* Posts by Bassey

1131 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Sep 2008


Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?


Pot, Kettle, Black

Your theory is kind of spoilt a little by the UK's dismal showing. You know the UK? That offshore Tax Haven

Smile? Not bloody likely: Day 6 of wobbly services and still no hint to UK online bank's customers about what's actually wrong


In their defense, I've been with smile since they started (about 2 decades?) and this is the first issue I've ever had. However, it's a pretty huge one. We're in the middle of moving house and being unable to make payments to surveyors, advocates etc is a nightmare.

I worked in banking for 13 years and frequently tried to convince the powers that be that a Bank is simply an IT company whose services involve moving money. IT should be funded as the main priority and technically knowledgeable people should be on the Board. This was ignored and the bank went under about 5 years ago - although not IT related. Damn it.

But, unfortunately, Banks are run by bankers and accountants. It is incredibly rare to see an actual IT person at board level (the IT "Director" usually has no background in IT) and therefore IT is regarded as a burdensome cost; until something like this happens.

'Nun' drops goat head on pavement outside Cheltenham 'Spoons


Alternative interpretation

You are assuming some malicious intent which seems unfair. The Nun could simply have been taking a Goat's head to her preferred place of worship for a perfectly normal religious ceremony which happened to required the use of a goats head. She dropped it on the way past Weatherspoons and, having realised her mistake, popped back to collect it. Nothing weird, awful or nefarious to see here. Please carry on with your ordinary lives.

Waiter, what's this? SpaceX delivery delayed for a day by moldy food


Re: Spelling!

> the article alternates between the two spellings at random.

How do you know it's random? Have you even bothered to check for a pattern?

iPhone XS: Just another £300 for a better cam- Wait, come back!


Naming confusion

I've read both the reviews and yet, mere seconds later, I couldn't tell you whether the XS or the XR is supposed to be the high end one. Yet I'm one of the very few people on this planet sad enough to actually give a shit. Apple may annoy the living crap out of a lot of people but marketing is something they have always done brilliantly. Their new ads are awful and even somebody with a general enthusiasm for this nonsense can't make head or tail of their naming.

Something is wrong.

Xiaomi anarchy in the UK: Chinese tat-flinger wants to slip its cheapo flagships in Brit pockets


Re: So....?

They're really good on updates. Every couple of months for at least two years (not owned one longer than that so don't know if they carried on). Certainly better than Huawei who tend to have an update waiting when you first turn the phone on and then.......

The Chinese are here: Xiaomi to bring phones to the UK next month


Excellent phones

I've been using Xiaomi phones for a few years now. They are generally excellent and we'll supported with updates and security patches. Indeed, my entire family is now in Xiaomi phones and fitness bands/GPS watches. The one downside though, if the MIUI launcher. The interface is nice and there are some useful fwatures but the power-saving is over-the-top and then some. For example, try using any app that needs to have the GPS active and MIUI will helpfully kill the GPS service after a few minutes to "save power". And it isn't a trivial matter to turn this off. They are brilliant phones and hard to beat it n terms of bang for your buck but MIUI is certainly "quirky".

BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'


Mind your head

I once cracked my head on a "please mind your head" sign at a Doctor's surgery.

No better place to do it!

The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB


Test Area

I worry that they will do as they did with Freeview and use us poor sods in the Isle of Man as the test for switch-over. We don't really have DAB yet, just as we didn't have full Freeview - only one of our two transmitters had been enabled for Freeview at the time they did the digital switch and even that was missing most of the channels. Imagine my relief when, six months later, we finally got an (almost) full digital TV service and it turned out I hadn't actually missed anything important.

Huawei P20 Pro: Triple-lens shooter promises the Earth ...


Red Snow

Pretty sure that snow is meant to be red. Looks like the photo was taken at sunset and the snow is just reflecting the red/orange light of the sky. In fact, wasn't that the point of that promotional shot? To show the camera picking up detail under far from ideal lighting?

Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer


School Days

I was at school in the early eighties when we received a Mac Classic. And I distinctly remember, as part of our very first lesson, being taught that you could pick the mouse up and move it without the cursor moving. Of course, we were kids and had figured this out through experimentation (messing about). But the "IT" teacher - a Maths teacher re-trained - clearly thought this was beyond magical.

