* Posts by MrTivo

23 posts • joined 30 Jan 2009

Hotel guest goes broke after booking software gremlin makes her pay for strangers' rooms


Charge cards can be an issue

I once had a company provided Amex charge card. Never had an issue with it, apart from finding places that took it, mainly in the UK. The company changed names, and all the cards were reissued, with new numbers and company name. Old cards were chopped up an binned.

*18* months later, I had to go on a business trip, at very short notice, ie only enough time to go home to get my passport and go to the airport. All the hotel and flights were booked by the secretary, using their employee travel profile.

The month rolls round and I receive my statement. Everything is in order, EXCEPT the charge card number was the old number. So my trip had been charged to a card that was supposedly cancelled, and was not in my possession.

I then had a very long conversation with Amex regarding the payment. The terms my employer had on using the card meant that employees could be dismissed for non payment of outstanding balances. This was mainly to avoid people using it for personal use and running up large bills.

I acknowledged that the debt needed to be paid, but I would only pay the balance if it were transferred the current charge card. They countered that the debt had to be paid on the old card account. Neither could they confirm that they would block the old card for from further transactions until another 6 months had elapsed.

In short, I cleared the balance, chopped up the current card and EVERY SINGLE REPLACEMENT they sent thereafter, sending (most) of it back to them. Never used an Amex card ever again.

Spammy Google Home spouts audio ads without warning – now throw yours in the trash


BBC 'Dossa and Joe' and Tivo circa 2002

Maybe Google should take 5 mins to see how well that went down with the British public.

Apple iPhone 6S: Same phone, another day, but TOTALLY DIFFERENT


Re: You forgot one thing...

"Surely the true cost of any item is one of the most important metrics for a purchaser."

It should be, but there seems to be a growing group of consumers who either don't understand or don't care about cost, if it means they can get their instant gratification purchase hit, and ignore the TCO for the next 24 months.

It's quite depressing really.

The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

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Re: Orphan Black...

I've heard that OB S2 isn't a patch on S1. Those folks who get BBC America have already had the pleasure. Still, something a bit different than the tsunami of 'reality' TV that is on every channel.

+1 for OC too.

Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS


Who remembers GML?

:h1. Best ever word processing software.

:p.Generalised Markup Language, from IBM.




:li.Even ran nicely on an IBM XT.


Stone the crows, Bouncer! BT defends TV recorder upgrade DELETION snafu


TIVO (S1) wins in our household

Can't comment on the BT Vision experience, but our TIVO S1 (not VM version) is still going strong after 13 years. Great UI and 100% reliable (except for replacement drives every 3-4 years). Switched over to Sky+ as the main recorder, due to their 25th birthday, £25 for 25 months deal, for the full package and most of us really don't like the UI / behaviour of the box.

TIVO never skipped a beat over the upgrades (many years ago), and aside from the one 'pushed' program from the Beeb, never had any problems with content being deleted unexpectedly.

Sky+ really offers lots of advantages, dual recording, online content, HD, remote record, over the TIVO (standard build) but it really doesn't have a great remote layout (like the TIVO peanut) or intuitive UI.

Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s


Casio MG 880 - match the numbers game

Surely one of the most used calculators when I was at school. Played an annoying version of "When the Saints go marching in", plus that really addictive match-the-numbers-and-make-multiples-of-10-to-get-a-bonus-n-character-game. We used to play, highest score for 1 or 3 waves of numbers, and those who really couldn't stop playing disconnected the speaker so they could play during class.

Finish 10 waves of numbers and the screen shifted to the left by one segment for the next 10 waves, then back for the next, as the speed increased. I am pretty sure there were 99 waves before the game reverted back to where it started.

People could walk and play the game at the same time, ISTR. Those +/= buttons got a good pounding. Picked one up a at a boot sale, just for the memories. I still suck at the game.

Then there is the boxing match calculator, BG-15.....

Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions


SONY Elcassette

Elcassette, was very similar to the RCA casstte shown in the article, wrt the slot for the tensioning arms but looked more like a jumbo compact cassette, with an almost identical window and spool wheels. Only ever saw adverts for them in National Geographic, in the early '70s. Another SONY propriatry format failure.

