flight home. Nice one.

Then the Sprint circuit gets delivered, we switch over to their managed routers, and disconnect the ISDN router. Yay.

Till around 3 months later when my boss drags me into the office with the CEO and pushes a phone bill in front of me and asks what I know about a £50k phone bill for one month.The router looked like it was dialling up every few minutes, which is what you'd expect to be honest.

I said that will probably be the sum total of your ISDN calls from the continental USA to the UK. They threatened me with the sack, but I argued that I was only doing what I was asked, that if they'd trained me I may have had more clue, but in the position I was put in, I was working with limited resource.

I ended up keeping my job, but it did teach me to make damn sure that everyone up the chain knew if they were making a decision that could have been financially disasterous for the company. And I got to go on lots of training courses for Cisco and Checkpoint :)

Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

M_W

You're shit out of luck, sadly. Unless you fancy moving to Linux or staying on an outdated OS which will slowly lose support over time, there's not much else you can do to stop the relentless march of the cloud and the subscription model at the moment. People seem to like it - music, TV and now software....

(BTW - not saying it's right - I also am nervous about the march of the cloud - am a Mac user at home and have all iCloud stuff disabled - the last bastion of non subscription for the moment..)

M_W

It skipped version numbers because of lazy 3rd party app developers in the time of Windows 95 / Windows 98 who coded applications to look for Windows 9* rather the discrete numbers, and this legacy code is still alive in some large corporate applications.

Microsoft found this bug during early testing for Windows 9 so decided to move to 10 to stop any compatibility issues.

TITSUP: Apple Music, App Stores, iCloud, iTunes, Radio, iBooks

M_W
FAIL

Apple Music's been broken for a while

It looks like something is very wrong with the DNS entries for Apple Music and a chunk of apple's back end.

Google's DNS (and Sky's DNS too) seem to be reporting the wrong hostnames for large swathes of Apple's estate. Apple themselves are telling people to use Norton Connectsafe DNS servers which do work (I was able to get Apple Music to work fine once I forced my home PC to use the Norton DNS servers rather Google (my usual default) or the standard Sky DNS that comes with the fibre service).

May well be something to do with Akamai - as it randomly works and randomly doesn't.

Not great for a service which, as you all will quote 'should just work'.

Well, it obviously just doesn't. :)

Microsoft sets end date on Windows 10 support. Hey, wait, WHAT?

M_W

See

Here;

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK2352

FFWD to around 15 minutes in...

Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

M_W

There is another possibility

In York there used to be an issue near the Vue cinema where there was a branch of 'Frankie and Benny's' that used to have those 'Your Table is Ready' plastic flashing pagers.

The problem with the pagers was that the frequency they used to transmit on was also 433Mhz - which meant that most people trying to park their cars outside the site used to suffer with the same issue - they couldn't lock their cars if they parked too close to the restaurant.

My car (a hateful Peugeot 407SW) used to suffer with this - I really couldn't park it anywhere near the restaurant as I couldn't lock/unlock it. The first few times I thought it was my car being duff when parking for the cinema, and once I got totally locked out of my car. I worked out that if I moved it further away down the other end of the car park it would lock/unlock fine.

Eventually they changed the pagers in the restaurant and the issue stopped happening.

The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

M_W

Re: If you have an old DAB,

"But, the sound of Vinyl IS SUPERIOR to CD's..."

Not superior, just more what you're used to. More what you 'expect'.

From a master to copy point of view and dynamic range point of view, CD's dynamic range of 95dB is much higher than Vinyl's 55dB. The whole issue with Vinyl is that if you master a disc too aggressively you'll end up with the needle jumping out of the groove because it can't cope with the range.

As for noise - Just put on a 'blank' vinyl record on your turntable and listen - you won't have silence out of the speakers - a very low rumble and a bit of white noise is what you'll actually hear, and more than likely some hiss from your phono stage.

Vinyl has a preferable tone to most people - mainly because CD can be a little harsh - it's not superior - just different.

FWIW - I like the sound on vinyl, but I also like certain albums on CD that have been well mastered.