That was back in the days when you had to regularly clean the balls on your mice to prevent an accumulation of fluff.

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return


Absolutely. If I want a "better" camera app I'll go to the play store, download half a dozen, play around with them, pick my favourite and uninstall the rest. That's why we have app stores.

NASA reconfirms 2019 will see first launch of Space Launch System


House of Cards

That music seemed to "Borrow" quite heavily from the House of Cards intro. Let's hope that isn't an omen!

BOFH: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back


Best is sometime

They've been improving for a year or more but this was the best in many many years. Loved it.

Disney plotting 15 more years of Star Wars


Re: Money, Money, Money

Yes, whereas the originals were a charity project from our generous benefactor Mr Lucas.

Honestly? I can't think of many statements more ridiculous than "I won't watch X film because they are trying to make money.".

You really need to stop taking yourself and your Ninja-level Sci-Fi appreciation so seriously.

Huawei Nova: A pleasant surprise in a 5-inch phone


Re: Headphone volume

I don't have the Nova but the last Huawei Phone I had DID have a limit set when you plugged in your headphones but it very politely asked if you were sure when you tried to go above its limit, warned you it might damage your hearing but then let you go ahead. My current Xiaomi Redmi S3 Prime does the same thing so maybe it is a (rather more sensible) Chinese solution to the lawsuit problem.

Fitbit picks up Pebble, throws Pebble as far as it can into the sea



There's also a Xiaomi that does a week and I believe the new Meizu does 2 weeks - though only 1 week if the optical HRM is left on.

Blu Vivo 6: Top value trendsetter marred by Chino-English mangle


Re: Come back, Nokia 3310, all is forgiven...

"There's something seriously wrong with the smartphone market when a portable device that only lasts a day before needing a recharge is "impressive"."

Can you explain WHY that is? I see it churned out on here over and over as some kind of self-explaining mantra. But, as far as I can see, for almost everyone +95% of the time, a portable device that lasts a little over a day is perfectly fine. The vast majority of people sleep every day and are usually in a position to plug their phone in to charge whilst asleep. Okay, I may occasionally go camping and, being a weirdo, I do 24hr races where I clearly don't have access to a charger. But that's okay. I'd far rather my phone was optimised for the +95% of use-cases leaving me to carry a battery pack the other -5%. Especially if the alternative is a device optimised for the -5% of use-cases.

It was a similar thing with smart watches. If they won't run for over a year on a watch battery then having to charge it every night is no less convenient than having to charge it once a week; except that you'd quickly get into the habit of charging it every night. Who's going to remember to plug something in just on a Sunday?

WileyFox Swift 2: A new champ of the 'for around £150' market


Xioami Redmi 3S Prime

The Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime is available for about £125. It has almost identical specs to the £189 version of this with fast charging and a 4100mAh battery thrown in. And it arrived from Gear Best with an English ROM and all the google stuff. Been using mine since early August and it is fantastic value. Although, I must admit, some of Xiaomi's default choices in terms of battery saving are a bit "aggressive" to put it mildly. Like, turning GPS off whilst using SatNav if you haven't touched the screen for over 1 minute. Easily rectified in the settings but I can imagine some less technically minded people reaching for the industrial shredder.

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right


Redmi 3S

It looks and has VERY similar specs to the Xiaomi Redmi 3S - which is absolutely no bad thing at all. It seems to be about £30-40 more expensive but you're getting local support, a local ROM and that brilliant screen replacement offer. I'm happy to import from China and pocket the difference but for your average Joe this does look good. Other than waterproofing I look at my Redmi 3S and wonder just what it is that a £600 iPhone/Galaxey/Xperia etc. has that I might be missing.

Basic income after automation? That’s not how capitalism works


Re: Err

"Oddly, the most remarkable change in human life over the past couple of centuries of capitalism has been the massive expansion of leisure time."

That's only partially true. Men have more leisure time. Thanks to the wonders of feminism women have less leisure time than ever before.

