* Posts by Tachisme

6 posts • joined 4 Apr 2019

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still


I installed Catalina on my Mac Mini, and immediately lost all screen output. Apple support could not help me, and I was going to have to take my machine into an Apple Store in London, when I stumbled across an answer on a Reddit forum. It transpires that Catalina doesn’t like some 4K monitors. I had to completely remove the power from my Mac Mini, and then reconnect it, and my monitor started working again. Not a great user experience...

TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t


TalkTalk is awful

I used to work for BT, so I know that one of the reasons they were more expensive is because they invested more in backhaul than their competitors. TalkTalk is renowned for underinvesting - they remind me of the Ruskin quote:

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.”

When I left BT, I lost my free employee broadband, so I looked for a cheap alternative (I’m rarely home, so I just wanted 38/10, rather than 80/20, and I don’t need any ‘value added services). I joined Direct Save Telecom, and while I’m content with it, it has brought home the reality of differing levels of investment in backhaul and core networks: at peak times, it’s faster for me to use my iPad on 4G than it is to use broadband. They also have tried a couple of upselling gimmicks/mistakes, which I avoided but which I thought were slightly underhand.

Out of interest, who’s the best *cheap* provider? Direct Save Telecom seem decent value, the above caveats notwithstanding, but I was wondering if there are alternatives, mainly for family members who are more reliant than me.

UK mobile companies score £220m cashback from Ofcom over spectrum fee dispute


There is no purpose to spectrum pricing than a tax by any other name

(From the FT comments:)

The article lacks a bit of  context. All the 3G, 4G and now 5G spectrum has been auctioned. The 3G auction raised £22.4 billion, 4G auction raised £2.3B and the 5G auction (part 1) raised £1.3 billion.  It is a nice little Treasury racket as the price of spectrum is now so high that no new network entry is feasible, as we saw in the 5G auction. The 5G spectrum at 3.4 GHz fetched £7.38m per MHz - the same spectrum was sold in 2003 for £175,000 a MHz.

In general the spectrum cost is treated as a capital asset and when spectrum prices go too high, as they did with 3G, the mobile operators directly cut back on the extent of network they initially roll out...one of the reasons 3G coverage was so awful for so long. It is one of the reasons why 5G coverage may be a while reaching you.

The 2G spectrum at 900 MHz was given to the Vodafone and Cellnet free in 1987 in exchange for them investing in the GSM networks early (they had only just rolled out their 1G networks). This led, as a matter of fairness, to the new competitors at 1800 MHz getting their spectrum free. The auction fees in dispute relate to this 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum, where the mobile operators are required to pay an annual fee  based upon a market value, which Ofcom guesstimates. What upset the mobile operators was when Ofcom, acting as the spectrum branch of the Inland Revenue, suddenly jacked the price up. There is no purpose to spectrum pricing than a tax by any other name.

Sky customers moan: Our broadband hubs are bricking it


Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

The reason why ISPs need to see most people's networks is that 99% of customers are not technically capable, and so they blame the ISP whenever anything interferes with their user experience. Unfortunately, that's often due to issues within the home, so contact centre agents need tools to allow them to understand what's happening within the LAN. If all users were as technically capable as the average Register reader, ISPs wouldn't need huge, expensive contact centres, and your broadband costs would be halved! We don't live in that universe, sadly...

Unionised BT workers reject plans to revamp pay, grading structures


Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

This isn't my first post - I've been a users since 2006, and posted dozens of times (the moderators could confirm that; not that they should care). I realised that my user ID might 'out' me though if I were to comment on this story (if cross-referenced to posts on other sites using the same username ), so I changed it. Apparently that's a risk that other people recognised years ago (see below). It's annoying that resets my history on The Register: I hoped it would retain my history, but keep it under new name.

1. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/422715/how-your-username-may-betray-you/

2. https://www.tomsguide.com/us/single-username-risks,news-18288.html

3. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82300834.pdf

[Edit: I've just realised what the issue was - my previously posts were anonymous, so while they're listed in my 'https://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/posts/' section, they're not attributed to me'.]

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BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

I've worked for BT for many years, in a variety of roles. I'm one of the minority who voted in favour of the 'People Framework' (the term for the new conditions).

BT is changing - we recognise that customer service hasn't been good enough. We also recognise that there is work to do to both maintain and improve the value proposition: EE and BT Mobile have the best network of all of the operators, but will it still be the best in five years, i.e. once 5G is rolled out? Not unless we continue to innovate. (Fibre to the premises is a different issue - blame Sharon White and her highly-politicised Ofcom for their refusal to engage with commercial realities, there).

My job is currently at risk, so I'm currently reviewing my options and making myself as employable as possible. The redundancies and reorganisation are, however, necessary. We can't whinge that BT isn't efficient enough, and/or charges too much, and then also complain that they dare to address this by reorganising and becoming more efficient. Well, we can, but we shouldn't because it's ignorant at best, and hypocritical at worst. I therefore voted in favour of the changes: BT will remain the key communications provider in the UK for decades, and we should all hope that it succeeds. It will only do that if it can evolve.


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