* Posts by JimWin

40 posts • joined 21 Jul 2014

Spavined RadioShack to file for bankruptcy next month – report


Bardwells - now there's a trip down memory lane

As a yoof in the 60's, I lived in Sheffield and Bardwells was the Mecca for all things electronic. It got me hooked on electronics and hi-fi and led me along a path that led to engineering qualifications and a rewarding work life. RadioShack came along a bit later but it sucked even in the early days so I'm not at all surprised about their demise.

Ofcom promises to have details on duct and pole access by summer


Separate Services from Infrastructure

Radio provides airwaves that are regulated by OffComm so that multiple service providers can be allocated specific frequencies for content delivery. The same should apply to wired networks. The devil in the detail is that BT has had a long time to build their own infrastructure so they probably regard it as theirs alone. But now that BT's cabling is now under OpenReach and regulated by OFCOM, the opportunity is there to separate the delivery service from the content services. Simple in principle but probably a dog to get all the interested parties to sing from the same hymn sheet.

David Bowie: Musician, actor... tech admirer


He has left us with an amazing legacy

I have all his albums and I can pick any one and hear music that spans time. In the classical world, that's a given, but Bowie stands head and shoulders above the regular 'pop' world as the creator of not just songs, but a wonderful musical legacy. He will be sorely missed.

Apple CEO: Fandroids are BINNING Android in favour of IPHONES


Choice rather than upgrade

I have both Sony Android and Apple iPhone out of choice and history. Because I live in a not-spot area, both are PAYG. The fruity mobe is a classier product, but the android just as functional. The Android is also cheaper and more dispensable. So when doing outdoor sports or other outdoor activities, it's the android phone. When I'm out on business or socialising, it's the iPhone. I don't consider the iPhone to be an upgrade. Both serve their purpose so I'm not binning my Android.

New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault


Re: Maths != IT

It depends on what you want your program to do. Modern software is very capable for a wide range of applications from trivial to highly complex. Some applications *do* require a good grasp of maths, others not. However, all programming requires the application of logic (hence flow charts, analysis tools etc.) and logic is defined by maths. Programming also allows sequential logic such as decision trees. Like a lego kit, you can make software to do whatever you want. But some programming is mathematical by its nature. So IT *is* maths, but of a specialised kind. IMO, it is helpfull to understand the maths so you can a) be precise about the problem you are trying to solve, b) you can effectively and efficiently implement the software and c) you can prove to yourself and other parties that your program does what it claims to do. I agree that Maths != IT, but IT = Maths.

Apple: Samsung ripped off our phone patent! USPTO: What patent?


Rounded Edges

Well this had me dipping into the black hole of now defunct devices stored under my desk.... Sony Clie *2 (NX70 & TH55) and Psion *2 (Revo & Series 5). They, like most gadgets, have rounded edges. The fruit company must be desperate if the patent is about the special shape of the curves.

Vodafone sales dip, waits for fixed broadband to kick in



In contrast, my ADSL connection has been solid so far. No reboots; just works. I was with Demon in earlier times, but when they went bust I moved over to BT for a while. So I was very glad to see Demon resurrected. Though I guess many might view BT as not much in the way of competition as their user experience is pants IMO. As part of Vodafone, I hope they continue to 'live long and prosper' :)

PS - the recent re-install works better than it used to - perhaps due to our village exchange recently being upgraded as part of the drive to improve the rural digital network.

Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again


Patience rewarded...

Ditto. Let's hope the probe is now able to finish its job. I'm still in awe about the whole mission and with it being European rather than the US or Russia. Great work guys and gals.

Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker


Re: PVR vs catch-up

AndrueC, yep, you can skip over them. But last year, ITV4 broadcasting one of the grand (cycle) tours, said adverts were their lifeblood and they could detect ad-skipping. Not sure how, but I suspect some post broadcast analysis of consumer behaviour. I guess many, like myself, were using their PVR's to skip ads. Anyway, this year no sign of any cycling on ITV4 so far. I hope that's not a sign, but if so, skipping ads could prove self-defeating.

