* Posts by RobO

7 posts • joined 21 Oct 2013

Cameron co-opts UK mobile industry for EU Remain campaign


Roaming charges will increase

I was on holiday in Switzerland 2012. A beautiful Non-EU member. The few times I dared to enable data on my smartphone O2 instantly texted me a message saying that data would be charged at £6 per Mbyte. Not so when I travel within the EU.

I'm happy that the EU has exercised power to curb what is nothing less than blatant highway robbery.

Powershell Terminals


NT kernel supports multiple OS flavors

Interesting with all the comments suggesting various UNIX emulation layers as to cater for BASH users.

Back in the 90's NT was heralded as being able to support different OS subsystems, Win32, OS2 and Posix programmes. While Win32 of course was the dominant one and OS2 went to oblivion the Posix subsystem actually lingered on for quite some time as subsystem for UNIX (SFU on Windows XP and SUA on later Windows versions). Interix was the company that provided GNU tools and compilers for free until a few years ago.

If Microsoft had wanted to persuade UNIX fans to use Windows, SUA could have been a huge boon had they not rather sadly decided to kill off the Posix subsystem in Windows altogether. It is still present in Windows 7 Ultimate. On Windows 8 it is only present in enterprise version but marked as deprecated. Granted, the integration with the rest of the OS was far from perfect and always had the taste of being an alpha-version. It wasn't a stable environment on which to run production tools and the GNU compiler never went beyond version 3.3 since Microsoft never got around to commit their amendments to the compiler source code to the Free Software Foundation. Likewise the integration with the rest of the OS like the Windows desktop was flaky, inconsistent and unstable.

In spite of all this SUA may still be an alternative if you have a Windows7 Ultimate PC for work and want to use BASH.

Microsoft in 1-year Windows XP survival deal with UK govt


Re: Wasting taxpayer's money again

"More fool you then.

Use your brains and look at switching to an alternative OS.

Still it's not your money, so why bother?"

Yeah right! As if life was that easy.

Try to imagine how many people have heard about Linux let alone are resourceful enough to install it themselves.

Try to imagine the amount of legacy software required to run on a big organisations IT system which has also been ported to Linux.

Both numbers are vanishingly small.

It is indeed deplorable that big organisations are still running XP. However if you want to do business in the real world there is no room for being a shrill purist.

How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem


Stupid decision not to allow 3rd party apps

I own a surface RT tablet and are moderately lukewarm about it. I can understand Microsofts reasons for not allowing 3rd party apps on the platform: If all and sundry could install traditional x86 programs recompiled for ARM then the lack of CPU horsepower would inevitably dissappoint people as they realise the Surface RT isn't geared to be a number cruncher. They might also find their battery running low very quickly. And programs that have not been vetted can of course contain virus.

On the other hand there are plenty of essential 3rd party Win32 programs that are lightweight and do not drain the CPU (until the release of Windows RT 8.1 these could be installed with the jailbreak if they were compiled for ARM) such as the SSH client Putty. Allowing the presence of such programs suddenly makes the Surface RT interesting from a business perspective as the tablet then could be a light-weight or mock-up workbench in the absence of a laptop or a desktop PC. Not permitting the many Win32 productivity 3rd party programs on Windows RT merely renders the Surface RT into yet another media consumption device with few unique selling points that stands out from the competition.

If MS wants Windows RT to succeed it must court their huge base of experienced and until now loyal Win32 programmers and allow them to compile and distribute their programs to the Windows RT platform. This should be without requiring them to purchase expensive developer license and also by not requiring applications having to be distributed through the windows Store.

Fury as OS X Mavericks users FORCED to sync contact books with iCloud


Re: It's not only iCloud. You can also give your data to Google

Well it's not just Google or Apple who want to herd you into their walled gardens. Microsoft are doing exactly the same to people using Windows 8.1. It's very difficult using Windows 8.1 and avoiding setting up a Microsoft account that will sync all your stuff, calendar, contacts emails with Skydrive. In fact, if you do not do this you pay the penalty of not being able to use Skydrive on a Windows 8.1 PC.


Re: If you want to use these products, this is the price you pay.

Problem is that these companies are operating in a rather unregulated fashion. Suppose all car dealers available advertised that they are happy to sell you a car but you must also provide your spare house key for them. Taking the stance that if you don't like that deal then don't buy a car doesn't wash if all other car dealers have the same policy. The consumer doesn't have a choice. Especially not if his hardware is being unwittingly upgraded.

For that reason it would be good if the EU stepped in and regulated the businesses that IT companies Google, Microsoft and Apple are now doing.

Windows 8.1: A bit square, sure, but WAIT! It has a Start button


User account must be convertet to a Microsoft account when using Skydrive

Unlike previous Windows versions it appears that you can only use the Skydrive desktop application if your user account is a Microsoft account. This is of course all wonderful for the less IT savy user such as my mum who will gain all the benefits of a roaming user profile/email/personal settings regardless of what Windows 8.1 PC she uses. But for those who are concerned with privacy this is totally unacceptable. Given all the commotion about NSA and their Prism program there is no justification to make it easier for governments to snoop on peoples files (although they probably already have a backdoor).

Likewise it is hard to imagine enterprises endorsing this. They have their own IT policy. For them to convert user accounts to microsoft accounts seems unimaginable. Skydrive seemed like a great product and very competitive. But with Windows 8.1 my guess is that Dropbox will be seeing a surge of interest among estranged Windows users and reduced interest in upgrading to Windows 8.1 by enterprises.

Yet again Microsoft have shot themselves in the foot.

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