* Posts by Putonghua73

66 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Sep 2009


Iron Mike Pence blasts Google for its censor-happy Dragonfly Chinese search engine


Don't Be Evil

I was very pleased that Stephen Colbert raised the issue of Xi Jinping's cult of personality i.e. a new authoritarianism, removal of term limits, social rating of Chinese citizens, and rolling out one of the most sophisticated surveillance systems.

Google's forked tongued pronunciations on Dragonfly is very disturbing because they have eroded their core values to such an extent that I am now forced to switch mobile OS, email provider, browser, and anything else associated with Google.

I cannot turn a blind eye, especially as my partner is from mainland China.

The ugly authoritarian strain that has emerged under Xi Jinping, and the crackdown on any kind of dissent, whether it is Uighur identity, human rights, LGBT rights, etc, forces me to make choices in my personal life. The fact that Google removed 'Don't be evil' from its code of conduct earlier in the year tells me everything that I need to know.

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT


I was discussing ransomware with the Head of IT Operations at the Trust where I work yesterday. He said that our Trust was in a good place but much more funding was needed to get security where it needed to be to really feel comfortable.

The hardest conundrum to crack is to balance security with end user requirements i.e. blocking personal email (gmail, yahoo, etc) and blocking all removable media. He did want to implement both restrictions but had received lukewarm support.

He informed me that another Trust had carried out a phishing / malware test, where 1 in 4 of the staff clicked on the link. This is the uphill struggle that Trust IT Depts are fighting against.

I heard from a colleague that our Trust was relatively unaffected as the IT Dept locked everything up tight as soon as they got wind of what was going on. Our ERP system went down as it is supported by another Trust that got completely taken offline. I did think of the IT Team as soon as news went round whilst I was offsite. I suspect they'll be pulling a weekender. I also suspect the Trust will suddenly cough up funding for enhanced security and support for user restrictions.

Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun


Re: Still can't beat

Diplomacy, as a YouTube poster memorably stated, is a mechanism to remove friends whom you no longer like from your life masquerading as a game.

I have just recently played an online Diplomacy tournament. Well, tournament might be stretching it a lil', more a competitive game with players from the same forum.

It's wonderful that board games are undergoing something of a resurgence, even though there have been a number of fantastic games over the last 15 years (very barren prior to that, beyond the odd couple of titles). The 80s were a halcyon time for nascent computer gaming and role-playing, but terrible for what constituted board games. The saving graces were Blood Bowl and Fury of Dracula (the latter, I still have in excellent condition - mainly unplayed for 25 years).

What is impressive is the sheer range and diversity of board-games that are available - plenty of gateway games beyond the odd couple that are always recommended to choose from, dependent upon group, mechanic, and interest.

One of the reasons I got back into board-gaming this year (after a 2 year hiatus from my first few LoB sessions) is because I wanted an activity more interactive that could involve the whole family (families - mine and my fiancees), as well as any potential children in a few years. Whilst I enjoy the staple card-games (not to mention proper Mahjong), board-games have evolved tremendously from the crap I played as a child (Game of Life, Pass the Pigs, Yahztee, etc). There is more to board-games than Monopoly, Risk (Risk Legacy is worth playing if you still enjoy Risk) and Trivial Pursuit.

Hipster pursuit? Like craft beer, don't let the demographic put you off enjoying an engaging activity - especially if you can slip in Diplomacy-esqe back-stabbing wrapped up in the form of family gaming e.g Survival: Escape from Atlantis, Lifeboats, etc.

Virgin Media customers suffer YET MORE YouTube buffering blues


I dumped VM many years ago when they indiscriminately started throttling web services (I couldn't even load a web-page) and I noticed price increases on my bills without any accompanying documentation to explain why.

I went to TalkTalk, and then went to Sky when my TalkTalk contract expired. The only issue I have experienced with Sky was when my modem died, so a couple of days without 'net connection. Sky also diagnosed an issue with my girlfriend's connection at her family's home within 5 minutes that TalkTalk took 6 weeks to fail to rectify (fixed within 3 days by Sky - required an Open-Reach engineer).

That said, YouTube - like BBC iPlayer - is hit and miss in terms of buffering. I am a fully signed-up member of the Jobsian cult (iPhone, iPad and MacBook) and both have always had issues on iPad. The oddity is that I can stream Yumi Kamaza's 'Slave Wife' (definitely NSFW for me to Google confirm) but I do experience periodic buffering issues with YouTube.

Netflix original TV shows gamble pays off... to the tune of 10m new viewers


Re: We are considering cancelling cable

I've been mulling over the same sentiments - albeit, I'm a Brit in London. Had a free month trial for Sky movies which was not renewed as we (myself and my girlfriend) were mainly watching films available via Film 4 (non-Sky content).

We did watch Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic and Da Vinci's Demons on Fox. With the exception of Family Guy and American Dad, I cannot think of anything else we regularly watch to justify the continued subscription to Sky TV.

I'm sure that even with back-of-an-envelope maths, there would be savings (and more viewing choice) for plumping with Netflix and a Freeview box (one that allows recording) in the first year than persisting with a Sky TV subscription.

Time to look at the options ..

SUPERSIZE ME: Nokia unveils Surface rival and 2 plumped-up phablets


re: iPad killer

Ah, the old 'WoW killer' POV re-hashed.

I respectfully disagree:

1. another new entry in a *very* competitive space

2. MS Office isn't the killer app for tablets (could be a play for the business sphere - my previous company was handing out iPads for front-line staff, despite all 10 kinds of merry hell IT encountered trying to set group policies across the assets)

3. it's less about the OS and more about the eco-system

This is where Apple has achieved lock-in. Thankfully, the iPad isn't as tied to iTunes (although the chain is still there - and yes, it is a PITA) as it once was, and while iOS 7 is a lil Fisher Price 'My first tablet' in terms of garish colour scheme, it is an improvement (as well as helps to sell more iDevices for Apple). It's the App Store that is the *real* killer app.

