* Posts by Simon Barker

46 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Feb 2009

No, no, let's hear this out, says judge waving away Apple's attempt to kill MacBook Pro Flexgate lawsuit

Simon Barker

As piss poor as it was for Apple to make such a bad design that's guaranteed to fail under normal use and pretend the issue doesn't exist the whole reason it was so problematic was they also chose to integrate the cable as part of the display.

Cable failing? Now you need a new display and the display is the most expensive part. Which is a bit of an issue.

You can warn people about these problems but they will ignore you if they've made their mind up to get a Mac so Apple has no incentive to ever stop these practices, they're rewarded for them and anything that happens in the courts is pennies on the dollar to them.

Dixons Carphone smarting from £440m loss as it writes down goodwill on mobile biz

Simon Barker

Doesn't that just highlight that perhaps reg readers aren't the most fertile soil for flagship handset prices?

The rest of the market will catch up to that attitude eventually but on the bright side it does ensure a healthy supply of last year's model.

Tired sysadmin plugged cable into wrong port, unleashed a 'virus'

Simon Barker

Re: Network related

I've always argued that smokers - as addicts - are selfish.

Reminds me of a conversation I once had with the CFO of a small firm, he jokingly lectured me on all the extra work I'd get done by not taking smoking breaks, rather missing two small details:

I only ever took smoke breaks by subtracting the time from my lunch hour, so the company didn't lose anything.

Taking those breaks was incredibly helpful for coding, when stuck on a difficult problem being able to clear my head (then fill it with smoke) and re-approach the problem got me through an awful lot of tricky problems.

I did give it up in the end but always felt my productivity took a hit in the process, can't say I really miss the lectures from people who think they know better especially so while they're getting less work done than you.

Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

Simon Barker
Thumb Down

Re: Fuck me

If they can't get the basics right why do you believe they're going to get the more advanced aspects which haven't been nailed down yet right?

If your brave new world requires us to settle for some of the worst performance in class then you can keep it thanks.

Simon Barker

"The dismissive attitude Tesla gave over this, "Ohh, ABS calibration." "Ohh, we got ours to stop in 130 feet" and "Ohh, well, that was an early model.""

It's a bit late in the day to take what Musk says for granted but I'm sure he can milk the early production nonsense for a few more faults that pop up.

Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Simon Barker

Re: Play back depth is a red herring...

Couldn't agree more, it's always the bloody wire that goes first but I don't want yet another device that I have to make sure is charged so that alone puts me off wireless.

Intel's latest diversity report shows numbers at a standstill

Simon Barker

The problem is there's too many people with loud voices who firmly believe in identity politics.

eBay DROPS DEAD AGAIN - tat bazaar says sorry, scrambles to resurrect site

Simon Barker

Some people use eBay for their livelihoods, due to the auction format used on eBay often you find most of the money only comes in within the last 10 minutes so you might not be surprised to find out a lot of people might feel cheated if no one could bid on their items when they were finishing.

Alternatively you could blame and tell them to get a shop as that's obviously a five minute job but I'd be willing to bet if it was your money you'd be a little less nonchalant about the matter.

BlackBerry revenue slips below $1bn as users shun BB10

Simon Barker

Re: Q10

Android is only now catching up with BB10 battery life, often with unremovable batteries and no micro SD slot.

Android has made some good improvements in battery life (especially at idle) recently but are you sure it's not partly down to the screen being much smaller on the Blackberry? A lot of the low/mid range Android devices can have good battery life thanks to a combination of lower spec SoC and a screen that's half the size of the 4-5.5" crowd.

I'm not sure I agree on the second point either, I assume there's more Android devices with removable batteries and micro SD slots than there are Blackberry devices?

TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Simon Barker

What did the last 5 odd years of TV development really get us? They didn't improve picture quality especially, bezel sizes shrunk nicely but at the cost of things like sound quality and the less said about 3D the better.

From the OLED TVs and 4K screens I've seen we're finally getting some solid picture quality improvements but I don't think the average punter is going to care and certainly not when those sets cost four figures.

Best Buy: Bring us your cowering, unwanted Microsoft Surface masses

Simon Barker

I was given a Rt one by work to get my work email and use for lync calls. And it was shockingly bad. (Tiny x's to click to end a call, unresponsive and inaccurate touch screen)If I had been told it was a prototype I'd probably not slag it off, but given the cost its was just awful.