Game of Moans: Sky coughs to BORKED set top box BALLS-UP

M_W

Yep - Mine's borked too

A Pace 9F3 SkyHD box which once they rolled out V10 software, keeps crashing every 2-3 days without fail.

Interestingly when it started back in October (box was running REALLY slowly) they knew about the issue and would allow the users with flakey boxes to roll back to the previous software version (V9) but they then updated the over the air version to stop people from rolling back.

(see http://skyepginfo.co.uk/Firmware/SkyPlusHD.php for revisions of software).

I've spoken to sky a couple of times about the issue but their outsourced call centre bods have no clue and just keep telling people to force reset their boxes (which formats the disk and wipes out everything they have on the planner).

I've got to the point where after many years of being a Sky customer and early adopter (and never having a freebie, having paid full cost for not only a Digibox in the old days, but also a Sky+ box and a Sky HD box) I'm now about to jump ship. The Mrs + kids are binge watching anything that is stored on the disk in half term in between crashes.

Sky aren't willing to recompense me in any way - they're not willing to update my box or give me a discounted sub, so I'm off.

No virgin media where I am, however, with Fibre broadband, Netflix, Amazon Prime and a decent Freesat with Freetime+ box (like the Humax HDR-1000S 2Tb) the £200 for the box will have paid for itself in 4 months saving £60 a month. I won't miss the movies (and can get Now TV if I really want to on an Apple TV) and I never had sports anyway.

Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

M_W
FAIL

LG do it too

Every time you open the full screen smart menu on a recent LG TV, it seems to auto-play a trailer or advert for some crap - like Wuaki TV or some other bobbins. Thus why I've set all my regularly used Smart tools in the quick menu so I can avoid the ads.

$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

M_W

Re: Any lawyers in?

Totally agree with you. I thought the same thing - this seems to me to be fraud. After all, they can't prove scientifically it provides anything that a £40 CAT6a cable wouldn't. It's a snake oil device.

There's scientific evaluation that could be done to prove that the input to the cable and the output matches a similar reference £40 10M Lindy CAT6a ethernet cable, for example. Connecting it to a Fluke Tester (DTX Cable Certifier) and doing the same suite of tests with both ethernet cables would probably be enough to prove beyond reasonable doubt that technically the cables would be identical from a signal passed point of view.

They may not be the same mechanically, but that's not what is at stake.

Being LAN cables, which helps as it's standards based, and assuming the tests match and they're both up to standard, and you're not getting collisions or retransmissions, there's no argument about the cable influencing the reproduced sound as it's pretty much technically impossible for it to do so.

I'm not sure subjective emotional representations would suffice in the courts?

So, by the same token, if that is legal, why can't I sell a TV I buy from an OEM for £350 and stuck a special sticker on it for £9000 and say 'It's got better emotional pace in the image?' and try and sell that to suckers?

VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

"Nonsense. CDs were originally mastered on high-quality analogue tapes, and then on digital systems. There was some equipment that could record digital audio onto videotape, which was used by some people for portable work and by some small studios, but it was developed long after CDs became common."

Really? I always was told 44.1Khz was chosen because it fitted U-Matic's horizontal sync rate. It could quite easily have been they chose U-Matic because it was convenient.

For AAD discs, very true about Analogue. You'd bounce down from your Multi-Track Analogue (In our case a 48-track Otari) to a 2-track analogue tape (Tascam) and bung it out via courier. But not when people started to insist on DDD mastering.

Initially we used to send masters to DADC Austria on U-Matic tapes. There was a PCM unit linked to a U-Matic video which recorded the PCM mixdown output the mastering team did from the Sony DASH multi-track.

The U-Matic was soon replaced by DAT tapes, and the Sony replaced by Alesis ADAT and ultimately by Hard Disk storage when it was reliable enough.

M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

You can get one - it's made by a Japanese Company called ELP. (Not Emerson, Lake and Palmer) and it costs you, ahem, $16,000 plus shipping from Japan. And if you want a wood finish, then it's a bit more. And need to read 78's? Another $3k.

http://www.elpj.com/

It's not digital though - even though it uses a laser. It just measures the reflection angle and converts that to analogue audio. So the downside is unless your record is amazingly clean it does pick up dust and everything else on the record.