Mobile data is getting slower, faster


US Data Rates seemed rubbish

I've just got back from a trip to the US travelling around New York city and then upstate. I used a UK 3 SIM with the "Feel at Home" package which used T-Mobile for roaming. And it was shocking. In New York City I was getting a full 5-bar signal with 4G but it often wasn't fast enough to load google maps. Even getting enough data to call a cab on Uber was a few minutes wait. Upstate things were a bit different. It was often 3G rather than 4 (and occasionally Edge) but at least there was enough bandwidth to get actually things done. But in and around the city (Harlem, Central Park, Upper East Side, Lower Manhatten) data rates were shocking to none-existent. I actually gave up on using mobile data and was just relying on "borrowing" wifi from nearby stores and cafes.

Humanity will only buy 47 smartphones per SECOND in 2016


Re: waiting

Wilefox uses Cyanogen rather than vanilla android but certainly ticks all the other boxes. An Xperia Z3 compact would do it. And if the Sony launcher isn't close enough to vanilla for you, just stick Google Now launcher over it and be done. I've had the Z1 Compact for 2.5 years and still get regular security updates. No plans to replace it until it dies - although I'm tempted to get a Z3 now before stock runs out just so that I have a replacement ready to roll. Won't get the new Z5 as they've removed several of the features that make the Z1&3 so useful to me (ANT+ and wireless charging being the two biggies)

Apple assumes you'll toss the Watch after three years



I'm not sure it is a case of The Reg conveniently ignoring it. Sure, that's what it appears to say but that would make absolutely no sense whatsoever (as the reg points out later). Why would you ignore 2nd hand use when working out a device's environmental life-span? It is in YOUR favour to estimate the device's lifespan as being longer as the environmental impact per year is "total environmental cost" divided by "total lifespan in years".

Amazon Shocker: Firm recalls Fire and Fire Kids power adapters


Re: Was really easy.....

I'm having the same problem. Just contacted them to ask how I replace the second one (although we don't use the second one so I'd happily take the £12 credit). There are also LOADS of people complaining that the code for getting the charger for free doesn't work at checkout. I had it fail for me once but then it worked the next time. Amazon do seem to be doing the right thing - just not very well

Bah humbug. It's Andrew's Phones of the Year


Security Updates

Whilst I've had plenty of phones from Manufacturers who don't update their phones (Huawei being the worst) Sony have been fantastic of late. I've had the Xperia Compact Z1 since release nearly two years ago. I've lost count of the number of updates since then. It is currently on Android 5.1.something. The amazing thing is, though, that despite the fact Sony have not put it on the list of phones receiving an update to 6.0 (and I didn't for one minute think they would) it IS still receiving security updates. I've had two in the last few months, the last just a couple of weeks ago. For a phone that has already been superseded a couple of times and is no longer receiving OS upgrades I think that's worthy of praise.

DS5: Vive la différence ... oh, and throw away the Citroën badge


"Have you not noticed that if you drive at a normal sort of pace, then those plonkers that are trying to race ahead never actually are usually stay in sight for the entire journey? They never actually get very far."

Quite right and there is a very good reason for that. Despite appearances to the contrary (and the odd breakdown) traffic management is quite sophisticated these days. If you have a large, main stretch of city road with lots of traffic lights along it, the best approach is to accelerate very gently and then dawdle along. The timing of the lights along the stretch is designed to encourage this and, when done well, you'll often find the next set of lights turning green as you approach.

The people who design these systems have shown you get a lot more cars through that way than you do if everyone presses down as hard as they can with their right foot all the time. It also saves on fuel and pollutants.

Ring Chime: Needy wireless doorbell or $30 bling t'ing?


Solution to taking up an extra plug

We got a wireless door chime from B&Q a few months ago. Whilst the cheapest one they had required the chime part to take up a mains socket, on the next one up (which we went for) the Chime part had a 2.1A USB port. The Chime is in the living room and has a micro-usb cable permanently attached for use by, well, whoever needs it at the time. Very handy.

On a related, albeit off topic, subject my youngest has got himself a Goodman's radio alarm clock with two USB sockets, both of which are rated at 2A. Brilliantly useful.

Dear do-gooders, you can't get rid of child labour just by banning it


Taking your argument further....