If it had been a personal purchase I'd have been very upset I'd wasted my money. I can only imagine this will be a popular offer.

RT doesn't have an inaccurate touch screen, sounds like you have a faulty unit.

Everyone's waving their 5-inchers: BlackBerry outs new supersized Z30

Simon Barker

Re: PPI, a rubbish stat

And when I upgraded from my 20" HD TV to my 42" HD TV, the density went much lower. But wait, like everyone else, I don't care - I prefer watching on a bigger screen, and as long as the resolution is the same or higher, I haven't lost out.

That's a poor comparison to make because the bigger the television the further you're supposed to be from it but with a mobile you're going to be holding them at the same distance so a difference in pixel density becomes more obvious (not forgetting you're comparing doubling the TV size against a 20% increase on the mobile).

Massively leaked iFail 5S POUNDS pundits, EXCITES chavs

Simon Barker

Re: No need for revolution

Look at the Porsche 911. It's not to everybody's taste but it keeps on selling.

Well there's a small difference, the Porsche is instantly recognizable while the iPhone looks much like every other phone (besides being oddly tall and thin).

Five SECRET products Apple won't show today

Simon Barker

I'm not following the point you're trying to make, are you saying that Apple makes perfect phones and you're more likely to run into problems using something else?

So far the only phone I've ever owned that died on a software update was an iPhone and the replacement had a wonky home button. Not to mention this was after having to book an appointment they then kept me waiting for (those Apple stores are practically a punishment in themselves!).

Joking aside I do think Apple is generally one of the better companies when it comes to repair/replacement but you're paying for that privilege and TCO is a hard thing to nail down, I could argue that the outdated design of iOS would waste more of my time than the alternatives...

Microsoft, Nokia and the sound of colliding garbage trucks

Simon Barker

Re: Left Behind

@ AC

While I can agree with some of your points you should consider what these non-techies end up hearing and there's been so much bad press around Windows 8 that many are trying to avoid regardless of whether it's actually the correct decision or not.

Let me give you an example, I showed off a Windows 8 device to one of my clients and he seemed reasonably happy about it at the time, he's been needing to upgrade some of his kit for a while but now a few months later he's dead set on not getting a Windows 8 device. He certainly hasn't been using Windows 8 so why the change in opinion?

I'd be willing to bet a lot of non-technical people almost resent having to buy a computer regardless of the operating system it's running and especially if you're not well versed on the subject even a casual glance will bring up a lot of negativity with Windows 8 and whether it's deserved or not is irrelevant at this stage.

Xbox One launch date REVEALED - and it's on the 360's birthday

Simon Barker

Re: £430!!!!!

So basically it doesn't matter what Microsoft does you're never going to buy one...

Nothing like a closed mind to brighten the day.

Fanbois taught to use Apple's new killer app: Microsoft Windows

Simon Barker

Re: Wow

Feel free to point out these equivalents.

There's plenty of equivalents but they also come with an equivalent price which kinda detracts from the original posters point.

It would have made more sense to say by choosing other than Apple you can have the choice of much cheaper devices or a device better configured to your needs but that wouldn't have sounded as good as trying to suggest you can have the same level of product at half the cost...

Apple big-screen TV rumor zombie RISES FROM THE DEAD

Simon Barker

Re: Given a choice

Ignoring that all this talk of an Apple TV seems simply to give people the impression Apple actually has any ideas outside of its existing product range, why do you think there would be much difference between an Apple TV and say a Samsung one? It'll be Samsung (or whoever) supplying the internal components after all.

More to the point it strikes me that TVs have been stagnating for years, I've yet to see a truly good user interface on a TV despite these companies having been in this field for 20+ years and lately it seems that they've actually been getting worse. The last few years the only major changes I've seen have been the addition of 3D (a feature people don't want in its current form), power saving features which usually have resulted in a worse picture quality (uneven back-lighting, the brightness adjust that makes a dark scene too dark to see what's going on etc) and voice control gimmicks.

Asus boss flushes down tabs, says 'Windows RT has not been successful'

Simon Barker

Re: So, build quality is good?

It's not so straightforward but ultimately I assume most people want a tablet for the apps they can use on it and Windows RT still lacks some of the biggest ones, it's not as bad as many make out but it's still bad.