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly


Re: Registration bias

No - the registration process was to ensure that each voter was who they were supposed to be, with the aim to reduce electoral fraud. Many more people are now mobile within the UK and also Europe and beyond. The electoral register is there to establish the who, where and status for each voter.

Amstrad founder Lord Sugar quits 'anti-enterprise' Labour party


Re: Hmm

Once your constituents have voted you in, you represent everyone in the constituency. You cannot ignore those who didn't vote for you. You would in breach of the code of conduct.

Phablet for the biz fleet with easy typing: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL



Most mobile phones are music players too. Indeed, where I live - almost no signal - music storage makes the phone useful. Ditto when travelling and getting a patchy signal. My Xperia P has 16G and that's just enough for a basic library. 8G is minimal.

E-voting and the UK election: Pick a lizard, any lizard


The 2nd chamber serves a different purpose

The HoL is there to act as a peer review of the legislatiive output from the Commons. By having experienced parlimentarians, business leaders etc. review legislation from the lower house, there's a chance to fix any bugs before publication. It's a well accepted process copied by many organisations, standards bodies etc. The moniker 'House of Lords' is a hangover from earlier times. Giving a provisional document a second review by an independent group of experienced people is an important component of due process and reduces the likelihood of bugs getting through.

Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date


Reception issues???

Given the famously mountainous terrain and fjords, how did they get the signal reach for DAB? Or is it a case of "Sorry, there is no reception at this time" for remote towns and villages? If they do have full coverage, we need to understand how they got there and if it is practical and economic. Maybe lots of micro repeaters for the valleys. A brave move if it's been done well.

Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes


Re: Privacy

Excellent reference that encapsulates the issues thoroughly AFAICS. So if the Dutch can do this, so can we. Perhaps contact with your MP might be in order.

Ministry of Fun tries again on mobile mast planning permission


Geographic coverage increased to 90 per cent

So finally, a proper measure of mobile coverage has been accepted - geographic rather than population. After all, mobile comms are for getting out and about, not phoning from home. Let's hope the MoF get's this agreed with the service providers asap so they can start to fill the gaps and we can see improved mobile connectivity.

Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost


Bricks and Morter

Virtual here, virtual gone. Maybe the reason banks use buildings for branches is that it builds trust. Chasing an e-bank is always going to be tough. Am I surprised? Not really. And where are the independent regulators to make sure this virtual money is sound money? Oh, there are none? Well there's a surprise.

It's a nice idea, but to be acceptable there needs to be regulation together with financial backup to make sure the virtual bank can be trusted.

UK's landmark mobile not-spot deal already falling apart


Re: I could never understand..

There would be no Ministry for Aerials. The broadcasters share the TV transmission network that is operated by the IBA. Hence a single network operator servicing all broadcasters. The same model really ought to be used for mobiles - one network provider paid for by the mobile operators to create and maintain the shared network. So I agree with Amiee.

And re Network Rail - well the train companies of old did create and manage their own tracks. It took years to harmonise the track gauge (though Brunel was probably right using wide gauge track, but that's another story).

Sony hack was good news for INSURERS and INVESTORS


Sony Pictures (SPE)

Sony acquired the Culver City site around 1990 and named it Sony Pictures Entertainment. See http://www.sonypicturesmuseum.com/studio/timeline for more.

Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers


Re: Sodding Pace - now permanent shitlist members

I had the same issue with my Humax - hard drive death. It was easy enough to replace, though you do need a streamable hard drive. The replacement has worked for much longer than the original (fingers crossed). And, yes, Humax - seriously!

Should spectrum hog TV give up its seat for broadband? You tell us – EU


Re: The point about Broadcast TV

Quote from TV licensing: "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder."

So even if you rarely watch live tv from any source, regardless of the transmission method, you still need a TV licence.

NHS refused to pull 'unfit for purpose' Care.data leaflet


Opt out?

There was a standard opt-out document available some time ago. I completed mine and gave it to my GP.