30 years on: Remembering the Memotech MTX 500

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Picked up a boxed 500 at a boot sale about 5 years ago. As I was about to leave, the seller suggested I take "the rest of the stuff", which turned out to be the stack of boxes it was sat on, containing another 500, a 512, plus the FDX, [maybe a printer as well] and a ton of software. I bumped into the wife, who was not pleased to see me staggering back to the car with the booty. Beautifully built machines though.

Branson's SpaceShipTwo succeeds in first rocket-powered flight


Re: Mach 1.2?

SR-71 ?

Microsoft brings back Windows watch after Apple seeks 'flexible' bod


Re: Prior art...

Or how about the Sinclair Radio watch? It was a beautifully made, 3 part, articulated, watch. The aerial was concealed in the wrist band, with a big battery for the radio in the clasp and a smaller one inside the case for the watch.

Not sure they ever went on general sale, or if they did, it was for a very short period of time. I did meet someone who had 40 of these (boxed and never used). He was given them by a friend who was asked to 'skip' the contents of a store room, for a company that had recently taken over/moved into the premises of another firm. He kept 40 and ditched the rest. Well that's the story, anyway.

He now has 39.....

The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME


Re: you forgot!

I have a P-500. Supposedly a prototype, but there are quite a few collectors who have them. Not that sexy really. Now the Psion 3x and 5 series.........


Re: I seem to recall..

Surely the Apricot (not at all) Portable was their best looking machine. Infra red link from the keyboard to the base station/screen, or light pipe if you had too much paper in the way.

Always wanted to own one of these.


Not sure the Siri-like microphone ever worked that well though.

Still have an original Apricot though.

Ten smartphones with tablet ambitions...

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Star N9770

I have a variant of the Kogan Agora, the Star N9770. Slight differences are JB 4.1.1, not ICS, 3200 mAh battery rather than 2000 mAh (two batteries supplied in the box) and allegedly an 8MP camera (although there is some confusion on this point). As with the Agora, it is SIM free and dual SIM slot (1 slot is 3G, the other GSM only)

I find it runs perfectly well, and can do a whole day with all the bells and whistles turned on, and about 3 days if you shut everything down (data / wifi / BT / screen illumination all off)

Build quality is no worse than some other more expensive phones I've owned (SGS & Pre I'm looking at you), and the bonus of an extra battery and a integrated battery cover & microfibre front screen cover as well as a separate battery cover, means that I don't even have to buy a case for it.

Shipping was 9 days from order to door delivery, no import duty or extra delivery charges. Same price as the Kogan.

GPS is prone to dropping or taking a while to acquire a lock, but then my SGS was no better and it cost 3 times as much. I use the GSM slot with a network SIM and have Samba data only SIM running in the other slot. Therefore I have a free source of unlimited 3G data and a cheap voice contract in the other slot.

What's not to like?

OMG: RIM adds VoIP to its stealth social network


Searching the web, it appears BBM7 installation is not going smoothly for some users. Once installed, it spins it's wheels trying to register and then fails. Going back to BBM6 appears to do the same. Reviews on BB App World are less than glowing. This seems to affect almost the full spectrum of devices, 8520, 9300, 9730. 9900

Free calls over WiFi is a nice addition to have, but I can see carriers not being happy, as those who mainly use a BB for email / web, paying £20 for 6 months (T-Mobile ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H EE) aren't going to be topping up to make calls.

Let's see how this one plays out.

The best tablets for Christmas


Re: Blackberry

I had a PB (32 MB), really to see what BB10 was going to be like before plunking down money for a BB10 phone. With ver 2.0 OS, I had the hope of more apps via the Android emulation.

Then one day my PB froze. It turned into a brick. It would barely take a charge (if the PB battery goes completely flat it causes other issues) and had to be returned for a repair. The repair was a replacement, with 90 days cover or the balance of the 12 months original cover, whichever was the longer.