For all the fart app jokes, there is a wealth of quality apps that in tandem with the actual iPad experience, actually causes me to insert the Charlton Heston quip, "I'll give you my iPad when you pry (or take) it from my cold, dead hands". Or, more realistically, when Apple decide that it's time for an upgrade re: forced obsolescence.

I do concede that the increased battery usage (if holds up in real world usage) is a welcome feature. Not enough for me to put aside my iPad. Note: I have no qualms with handing over my HTC Desire - battery usage is f**king appalling!

Ubuntu forums breached, 1.8m passwords pinched


Re: @AC 21:35


Received an email this morning informing me about the hack. Similar to Peter, I use different passwords (and strengths) for different sites:

1. email: unique

2. financial institutions: mixture of shared and unique amongst different financial institutions, but strong password with different layers of login credentials

3. forums: couple of usernames and shared password (certain forums have a different shared password)

Needless to say that passwords used in one group are NOT used for another group i.e. I do NOT use a password that I use for financial institutions that I use forums.

However, this is a good wake-up call to delete Internet presence i.e. account info for those sites that I rarely / no longer use.

Man sues Apple for allowing him to become addicted to porn



"That's the great thing about this country. You can sue anyone for pretty much anything. And you'll probably win. Or at least get a settlement".

The Yawhg vs XCOM: Enemy Unknown. How small devs can win against the big boys


COYA Community

I almost passed this article by, and am very glad that I stopped to read it. 'The Yawhg' has caught my attention in a big way even though my platforms are now iOS and OSX. I love bothnthe concept and theme - it's the multiplayer element, where one's actions affects one's fellow players that is really intriguing.

There is a community of COYA fans on iOS (which is the perfect platform for the resurgence of these type of games) who have rallied around Tinman Games licence of the Final Fantasy gamebooks (plus their own IP); Inkle's re-imagining of Steve Jakson's 'Sorcery!'; not to mention another new developer's re-imagining of Jon Denver's 'Lone Wolf'.

For any affidavit, I've grown out of the traditional COYA gamebook (Assassin of Orlandes didn't work for me); yet, 'The Yawhg' is a different slant on COYA - reminiscient in some ways of the marvellous 'King of Dragon Pass' that is set in Greg Stafford's Glorantha.

If it ever comes to iOS, then I'd definitely would buy.

Ubisoft admits major hacking breach, advises password change


Re: They still don't get it

Financial institutions are the worst (mostly). Whilst they have layers of security e.g. user identification, PIN, etc, some still insist on a password between 6-8 characters (yeah, that's right, Barclays, I'm looking at YOU!). Note: characters. Not alpha-numerical. Characters.

When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'


Re: @AC 09.25


It's the difference between prescriptive i.e. how we think the world ought to be (all religions) and descriptive i.e. how world actually is. There is usually a big gap between the two, with many of us transposing the two based upon our own world-view.

I do like Dominic's brash style because it cuts through all the bullshit. As painful as it is to hear the reality, we have to accept that the world (mostly) operates in accordance with this modus operandus.

I've generally found the more corporate the company, the more the game applies. I've also found that 24 months in such an environment is usually my limit at any one time.

FWIW, I've quit on a couple of occasions when I haven't had an immediate role to step into. The key is to know why you are quitting, and to have enough cash to tide you over whilst you either do something else and/or tide you over whilst you are looking for another role. You should have already anticipated and prepared a convincing answer for any career gaps on your CV when they will be brought up during any interviews.

I do concede that the correct way to quit is - as Dominic quietly rightly states - on your own terms, with another role lined up. However, given the myopic nature of most corporate environments, a tactic that I always state as shall follow (but fail to follow through) is to update one's CV every 3 months, so when you do spot the icebergs looming ahead, you are well prepared and can evaluate one's (potential) exit strategy, if need be.

It seems facile to say, but one's range of options is determined by one's personal circumstances (savings, family, mortgage, yada yada yada). The principal message remains: be pro-active in developing and managing one's potential exit strategy. I've had a mixture of good fortune in the past (chance favours the prepared mind, and all that), but I have been single, no debt (mortgage) and have had savings. Yet, I have also frequently squandered opportunities and been too lax and lazy in following through after I've spotted warning signs (no senior management follow-through, changes in board / senior mangement, constant re-structures, colleagues exiting the business, etc).

Orange is the new TalkTalk of the broadband complaints league


TalkTalk customer service - cruel and unusual punishment

I was a TalkTalk customer, as well as my girlfriend.

Around the start of the year, my girlfriend's broadband connection went down. Solid green lights on the router, phone line active but no connection. Changed routers, same issue. 100% packet loss for pings, etc.

I called TalkTalk technical support (Indian call centre) and thus began the 6 week labyrinthine, soul-destroying attempt to resolve the issue until we threw in the towel, cancelled the service and switched to Sky. I've tried to erase the many hours I was asked to perform the same tests, by a variety of different technical support staff; the bare-faced untruths with different support staff contradicting each other in the 'advice' that they provided.

I was told on two separate occasions that there was not a fault with the line.

6 weeks later, after switching to Sky, same issue. Within 5 minutes of phoning Sky technical support (UK based), I was informed that there was a fault on the line and that an engineer would be sent out in 3 days. When I called back 3 days later, Sky technical support were still liaising with BT Open Reach to get an engineer to the exchange because my girlfriend's line was switched with another customer - hence, why there was a telephone line but no broadband connection. The next day, a BT Open Reach engineer popped round and within 15 minutes the broadband service was up and running.

I immediately switched my line and broadband from TalkTalk to Sky. As much as I hate to further line Murdoch's pockets, their deals are competitive and compelling, with UK technical support centres.

To date, I have never experienced anything as soul-destroying as TalkTalk technical support.

Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels


Re: Microsoft are playing the long term game

I think your prognostication is correct if you simply reverse the order of MS and Apple. My company Win Server 2003 on desktops / WYSE terminals and Win 7 on laptops. Tablets are iPads. BBs for Senior Management and Nokias for everyone else. Personal? I see MacBooks and either iPhones or HTCs, with a few Samsungs [Android].