M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

I'm not sure that Blu-Ray is even Lossy any more, it's only lossy if you use a legacy decoder.

DTS-MA, for example, is a Lossless encode, but it's clever in that it's a lossy encode (DTS) with a Diff from the lossless added, so a normal DTS decoder sees the lossy DTS stream, but a DTS-MA decoder sees the whole lossless piece.

Dolby TrueHD is also Lossless - it uses the properly good Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) which used to be used on DVD-Audio but only at 9.6Mbits/s. MLP on Blu-Ray via the TrueHD stream is 18Mbits/s

The given reason for the Red-Book standard being as it was, was partially as you say due to the PCM encoding of video also being 44.1Khz (the masters of CD's used to be stored on Videotapes) and the length was due to the VP of Sony arbritarily setting the length of a CD to 74 minutes because that was the length of a specific version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - although Philips seem to imply that may be urban legend :)

M_W

Re: Daft compared to CDs

The "loudness war" is becoming a nightmare. It's all down to the record companies wanting their tracks to stand out when you're scanning the radio. Listen to 'Capital' on DAB vs something like Radio 2 (even Radio 1 does it, but much less than Capital) and you'll see my point. Not only is the track pre-compressed to within an inch of it's life, but then re-compressed again on broadcast, sometimes with a BBE enhancer in the broadcast chain for good measure.

Masterers now don't seem to know how to create masters without it being compressed to within an inch of digital distortion (and beyond in many cases on iTunes). I hanker for the sound of the old Drawmer Valve compressors vs just using a stock Alesis compressor.

Quite a few artists now release different versions of an album if you look around - a loudness war mastered version for chavs to listen to via their iPhone 6 plus speakers on the bus, which the mastering teams push out, and a non-compressedtofuck version which appears usually on Vinyl or via a 96Khz/24bit Lossless Download.

A few that spring to mind that have done this recently were Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel and Daft Punk.

M_W

C'mon

The technics were great but sound quality wasn't amazing with a DJ cartridge unless you put a decent cartridge in it. I seem to remember them having the Ortofon (whoretofon) concorde cartridges in them.

When it came to Vinyl turntables, the one I always lusted after was the Michell Gyro Dec. When set up correctly, not only did it sound utterly divine (this, a decent japanese MC woodshell cartridge, a rega arm, the HC psu, a decent phono stage, a quad amp and quad electrostatic speakers was the ultimate setup in mind) it looked like a work of art. You can still buy them now for the princely sum of £1500 for the turntable,

http://www.michell-engineering.co.uk/turntables/gyrodec/

M_W

Re: Thank Sonos for the resurgence of vinyl?

Lol. I inherited a Lenco turntable from my Grandparents - it was actually branded as Goldring, but it had the dustbug along with all the usual accoutriments.

I sold it and ended up buying a Pink Triangle PT-TOO. Never sure it was actually any better :)

Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

M_W

Re: Says it is for right handers only

Yep - this was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw it.

Apparently, Apple say there will be an option to choose orientation when you first boot the watch, so you can have it 'upside down' and the orientation be OK. Also, the straps can be fitted either way, so you can just have the crown bottom left rather than top right.

Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

M_W

They've already started to go up in price

I was looking the other day, before yesterday's announcement, and it already seems as though the prices have skyrocketed on Amazon and on Ebay.

I suppose the only other option now is a 128Gb iPhone 6 or hammer your 3G/4G data allowance and use iTunes match.

We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

M_W

Re: Er...what?

Do the BBC still use Rogers LS3/5a speakers?

M_W

Re: Be careful what you ask for.

That was always the problem with the Yamaha NS-10m's (the white coned ones) - they are amazing speakers, with stunning (and unmatched for a long time) time-domain performance.

However, you listen to them for a while and whilst accurate, they sound really tiring. Too clinical.

M_W

Re: Er...what?

I remember a pretty famous audiophile magazine doing a blind cable test. They tested all kinds of exotic cables - but the source material and hardware all stayed the same - just the cables were swapped.