Given if it happened again, and I was outside the cover period, I was looking at a total loss, so I sold it. It was a lovely tablet, but the chance that it would turn into a brick again, with minimal use, never mind any kind of hacking involved, was enough for me to ditch it.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900


£529, you've got to be joking

I admit it, I am a phone junkie. I like the BB form factor, owing a Pre, E61i, Treo 750, BB9700 and HTC Chacha. Seriously, is OS7 really such an advance on OS6? Should it really be 6.1? I love my BB9700, except the web browser and email size limitations, but it only cost me £200 (2nd hand). 2 or 3 days battery life with 4 push email accounts, twitter, Facebook all running is something the HTC can only dream of.

The Chacha was purchased from CEX, as a carrier locked model for £135, and was brand spanking new. Even better it turned out to be a SIM unlocked/free model. Now I'm not going to claim the Chacha is a rival to the BB9900, but at £400 less, it does somethings way better for a lot less cash.

If RIM did a cost reduced version, and managed to improve the browser experience, then I'd probably trade up. But at that price, it's a no deal for me. The verdict seems spot on, unlikely to attract new people to RIM, and a trade up for BB9000/9700/STORM (shudder) owners.

The BB9700 was the last decent, VFM, handset they did, IMO. Upgradable to OS6, well built, speedy. I did try a BB9800 and was unimpressed. Likewise the BB9780 had virtually no extra features except more memory, uprated camera and UMA over the BB9700. Who supports UMA in the UK? None of the carriers I was on.

I don't see a happy ending for RIM, they've been tweaking models for far too long and the new form factors are unimpressive. TORCH/STORM I'm looking at you! Let's hope it's not HP/PALM all over again.

Virgin Media TV Powered by TiVo


Old dog, new tricks

From memory TiVo and Virgin have an exclusive deal in the UK. The S1 isn't dead just yet. There is still life in the old dog. Contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn new tricks.

The Osborne 1: 30 years old this month


Kaypro were even heavier, with sharp edges.

At least the Osborne 1/Executive cases were round cornered, molded plastic. I have a couple of Kaypro luggables too, and when they catch the back of your leg, they take chunks out of it! The IBM 5155 gets my prize as the biggest hulk of a portable machine.

Mines the one with the hernia pants in the pocket.

Nintendo readies iTunes-like app store for 3DS


Hope the 3DS is better than the VirtualBoy

I have a VB, and I can tell you that after a very short period of time, it gets very difficult to keep your concentration due to watering eyes and cramp in the neck/shoulders.

I suppose with the 3DS you can move around more than the VB, but I gave to say the VB games were pretty underwhelming in the 3D dept. Still Nintendo don't often drop the ball, but the VB was one of those times. I didn't pay much for mine as I got one during the fire sale clear out of the system and games. Certainly they are pushing the system very hard before release.

Now the Sega Nomad was a nice system to have at the time. MegaDrive / Genesis on the move. That bombed too.

Reg reader bombarded by 3 sales calls


Some tips for a fast exit....

If you want a quick exit when talking to the call centre in India, then do not engage them in any conversation while they 'process' your request. Keep it limited to, 'can i have my PAC/cancel the account'. You may wish to add that you are recording the call, regardless of whether you are or not. The other option is to say you're leaving the country and will be getting a local contract.

If you are unlucky and don't get someone who helps, hang up and try again. As you are leaving the network they generally have the shortest queue wait time.

I requested my PAC and played the waiting game and was offered a £22 off a £30 pcm tariff and a new phone, a week before I was due to end the contract period. ebay the phone to make it cheaper still. They can't be making money on these deals.

Nokia E63 Qwerty keyboard smartphone

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surely more of a cost reduced E61i

The E63 looks more like a funky version of an E61i, with a couple of ideas borrowed from the newer Nokia line ups, i.e. the dual home / work screen, rather than a single homescreen.

Given the price that the E61i was closed out at, just over 200UKP, it doesn't look that much of a bargin.

Shame 'cos I really wanted to replace mine with something better.

Fring snuggles with Last.fm

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It has to be.......

the best IM app on the S60 v3 platform. It's reliable enough to have on 24x7 and supports all the accounts I have and more. The S60 v2 version wasn't as polished and used to crash my 6630 when used for extended periods of time.

I tried the last.fm plug in and I was impressed. Twitter is a bit flakey, but useful. As for the ads, I could live with them providing they don't geg too annoying. I guess how intrusive they are depends in what model of phone you have to some extent.

Mine's the one with the E61i in the pocket.


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