If we take your argument and apply it to another of the proposed problems, the existence of Cowell, I think most would agree he exists because a large group of today's youth are driven by the media to aspire simply to "becoming famous". Therefore, following the Free School Meal solution, we must either meet the incentive or remove the incentive. Making everyone famous is not realistic so we need to remove the desire to become famous. I can see two ways of doing this.

1) Careful regulation of all media to show how becoming famous is not the be all and end all of existence and that the famous are generally no more happy than the rest of us. This all seems a bit far fetched and I don't really see it working in practice

2) A hunger games style elimination of 100 "celebrities" each week or so. That should cut down on the number of people wishing to become a celebrity, provide TV far more watchable than X-Factor or BGT and, as an added bonus, should I be allowed to create the list of "celebrities" I have a sneaking suspicion Cowell will cease to be a problem.

Ahh, economics at work!

If you got Netflix for Miss Marple, you're out of luck (and a bit odd)


The opposite solution

I've almost gone the opposite way. If there is a film or TV series I want to watch out of casual interest I'll find the cheapest DVD copy on eBay, usually for less than £3, watch it and then immediately flog it again. I often break even, rarely lose more than the cost of postage (90p) and occasionally even make a few quid. When they arrive I'm careful to open the jiffy bag without ripping it so I can just pop it straight back in.

The stuff we REALLY want to watch tends to be series on netflix; House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and plenty of others.

Alcatel Idol 3: Holding its own with a pretty decent 5.5 inches



Slightly ironic that you praise them for keeping Bloatware to a minimum and then praise them for the inclusion of Bloatware (SwiftKey). SwiftKey is still Bloatware. The fact that YOU happen to like it and find it useful doesn't change that.

Honor 7 – heir apparent to the mid-range Android crown


Re: I have an Honor 6

Cheers. I was about to ask if Huawei were still as useless as they used to be with software updates. I had one of their's a couple of years ago that was released with one of the buggier Android releases. There were all sorts of promises as to updates "coming soon" but none arrived and I eventually flogged it through eBay. I've had a Sony Z1 compact since which has had several updates (2 major versions and a few "patches") leading me to feel rather wary of the lesser brands.

And yes, I'm aware Huawei is a bigger company than Sony are these days but Sony is high profile enough that it needs to support it's users. Huawei is unheard of outside China so isn't going to suffer bad press from leaving users with bug-ridden phones.

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


Re: Does it really save that much?

According to my heating engineer the simple answer is no. He installed a new heating system for us with a new all-singing all-dancing programmable remote thermostat. It was his son that did all the electronic set up etc for us. He doesn't see the point. According to him the most efficient way to run a modern boiler is to use thermostatic valves on all the radiators. He reckons that, once the valve is set to the correct temperature on each rad. then the boiler will use absolutely bugger-all fuel maintaining the staus quo. Modern condensor boilers only really use energy when they have to change the temperature.

Although I should add that this really applies to modern, well insulated homes with decent windows etc. We'd just spent £2.5k on the boiler, cavity wall insulation, double insultating the loft and having any dodgy windows re-sealed which is why he thought we were wasting £120 on the gadget.

Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame


If it's cultural impact

If they are after games that have had a massive cultural impact then wouldn't Angry Birds be a pretty major contender? It was the first significant game on mobile phones and, as such, has kicked off the next phase of computer/video games.

For the last 40 years or so, your age and the machine you/your friends had access to is going to define what you saw as culturally significant. As a ZX Spectrum gamer from the early eighties it would be manic miner for me. The significance of Angry Birds was that it was almost instantly available on a few billion devices and seemed to be played by all generations.

My Passport Grip Pack blooms with new colours … and more storage


Bumper cable

Now if the "Grip bumper" thingy was also the USB 3 cable then that would be excellent. As it is, £10 for a coloured bit of moulded rubber is taking the piss.

Split decision: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi convertible


Love them

I've been using the original T100 for about 18 months now. It doesn't quite cut it as a main machine (10" screen, only 32GB storage) but it is small and light enough to go everywhere and gets used more than my desktop by a long way. I used to use the full-sized USB port on it quite a bit but I can't actually remember the last time I did. Like the reviewer, all my stuff is on a server and in the cloud. It really does make a decent large tablet AND laptop but, due to the size, gets used by like the original Netbooks. Email, internet, the odd edit to a Word or Excel document etc.