I've never had any receipt or any other form of acknowledgement. I wonder if such requests were respected or ignored. My guess is the latter.

Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge


Ok, so Google is viewed by many as THE search engine. But it's just a well known and widely used tool. Users do have a choice. So they're suing because they think it's a monopoly? I beg to disagree; case dismissed.

Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows


Spectrum segmentation

It was always a quick fix and not properly thought out. Terrestrial TV transmission uses shared resources with the IBA maintaining the network under Ofcom regulation and that ensures near guaranteed reception for all - even in remote areas.

This is where the current mobile system fails badly with coverage always quoted in % of population and not % of area. There is some mast sharing between the operators, but it's not as effective as a properly administered newtwork operation with the mandate to ensure 99.x% areal coverage. To my way of thinking, the current wireless model is broken and may only be fixed if one operator (or preferrably an industry regulator) has, or is given overall responsibility for the network for use by all operators.

Confused about 5G? So are we, say carriers


3G anyone?

Making calls where I live is just about possible by hanging out of one particular upstairs window in my home and even then reception is fragile. So the mobe is almost solely limited to text messages unless I get out of our valley to a local town.

Love the ideas for 4G and 5G but how's about a decent level of service on plain old 3G?

I was hoping that some good would come from PM Cameron finding out that his mobile was practically useless in the South West. But now he's back at the office, maybe he forgot.

Trevor contemplates Consumer Netgear gear. BUT does it pass the cat hair test?


Netgear - not so good

I "upgraded" from a 2Mbps to a 8Mbps Netgear and it could not handle the long rural BT line in my part of the world. Went back to a 2Mbs Thomson and all was ok so confirming a poor S/N ratio was probably the main issue with the Netgear. After searching around I eventually replaced both with a Billion Bipack7800N. I've never looked back. It works like a charm with an excellent line performance together with easy access to a comprehensive setup menu giving user access to a number of advanced features. But I guess not too many users know this brand.

The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes


Re: That's why everybody should have backup policies...

In my case, I have no access to an off-site location, so I use a fire-safe as an alternative. I backup to partitions on both the computer hard drive and also to an external drive. I (try to) keep at least regular weekly backups on the external drive and rely on a fire-safe to protect against the worst possibilities.

No strategy is infallible so I figure the bottom line is to use redundancy to protect against the worst cases.

Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too


Re: Pirate TV

I worked for the IBA V&C Labs at the time Murdock started to ruffle British broadcast feathers. The IBA had mandated multiplexed Y,Cb,Cr analogue components for BSB, while Sky stuck with PAL to the annoyance of many in the broadcast industry.

These were, of course analogue signals at that time. During this same period, Y,Cb,Cr/4:2:2 digital production was being developed initially by the IBA and followed by the BBC. Some years later, digital transmission adopted Y,Cb,Cr components and finally (and thankfully) killed off analogue PAL.

So the original Sky was disruptive in one sense. But eventually even Sky had to move to component colour when it adopted digital transmission based on ITU-R Rec 601 (Y,Cb,Cr/4:2:2) video sources.

Droids - everywhere! Is Apple really even in the game any more?


We should not forget that both Apple & Android support the mobile phone networks so, in that sense, they are simply consumer comunication platforms that additionally support apps. From the networks perspective, they could not care less which, if any, 'wins'. So this is not a Beta-v-VHS battle because the primary goal of both platforms is to make calls and send text messages and all mobile phones will do that whatever phone is used. Users will not lose out on that basic premise. It's also the case that many apps are, or can be, developed for whatever mobile platform is desired and these apps are almost entirely independent from the network choice**. So I believe there are no real losers here as long as the networks are happy to take any viable mobile device.

** yes, there are some network specific apps, but that is not the thrust of my point here.

Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are out of luck


Not just MS_Win....

