* Posts by BigAndos

318 posts • joined 12 Jun 2012

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How do you like them Apples? Tim Cook's iPhones sitting in the tree, feeling unloved by the Chinese

BigAndos

iPhones have just gotten too expensive. I thought about going back to iPhone as I'm fed up with Android makers abandoning you after one major OS update (if you're lucky) but just couldn't justify the price. They are a nice bit of kit but just not worth those prices in terms of the utility you get.

The Palm Palm: The Derringer of smartphones

BigAndos

Well this is a solution looking for a problem. I honestly cannot see the point of this thing, especially at £350.

Microsoft to rule the biz chat roost – survey

BigAndos

We use both hangouts (part of google apps for business) and slack for some reason. Slack's only selling points I've seen is the ease of creating new channels and for people to join and leave them. It mainly seems to be used here to send animated gifs and waste time.

Android creator Andy Rubin's firm might think its phone is Essential, but 30% of staff are not

BigAndos

I hate how addicted I am to my phone, tablet etc. On a recent holiday I decided not to pay for data roaming and just unplug. I caved in to free wifi occasionally but actually felt much better for properly switching off, with 90% of my screen time reading books on Kindle. I was also shocked at how many people were even worse than I normally am. We did a beautiful hike on Hong Kong island with stunning scenery and saw group after group people doing said hike while staring at their phones! HK airport even has signs on all the travelators saying "please don't just stare at your phone look where you're going"!

Spoiler alert: Google's would-be iPhone killer Pixel 3 – so many leaks

BigAndos

I bought the original Pixel XL 128GB second hand for £350 back in the spring, cracking phone for the money. It does pay to be a generation behind those that must have the latest shiny shiny!

All aboard the Hype Cycle! What's DataOps? Well, it has no standards or frameworks. Got it?

BigAndos

"without any standards or frameworks"

Most companies I've worked for have been handling data like that for years. Turns out they were all marketing leaders and way ahead of their time!

Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

BigAndos

Handsets are just too expensive now to buy a top spec one at full price. I've got a bad history of losing/dropping/breaking phones so no way I'm shelling out £900 on this year's flagships, monthly instalments or otherwise. My most recent phone was the previous Pixel XL for £340 from a second hand shop. Perfectly good and not as bad as losing the £800 I would have spent on a Pixel 2 XL when I inevitably break it.

Unpicking the Pixel puzzle: Why Google is struggling to impress

BigAndos

I was drawn to a Pixel 2 by the promise of fast updates, no bloatware and longer support for Android upgrades. However, I just couldn't stomach the price! I ended up buying a mint condition Pixel XL second hand for £350. Pretty happy with it all in, especially getting Pie right away. However, most phone users probably don't even understand what an OS update is so Google really need to find ways to differentiate especially if they want to charge premium prices.

I think they would be better off going after the mid market in the short term. If they made a £500 mid range phone with average CPU/RAM, removable battery and SD card slot I would be handing over my cash right away.

The volume of data collection is increasingly concerning me however. I've always been a bit (too) relaxed about this in the past but recent stories about how they still track your location even when switched off etc are alarming. I may end up going to iPhone at some stage assuming Apple are any better...

Span hits F#, LinkedIn gets mumbly, and UWP (yes, it's still clinging on) furnished with new toys

BigAndos

Voice messages on Linked in? Oh dear lord does that mean I'm going to get audio ramblings from recruiters now as well as message spam? This might finally make me delete my LinkedIn account!

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

BigAndos

I had a G3 a few years ago. Got fed up waiting for non existent Android updates, and LG's interface was really laggy. In the end the phone slowed down a lot and despite factory resets I had to give up on it. I think these days you might as well either go Pixel or iPhone to ensure regular software updates, or buy some no name handset from China that's easy to flash with your ROM of choice.

No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

BigAndos

Re: Slight variation

I've noticed an unfortunately increase in people doing this on the train, usually whoever is doing feels the need the shout as the speakerphone picks up all the background noise of the train. I don't understand how people can be so oblivious or uncaring of those around them!

HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

BigAndos

What's wrong with buttons? They're simple and they work. Mind you I still put my phone down and reach for a computer/laptop with a proper keyboard if I need to type more than one or two sentences. I think all these phone manufacturers are arbitrarily removing or changing things for the sake of it now just so they have something to put in their marketing spiel.

Google says Pixel 2's narcoleptic display is being fixed in June update

BigAndos

I like my Pixel XL but increasingly glad I've skipped a generation!

Dixons to shutter 92 UK Carphone Warehouse shops after profit warning

BigAndos

Last time I went in I just needed a PAYG sim as I had a gap in service for a few days. They wouldn't sell me one without fairly aggressive questioning on why I needed it (obviously desperate to find an angle to upsell me). I found it a bit rude and frustrating, almost walked out but there was nowhere else handy. They have a lot of shops in prime town centre locations I don't understand why they don't try and diversify them a bit. Now Maplins is gone surely they could add a few selected profitable electronics lines too? That and replace the aggressive and patronising sales droids.

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

BigAndos

Will they have to rebrand themselves to "Four" now?

Uber says it's changed and is now ever-so ShinyHappy™

BigAndos

Yeah the ease is the main thing, no ringing round lots of mini cab offices or trying flag down a taxi. We've also found it really useful on holiday, your account "just works" as long as you are in a location that Uber operates in. 100% easier than trying to phone for a cab in a foreign language.

What I really want is an app that lets me search across black cabs and minicabs, I don't mind paying more than Uber if the drivers are treated better and are safer. However, we had Hailo try to do this in London and the black cabbies all started protesting when they tried to bring Minicabs into the app as well. Groan!

Twitter cries for help to solve existential crisis of whether it's Good

BigAndos

I don't like the way users on Twitter become so polarised and dehumanise those they are tweeting at. Seriously some of the abuse you see dished out online people would never dare to say face to face.

This does apply everywhere over the internet but the sheer volume of users mean things quickly blow out of proportion on Twitter and I think it has become a very unhealthy place. I only use it to tweet the train company to ask what is happening during disruption and even then I've had sarky replies from other users for no apparent reason.

Wearables are now a two-horse race and Google lost very badly

BigAndos

Re: Why is Garmin

I have a Garmin Vivosport which is pretty good. It does the bare minimum of things I want from a smart watch (relay notifications, let me pause/skip music) and is waterproof so I can track my swimming. It was also a pretty decent price and the battery lasts 7 days. I really don't want anything more complex than that and it is a good all rounder for the price.

4G found on Moon

BigAndos

They can't even manage decent 4G on my commute into London!

Samsung's Galaxy 9s debut, with not much other than new cameras

BigAndos

I loved my S7 Edge but sadly I broke the screen. Decided on a second hand Pixel XL (original one) in the end. 128GB storage, Android O, no bloatware and it runs really smooth. Simply can't justify paying £800 for incremental upgrades any more, I'll keep this phone then maybe get a Pixel 3 or S10+ when the prices come down! I don't even use my tablet any more now today's 6 inch phones are so good.

Who wanted a future in which AI can copy your voice and say things you never uttered? Who?!

BigAndos

Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should! Can't we put effort into useful and socially beneficial cases for AI? Like a version of Watson that actually works properly for cancer treatment?

Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

BigAndos

I used Android Pay for a while but gave up as it often lagged when trying to swipe into the tube. I'm more interested in being able to store my umpteen loyalty cards in one place so maybe i should give that a look!

iPhone X 'slump' is real, whisper supply chain moles

BigAndos

Regardless of your feelings on Apple, I think £1000 (or £1150) is simply too much money for a phone. I spent about £700 on a 49 inch 4K TV which will (hopefully) last me for a good 5-10 years. Phones are easily broken or lost/stolen and typically are designed to last a couple of years (appreciate it can be more if you are careful!).

Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

BigAndos

In the UK we have a number of Sim only networks but the issue is they are all MVNOs (virtual networks) who have to rent network capacity from the big players. If the big players lose money on handset sales, they'll likely pass on the costs to their MVNO partners who in turn will have to raise prices.

BigAndos

"If this de-coupling continues to gather momentum over here, many will have to re-evaluate their go-to market strategies." I read that as "Make sim only contracts a shed load more expensive".

Aside from what is mentioned in the article, I think people are wising up to the fact that:

1) Smart phones are largely a mature technology. A lot of the new features being trumpeted like Bixby or Face ID are features created out of a need to have a something for marketing to shout about.

2) Now they are mature, unless you obsessively need something new and shiny a one to two year old refurbished former flagship gives you pretty damn good bang for your buck. I currently have an S7 edge and will likely replace it with a second hand one when I eventually break it as it is a good phone and does what I need. My only issues are non removable battery and expensive screen repairs!

3) Mobile operators generally provide poor customer service. At least if you buy sim free or second they can't screw up your handset by failing to deliver it/filling it full of crapware etc

Splunk prototyping DevOps efficiency measurement tool

BigAndos

"if it is not soon enough how much will it cost to get extra contract resources to make the date that they want."

Oh dear lord, the PHBs of the world don't need any more encouragement to think like this!

Microsoft may have its groove back but it's binned 'Groove'

BigAndos

I think a big part of Microsoft's problem in the consumer market is they never get in on the ground floor anymore. Zune, and hence Groove, were a far too late attempt to take market share when Apple had already dominated the market with the iPod/iTunes combo (i think we were onto generation 5 iPod when Zune launched?) and shortly before everyone bought smart phones.

With Windows mobile they only really started taking it seriously once iOS and Android were in ascendance, and by then both development houses and users had already invested heavily in either or both ecosystems. Ignoring the whole Windows RT vs Windows x86 confusion, I think few in the industry or market wanted a third platform.

xBox is maybe the exception to this, where they joined the market late but at the time no had clear dominance and I think users were more used to there being multiple gaming platforms.

CrashPlan crashes out of cloudy consumer backup caper

BigAndos

Re: The real reason ?

I used to use CrashPlan but found the upload painfully slow from the UK. After a month it still hadn't backed up all of my measley 200GB of data. I jumped ship to LiveDrive instead. The software seems to be just as good and upload speeds are decent.

Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

BigAndos

I've been defending Windows 10 up until now but I never expected the slurping to be this extensive, perhaps naively. I still need W10 for gaming so maybe I'll have to start doing all my document writing and web browsing inside a linux VM...

Samsung Galaxy S8: Slimmer bezels, a desktop mode – and yet another me-too AI pal

BigAndos

Why is everyone obsessed with these virtual assistants? I don't want to walk around shouting at my phone in public, rather just use the screen thanks. Back when I had an iPhone I did very occasionally use Siri to set up reminders but that was it.

I'm also not a fan of fingerprint sensor being on the back. Feels a bit unnatural to me somehow. However, Dex looks pretty handy although I'm not sure how many Android apps I would want to use with a keyboard and mouse apart from Google docs/sheets perhaps.

iPhone-havers think they're safe. But they're not

BigAndos

The big disadvantage for Android is that are two middlemen for most users between Google releasing a patch and a user getting it. First, their handset maker has to merge it into their branch of Android (read: make sure it doesn't break their crapware) and then if you didn't buy it SIM free you have to wait for your network to test and deploy it OTA (read: make sure it doesn't break their additional crapware). With Apple, they can push out updates to all users as soon as it is ready.

This and the ease of iCloud backup are the two big things I miss having moved from iOS to Android a few years ago, although I certainly don't miss the prices!

What should password managers not do? Leak your passwords? What a great idea, LastPass

BigAndos

Re: Untrue statements?

I haven't received any comms either, and the statement on their website just mentions a "vulnerability" - it doesn't say what the problem was or how long it existed for. I'm now deeply concerned about having used them!

Dying for Windows 10 Creators Update? But wait, there's more!