Companies upgrade to 8? I think you are severely underestimating Corporate culture and Production environments. Stability in terms of uptime and supporting business critical applications is King and Queen. If Windows is still used in the Corporate environment in years to come, Win 8 will be skipped for the next iteration (or iterations).

If Dell and HP are "dead in the water", then so is MS in the tablet stakes. As in 'dodo' dead. There's Apple. Then everyone else. The boot if firmly on the other foot. Of course, that could change but WOA ain't the disruptive product that will re-order the playing field.

Nokia Lumia 900 WinPho 7 smartphone


Re: 75%?

The *real* point is WHY have Apple and Android had a three year head-start? Do you think the average consumer will ponder and sympathize that their Lumia <<insert model here>> doesn't have a rich eco-system because both iOS and Android have had a "head-start"?

They'll simply look around at the competition at the same price-point or less and think "where's the value proposition?". Ok. Admittedly, they probably *won't* think "value proposition", but you the meaning ;)

FWIW, I personally prefer iOS compared to Android - however, the Apple tax and the relative performance between comparable iOS and Android handsets means that there was no way I was going to pay stupid money when I could get a HTC Desire on contract for 2 years (expires this Autumn) for circa £20 p/m (voice, text and 'net).

Anecdotal evidence, I still do not believe I have genuinely seen a Nokia Lumia or an advert in the wild. Given that I live in London and commute to the Heathrow everyday, the marketing of these devices is truly dreadful.

Ten... crowd-funded games from veteran devs


Parting with cash

1. When I receive a return on investment / ownership

2. Upon release

My altruism extends to charity (but even that has a self-interest i.e. a better world) - it does not extend to acting as a form of free funding.

Man sues pr0n starlet after Twitter rejection


Re: In case of porn, avoid court

You're a guy living in the country with the most beautiful women in the world (IMO), and you decide to sue a JAV star because she doesn't respond to your deranged advances on Twitter. So much fail ...

Randy Marsh [South Park] was absolutely on the money when he stated, "Once you've seen 2 Japanese women vomit into each other's mouths, there's no going back to vanilla".

"Stuff it in my tight hole"? Sounds like fairly standard adult material fare - either West or East. It's not so much the JAV titles as the content. From fairly innocuous stuff to just plain bizarre scenarios and fetishes. The inventiveness of the Japanese when it comes to sexual devices and just plain odd contraptions is a marvel to behold.

Just FYI there are a couple of labels which show uncensored JAV such as Carribean, Red Hot Fetish, Tokyo Hot, et al.

** I'm not kidding when I could easily submit an application for Jeopardy / Mastermind with my specialist subject as JAV, and kick ass! Whether I should have made such an admission without logging AC is another matter ...

Cellco execs lay into Nokia's Lumia


Re: .. they could have a point, though ..

In complete agreement. Bought my HTC Desire on 24 month contract Autumn 2010 based upon:

1. similar spec to iPhone

2. without Apple tax * (£21 p/m 300 texts and minutes and 500 MB internet)

Based upon those requirements, there is no value proposition for me to buy a Lumia - although I originally did like the colour scheme.

Agree with the other commentators vis-a-vis lack of marketing or any form of marketing penetration. There is a whooping Samsung advert en route to Heathrow Central Bus Station, and I frequently see Samsung or HTC advertised. To date, I cannot remember a single Nokia Lumia advert. In fact, I do not believe I have seen a Nokia Lumia in the wild. I did have a false positive a few months back, when I thought I saw a guy use a Lumia on the Northern Line (en route to Old Street). He caught my glances and shielded his phone before I could make a confirmation.

My HTC Desire meets my needs so I'm jumping off the merry-go round of upgrading.

* I am otherwise a fully paid-up member of the Jobsian cult, having bought an iPod and iPhone 3G in the past, and now own an iPad2 and a MacBook Pro Early 2008.

170m people 'upgrade' to Google+, but how many stick around?


Social networks

I like Google+ but I do not intend to use it much longer. It's only because I do not have time that I haven't deleted my account. It's a solution looking for a problem. Want to discuss a specialist subject? It's called a BBS - now a forum. Plenty on the web with a critical mass. I'm a semi-regular for ones relating to travel, Chinese and iOS.

Social network? Facebook. I rage-quitted FB last year and will never return due to all of the changes. All I want is a place to post my holiday pictures for friends and other tidbits, post to my friends walls and receive a news stream in chronological order from my friends. That's it!

Google+ tried a different paradigm and tumbleweeds. I can see the appeal, but it feels more a niche interest than a critical mass of users. The sad part is that it is getting slowly more intrusive with Google+ posting what they believe is their important news in my stream, without the ability for me to filter it out.

I'll stick to looking for a site where I can post my holiday pictures for friends / family (privacy filters), and forgo the social networking side. Not because I have feel there is anything intrinsically wrong with the medium - more I hate the way it is being misused by the companies which provide the service.

Back to good old fashioned email and forums.

UK.gov to unveil reborn, renamed net-snoop plans in Queen's Speech

IT Angle


Like the vast majority of commentators, I saw this on the BBC website and thought it was an April Fool's prank. To my horror, it really is going to be passed as law.

It is not just the invasiveness and scope that concerns me, as well as the lack of accountability (cornerstone of our legal system - although Habeus Corpeus has been under attack with extended right to detain), but the billions of pounds that will inevitably be wasted under the guise of yet another massive IT contract with poor scope, poor execution and total disregard for Total Cost of Ownership, and like the national ID cards, another pet project that will spectacularly fail to meet the main pillar supporting its rationale.


Energy strategy (lack thereof)

In these times of so-called austerity and cuts in various social services, trust politicians of ALL stripes, to think of yet more ingenious ways to waste money on projects with nebulous ends.

Word of warning: take a look across the channel at our French chums, and the success of Marie Le Pen. The National Front were the 3rd biggest party in the 70s - when people become disgruntled with mainstream politics, the fringe parties gain a degree of legitimacy.