For the first time since I started using Macs in the pre-OS-X days, I've decided not to 'upgrade' my Mac from 10.8.5. The reason is that 10.9 forces user accounts to sync only using the 'cloud'. Support is not a problem in my case. MS is not the only company to see user tardiness. Sometimes, "upgrades" are not the right choice. By sticking with 10.8.5, I can continue to sync my accounts locally without recourse to a 'cloud' service.

Japan tells operators: Put a SIM lock in a new mobe? You'd better unlock it for free


No locking on PAYG

Living in a rural area with an unreliable connection, a contract makes no sense so it's PAYG. It also has the advantage that the carrier/phone supplier, couldn't care 2 hoots as there's no point in locking.

Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road


Tor Relays

"On the other hand, it's interesting to see the difference in bias between news.bbc.co.uk and bbc.com"

You can read both news channels on any network. Like BBC news v BBC World, they sre targetting different markets (UK v RotW).



One reason I studiously ignored the MacOS Mountain Lion update was an objection to being forced to synchronise my user accounts addresses and calendars off-site. I had 2 concerns - privacy and security. I'll continue with SyncTogether thank you (even though it's no longer supported).

SHATTERED: Apple's jilted glass supplier to shut down sapphire ops


Re: Sapphire is unnecessary for the application

I smashed my Seiko watch screen while on holiday. Turns out it used sapphire glass. Replacement for the screen (plus other bits) was £100. So it's not indestructable - even on a small screen. It would clearly be more prone to cracking on a larger screen and any replacement would probably be much more expensive and difficult to fit.

Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?


The coffee brand is also a big factor

Having discovered Douwe Egberts coffee on a trade show visit to Amsterdam, I've stuck with in the 20 or so years since. Then my son brought back a milk frother from a school trip to Italy. One heavenly cafeteria coffee with frothed milk every morning.

PS - yes Starmucks is the worst coffee out there.

Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol


Re: Exercise to strengthen back muscles to allow corect posture

I had a bad and bent back (scoliosis) some years ago and eventually had a discectomy to remove a disc bulge that was pressing on a nerve in the spinal column. It was caused by sitting down all day in the office chair (weakening the back) then running and cycling for recreation (and stressing the weakened back). The medics said the solution was to do daily stretches for flexibility and exercises to build up muscle strength in the back. With help from a sports injuries book, I started a 20 minute daily routine of exercises and muscle stretches (all standing and floor work - only needing a free wall and a floor mat). They worked wonders. As a result, I no longer have any back trouble (fingers x'ed). Folks on this forum are probably, like myself, sitting over a keyboard for much of the day. The human body wasn't designed for this. So we need to mitigate issues such as back pain through strength and flexibility. Not proselytizing BTW, just what worked for me.


Re: Exercise to strengthen back muscles to allow corect posture

I had a bad and bent back (scoliosis) some years ago and eventually had a discectomy to remove a disc bulge that was pressing on a nerve in the spinal column. It was caused by sitting down all day in the office chair (weakening the back) then running and cycling for recreation (and stressing the weakened back). The medics said the solution was to do daily stretches for flexibility and exercises to build up muscle strength in the back. With help from a sports injuries book, I started a 20 minute daily routine of exercises and muscle stretches (all standing and floor work - only needing a free wall and a floor mat). They worked wonders. As a result, I no longer have any back trouble (fingers x'ed). Folks on this forum are probably, like myself, sitting over a keyboard for much of the day. The human body wasn't designed for this. So we need to mitigate issues such as back pain through strength and flexibility. Not proselytizing BTW, just what worked for me.

There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES


And yet....

Line of Duty, Edge of Darkness (currently being re-run), Broadchurch, Doc Martin and more. (Some) american videos are good, but British Isles are not a quality-free zone and a good number of British shows head westwards over the pond and elsewhere. If 'Europe' excludes the Brits, then that might be a different matter.

That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly


Use a computer....

I use a 3rd party app on my mac (Android File Transfer FWIW) for loading and unloading files. It gives a browser like view of everything on the phone (which, btw is rooted). If I wanted to sell my phone, I'd do a factory reset then check what was left and remove it with AFT.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019