* Posts by spiny norman

300 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2007


Boris Johnson's promise of full fibre in the UK by 2025 is pie in the sky

spiny norman

Won't Broadband be obsolete by then?

I was thinking (aka hoping) that the 5G rollout will make broadband obsolete. Which would mean I could scrap my Infinity contract with BT. Please.

BT 'UK's most powerful Wi-Fi'? Why, fie, for shame! – ads watchdog

spiny norman

Slapped wrists

As with any story involving the ASA, the problem is by the time they've received a complaint, reviewed the evidence and issued their stern talking to and slapped wrist, the ad has been running for 6 months. BT presumably think it's worth risking some ear ache and a mild sting.

I notice they don't claim reliable broadband. That really would be a lie.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

spiny norman

Re: It belongs in a museum

I sent The Centre for Computing History my Franklin Rex organiser, since I no longer had a PCMCIA slot it would fit into. They were embarrassingly grateful.

spiny norman

Re: Vinyl

I sold all my classic rock vinyl years ago, but still have two boxes of classical LPs, including the withdrawn "too slow" Pierre Boulez Beethoven's 5th and several Mahler boxed sets. There doesn't seem to be a market...

spiny norman


The only tech I keep for sentimental reasons is an Atari ST, complete with worn out joysticks and boxes of games, most of which we never got beyond level 1, but kept trying.

Leads and adaptors do get hoarded because they might be useful one day, but on top of that, I don't really trust that throwing stuff in the small appliances bin at the tip will get them recycled responsibly.

I used to use Ebay as a way of recycling tech, until someone "returned" a completely broken version of the working tablet they'd bought from me and Ebay refunded their money, despite photos of two plainly different serial numbers.

Brexit to better bumpkin broadband, 4G coverage for farmers – Gove

spiny norman

This idea that country-dwellers grow food, look after the land etc is so 19th century. Now they're all software developers working from home and investment bankers who only live there one weekend in three. Admittedly software developers do need decent broadband.

IBM CEO Ginni flouts £75 travel crackdown, rides Big Blue chopper

spiny norman

Re: the workers did get something!

I thought you were going to say the carpet was soiled by over-excited managers losing control of their bowels while meeting the CEO.

Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

spiny norman

It's behind you ...

At least it would be good for panto.

BT's Ryan Reynolds helicopter Wi-Fi ads 'misleading', thunders ad watchdog

spiny norman

Re: Given the chance...

I get dropouts even with the wired connection. It's not the BT Hub, I had the same problem with a Billion router, before the Infinity upgrade. A BT CS rep, after multiple circuits of "So your broadband is working." "Yes, now, but it drops at random times" said she would "refresh the system" from their end. I have no idea what she did, if anything, but it didn't drop out for about 3 weeks. Then it started again.

Would you like to know why I get a lot of action at night?

spiny norman

Re: State of the art

Early 1990s I worked with a project manager who acquired a Compaq luggable. We went to Paris to give a demo, he decided the office was easy walking distance from the hotel, but I got to lug the beast. When we arrived, me feeling like I could drink the entire Paris water supply dry, they said "You vud like ze cafe, non?" Yeah, of course I would. And they came with the tiniest cup of thick oily black liquid I have ever seen.

spiny norman

Re: the tissue distribution

How many questions do you need to ask, though? Having once arrived for a demo to find the power was supplied through round-pinned 3-pin sockets. And, having played with a band, you'd be amazed at the number of pub landlords who look shocked when you ask for access to electricity.

Brits think broadband more important than mobes, cars or savings

spiny norman

I long ago stopped seeing Which? as either a consumer watchdog or a purveyor of any kind of useful information. You've only got to watch one of their "Free guide to using your PC/Laptop/Tablet" adverts to see their target demographic is people who think they don't get enough spam from Saga.

Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! 'state! hackers!'

spiny norman


Having seen this on the news I logged into yahoo.co.uk to change my password, to be told by the ever helpful Firefox that they don't have a valid certificate for https://uk.mg40.mail.yahoo.com. Fortunately I only use it to soak up junk mail from Facebook and Linkedin, so I guess it doesn't matter that much.

OMG: HPE gobbles SGI for HPC. WTF?

spiny norman


I do get your thinking, but technically it should be "BUYS" as HPE is a single entity and "gobbles", with the punctuation, is more eye-catching. Anyway, for "three-letter mergasm" I'd forgive them anything. Though, shouldn't it be mergegasm?

What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23

spiny norman

Re: German car industry...

Did you work in the UK car industry in the 1970s? I did. It wasn't the workers that designed the Austin Maestro. It wasn't the workers who didn't have a clue what to do when the Japanese started shipping cars with factory-fitted radios. It wasn't the workers who saddled Jaguar with Austin-Morris management, who didn't understand the idea of a quality car, let alone luxury. Of course the strikes didn't help, but they were a symptom of under-investment, poor management and political meddling, not the downfall of the industry.

MPs reiterate risks of mega £10bn Aspire contract overhaul

spiny norman

I'm Puzzled

The government wants large public sector IT contracts to be split into smaller units and handed to a larger number of providers, including SMEs. Part of the rationale being that very large contracts are hard to manage. Then when HMRC tries to do what it's been told to do, PAC rings its hands over how difficult it will be to manage it all. Maybe it's just managing IT contracts that they find hard, never mind how big they are.

These big-name laptops are infested with security bugs – study

spiny norman

Re: HP

upvote for the Collossal Cave reference, and I hate modern corporate web design too.

The PC is dead. Gartner wishes you luck, vendors

spiny norman

Re: "Ultramobile premium"

I'd agree there was a "home computer" market that sold PCs to people who didn't really need one, but there was no viable alternative for what they did need. Now there are alternatives - phones and tablets - they've gone there in droves.

I don't play games, but I still wanted a PC with decent graphics that would drive a big screen that I could actually do stuff on. I ended up with what I suppose you'd call a mid-range gaming machine, which I didn't get from one of the big vendors. I'm ok with Windows 10, but it was nice not to have a load of other sponsored junk to remove.

Rampant robot tries to rip my clothes off

spiny norman


Thanks for pointing that out. I actually hadn't noticed the joke.

Barbie-brained Mattel exec phell for phishing, sent $3m to China

spiny norman

Re: Blonde moment

The shop link to "Entrepreneur Barbie" fails. Maybe she sold the Lemonade Stand business to Google. No sign of "Venture Capitalist Barbie" either.

BT blames 'faulty router' for mega outage. Did they try turning it off and on again?

spiny norman

Why it took so long to fix ....

They ordered the new router from Argos with same-day delivery.

BT broadband is down: Former state monopoly goes TITSUP UK-wide

spiny norman

All fixed by 17:30?????

In the wilds of rural Warwickshire it went down at about 3pm and reappeared on the stroke of midnight.

Does anyone know what their broadband costs? The ASA hopes to change that

spiny norman

Proof at last

>> Parker said .... because advertising works better when it’s trusted ....

So advertising doesn't work then.

Team Microsoft: Device Police... 'Are you pumped? I'm pumped'

spiny norman

Odd one out

My guess is it's "Are you pumped? I'm pumped", as that's a line from a UK TV car rental advert.

Laminate this: Inside Argos' ongoing online (r)evolution

spiny norman

Re: Dying

Conversely, my kids, growing up in the 80s and 90s, couldn't imagine how anyone could write "a letter to Santa Claus" without the Argos catalogue to hand. Including the item codes also made life a lot easier for Santa.

spiny norman

Re: Not Yodels fault?

When my monitor was delivered recently, the bell rang and I went to the door, to see the Yodel driver heading back to the van. So, based on past experience, I yelled at him not to go. He said he wasn't leaving, on a high value item he wasn't allowed to bring the parcel out of the van until the customer opened the door. He seemed like a nice guy and I really wanted to believe him.