Good grief! Does this mean I'm forced to vote Green at General Elections?! Or the most respectable Monster Raving Looney Party?

UK government says no to turbo e-bike


Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

I was also scratching my head at this article because when I was living in Kunming (SW China),

E-bikes were a common form of transport - especially because Kunming has dedicated cycle lanes.

In between regulation and poor infrastructure (whilst I applaud the desire for more people to use their bikes, there is NO way I use my mountain-bike during rush-hour in London. Strictly weekend pleasure / masochistic cycling across NW London), this concept is dead. Sadly, no surprise. After reading more news reports on the state of the nuclear industry, and the lack of any coherent plan to meet our energy needs in 2020 (or whenever most will be decommissioned) - let alone any emissions targets - is it any wonder that when a potential option appears (emission free inter-city transport), it's strangled at birth.

I'm not a car lover by any means - as I would love to see more no car zones in London, but with ever- increasing transport costs without any apparent benefit to the commuter, what incentive is there for people to give up their cars?

Bio student thrown in the clink for Muamba Twitter rant


Re: Agree he seems a most unpleasant person but...

The real crime is how such an ignoramus (if we judge him by a) his opinions, b) through his command of English) obtained a place at University!?

So, what IS the worst film ever made?


This thread delivers!

I haven't stopped laughing through 13 pages.

I was less discriminating in my youth, but even I managed to avoid Battlefield Earth and Highlander II. Allow me to present to you:

1. Curly Sue - to this day, this remains my unofficial definition of what should be specified as a form of torture. I have never sat though anything as excruciatingly dull - even when I stupidly locked myself out of the house and sat on the landing for 8 hours until someone came home and let me in.

2. Along Came Polly - forced to watch this in Bangkok because I didn't wish to disturb my drink(s).

That said, both Matrix Revolutions but especially Terminator: Salvation (why oh why did I watch this on a long-haul flight to Hong Kong!?) - the latter is irredeemably shit.

Jason X could be added to the celluloid torture pile, where it not for the fact that it stars Lexa Doig. I think the phrase, "I would drag my balls across broken glass, just to sniff the butt of the dog that urinated on the laundry truck that hauled her panties" springs to mind.

It's not bad or the worst by any stretch, but I cannot watch beyond precisely 24 minutes of Lost In Translation. I've tried 3 times and the 'Oh those wacky Japanese' theme gets to me every time. Not even Bill Murray can save this film for me.

Someone mentioned The Chronicles of Riddick. I first saw that film in Taiwan, then Hong Kong - and every time it is on (although I stopped watching network TV some time back) I feel compelled to watch. It's a guilty pleasure - a bit like Under Seige (the line "And I can cook!" caused me and a female friend to collapse into paroxysms of laughter just before Dracula (starring Keanu Reeves) started - we were still laughing 15 mins later).

UK kids' art project is 'biggest copyright blag ever' – photographer


Re: Enforceable?

I personally do not think it is enforceable because one of the essential components of a contract is 'capacity' - which does not apply to children. The parents, however.

Glad that to see articles like this on El Reg, and all of the comments. As someone who works in Procurement, the trend (allegedly) is for simpler, but tighter and robust contracts that are appropriate to the Procurement. In the 'real' world, it's still insert boiler-plate clauses that result in supplies ramping up prices to factor contractual disputes / compliance with a bunch of policies that bear little relation to the Procurement at hand.

Back to the point at hand, I am more and more concerned at the use of T&Cs to syphon away rights. I suspect that if this issuers highlighted in the media i.e. Metro, and a MP or two become involved, the embarrassment factor will result in a more sensible set of T&Cs.

Always reminds me of that wonderful Stalin anecdote when informed that his actions might rankle with the Pope. "F**k the Pope. How many divisions does he have?" or words to that effect. T&Cs may say one thing, actual enforcement in law if one party wishes to rely on a clause, is another

Fondle my slab, baby: Inside the tactile world of Apple-fan iDating


Paid vs free

I used to hold the view that:

1. more genuine profiles on paid sites

2. better quality profiles

3. better service

After spending many years online dating (in-between long/medium term relationships), I took a hiatus last year and have recently dipped my toes in. I decided to test my assumptions. I used Dating Direct and Match as my test pay sites and ran the following filters on them:

1. Age: 30-44

2. Location: within 30 miles of Central London

3. Smoking: no

4. Last logged in: 1 month or less

Dating Direct: c133 profiles

Match: c233 profiles

If I ran the same filter last year I would have returned 40 pages of profiles. Now 7.

So what are the paid sites actually offering? First up, they do not indicate who is a subscriber i.e. who can receive and reply. Match used to allow non subscribers to receive emails. Not anymore. Secondly, if you want to use the site on a mobile device, you have to pay significantly extra. Seriously. Thirdly, in my experience, the number of genuine profiles has slipped dramatically.

Ok. Free sites. PoF: used for 6 weeks in 2010 before I went to China. Forums are hilarious, but full of fakes or angry, bitter people. Too much of a cess-pool IMO.

OKCupid: free, good interface, novel/annoying (take your pick) way of matching people (you can use the standard search filters), tonnes of users, and so far, am surprised by what appears to be genuine people. Admittedly, I am quite picky with my filters (Oriental) and who I would contact but seems to be better than the paid sites.

At the moment, I'm scratching my head and wondering why on earth I didn't use OKCupid sooner. That said, it's only been 4 days and the real test is replies that lead to dates.

I've decided to commit to relocating to Asia-Pacific to resolve my dating issues. Dating in London is just a massive PITA whether online / offline.

Japan enlists foreign bloggers to revive tsunami-hit tourist biz


Ibaraki / Yen strength

Ibaraki / Miyagi are not traditionally on the tourist path. I did visit Sendai and Matsushima back Christmas 2009. Sendai liveable city if you're on the JET programme (however, you'll more likely live somewhere more rural) but nothing to really see as it was bombed flat in WWII. Matsushima? Quite pretty (bloody freezing when I went!) but not going to be on the list if you are a first-time visitor.