Build quality is very good and it should compare well enough against any other tablet on the market, performance surprisingly is decent once you get 8.1 on but you'd be better served by another tablet if you care about your gaming. There are certain areas where I think it outdoes the competition such as UI but that's rather a minor point compared to the rest.

Hey, you know Android apps can 'access ALL' of your Google account?

Simon Barker

Re: sometimes....

Of course it was Apple, the problem only occurred with the Apple account and the card itself I think I still use with issue. The surprising thing for me was they didn't seem interested in doing anything about it, they did unlock the account but had me contact my credit card company to sort out the money side of things rather than handle it directly.

There's other explanations of course, perhaps I was using an insecure password but considering this has only ever happened to me with Apple I'm inclined to suspect the fault lies with them but even if it was my fault in this case that doesn't detract from the other more visible issues I raised does it?

Simon Barker

Re: sometimes....

I made the mistake of trusting Apple a few years back, first time I can recall someone stealing something on one of my credit cards but it was a valuable lesson in why it's a bad idea to leave financial details with these companies.

In other words I wouldn't put too much faith in Apple's walled garden, it was only recently we heard news of Apple having to take down their dev center and we've seen other examples of them failing to match their competitors in terms of infrastructure. That's not to say that I think they're especially good or bad at security merely that you can't truly rely on any company to always be secure.

Android approaches 80% smartphone share as Apple's iPhone grows old

Simon Barker

Re: hmm

It doesn't matter how good they make an individual Blackberry or Windows phone device, it's not going to suddenly catapult them to 10-20% market share, I see the same fault in reasoning when people look at the HTC one and wonder why HTC haven't suddenly replaced Samsung as the dominant Android manufacturer simply because they have the "best" current flagship handset.

It'll take years of them releasing consistently good designs if they want to become an equal competitor to Android or iOS in market share terms and even if they do that there's no guarantee.

Tough luck, bumpkins! Blighty broadband speed gap misery worsens

Simon Barker


The obvious solution is to make fast internet connections illegal, surely if we're all on 2 mbps or less than we'll all be equally happy yes?

Microsoft cuts Surface Pro price by $100

Simon Barker

Re: Still too expensive

Personally I cannot see why you'd want to use an Android device as a full blown computer replacement in the same sense I prefer using a workstation over a tablet and a tablet over a smartphone (that is to say I could do many tasks on the smartphone it's just not efficient or pleasant when the alternative is available). I've always been sold on the idea of having something (like a phone I suppose) that you can just plug into a full sized monitor, keyboard and mouse but we're not quite there yet (even something like Surface pro isn't there yet).

To your other point my answer hasn't changed, the Surface pro simply isn't the right device for you because you get 95% of what you need done on an ARM chip and there's no way that i5/i7 is going to be the same price as they're quite different beasts. Looking at it from the other side, how much extra would you be willing to pay to take care of that other 5%? If the answer is very little or none at all then I don't think Surface is ever going to tempt you unless they can get price parity with medium-high priced Android tablets and a low power Haswell design (which I'm guessing ain't gonna happen).

Simon Barker

Re: Still too expensive

If your priorities are price and storage why are you considering a Surface pro? It's a tablet with the performance of a mid range laptop and if either of those aren't your priorities then what does the price matter as it's probably wrong for your needs.

Wii U sales plunge: Nintendo hopes Mario and Zelda will shift some kit

Simon Barker

Re: like the 6 core saturn

Actually the Saturn had an amazing game library but many of the best never made it out of Japan, as to its technical prowess it did well at 2D but not 3D and people were being sold on that as the future which left the Saturn looking dated. It didn't matter that it would take another generation for the 3D stuff to mature.

Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS

Simon Barker

Re: Too bad

The article is about Surface, there's plenty of other Microsoft/Windows articles for you to slag it off or are you seriously suggesting the old Start menu was good on a tablet?

Apple KILLER decloaked? Google lovingly unboxes Nexus 7 Android 4.3 slablette

Simon Barker

Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

It's not entirely fair to compare a 7 inch screen to those that range between 10 to 18 inches and resolution isn't the only consideration of a display but I do see your point.

Given most laptops would be running Windows you wouldn't necessarily want an ultra high resolution display as without adjusting the DPI scaling it can be harder to use.

Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Simon Barker

Re: $349 just so I can use Internet Explorer?

You're ignoring the lessons of recent history, many large websites did or still do focus on IE support does that mean that we should have said webkit support in Android or iOS tablets/phones made them bad products?

Support has drifted away from IE because ultimately we were poorly served by websites being tailored to specific clients (not to mention Microsoft's colossal mistake in thinking it had won) and we've ended up with better browsers across the board thanks to it.

I get that you have no love for Microsoft but you really shouldn't go backwards just because you dislike them or would you honestly be making the same argument if IE was still the most popular browser for those websites you were referring to?

Simon Barker

Re: $349 just so I can use Internet Explorer?

Don't be ridiculous, it's not a positive or negative of a device that you visit badly written websites.

AMD's three new low-power chips pose potent challenge to Intel

Simon Barker

Re: If it weren't for AMD....

@ Turtle

Not true, Intel uses different price points to increase their sales so without AMD we'd probably still have the same or similar prices but I doubt there would have been as much rushing around certain points (the race to 1GHz etc).

Windows 8 'sales' barely half as good as Microsoft claims

Simon Barker

Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

@ Danny 5

Well el Reg is relentlessly anti Microsoft and opinions do differ but in all fairness I think there are some glaring mistakes in Windows 8 despite being on the pro side of the argument.

Where Microsoft failed was in not providing a full desktop and metro experience, the loss of the start button is unimportant but thrusting into a halfway house where some stuff opens in desktop and some stuff opens in Metro makes for an unpleasant and slightly confusing user experience.

Take the poster at the top talking about opening photos and being stuck with the Metro app which doesn't really fit into the desktop, easily fixed by associating the extension with the desktop app but why should they have to? Microsoft could have easily just given us the choice of how we like to use Windows and provide us with apps for both sides but they went a lazy/sloppy route instead. To further the problem some of their biggest software is coming out only in Metro mode (like Skype) and I could understand that if the Metro side of things was fully featured but even after all these months we're still waiting on a number of the biggest apps to make it to Windows.

Simon Barker

Re: I only know one person using windows 8

@ Jess

They bought Macs? No doubt they'll be on here shortly complaining about the lack of a Start button too.

Adobe price hike: Your money or your files, frappuccino sippers

Simon Barker

Re: "Can Adobe justify shifting its Creative Suite to a contentious new licensing model?2

Depends on how you use it really, if you upgrade every new release then the subscription model would actually work out cheaper but I think most single users will upgrade every 3-4 years at which point it's cheaper with the old system.

For most organisations I think Adobe has them by the short and curlies as based on past experience most people I've worked/known in design tend to favour working a certain way and that's going to discourage them from trying other products. Not forgetting the companies may also reason the same as Adobe that this new system is cheaper if they were going to upgrade with every new release anyway.

Personally I can see myself using CS 2 for a very long time to come, there's not been any new features I especially care about or need (which I can see being true for many others) and as other posters have mentioned with this subscription model Adobe is more likely to make fewer improvements as more people are locked in. Not to mention I don't like the idea of renting my tools...

Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

Simon Barker

Re: I've had mine since Friday

@Peter R. 1

Yes we are applauding that you can get 2 days out of one of the largest and fastest smart phones, not to detract from your point that battery life for smart phones could do with improving all round but this Samsung sounds like it's on the better side of battery life.

Let's not pretend there aren't other options either but you can't fairly complain the battery doesn't last a week if you're going to get one of the biggest screens with a high end soc.

Samsung's new co-CEO: 'Windows isn't selling very well'

Simon Barker

Re: It's not that Windows is not selling well

There's no incentives for hopping in bed with Microsoft, while Windows phone is a good effort it's still got most of the problems 7 had so why should the carriers really push the platform?

Firefox OS despite seeming quite lackluster is at least giving the carriers what they want and Microsoft probably should have paid more attention to that or at least delivered on the end user experience which they're not doing while they still lack some of the most popular apps and some of the more glaring problems/missing features which hasn't improved greatly despite having plenty of time to resolve since WP 7 came out.

Microsoft exec selling his Surface tablet

Simon Barker

Re: I'm not a fan of the surface devices

Why do you believe RT is limited? You wouldn't use the same terminology to refer to iOS or Android so why does it become a disadvantage only when discussing Microsoft's product?