BigAndos

I think they are now desperately looking for new features to add as an excuse to release a new version. I quite like Windows 10 as it loads quicker and is more responsive for me than Windows 7 was, ignoring privacy concerns for a moment.

I'd probably pay Microsoft £50 for an update that provided clear guidance on what data they collect, an easy option to disable said data collection, and a promise not to dick about with it for 5 years (bar security patches) and then I'd be really happy.

Apple nabs smartphone top spot from Samsung, but for how long?

BigAndos

Re: Don't worry Apple Haters

Phone wars are taken very seriously in the Reg's comment sections! If you ever express a strong opinion about a brand of phone you will attract legions of angry replies. It is like the console wars in the 90s!

Hold the phone! Crap customer service cost telcos £2.9 BEEEELLION in 2016

BigAndos

Re: To be fair to the telcos for a (brief) second...

Yes unfortunately many broadband products in the UK are just Openreach products being resold. I tend to stick with BT as at least one less corporate entity is involved when trying to get something fixed.

Vodafone sales slip after damp outing in Blighty

BigAndos

Terrible Network

I was with them for years with work, and then on a personal account because I got discount via work. I finally gave up on them a year ago. Terrible service, high prices and their network is awful. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people!

Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

BigAndos

Re: The software has learned to drive like a taxi driver.....

Hah I was going to comment "just like a human Uber driver!"

Barnet Council: Outsourcing deal with Capita has 'performance issues'

BigAndos

Yeah I was affected by that! Capita also cunningly made it near impossible to actually speak to anyone in their call centre, especially about council tax. Nearly all of the options in the menu eventually lead you to a pre-recorded message telling you that what you want to do can be done on the website whereupon it hangs up.

That would be fine if it wasn't a lie, you often can't do what they say you can on on the website! Still good way to cut call costs i guess.

Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable

BigAndos

Re: Ha bloody ha

I had an iMac for about three years and faced this issue towards the end of its life. The DVD drive broke and Apple wanted £200 to replace it so I didn't bother and bought a USB one for £30! Then of course the GPU started struggling with the latest games and I couldn't replace it. It was either spend £1200 on the latest one or build a PC for £800 that I can upgrade piece by piece over the years, so back to windows I went.

PayPal patches bone-headed two factor authentication bypass

BigAndos

Hopefully they fixed this by now but I gave up on the 2FA for PayPal as it wouldn't work on their mobile site. Given it works by sending a text you'd think they would ensure it worked properly on a mobile browser! I contacted them to ask if they planned to implement it for their mobile and got a long winded reply that basically said "no idea, maybe".

Microsoft goes back to the drawing board – literally, with 28" tablet and hockey puck knob

BigAndos

Re: Windows 10

I quite like windows 10 as well, my PC boots up a lot faster since I upgraded from Windows 7 and it doesn't get in the way like Windows 8 does. The snooping doesn't really bother me that much, only irritation is lack of control over when it installs updates. It always seems to pick a time I really need to start work quickly in order to spend ages churning away!

Virgin Media boss warns Brexit could hamstring broadband investment

BigAndos

Re: "Hamstring investment"

Yes they do an excellent job of hamstringing their investment by not making any! My old flat in the middle of north london was in a new build block. I was surprised to find I couldn't get cable, and when I checked the blocks either side were in fact covered. Because mine had been built later they apparently couldn't/wouldn't connect it up. I'm not sure they ever actually fill in the gaps in their current network let alone expand it!

Europe loves to pay by bonk* - survey

BigAndos

Re: Who the hell is using them daily?

I used Android pay for the tube for a while but gave up as it wasn't terribly reliable. When it did work it was convenient - i have three contactless cards in my wallet and it was easier to pull my phone out and tap it. Periodically it would just stop working requiring a reboot of the phone so I have up as this is bit of a faff at the tube gates. Also, if you swap from phone back to the actual card you don't benefit from price capping!

Prime Minister May hints at shaking up Blighty's 'dysfunctional' rural broadband

BigAndos

Re: G.fast is a pointless, expensive Cul-De-Sac Technology. Let's make that clear now.