The winner?

It was B&Q 13A solid copper mains Twin and Earth - the bog standard 1.5mm stuff.

Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

M_W

Re: FTTP - see Verizon, JT, etc

Agreed - although it gets worse than that. If they hadn't been such cheapskates after privatisation in the 80's and put so much aluminium rather than copper underground, it wouldn't be in such a crap state either.

Only way we'll get FTTP now is with govt investment. Openreach will never do it off their own back.

The enemy of my enemy is my, well, temporary ally: Apple and Microsoft in pact against Google

M_W

Did anyone else see the enormous u-turn here?

Back in 2008, Apple morphed .mac into MobileMe and had a feature called iDisk, which was essentially the same thing as Dropbox but integrated into the OS on both the iPhone and Mac. I used to use it all the time - was quite useful to keep stuff in the cloud at the time. It was the days before Google Drive, and not many people used Dropbox.

Then in 2011 it announced iCloud and killed iDisk in the process. And Google Drive appeared almost at the same time and Dropbox grew and grew.

Now it's announced iCloud Drive. Isn't that Apple just turning back on the iDisk service that it turned off in 2012 when it killed MobileMe?

E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

M_W

Re: "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

Totally agree. And having a significant other who works for the NHS, the amount of time A&E spend dealing with pissed up people on a Saturday night is unbelievable.

Although the stats are interesting.

Alcohol related issues cost the NHS £3.5Bn in 2011-2012.

Smoking related issues reputedly cost the NHS £5.2bn in 2009

I can't seem to find the stats for the same year, but they must be around.

But even more than that is fixing obese people which apparently costs the NHS £6bn a year. Thus the current campaign on healthy eating.

I do wonder if these may be circles in the same Venn diagram - how much crossover or double or tripe counting is there between these three figures? There's a likely potential that a fat, smoking alcoholic will be counted three times?

Nonetheless, vaping must be much less carcinogenic than traditional smoking. I'm all for it.

I'm also an Ex smoker - smoked around 10 Marlboro lights a day for 14 years, till I quit 14 years ago, almost to the day. I quit by buying 200 fags duty-free after a holiday, sitting at a party, drinking shedloads and binge smoking the entire carton, and made myself very sick. Never touched one again!

Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

M_W
FAIL

Authenticated Proxy Issue for Modern Apps

Is still not fixed in 8.1 Update. If you're using some full screen modern apps (see eBay or Yammer as an example) and you're on a corporate network behind an ISA or TMG proxy which requires AD authentication, they just don't work.

In 8 - many Metro apps weren't even proxy aware - in 8.1 they added proxy support for metro apps, but didn't support ISA/TMG auth proxy and told us they were 'working on it'.

They promised this fix for 8.1 Update but still not there. It's down to some modern apps (in the main) not using the IE back end for proxy like Outlook and other normal Apps do. It's not an app developer thing to fix, though - it's for Microsoft to fix and they know that.

If you wireshark the conversation - you can see the client trying to use the proxy, the proxy request user authentication and immediately the app goes 'pop' and complains about network connection. Dur.

Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers

M_W
Big Brother

I know it's contentious in a free internet

But if most ISP's have some rudimentary content filtering enabled now as per the govt's requirements, blocking access to specific websites which are deemed 'unsavoury', why aren't they adding rules to block access to these DNS pharming IP addresses?

I know those of us who are IT savvy are smart enough to sort these issues ourselves, but the majority of the populous who have no idea at all about DNS addresses and patching routers probably could do with a bit of hand holding and this wouldn't be heavy handed.

Agreed - it will increase the level of calls to the ISP's due to people's internet connections stopping working, but in some cases what that might do is force people to actually look at their router config or prompt them into seeking assistance to fix the problem?

Winklevoss: I have put my MOUTH where my MONEY IS

M_W

Re: You got an ologist

I know that. I remember it being on TV the first time. With the gormless looking lad and Maureen finishing the cake.

Hull is always proud of the fact that she's one of the only famous people to have come from Hull. Her and Joe Longthorne.