Far more important is the strength of the Yen. When I first went to visit my ex-ex (after she moved back to Japan, and wasn't my ex-ex) the Yen/Pound rate was 200:1. Japan was quite reasonable in terms of prices - it is never going to be SE Asia cheap - and the rate held throughout 2008 (travelled 3 occasions). Fast forward end of 2009 and it fell to 140:1. Now it's been hovering at the 120:1 mark.

I used to read an expat focused board on a lot of posters were transferring Yen into Dollars (or currency of their choice) because the rates gave them the opportunity to build up a bit of a nest egg if they decided to make the decision to leave Japan.

I can understand the sentiments of the Japanese Government but the lure of Kyoto (to take the obvious example) and the strength of the Yen means they be better off focused on promoting JET and/or something similar.

Pity. I planned to go back to Japan to finally visit a lot of places that I did not get the opportunity when I was with my ex-ex. Yep, that includes Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Koya-San, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima. Maybe as far as Fukuoka. Not going to happen for quite sometime now.

Netflix vs Lovefilm


Catalogue browsing

As another poster said, traditional media does not get the 'net as a distribution mechanism since to them all 'net users are hoisting the Jolly Roger. I used Napster back in the day until iTunes and then bought mp3s - singles and albums - when there was a easy, legal alternative.

I don't watch films via foreign sites and/or via torrents (except Riko Tachibana productions - yes, I have previously dipped my hand in my wallet to pony up for subscription), but I do watch TV shows (recently the under-the-radar Odyssey 5, Firefly, Jericho, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone) via the 'net. I never switch the TV on.

Netflix looks like a legal alternative (unless I pony up for a VPN and watch Hulu - I can't believe this issue plagues e-books. FFS! When will these industries wake up!) - except for the brainless decision to only browse once you've signed up!? Why the **** do we have to rely on a 3rd party site? http://www.thenowhereman.com/netflix/

If Netflix has the Outer Limits (old and new) and Twilight Zone, and will get Game of Thrones Season 2 at some stage, I'll sign up mid-Feb so I can watch on my tablet device (iPad2 / Asus Transformer Prime).

Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO




Since we are using anecdotal evidence and extrapolating into statistical significance, I'd thought I'd chime in. If nothing else, than to kick Nokia when they're down. Like the US car industry (although I do not drive) I'm annoyed by the unrealised potential and arrogant complacency.

I finally stopped using Nokia after my experiences with the E71. Solid build, good keyboard - which I do miss, although my smart-phones are predominantly touch - superb call quality and hands free (allowed me to talk to my ex-ex and do the washing-up at the same time) but sweet Jesus! The UI to navigate the 'smart' aspects. Even worse, fiddling around with internals and/or paying silly money for apps free on other devices - ok, the iPhone.

3 months after my honeymoon with the E71 ended, my language partner showed me his iPhone. I naively asked what apps he used for reading / writing Chinese. He starred at me and replied, " None". All native in General Settings. Couple of weeks later I had sold the E71 and bought an iPhone 3G on the secondary market. Now? Been using an HTC Desire since I returned from China 15 or so months ago.

Why? iPhone like spec, eco-system and UI (not as good as the iPhone but still good) but without iPhone type prices. So many 18-24 month contracts with good bundles and still good TCO. As others have stated, so many Android powered devices on a wide range of low/mid/high end phones. Where is the compelling reason (value proposition) to choose a Lumia?

My anecdote? Oh right. My former house-mate knows zero about tech and her brand recognition is comparable - except with the ubiquitous iPhone. She plumped for a HTC Wildfire based on the low contract cost and oddles of bundled extras she negotiated with her telco provider. What she lacks in technical knowledge she compensates through negotiation skills. It's her first smart-phone and her experiences have been positive. She still secretly wants an iPhone but is happy for now.

I have yet to see a Lumia in the wild (had a false positive whilst waiting for the tube to Old Street last night - the guy seemed to be a little perturbed at my interest in his non-Lumia handset and turned his body away from me) and - for my sins - have to endure 3 tube-lines and the Heathrow Connect. Lumias spotted in the wild = big, fat zero. Adverts spotted in the wild = big, fat zero. Spotted lots of Samsung adverts (the 'new' HTC) and Samsung devices in the wild.

If it wasn't for El Reg I wouldn't know the Lumia existed! That said, I do think the Lumia 800 looks a lovely device (I'm in the minority who like the colour scheme) but cannot think of a compelling reason why I would lock myself into another contract to upgrade to one. My HTC Desire meets my needs.

As Jay Zelos stated, it's all about the deals.

iPad Fleshlight lets fanbois express their love



I'm waiting for the Riko Tachibana or Tia Ling personal moulds.

Let's get serious. Whatever happened to holo-technology developments? When I have the "Help me Obi Wan. You're my only hope" holo device - but with Riko as opposed to Princess Leia - in my living room then we can talk.

London Underground Wi-Fi pusher to be announced in spring


Re Yes, but

The compensation when I was on the Odakyu line was a plethora of Japanese women. There is no such compensation on London Underground.

Have portals next to ticket machines to help plan journeys (with multi-lingual options - bit like Hong Kong, although I believe you can even trade shares on their portals?), fine. Better would be adopting the radical notion of co-ordinating services so when commuters traverse from one line to the other (say Finsbury Park), they can - gasp - actually board the train (relieving platform congestion) and not suffer the ignominy of doors slamming into their face.

Yes, Japan does adopt this radical notion.

When one finally boards a train - jammed in - misery is made complete by stopping in a tunnel "to regulate the service"!

****s! Of the highest order.

Starship Voyager dumped into skip


Goddamn predictive text



You are all Norm, and I claim my free point

Although the initial postings conformed to my expectations from reading this thread, I am amused, surprised and disturbed by the serious amount of interior design knowledge displayed by a predominantly male set of commentators.


Vases with twigs and stones?