Using complicated electrical devices to curry favour with brats – the new black?

spiny norman

Re: What's wrong with that image?

This is really odd. While I've definitely noticed policemen getting younger, if that picture is to be believed, GCSE students are getting a lot older.

More UK broadband for bumpkins, but have-nots still ain’t happy

spiny norman

Why is direct connection to the exchange a problem?

spiny norman

No pat on the back here

I'm in a quite small, somewhat rural town in the desolate wilderness of South Warwickshire. While investigating the availability of superfast broadband, I noticed that the housing estates around the edges can get it, but in the centre of town we don't. After a lot more searching I found the likely reason - the housing estates are connected to cabinets, in the centre we're connected directly to the exchange. Apparently this makes us even more difficult and uneconomic to get fibre to. As far as I could see, hand-wringing and excuses are the nearest we will get to a solution.

What can't sell Galaxy S6s and keeps going down on you? Samsung and its profits

spiny norman

Re: They make crap phones that's why

I replaced an awful old Galaxy S3 with an HTC One M9. I'm very happy with it. The camera actually isn't great, but that isn't what I have a phone for. If you're into selfies, which I'm not, or video calls, the front camera is really good.

I also have a Galaxy Tab S. I had to install a 3rd party launcher on it to hide the awful flipboard screen, but otherwise it's been fine. You can't really generalise about manufacturers, some models are good and some aren't.

BT hands £129m back to UK.gov after beating rural broadband targets

spiny norman

Bring back the GPO

The whole telecoms infrastructure in this country seems to be a complete mess. I do get moderately fast broadband in the deep wilds of rural Warwickshire, but there's no sign of anything I'd call super fast. The mobile signal comes and goes with the wind, but I rarely find it's much better when travelling. The other day I almost fainted with surprise when the connection showed 4G, but I was right next to Heathrow.

Accenture still a little peckish as it snaps up digi biz Chaotic Moon

spiny norman

Hyperbole is the new Understatement

"Accenture acquires Chaotic Moon studios, radically changing the course of human history and business forever."

"The only thing more awesome than Chaotic Moon is dinosaurs. After developing virtually supernatural dinosaur technology that we can't discuss, Accenture bought us."

Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

spiny norman

Little boxes made of ticky tacky

Not everyone lives in modern, fully insulated homes. It is difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature with single-glazed sash windows and single-skin brick/timber/wattle walls. I imagine Nest or EcoBee would help keep a more even temperature, but I'm as sceptical as others that it would save much money.

Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

spiny norman

Lost and gone forever

I do try to keep up with technology, but you lost me at "bitcoin".

HMRC ditches Microsoft for Google, sends data offshore

spiny norman

Re: Great idea...

Don't bet against it, so long as it's cheap.

Quiet, please – HP waves baton for 'composable' IT

spiny norman

Different work?

I suppose it's too much to expect an IT exec to understand the analogy he's using.

I'm just about to release I tune I've written called "You Did It My Way". It may sound superficially like the song Sinatra recorded, but it's faster, louder and in a different key. I shall call Martin Fink as an expert witness when the lawsuit comes to court.

What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?

spiny norman

Cheap shots

In the entire history of corporate logo changes, has there ever been one that couldn't be ridiculed to some extent? I can't think of one. One the positive side, a new logo is a rich source of slightly cheap humour for just about everyone who wasn't involved in creating it.

I'm no expert on branding, but, looked at seriously, this does seem to have some problems. One is that the green rectangle, by itself, isn't uniquely recognisable as HP. Many corporate logos incorporate a symbol along with the company name, but the symbol is usually capable of standing by itself.

The other is using the name Hewlett Packard. We've been led to believe the new company will be called HP Enterprise; has that changed?