I might have to take a trip to PC World and have a look at this and the Chi 100 as that 32GB of storage is now down to 1.4GB free and there is nothing on there I could remove.

Nissan CEO: Get ready, our auto-wagons will be ready by 2020


Re: Have they tested it in...

In my (limited) experience of driving north of the Arctic Circle there is also a major problem with reading road signs - and not just because they aren't in English. There are often covered up with snow. I remember driving through Northern Finland, following written instructions (Ah, the days before SatNav) with such directions as "Follow the sign for flokensterklufen" (might have just made that place name up) and having to stop by the side of the road every time I saw a sign, get out, run over to the sign with a brush, remove the snow, compare what was written on the sign to what was written on my sheet of directions, get back in the car and carry on. That was a loooong night.

Assuming the same thing happens to temporary speed limits, road works etc. then Autonomous cars aren't going to stand a chance.

The yummy mummies' likeable wagon: Nissan Qashqai Tekna


Not just the Qashqai

Nissan are just making bloody good cars at the moment. Two of "The Wife"'s last three cars have been Nissans. An Almera and an X-Trail. Both were eminently practical and really quite good fun to drive too. Neither of them ever broke down and they only got replaced due to changes in circumstances. A friend is the senior local traffic copper - the one that gets to drive the serious VIPs when they visit and so gets sent on all the advanced driving courses. He and his wife have owned only Nissans for the last ten years or so - including a Qashqai each, at one point.

I do wish they'd bring back the curry hook from the Almera though - that was a work of genius!


UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists


Re: 100M£

> The whole point of commuting by bike is to get there faster. A bonus is it costs less, keeps you fit,

> You have my sympathy - driving cars in cities today is bound to make you feel angry.

Actually, I hardly ever drive and almost never in cities (pisses me off too much). I either run or cycle. And, in my view, the "whole point" is to arrive on time. But at least we all now know what type of cyclist YOU are.


Re: 100M£

I actually have an easier approach than that. Just stop in the middle of the road. Become a part of the flow of normal traffic until you feel safe to move back into the cycle lane. I'd rather be 6 cars back from the red lights but in the middle of the traffic, where I feel an element of control, than right up front but overshadowed by someone who I cannot know whether they have seen me or not.

Cyclists utter obsession with getting ahead of traffic at junctions does them no favours. It pisses off every other motorist and puts them in dangerous situations.

Gaze upon the desirable Son of Alpha: Samsung Galaxy A5


Any chance of an A3 review

Any chance of a review of the A3 too? 4.5" is as large as I'm prepared to go (and, frankly, I'd prefer a bit smaller but can't find anything with a half-way decent spec).

There's no mention of any form of wireless charging though, which is a real shame.

How Project Centennial brings potentially millions of desktop apps to the Windows 10 Store


Re: Sounds good, but

Yes, but do you want to try explaining that to Bud and Britney who just bought a $150 windows tablet from Walmart for little Bud Jnr, accepted the Windows App Store's recommendation to automatically install the free update to Windows 10 (hell, it's free, right?) and are now getting frequent crashes and "out of Memory" errors?


Sounds good, but

I see a conflict between this approach and MSs current sales drive towards low-end hardware for tablets. There are currently a load of $150-$300 Windows 8.1 tablets that work perfectly well, performance wise, as long as you are very careful with your storage. They all come with just 32GB of storage built-in plus MicroSD expansion. But the expansion can only be used for data. You have to install apps into storage. By the time you've done a full install of Windows and Office, and the manufacturer has taken up space with the recovery drive, you are often left with just 7GB or less.

If apps are no longer sharing resources (and that is clearly a good thing) and are now being wrapped in a virtual container they are just going to get bigger and bigger. That's fine for your desktops and laptops which come with almost limitless storage but could make your "Windows 10 capable" tablet rather less capable than you'd been anticipating.

