* Posts by Richard Preston

11 posts • joined 1 May 2007

Windows 7 — It’s like Vista, only less annoying

Richard Preston

Job done

Had Vista. Didn't like it. Tried W7 beta. Bought a Mac.

Like taking a stone out of my shoe.

History shaped Google's Trojan Horse

Richard Preston

Beta buggery

Being something of a browser tart, I use IE (for our shoddily constructed work intranet), FF, Opera and Chrome. If you really want to try a buggy beta, try IE8 beta 2. I rather like Chrome, personally - missing 'home' button's a bit weird though.

@James Basset: Half agree, but Yahoo used to be as dominant as Google is now, and I don't really see any reason why their being the de facto home page of so many means they will be the de facto provider of cloudy apps. Of course they'll always have the home advantage, but the stranglehold is far less than MS enjoyed by owning the OS - switching from google apps to a.n.other is unlikely to involve parting with cash.

Mine's the one with the multicoloured logo on the back.

Microsoft urges developers to tag sites for IE8

Richard Preston
Paris Hilton


El Reg renders like a dog and looks like crap in IE8. Who is completely to blame for this shocking state of affairs? Eh? Eh?

Paris, because it's almost certainly not her.

Ballmer bitch slaps Vista

Richard Preston
Paris Hilton

Jeux sans frontieres

I've nothing MS particularly, but Vista does seem to have been a rather pointless release. I'd always imagined upgrades as things that provide me with functionality I didn't have before, or let me do things in a more efficient way than previously. It would be a stretch to say Vista really, I mean *really*, does either of those things, and it isn't difficult to see why it's been such a hard sell for MS and why corporate IT managers are likely forgetting about rolling out Vista in favour of waiting for its replacement (because that will be *much* better).

Having used it reasonably intensively over the last three months, I'm pushed to name anything about it that's made me think "Wow, now that's clever/useful". It is so disappointingly pedestrian (notwithstanding all the weirdness pointed out by others, like the pointless disk thrashing, the veneer of security offered by UAC, the counterintuitive UI changes, etc.), it makes one want to weep for all those millions of man-hours spent on research, design, coding, testing, all to result in something like this. I imagine in years to come, Vista will be held up as an example of how corporate culture can take the best of ideas, and wring all logic, flair, and passion out of them.

Mind you, for all those poking MS for releasing Vista in an unfinished state, what about Linux, and OSX, eh, EH? When are *they* going to be finished? Get your own house in order, fanboyz :-)

Paris, because even though she's also a bit pointless, her interface has elements that are quite attractive too.

Teachers crucified by coughing pupils

Richard Preston
Paris Hilton

Yeah but no but

Anyone would think the whole educational system was in rags reading some of these comments, but like all massive organisations it's full of examples of the great and appalling in equal measure.

The family environment is overwhelmingly the most important influence, and it's telling that unruly pupils who leave their family behind and join, say, the services end up achieving a measure of self-control and self-respect no-one would have thought possible, simply because they are taken out of a destructive, undermining, and chaotic family situation.

But the lack of teaching basic reading, writing and maths at primary level must run a close second as a factor hampering kids' progress. I'm all for broadening children's minds, but many children leave primary school with the reading age of a chimp. You can almost guarantee that disruptive children at secondary school have very poor literacy and numeracy skills, and disrupt because the simply can't understand what's going on in the lesson. Mind you, parents should also see it as their duty to help their kids' reading, but ... see above. And so the whole sorry cycle goes on. And on. And on.

So, more boarding schools, a long way from home, for disruptive students, preferably with strong services corps, and more vocational training. Job done. Next!

Paris, because she's a fine role model for schoolchildren everywhere.

Confused BBC tech chief: Only 600 Linux users visit our website

Richard Preston

It's not about the browser, stupid

Leaving aside the argument about whether or not a public service broadcaster should feel duty bound to support audience minorities, this argument is not really of the BBC's making. (Besides, the BBC Trust did wring a commitment from them to support non-MS versions of the iPlayer in the near future.)

The content providers are the ones who are insisting on DRM for their stuff to be made available via download, and realistically MS DRM is the only economically feasible alternative at the moment. Evidence that the BBC is more open minded about this is that there's a huge amount of BBC (at least apparently official) content available on YouTube already.

In fact, given the Open Source community's (of which I am one, and I and my sandals are proud of it) objection to DRM in principle, it's highly unlikely there will ever be a Linux version of iPlayer for anything other than BBC content. Until, that is, the content providers wake up to the fact that the digital media distribution genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and choosing MS DRM (or any other) will only ever be a temporary protective measure. Hopefully, they'll realise that making low-quality content available for download not only does not damage their business, but actually makes a hugely effective way of getting people to go out and buy the DVD to watch on their TV through the viral marketing it encourages.

So, don't be too nasty to Ashley; his facts may be right or wrong, all he's really done is pick the wrong argument.

Sky confirms Picnic pick 'n' mix

Richard Preston

...as a baby's bottom?

I can only echo the opinions of those who've had a good experience with Sky's broadband service. Since moving from PlusNet, where service dropouts, lost mail, and strangulated bandwidth were depressingly common, we have had absolutely no problems with Sky. Superb service all round.

PC superstore refuses to take sack in hand

Richard Preston

It's not the laptop, stupid

it's the OS. What else do you expect from something weighed down by widgets and gizmos?

Relax, Jobsophiles, it's just a joke.

Free Software Foundation plans protests at 'corrupt' BBC

Richard Preston

Guilty BBC?

It's not the player codec that's the issue, it's the DRM. The BBC was pushed by content rights holders to apply DRM to downloads, and the most widely available solution is (unfortunately) Microsoft's. The BBC aren't the only ones: BSkyB use in on their broadband service too (where it was hacked pretty quickly anyway). If it were up to the BBC, I'm sure they'd make it all available unencrypted, but for all those who make the programs, get money for repeat fees, DVDs, etc that's obviously not going to be commercially unacceptable.

There's going to be another revolution akin to the MP3/downloading/bittorrent decimation of the music industry's traditional business models soon based on this stuff, so they need to think of other ways of making money from it. Until then, they're going keep on insisting on DRM wellies while the floodwaters rise around them.

At least the BBC Trust has insisted on a commitment to making a platform-neutral solution available "in a reasonable timeframe". The problem is, who makes a DRM solution that is going to be politically acceptable to everyone? Real? Apple? Are the clever boffins at the BBC interested in developing and policing a BBC own-brand DRM system? Is *any* DRM going to be acceptable to some people?

If the BBC is guilty of anything, it's really only in underestimating the firestorm announcing an MS-only solution, even for a trial period, was likely to cause. And being dumb enough to believe the MS DRM is going to keep their content safe - MS can't even keep their own software from being ripped off. Why would you trust your crown jewels to such a natural target?

'Media monster' Motorola mobile hits UK

Richard Preston

Not a good movie?

Bourne Identity not a good flick? Are you crazy?

I too hate the motorola UI, but my son (age 11) gets on really well with it. We're all just too old to moto, obviously.

Dell Linux is go

Richard Preston

Best of British

Well, I wish Dell luck; I really do. Can't fault their choice of distro, but I hope for their sake they ship with the Gnome update monitor disabled: imagine their support lines when a kernel update gets released.

Surely it can only be a matter of time before OSX becomes an option too? If Dell can control the hardware specs as tightly as Apple (and they must be able to), it would be a fantastic opportunity for Apple to get market share.


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