* Posts by BigAndos

309 posts • joined 12 Jun 2012

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

BigAndos

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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4G found on Moon

BigAndos

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

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!"

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

BigAndos

Procurement departments are a waste of space

I needed to get a new Visual Studio license recently for a contractor in my team. Our procurement department quoted me £2500 for the exact same license level that I found for $900 on Microsoft's website. This is private sector as well! Of course I wasn't allowed to buy directly, and after several weeks I'm still waiting for the license.

I really don't get this as other companies I've worked in are similar. Are the waste of space "partners" for companies like Microsoft bribing procurement departments en masse? I appreciate there may be support agreements as well, but I've never been that impressed. We had an issue with a SQL Server DB recently and our very helpful partner eventually responded asking us to send them a copy. Yes sure, we'll send you our multi terabyte DB containing loads of customer data no worries!

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Tesco Mobile does what? Hahahahahahaha. Sorry customers

BigAndos

Tesco mobile have been known for having some of the best customer service scores in the business. Wonder how they'll be doing come 2nd August...

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NHS advertises for digital director at £131k

BigAndos

Re: What IS digital ?

Digital seems to have become a buzzword version of "information technology". If a corporate drone wants to talk about an IT project, it is no longer an IT project but is "Digital enablement" or "Digital transformation".

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'MongoDB ate my containers!'

BigAndos

Re: noSQL

It depends what you're doing. We do a lot of analysis of web tracking data which can be billions of rows. Our SQL server instance may not be able to handle certain queries very quickly or we may not have sufficient disk space to build the right indexes, etc etc.

Something like MongoDB can potentially be much quicker at querying this type of data and is very easy to scale horizontally. As the previous commenter said, if we're looking at billions of rows then even a thousand rows not being returned isn't much of an issue. There is also the fact that web tracking isn't perfect (incognito mode, Ghostery etc) so the dataset will be incomplete anyway.

For any kind of financial / KPI reporting then ACID compliant RDBMS all the way please.

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SELECT features FROM bumf... What's new in MS SQL Server 2016

BigAndos

Re: Oh wont someone think of the EULA

Blimey, another one for the "excellent reasons for your SQL server not to have unfettered internet access" list!

I look forward to upgrading to this version and giving some of the new features a spin, but knowing my company I won't get the chance until the day before 2008 goes of support - if at all!

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Android Pay debuts in UK

BigAndos

Re: I really don't get it...

I'll probably start using Android Pay instead of my Oyster card for TfL. At present I have three contactless cards and my Oyster in my wallet which can make it a bit fiddly at the ticket barrier. I can just set my main debit card up on android pay and I think it'll be a bit quicker for me to get my phone out of my pocket than take my wallet out and fish about for the right card.

In App payments will be useful too. Again not critical but slightly easier than having to fish out my card each time. Other than that I don't think I see a massive use case for me personally!

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EU vetoes O2 and Three merger: Hutchison mulls legal challenge

BigAndos

Re: It's a cartel anyway ......

Yeah there is almost no competition these days. The only differentiation is network coverage, I tend to use whichever operator has the best signal where I happen to live/work.

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Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

BigAndos

Re: I don't mind Windows 10, but what's next?

I have been inspired to actually pull my finger out and do some reading up. It seems the telemetry can be disabled, which isn't an easy process but is at least possible. In any case it doesn't sound much worse than the data gathered if you use any Android or iOS device without changing defaults. Am I missing something or being thick? It's been a long week so both are possible!

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BigAndos

I don't mind Windows 10, but what's next?

I got Windows 10 almost immediately after it came out as I'm bit of a mug for these things. It is much faster and more responsive than Windows 7 was on my PC so I'll take that for free. I'll admit I haven't bothered to read up on the things people are getting worked up about here but there is nothing I've seen than interferes with my daily use of my PC.

The real question for me is what's next? Windows has been Microsoft's cash cow for years so so what happens for those of us who upgraded to W10? If we are in the "windows as a service" model and updates stay free how does it replace the revenue stream? For example, I paid to upgrade from XP to 7 while keeping the same PC (told you I was a mug). How will they now decide when I stop getting updates for free and I must pay if we are past big Windows version releases?

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