Reminds me of that episode of Cheers where Norm displays a previously undisclosed talent for interior design, and even fakes being gay to fit the part. Despite possessing the taken to make a serious amount of money to whatever field he puts his mind, he's happy enough to drink beer, eat peanuts and be accepted by his small drinking circle - even if that means putting up with Cliff's sense of his own self-importance - at the bar where everyone knows his name.

What I really want to know is when 'burnt orange' stopped being fashionable to paint one's lounge?

Page won't show his ring to prove Google+ 'engagement'


Re: I actually like it

I agree, even though tumbleweed is blowing across my account and my circle of friends because they all use FB.

It's strength - it isn't FB - is also it's weakness. FB is sharing content with friends and family, commenting on inane posts and despite what Zuckerberg would like us have to believe, an easy, unintrusive way to keep in touch with people. Oh. And those who want to play Farmville (or the latest game).

G+ paradigm is sharing content to build communities beyond one's own i.e. our own immediate friends and family.

Both are two completely different paradigms. FWIW I prefer the ascetic feel of G+, and I like the concept of circles to segregate content to specific audiences (my Chinese audience may not share my affection for Riko Tachibana - weirdos!). However, I'm really looking for a place more like FB before the changes i.e. somewhere to stay in touch with people, comment on holiday snaps, without FB slurping and re- posting my content or deciding on my behalf how I would like to view content.

The problem with G+ is that it is a solution looking for a problem that has been solved by tech that has been around for decades in one form or another: bulletin board / forum. Travel? Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum or TripnAdvisor. For my Chinese, there is a forum. All these dowdy forms of tech already have communitites, with regular posters, sub-communities / sections, etc.

G+ task is simply bigger than trying to exist alongside FB. It has to convince people that it is a better medium to share content / build communities than the humble forum.

If we take El Reg as an example, the site reports on news with an IT angle and has various sections - each with their own community ( does anyone use 'sub-cultures' anymore? Or did usage die out with BBS?), commenting on the article (such as I am doing now).

In this context, G+ is offering us a solution where the vast majority do not see a problem [need]. *

* I think G+ would be a good communication tool for internal - and external - company communication.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android Tablet


Re: from the author re. updates

Thanks Al.

I found this out via Google just as the Heathrow Connect pulled into Paddington.

This is the clincher for me, especially as I'm 75% leaning towards emigrating to China end of the year. If this does transpire then the following become deal-breakers for the iPad2 (as I plan to use the tablet as my sole device - de-cluttering my life):

1. Removable storage

2. OTA updates

3. Flash (Riko Tachibana)

Once I get my desktop to POST and update my iPad2 to iOS5, time to look into a potential swap for the Asus Transformer Prime.

Then see if I can sell my Samsung NC10 (Ubuntu 10.4 installed) and my Bookeen Opus e-reader (might go to charity instead - no way I'll recoup anywhere near original early adopter cost).


Apps and Flash

I caved in last year and bought an iPad2, which has proven to be indispensable. However 2 minor well-documented irritations:

1. no removable storage (without Apple dock)

2. Flash (lack thereof)

I can live with the lack of removable storage because Dropbox takes care of most things. However, as a media consumption device, the lack of Flash is starting to hurt. Even stripping out the Riko Tachibana fixation, I'm starting to feel the hurt because a lot of sites I visit are predominantly flash.

The Asus and keyboard dock for me would act as a desktop replacement as I rarely play games now. Can't say the same for the iPad2.

What is the Android marketplace like in terms of apps? I notice that my core apps are catered by Android re: Anki, Pleco, Economist, Skype, IM app, etc but I do not know how they compare to the iPad experience.

Also, are updates through the air, so to speak? Or do you need to update via a desktop / laptop?

I could be sorely tempted to see if I could trade my iPad2 (via Gumtree) for one of these bad-boys dependent on answers to the above.

Yahoo! cofounder! Jerry! Yang! quits!


Replace "Wang" with "Yang"

Damn you, failure to proof-read!


Noble but contains 2 small fallacies

1. Mr Wang no longer solely owned the business once it went public

2. Genuine belief that company would be better off needs to be substantiated with a strategy

Yahoo was floundering for years without - outsider view - any obvious value proposition, differentiator or strategy whereby it would offer value over and above the MS bid for it's owners re: shareholders.

FWIW I do believe in long-term greed i.e. sustainable growth and profit beyond the next quarter or financial year. However, couldn't see it with Yahoo then, couldn't believe MS seriously offered the size of the bid in the then market conditions, was flabbergasted that Yahoo turned it down, and still cannot see how Yahoo will even get anywhere near that valuation - if anything it's competitiveness is much worse after yet another couple of years of burying it's head in the sand.

French get unlimited mobile for €20


Not a colour or a load of water bubbles


How is 3's coverage and call reception these days? When when they first appeared, my T-Mobile contract expired, and after a conversation with a customer service rep in a handset store deviating the pros and cons of being an early adopter, I signed up to 3 ( around 5 and a half years ago or so).

Poor coverage (London), dropped calls and 90 minutes spent speaking to 6 customer reps before I coud cancel the contract! Went back to T-Mobile with my tail between my legs.

My current contract expires this Autumn. Presuming, I do not decide to ditch blighty and return to China to live for a while (c700m Chinese women - vs stupidly long-ass commute via tube trains and Heathrow Connect), I need to decide whether to switch operators.

My experience with 3 is quite dated so would be good to solicit the experience of other more recent subscribers.

CSC faces £1bn write-off over botched NHS IT project


Re: Corinne (Right on the money)

As someone who works in Procurement (e-Procurement) for large companies (not Government, although I have worked in the Civil Service) in OJEU regulated industries, I second, third, fourth and fifth Corinne's post and experiences.

Point 3 would be hilarious if it wasn't so true. The review boards set-up to review requirement documents are obsessed more about the process - OJEU compliant ITT - than the actual content by way of documenting requirements, undertake studies to see what other companies have implemented / what products are in the Market and then using the information to create an RFI to properly form a detailed, robust requiremens document.