Google: Go ahead, XP stalwarts, keep on using Chrome safely all YEAR

spiny norman

It's the little things

My wife has severe visual impairment, which she has struggled to adapt to, and one of the things that has kept her going is the Internet Backgammon and other games on Windows XP. I thought I could upgrade her PC to Win 7, as those games are still there, but, guess what, they "improved" the user interface, introducing 3D textures that just make everything harder for her to see. So she's back on XP, while I work out what to do.

'It's not layoffs, it's operationalising our strategy'

spiny norman

Re: Operationalising our strategy

For some odd reason, the people who make public comments like this always assume the problem is below them or around them. If they do own mirrors, they don't use them, or not for that anyway.

Lib Dems wheel out Digital Rights Bill pledge as election sweetener

spiny norman

Re: Logic

There's policies, and then there's pre-election pledges. Some people seem to think the LibDems made the tuition fees issue such a strong commitment in their election campaign that it should have been a line they would not cross. Whether it would have been worth bringing the coalition down over is another matter, but some people clearly think it would.

Europe drags, as Accenture posts steady growth

spiny norman


All US$ reporting vendors are having trouble in Europe, due to the strengthening dollar vs the Euro. Take out the currency factor, 2% decline turns to 9% growth.

Complaints against ISPs and mobe firms are up by a fifth — reports

spiny norman

What comes around

And Plusnet is owned by ....


UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

spiny norman

Re: "four to six million recorded telephone calls a day"???

On the basis some company like this phones my landline and my mobile, sometimes several times a week, I'm not that surprised.

If the ICO could also raid the company that thinks I should claim for injuries in an accident, when I wasn't even in the car at the time, I would be very happy. Actually, they could also raid the insurance company that sold the data. Even better, I can tell them which one that is.

Cut a few BILLION off projected IT spend, m'kay? – Gartner mages

spiny norman

Re: In other words...

I'm a bit puzzled too. Most forecasts I've seen assume constant exchange rates for future periods. Unless what they actually changed is the 2014 base, in which case the 2015 growth would change too.

World's largest ship swallows 900 MEGATINS of baked beans

spiny norman

Re: If, while travelling at top speed....

Isn't the height of the wall less important than the thickness? When you say solid, I can imagine the wall would have to be pretty thick before the brontesaurus would even notice the collision, assuming it was head on.

As Leslie Phillips used to say in The Navy Lark, "Left hand down a bit!"

spiny norman

Problem of scale

In the BBC article, the engine pictured is supposed to be 17.2m high and the bloke in overalls and a hard hat standing next to it is 1.85m tall. So the engine is as tall as 9.3 blokes in overalls stacked one on top of the other. But when I attempt to replicate this scientifically in Powerpoint, I can only fit just over 8 men into the stack. It's this sort of disregard for accuracy that undermines the credibility of the whole measurement system.

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

spiny norman

Presumably those "desktop" connections in Sweden were all laptops.

Bullish Vodafone barges back into UK consumer broadband market

spiny norman

Once well respected Demon

Tell me about it. In the Thus era, Demon messed up the direct debit and didn't collect my monthly payment for a year. Maybe I should have noticed, but the first I knew was when they sent a very nasty debt collection agency after me. By the time they apologised and offered token compensation I'd signed up with BT.

Thing I don't understand about Vodafone's mobile signal is, in my home office I can get a reasonable signal, but the direction I have to point the phone to get it changes every day. What do they do, drive the mast around on the back of a truck, or swing the antenna round from day to day, so everyone gets their fair share of lousy signal?

eBay bans CD sales of metal band Burzum, citing offensive material

spiny norman

Brown Sugar

There's plenty of people who think "Brown Sugar" is racist and mysogynistic. We're lucky we can still buy "Sticky Fingers".

IDC busts out new converged systems charts, crowns Oracle as Platform King

spiny norman

For comparison?

You can't really compare a market share ranking with a magic quadrant.