London man arrested over $40 MILLION HFT flash crash allegations


Re: Spleen

Oh what a comfortable world you live in. But that it were truly so :)

Damn near everything gets passed through the markets, whether you like it or not. You've chosen to invest some of your money in a way you are comfortable with and that's great. But if you have a personal pension, your pension company IS wasting huge amounts of it just moving money around. Because, every time they move YOUR money YOU lose some of it in those 13 layers of transaction charges. Company pension? Same thing. Pay National Insurance? Same thing?

ALL of our money is in the system and being moved around and therefore the value of what the world produces is being constantly diminished by an industry that exists entirely to tempt others into moving money around in order to generate "profits". But there are no profits because they don't produce anything. If one fund makes a profit, someone else makes a loss. And the sum of the two is always a bit less than the whole thanks to those 13 layers of fees and charges.


Robert Peston

Robert Peston of the BBC did an entire series on this subject on Radio 4. It was both highly revealing and quite frightening. I think it was called "A Dark Magic" but it doesn't appear to be on iPlayer at the moment. He basically suggests that the way the markets operate at the moment are a complete disaster for pretty much everyone. We lose 10s of % points of our pensions in transaction fees each year. The traders pretty much always lose money. I'm going off memory from 2 years ago but something like 5% of hedge fund managers actually make significant profits. However, those 5% make such significant profits that the remaining 95% of break-evens and losses are insignificant. The really scary part was that there is almost no overlap between the 5% who made money last year and the 5% who made money this year. The only people making reliable money are the 13 layers of traders/brokers/etc that perform each transaction and who each take a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

He points out that financial markets, rather than being huge revenue makers as suggested by both Labour and Conservative governments for 20-30 years actually just take money out. Every penny they "make" is actually money they have skimmed off our pensions, savings and whatever our industry generates.

Huawei P8: Chinese mobes have arrived and the West should tremble


The slight letdown

Having owned a few Chinese phones there is a slight downside to ownership. Yes, you get a very high quality device for relatively little money - BUT, there is zero support. I've owned a ZTE and a Huawei and there were zero updates for them. Now, you could argue that this isn't all that important to the general public. If the phone works and does everything you want then who cares if you can't get the latest release of Android? Which is true, unless your device is released with a bug (and my Huawei was) or Google releases a Turkey (Android 5.0) in which case you are either stuffed (general public) or reliant on XDA Devs (those of us on here). That's why, after a few years of owning Chinese phones with some hits but a few significant misses, last year I went with the relatively safe Sony Z1 Compact.

Loose lips slip when Windows 10 ships: 'End of July' says AMD CEO


Summer starts

"Summer starts on June 21st this year"

Really? According to whom? That's the longest day, not the start of summer. According to the Met Office summer is June, July, August which puts the end of July 2/3 of the way through summer.

Windows Phone 10: Less stuff that does more – plus IE-killer Project Spartan


Smaller screens

My wife has the Lumia 620, one of the very few remaining 3.5" screened phones. It is on the list of phones receiving the update but I'm going to look for a way to disable updates if possible. This just looks like bad news. The reason I recommended Windows Phone to her was the ease of use. This looks like a whole series of headaches (for me - of course) waiting to happen. If you take away Windows Phones ease of use and simple elegance then you might as well get an Android device and just install one of the stripped back launchers.

Health apps and wearables make you nervous, not fit, say boffins


Re: But...

An instance that immediately sprang to mind of a healthy group that already benefit from this monitoring would be endurance athletes. It is all too easy when training for a Triathlon or Ultra-marathon to over-train. There has been good medical evidence recently that Heart Rate Variability is a good measure of the body's catabolic state and so can provide a pretty good indicator that you are over training and should take a day or two's rest BEFORE you actually start to feel the effects of that over-training with either illness or injury. That is, proper rest, rather than an endurance athlete's idea of "active rest" where they might just swim for an hour and have a more gentle bike ride than usual.

HRV used to require quite expensive equipment but can now be carried out to a fair degree of accuracy with a £5 app on your phone and a £30 Heart Rate Monitor. The camera based monitors aren't accurate enough yet but I have no doubt they will be within a couple of years.

National Grid's new designer pylon is 'too white and boring' – Pylon Appreciation Society


Nice website

I couldn't help but chuckle at the "FAQ". Surely that must be stretching the definition of "Frequently" to breaking point?