You can almost guarantee that the weighting criteria are amorphous, vague and will only be properly fleshed out once all the bids have been submitted by suppliers.

The bane of any procurement is poorly scoped specifications and the inevitable variations.

That said, I'm a firm believer that Procurement should be adding value as a business partner by not kowtowing to compliance, but influencing the business by inputting - if necessary rejecting ITTs - into the specification. Yeah, good luck getting any senior support to reject ITTs.

As for Government procurement, you're screwed from the get-go. A friend of mine used to work as a consultant (if you can't be part of the solution, make money from the problem ;)) in the Public sector and it became an axiom that any project which straddled the life of a Parliament was pretty much f**ked. Everything would slow to a crawl as everyone tried to fathom which way the wind would blow. Inevitably someone new would come in and ask to review all on-going projects. Rinse and repeat about 25 times.

Like Corinne, she quit that gig because she felt so disillusioned by the process of pissing money away without anything being delivered.

Grand Theft Auto 3 fires towards fondleslabs

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I'm still playing this on my Pc (when I get round to fixing it) and decided to purchase it on my iPad. For the price of a very large coffee, I have the wonderful Lips106 and Head Radio available for my commute, let alone 'jacking a variety of vehicles just to drive around Liberty City, with camera flare as the sun rises / sets.

Not only is it quite staggering to be playing this game on a tablet, but also for the price of £2.99. A steal, if you pardon the pun.

Facebook shoves your face into creepy 'sponsored stories' in 2012


More and more pernicious changes

I rage-quitted from FB a couple of months ago due to the news feed SNAFU. Every single enforced update in FB since merely reinforces my decision.

The benefits (staying in contact with friends and family, holiday snaps, etc) are by far and away outweighed by the negatives of my personal content no longer being 'personal' - but used to drive advertising revenue.

Even by FB's standards, this is a cluster-f**k of a bad idea:

1. use of personal content [picture] in advertising without consent

2. a whole barrage of negative publicity for advertisers when clued-on users start uploading 'alternative' photos for the purposes of said photos being displayed in advertising

I suspect that point 2 (bad publicity) as opposed to point 1 (concern about user privacy) will see volte-face.

Whilst I actually expect this of FB, 'WTF' icon because clearly the ramifications have not thought through properly (whole sleuth of adult / inappropriate images i.e. enema images being posted on people's profiles).

Doctor Who girl Amy Pond axed in 'heartbreaking' exit


Supporting characters

I must admit that I stopped watching part-way through. I think that last episode that I viewed was the plot to kill Hitler. By that stage, the show was a parody of itself: ludicrous, convoluted plots, too much emphasis on one part of the story (7 of 9 effect ala Star Trek Voyager - despite 7 of 9 being an extremely tall, extremely blonde, extremely big-breasted attractive actress, made to wear body hugging catsuits, the constant focus on her struggle to regain her humanity diluted the story lines and the rest of the cast), too much hammy-acting and a lack of focus of what made the Tennant years so good re: good story-lines and a superb supporting cast.

Bernand Cribbins stole the show every-time he featured.

As for the Pond effect. Seriously Karen Gillan or Alex Kingston? A slip of a girl versus a real woman. Alex Kingston every day and night of the week!

Now, where's the 'Do not Disturb' sign?

P.s. Agree with commentators regarding a new companion who will not become a potential romantic interest of the Doctor. That was the saving grace of Donna Noble - although clearly admiring the Doctor, she also felt he could be a bit of a tit a times.

2011's Best... Games

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Re: More bang for your buck

I couldn't possibly comment on whether this Top 10 meets my approval or not given that the latest game that I own is Fallout 3 (and my Pc will not POST at the moment *mutter*), but ...

"Delivering more bang for your buck than a two-week holiday in Patpong" had me trying to suppress my laughter en route to my commute to Heathrow!


'Occupy Flash' web hippies aim to rid world of Adobe plugin



Their aim will be achieved As soon as porn switch to HTML5 or alternative. Otherwise Flash is here to stay. In the interests of 'research' (ahem), I did find a site that required Silverlight. "Fools!".

Whilst Flash keeps on delivering Riko Tachibana goodness, "out of my cold, dead hands" comes to mind. This from an iPad2 fanboy!

Google+ opens up to enterprises and apps


Ripple effect

I've noticed that a ripple stream - a stream containing a number of publically posted posts that Google+ recommend - has appeared in my stream. Fine to integrate enterprise / companies into Google+ and notify users of changes and new functionality (a new features / functionality section would work) - not fine to introduce ripples / streams into my stream that I cannot control / remove.

One of the principal reasons I deleted my FB account and switched to Google+ was to regain control over what I considered relevant - not FB. I hope that Mountain View is not falling into the same trap of deciding on the user's behalf of what content is relevant to the user.

BioWare Baldur's Gate

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Do yourself a favour, play it!

An excellent, excellent game - I still have the original disks and BG is installed on my PC, because I have never managed to complete it (I'm horrendous with completing games - or not as the case may be).

In fact, I've started playing BG over the years and recently decided to play it, with the eventual aim of completing it. I've got to nearly the point where I was back in 2004, and haven't played it in a while because I got distracted by Fallout 3 and then work, professional qualifications and dating (I place an unhealthy premium on trying to sleep with Asian women above all else).

I'm taking some time off over Christmas - not to visit the family but to play SW:TOR and a few solid days of BG playing.

I love the actual detail in the game - incredibly meticulous; an excellent soundtrack with beautiful, immersive sound effects and excellent dialogue and characterisation. Plus, it's is a brutally tough game at times - especially when you're weak at the start and get ambushed by Orcs ("Spare no-one!") and/or bandits ("So I kicked in the head until he was dead"). Or run foul of the Flaming Fist ("I serve the Flaming Fist!").

Plus, tactical play in setting up your party, their positions, formation, spell-choice et al, really works.

Oh. It's bloody massive! Cue the Douglas Adam joke about the Universe.

Goddamn you, El Reg! I have 2 assignments to do - including a very overdue one that I have not even started the reading, let alone write the damn thing, and now you nudge me towards resuming my BG game!