EE's revenues dip, but smartphones lure in 200k new contracts

Simon Barker

Re: Maybe...

Yes you can use a monopoly to increase prices but my opinion hasn't changed they would have been much smarter to use that monopoly to increase their customers. Going by other articles they had 49,000 more customers signing up in the previous quarter and 112,000 more in the previous year. Does this sound like their approach is working well?

Personally I was prepared to sign up but they increased the handset prices again and pretty much drove me straight to Three, their loss and my gain.

Would I expect to pay less for a new Apple product? Of course not, it's an Apple product and you're going to pay the Apple tax to protect their profit margins but you don't have to try very hard to find many examples of other companies reducing the price of their new product due to reductions in material costs or improvements in the manufacturing process.

Are you sure about your final point? I was under the impression while we use it for convenience to signify the difference but it's not technically correct.

Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

Simon Barker

Re: If I had to buy a tablet, I'd buy a Surface before an iPad or Android.

I don't believe Microsoft were mistaken in giving us a tablet and desktop interface, if you see yourself mostly using a tablet and sometimes needing Office the Surface RT can provide that but if you see yourself working mostly on the desktop it's the wrong device in my view. Hooking up an external monitor, keyboard and mouse won't fix that, it's simply not a full blown desktop replacement if you need more than Office.

The bigger issue for me is the lack of apps and high quality apps, it's been out for months and it's still missing some of the most popular apps, even if they had the best hardware and OS no one would care until it has the apps they like/want to use.

John Lewis agrees to flog Microsoft's Surface RT tablets

Simon Barker

Re: Profit level is phenomenal.

I suspect the price is more about ensuring it's compared directly to the iPad as a premium product than its actual production price and if that's the case dropping the price next year will send out a very negative message. To be fair though, construction wise it appears to be better than its competition so I very much doubt their profit margin is anywhere near Apple's.

Simon Barker

Re: Demand might be phenomenal

Try using a Surface, it's far from a smooth experience. Given the advantages I've learned to live with it but it's clearly its weakest area and I can see why the average punter might be annoyed when stuff stutters.

Regarding performance of Windows 8, the last set of benchmarks I'd seen (bit tech) showed it to be very slightly worse across the board than 7, obviously it boots much faster but otherwise no. I suspect the assumption it performs better is down to Windows 8 providing a better overall user experience for day to day stuff.

Dixons and Microsoft haggling over Surface RT Ts&Cs

Simon Barker

Re: Fighting over Surace RT?

That's not true, certain issues have been blown out of proportion like the screen resolution (it's not that big of a deal unless you want it to be) but the performance of Surface is horrible compared to an iPad etc. RT competes directly with iPad and Android so it needs to be viable in these areas even if it has other strengths.

Having used one for a while it's equally brilliant and stupid, if only it ran smoothly and had more apps I'd have little hesitation in recommending it.

The Times offers subsidised Nexus 7s to get subscribers

Simon Barker

Re: Better bargain still...

True but they did dodge tax on their sale of Autotrader so the earlier point of them being hypocrites of the highest order stands.

Hearts, minds and balls: Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface gamble

Simon Barker
Thumb Down

The author doesn't seem to understand what the Surface Pro is, it's not meant to compete with the iPad directly, it's an ultra book class device with the same kind of performance and battery life you expect from those devices. Complaining it costs more than iPad is like complaining a Macbook air costs more, yes of course but that's not the bloody point.

Put another way, show me where you can find a device as powerful, as small and well made as this for less money.

Dead Pink phone fallout hits Microsoft's top brass

Simon Barker

No pleasing some

I'm actually impressed Microsoft had the good sense to can the projects before they drained even more resources, it's a start anyway.

Toshiba wows crowds with sexy touch smartphone

Simon Barker
Thumb Down

Re: First Impressions

Judging by the first impression I doubt it'll give the touch HD a run for its money, the saving grace of the touch HD (besides the screen) is the fairly useful and well thought out interface they've come up with, surely the first step for making a touch screen user interface should be making it comfortable to use by touch in which case they may as well have just stuck with the default windows interface.

Much like my first time seeing the G1 that thing looks too polished for it to still be under development but hopefully I'm wrong.