Please note that any use of intentional malapropisms may be punished.

:)

M_W

You got an ologist

You're a scientist.

(cf Maureen Lipman, BT) :)

Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

M_W

Re: York

Yep - York does have 4G although it's quite patchy. You will get it on Coney Street but it disappears halfway down Tadcaster Road. It doesn't cover south-west York, only north and east.

With relation to Weaverthorpe - It's probably because the TX there is very new - I remember TMobile putting the TX up - it's on the top ridge road from Weaverthorpe over the wold down towards Sherburn.

All the locals are on EE - we all knew that Orange/EE is the only carrier that gets service - they almost have a bit of a monopoly there!

Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

M_W

That'll be the sound of the rush

Of people moving off XP and onto W7 before April.

In a large corporate, we have to realise that not everyone who uses a computer will have the skill levels we all have as IT Pro's. It may take us a couple of hours to get used to it, but many regular joe users will find Win8.1 daunting unless you give them lots of hand holding. WinXP to Win7 is less of a leap from a user perspective and allows a business to (I hate this phrase, sorry) have a "quick win".

Once Win8.1 becomes popular in the home environment - self 'consumer' training, and people are used to it, it will be an easier process in the corporate environment.

IMHO Win8.1 is very nice (Am typing this on it right now) but there are some very quirky problems with it due to the consumerisation of the OS. Such as it asking for Windows live accounts even in a corporate environment and the metro apps problem.

So - until Microsoft fix the own-goal apps issue (Metro apps can't use authenticated proxies like Microsoft's own ISA or TMG due to them using the WinHTTP stack rather than the WinInet stack - it is a known bug and was meant to be fixed in 8.1) most large corps will stick on W7 rather than get a deluge of calls saying 'it doesn't work'. Putting in a non-authenticated proxy isn't an option btw :)

Tracking the history of magnetic tape: A game of noughts and crosses

M_W
Happy

Fascinating

Excellent article and really brings back some memories. Cheers!

Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

M_W
Happy

They totally missed the boat

I remember in 2008 doing a direct comparison between an iPhone 3G which I had just got, and a Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic which one of my friends had.

He said 'Have a look at this, I can play iPlayer on my TV from my phone'.

Correct - he could, but it was shocking quality. Really blocky, very bad quality, very poor frame rate.

I then pulled out my apple AV cable and did the same thing via the iPhone. Perfect SD quality video without any issue, and then when the HDMI cables came out, perfect HD quality via the old iPhone 4.

And that was the simple thing - Nokia's devices were a briliant phone that happened to do things like data or video, but badly.

Apple made a device that was a computer and media content device first, and a phone second. And was easy to use. We all know how sodding bad an iPhone is as an actual phone. It's pants - drops calls all the time and much of the time will sit without ringing and then popping up a notification for a voicemail from the call you never got.

But maybe that is what people want now - a computer with apps in their pocket, not necessarily to make calls on it so much - you only have to look at how tariffs have changed to have unlimited voice and texts but limited data to see how the telco's have spun things 180 degrees.

So the only way that Microsoft / Nokia can get back in the game is to grow the apps side of their business. That is what keeps Android and Apple going.

Certain people rejoice! AC/DC finally available on iTunes

M_W

Loudness War

Yep, confirmed. They've been Loudness War mastered, or 'Mastered for iTunes' if you like.

New Mac mini: Business in the front, party at the back

M_W

Re: 500MB hard disk eh?

The Mac Mini's come with a HDMI to DVI adaptor in the box - http://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/specs.html

Foxconn chief: we're gearing up for Apple 'iTV'

M_W

It's pointless for the UK market

As with all Apple things, they seem to fixate on the US market and Apple UK obviously don't have any way of pushing stuff we like over here. So it'll be an Apple iTV with Netflix and iTunes vs a SmartTV with iPlayer, 4OD, Lovefilm, Netflix, DLNA etc.. etc..

I have an Apple TV 2 and it's OK - but it desperately needs the proper UK TV catchup services to be a big seller in the UK and with Apple it's unlikely to ever happen.

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