Nokia launches Windows Phone range


Nokia handset builds / design

I must 'fess up that despite hating S60 (or rather the abysmal UI), I was a loyal Nokia owner until I ditched the E71 for an iPhone (now HTC Desire).

As many have stated before, handset build / design usually wonderful - although there have been a few howlers (one of which I owned) - and you could always count on Nokia for battery life and build quality. Shame about Ovi.

The HTC Desire is a solid smart-phone (especially the contract deals, giving the phone free for a relatively cheap tariff - very good VFM on TCO [Total Cost of Ownership]) but battery life and call quality leave a lot to be desired. Also, I've never got the hang of an almost fully touch-screen smart-phone.

I also have to 'fess that I'd actually like to Mango, and am I the only one to love the designs for the Lumias? The electric blue is an arresting colour - but I prefer the simplicity of the chrome finish and rounded corners on the Lumia 710. Not to mention the price differential (is the AMOLED screen and camera worth that differential?).

I still have a year to go on my contract so perhaps I'll have a play in the Nokia store and see what I think of Mango.

Personally, since I have an iPad2, I'd rather downgrade altogether to a 6310i - if they were still being sold at a reasonable price.

Look who's talking ... about your Facebook Page

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When did enhance become exploit?

I have absolutely nothing against the profit motive, providing that the motive is about providing me with goods and services that I need and/or providing added value.

I deleted my account weeks back when it became blindly obvious that Facebook is less about enhancing the user experience than totally exploiting it. I even clicked and rated / reported the damn adverts in the hope that they would personalise them to something at least relevant.

The damn site knew all of my likes, but rather than provide a personalised experienced based upon them i.e. a Caffe Nero promotion / Special offer, I was constantly plagued by adverts from two-bit companies selling nothing of value.

I felt cheapened using the site, which clearly has no regard for its users - except Zuckerburg and co rubbing their hands at the thought of hoovering all of our content up until they hit lint.

The actual irony of heading to Mountain View due to privacy concerns! Yet Google innovate and provide a different paradigm with privacy controls. Before I used Google+, I couldn't see the point of 'circles'. Now I wondered how on earth I stuck with Facebook for so long with its myriad of confusing options that it has now seen fit to disregard.

It's sheer arrogance and contempt of its user base in the belief that the sheep will bleat a little, but fall meekly in line. There are other options and with each intrusive upgrade that neglects users from their own experience, slowly but surely those users will seek other alternatives.

Facebook suggests sharing everything all the time


Re: one step too far.. as usual

It's sad in many ways, as I used Facebook in exactly the way that you described: keeping in contact with friends, ex-work colleagues, acquaintances and old friends (university) whom I like to know what's going on in their lives over the years.

The new direction is all about selling one's content rather than sharing, The former 'Recent Events' feed worked perfectly for keeping in contact with people, sharing lives with each other (and having full control over what we share). Facebook has become far, far too intrusive, too busy and is a poor user-experience.

Google+ is user-friendly, intuitive and even ascetic compared to Facebook.

When I log on to Facebook, I'm bombarded with content - none of which I can contextualise due to lacking chronology - and tickers and feeds. In log on to Google+, and I feel calm, relaxed, serene.

I'm still deciding on how best to migrate my picture albums out of Facebook and into either Flickr or Google+. Then deactivate and delete my account, bitch!

Facebook 'personal' news feed gets algorithm rejig


The new Myspace

I rarely get my panties in a twist with changes, as I can adapt. However, upon logging into Facebook I immediately had a 'WTF? Have Facebook just hired a bunch of Microsoft Engineers!?'. As others have commented, Top Stories is intermingled with News Feeds, with no indication of how Facebook determines what is a Top Story, and apparently no understanding of the importance of chronological order.

The side bar could have potentially been a good feature (click on an item in the side bar, and the story and all the corresponding posts appear) but there is no way to disable the side bar or the scroll-bar.

The most bizarre aspect is that both Top Stories and Latest News (not that I can distinguish between the two or any chronology) appear as a main news-feed and in the side-bar with NO option to disable.

I could handle the adverts and constant 'recommendations' of random acquaintances to be my friends, but not this change. The whole purpose is to be connected with friends and acquaintances and have control over my content. Now Facebook is using my content and that of my friends and telling me how it thinks my content should be used.

In the words of a Harry Enfield character, "OI! FACEBOOK! NOOOOOOOOO!".

Google must have spent today grabbing seats and bringing out the popcorn. I'm heading straight to Google+ this weekend, and migrating my images to Flickr.

Memo to Facebook: you're no longer the only game in town. You've just removed the one reason why people may be hesitant to migrate - keeping in contact with friends - because Google+ is suddenly going to become very, very popluar.

People don't want tablets, they want iPads


Here we go again

Why does a 5 letter word that is also a fruit make grown men regress? Amiga? Atari? Apple.

Quite simple: it's the user experience and ecosystem stupid! I sneered many years ago at the iPod touch and the iPhone until my Malaysian friend (whose knickers I was kind of trying to get at the time) came over to my house (sadly, no knickers interaction) with her new iPod touch. Like any good sales person she bid me to try the forbidden fruit (still no knicker action. Goddamnit!). A week later I sold my Nokia E71 and bought an iPhone 3G on the secondary market

Years later I once again sneered (spontaneously channelling the spirit of Steve Balmer) at the iPad. Glorified iPod touch. Until once again, the forbidden fruit was proferred and I shaved my head, donned a white robe and was allowed into the inner sanctum of then Holy Apple store on Regent's Street to buy an iPad2.

As cults go, it's not to bad adjusting to a life without Flah - although I do surreptitiously use the Pc for my Riko Tachibana fix.

As other commentators have said, unless there is a significant discount, where is the value proposition for other tablets? I am by far and away much more productive than I ever was on my notebook (Samsung NC10 - lovely notebook, now neglected).

Absolutely agree with the AC 16:16. It's the whole user experience (sadly without Malaysian knicker interaction).