I don't totally trust google or apple but I suspect their solution is at least more likely to work than an NHS totally home grown solution. NHS doesn't have the best track record with IT projects.
340 posts • joined 12 Jun 2012
UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy
Zoom vows to spend next 90 days thinking hard about its security and privacy after rough week, meeting ID war-dialing tool emerges
The security issues are very concerning, but hats off to them for coping with a 20 fold increase in users in a few months. Webex has been appalling for the last few weeks and hangouts meet seems to display about 5 pixels from everyone's webcam despite the mighty Google running it. Lets just hope they can improve the security and privacy issues without killing off the performance.
Re: That's one point of view
Our board are currently reviewing our estate of projects and a lot will be cancelled or deferred to 2021. We use the a few of the big Indian outsourcing firms for project "resources" so I expect us to be scaling back the spend we make with them where contracts allow, quite significantly in the short term.
UK enters almost-lockdown: Brits urged to keep calm and carry on – as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house
Re: Keep calm and capitalise on the circumstances
There is definitely a black market for groceries! I was looking for red lentils and kleenex tissues, both for sale at vastly inflated prices on ebay but out of stock everywhere else! E.g people attempting to flog 500g of lentils for £15 on ebay, usually about £1-£2 in the shops. Luckily stock levels are gradually returning to normal so these opportunists will be out of pocket soon.
IBM fires up the big iron, Facebook hands out masks, Cisco splashes cash, and CDC gets an Azure-powered bot
Data surge as more Brits work from home? Not as hard on the network as their nightly Netflix binges, claims BT
Rockstar dev debate reopens: Hero programmers do exist, do all the work, do chat a lot – and do need love and attention from project leaders
My company is busy migrating from on premise to Google cloud. They keep telling us about how we aren't locked in and how easy it is to move to another vendor. Anyone with any technical knowledge at all can tell us there is de facto lock in however easy they claim to make it.
Sure you can run a docker image on any cloud, but the scripting to build, deploy and manage that image will vary between cloud providers. Plumbing like setting up VPNs / interconnects all take time and money and will have to be redone if you move providers. Potentially you end up paying for and managing multiple interconnects while you do a phased migration. Anything you do with a data service like BigQuery probably has to be thrown anyway and redesigned from scratch if you move to another cloud's services.
Of course if you deployed on premise you still have the same issues, once you have invested time and effort into making one product or service work there is ALWAYS a cost in moving to another one even if old and new both sit in your own data centre. At least with cloud you haven't had to spend out on hardware and licenses up front.
There are but Uber has the best combination of price/coverage/lack of randomly refusing certain destinations. It also works internationally and really helps get over the language barrier when travelling.
Many minicab firms only pick up within certain areas around their office, apart from Addison Lee who charge an arm and a leg.
Black taxi availability is highly variable outside of the centre especially late at night, and then you run into "not going to xyz/south of the river this time of night mate". Their fares get expensive very quickly, although over short journeys they actually compare well to Uber especially as the drivers aren't just mindlessly following an app and can pick the best route.
Uber are a reprehensible company but they have a fantastic product. I just wish they charged a bit more but invested it into safety and driver welfare.
I'd be happy with decent 4G
I remember when 4G was shiny and new and no one had it, I was an early adopter and regularly got speed tests of 50-60Mbps. Now everyone has it I'm lucky to get 10 as every cell is so overloaded. Be interesting to see how 5G holds up after a year or two. It'll probably be a congested mess and the operators will be banging on about 6G as the answer! All this is assuming you can get coverage, there are still big gaps in 4G and even 3G coverage even inside major cities.
Re: such bollocks is spoken about this subject
Yes agree completely. I live *just* outside the M25 in the countryside. I get the train into work in London every day and there are still black spots with no usable phone signal at all, not even for calls. Weirdly the worst of these black spots are well inside Greater London in built up areas (perhaps the network is just overloaded).
I'm unlikely to ever use my phone for anything more data intensive than streaming an HD video from netflix (maybe 4K at a push but hardly necessary) in the near future. 4G would be more than adequate if the coverage was there.
If they can roll out decent speed 5G with near universal coverage I obviously won't argue against it, I'm just not convinced it will happen. 4G was supposed to save us from bad coverage and hasn't even achieved than in one of the world's major cities, although it is good when it is available!
Will someone think of the taxpayer? UK.gov needs to stop burning billions on shoddy procurement, says Reform
Re: Growth or Real Cost?
This happens in the private sector too, especially with technology projects. Most organisations make it very hard to get business cases for IT projects approved which leads to artificially low costs being approved, followed by overruns when the project is underway.
You also have the optimism bias with any estimates/costings that assume most things will go well and there are no scope gaps. Of course once you've started spending on a project it is always seen as preferable to "just keep going" and add budget when sometimes a badly specified project should just go back to the drawing board....
Dunkin do-nots: Deep-fried cake maker did not warn its sugar addicts that crooks raided web accounts, says NY AG
Everyone and their dog wants your personal details! Why on earth do dunkin donuts need you to create an account? I assume you get some kind of incentive like a free donut for every 10 you buy or something. What's wrong with just giving you a stamp card like my local coffee shop?
Marketers everywhere are obsessed with "personalisation" and want to hoover up all your data even when it is blatantly unnecessary like this, or just sell it on. The other day I tried to install Nvidia's utility to keep your graphics drivers up to date and even that wanted me to create an account (no thank you).
We asked for your Fitbit horror stories and, oh wow, did you deliver: Readers sync their teeth into 'junk' gizmos
Device good, app garbage
I have a FitBit Versa which I *was* really happy with until recently. The battery lasts four days, auto activity detection works and its waterproof and until July I was a very happy customer. Then it stopped syncing and getting notifications. I contacted fitbit support via chat and after a fruitless hour uninstalling and reinstalling the app, rebooting the fitbit etc they suddenly announced my phone is "no longer supported" so tough luck. Great service.
I put the app on my iPad and gave that a go. For first two weeks I was happy, Fitbit synced perfectly. Then, oh dear, it has stopped syncing again. Every couple of days I have to unpair it in bluetooth and re-pair it to get the app syncing just long enough to get my data over. Then it dies again. If Fitbit don't fix this garbage app I will never buy one again!
Re: Perhaps there is a positive story here as well?
1) and 2) and price gouging definitely! I buy second hand phones now. £900 new is just too much for a "flagship" phone, that if its an android may only get major OS updates for 1 or 2 years. Apple's flagships even higher prices but at least they get supported longer I guess.
The problem is they rely on annual upgrades to prop up revenues and now there is little innovation people just replace when broken. I don't need new meaningless "features" like animated emojis every year. I think we'll start to see concerns on sustainability hurt the market (and all of retail too). Making phones and shipping them all over the world, then landfilling due to designed-in obsolescence, is very polluting and I think more and more people will worry about this. I'd be looking to make money out of repair and recycle operations if I was a phone maker, and make the damn things easier to fix.
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.
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"!
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.
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...
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
"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
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.