Great point on B4RN, I hadn't heard of that. I bet it would be cheaper and far more effective to just give affected rural communities funding to arrange something themselves rather than throwing money at the lumbering monolith of BT.

User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

BigAndos

I had to show a whole department of users how to save an attachment from their email a few weeks ago. And no I don't even work on the helldesk!

Violence, vandals and vomit: London's naughtiest tech Tube stations revealed

BigAndos
IT Angle

I think it was a flimsy attempt to find the IT angle!

Tesla whacks guardrail in Montana, driver blames autopilot

BigAndos

If the car didn't detect (i.e. couldn't see) the stakes lying in the ground in the dark, he probably wouldn't have either so I suspect he would have crashed with or without this autopilot feature turned on!

A bad day for DBAs: MIT boffins are replacing you with a mere spreadsheet

BigAndos

Not really DBAs

So it still needs a database to connect to in order to run queries? In that case DBAs will still be just as vital to keep it humming along nicely, and of course handle the query load this tool will generate.

What it really seems to be is a halfway house between writing SQL and using Business Objects, which of course needs a developer to set up the universe first. I think it would have a fairly niche audience in large companies in that case, but might come into its own for smaller companies that can't afford a fully fledged BI team.

Replacement IT at 'high risk'. Squeaky bum time for UK tax folk

BigAndos

Re: Public administration's seem systemically

To be fair the private sector is almost as bad, or worse in some examples! I think the problem in all cases boils down to unrealistic or overly optimistic planning. I've worked for a system integrator in the past and any project where one or more of the following is true will nearly always be more complicated than it first appears:

1) The system/application is used by more than 20 users or more than one department

2) The system/application is used directly by customers

3) The system/application is required to interface with more than two internal systems/applications

4) The project requires the cooperation of two or more third party companies.

"The business" or "the government" would often be put off embarking on a project if the true cost was revealed up front which enforces overly optimistic estimation, or in fact there may be a naive project manager who simply doesn't know how to properly estimate the project (this is worrying common).

The net result is you often end up with one of the following:

1) Massive cost/time over runs (most common)

2) Project being abandoned with lots of money effectively down the drain. Prepare for another attempt in a couple of years when the scars have healed!

3) Project delivered but with so much functionality de-scoped the original business case may not stand up. "Phase 2" then gets mooted but never happens, or a new project to replace the half baked deliverable begins.

This is a big problem for IT to overcome. I think the main causes are the shortage of 1) technical people who can provide proper estimates and 2) managers who ignore those estimates or massage them to make an acceptable business case!

No means no: Windows 10 nagware's red X will stop update – Microsoft

BigAndos

Re: Gun, meet foot

"I'm fairly sure the company I work for could ditch at least three-quarters of their Windows licences". I definitely agree with you here. Even though I'm relatively favourable towards MS (I'm a SQL Server BI dev) I think this is definitely the way things are going.

Our company switched from Lotus Notes (shudder) to Google Apps for business a while ago and we haven't looked back. The majority of people here now work in Chrome for most of the day, either using the excellent Google app suite or one of our internal applications which are now largely web based and even (shock horror) mostly run in browsers other than IE. The collaboration facilities in Google apps are a dream compared to the horror of SharePoint.

It is only really our IT staff, data analysis/reporting teams (like mine) and graphic designers who need a full fat desktop OS. The designers mostly use Mac OS anyway. I'm stuck with Windows whatever for now as I need to use Visual Studio and SQL Management Studio. Increasingly we are moving to Linux for severs so this probably won't continue for too much longer unless MS pull their finger out!

The two things I do at home which keep me on Windows are gaming and Photoshop. Photoshop I could do on a Mac but gaming isn't really there yet. Although I think Windows 10 is actually pretty decent (privacy issues aside) MS really need to come up with some good reasons to stick with it long term pretty sharpish or else their lunch will get eaten. This is why they have resorted to devious tricks to get you on W10 - the writing is on the wall!

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