* Posts by Stuart Ball

71 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Sep 2009


Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

Stuart Ball

The only way to win, is not to play.

Ex 'Tech City' chief Shields appointed junior Fun minister for internet safety

Stuart Ball

Re: Hah!

Me too!

Nokia France leak: Windows Phone DUMPED in Microsoft Lumia revamp

Stuart Ball

Not so. I use MS account on my windows phone, and my android tablet. As I have setup Outlook as an account on the tablet, all my mail, contacts etc are available on both devices.

The same with Google, Yahoo, and iCloud on the Windows Phone.

Lock in is only there through lack of education and awareness.

Apps is a different matter though, but some apps are buy once, run agnostic, like MLB.TV. Where you pay for the service, not the app.

'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

Stuart Ball

You can't herd volunteers, and organisations who make use of them should not try it.

Same happened to Scout Assoc when the Cub Leader who stood upto the Lee Rigby killers in the street advocated the death penalty in a TV interview. Something the Scout Assoc is against as an organisation. It chose, as I recall, to respect her views as an individual, but disagree with her on the principle.

Herding volunteers generates resentment and churn, neither of which most volunteer organisations need.

Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Stuart Ball

Re: Paper shortages

Shadowrun 3rd Edition. never quite got on with 4th, and not tried 5th Edition Shadowrun yet.

Third Ed is my fave.

DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

Stuart Ball


I've been feeding my addiction for years on sounds from this site....

I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Stuart Ball

At least it isn't the Pox

Tesco to tout its own smartphone – now THAT'S an unexpected item in the bagging area

Stuart Ball

Other supermarkets are not the target. Amazon UK is.

Given that Amazon will drop ship regular deliveries of dry groceries at a predetermined price, the Hudl2 & Hudl Phone are aimed at the Kindle Fire segments, IMO.

That's right, MICROSOFT is an ANDROID vendor after Nokia gobble

Stuart Ball

Re: Crossing the Streams

Given that MS have decided to offer the WinPho 8 for free for smaller devices, and Nadella has said Cloud First, Mobile First, he didn't say "Windows first", and they are a devices and services company now, so they say.

The OS is a means to that end, rather than the ending. Expect to see Office 365 on Android soon, and better integration to their cloud offerings, both public through 365, and private clouds and internally managed Sharepoint.

We may be seeing a realisation that Windows is in a managed decline, and in order to protect core revenues of Office, and enterprise apps, cross-platform integration is essential. Microsoft won't care how you connect to their services, just that you do. Much like Googles approach.

WinPho, and Windows desktop are there to offer the tightest supported integration model to their services.

LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

Stuart Ball

No pressure on Chris and his Vinyl Wrappers eh?

Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Stuart Ball

Re: I need to re-think my charging!


What they said. Ninite is a very good tool.

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Stuart Ball

Re: Some things should be left until big school

Sorry, I was picking up on the "lengthen the school day" rant of an earlier poster.

Basic programming principles of instruction sets, and process flows can be taught (without the obvious management speak!) using rover robots, or tools like Big Trak.

You can set up the skills in primary school to later use in a more formal programming environment. Even getting algebra a bigger focus to get the idea of using named variables.

Probably the most used "coding" skill I use at the moment is complicated formula in Excel, and SQL.

Understanding databases is taught in primary schools, but it could be done more.....interestingly.

Stuart Ball

<Caveat married to a primary school teacher>

Adding an additional 2 hours teaching per day, and going from an 0800-1730 hrs (in school plus 2-3 hours marking & planning per evening) to an 0700-1900 day for a teacher would MASSIVELY put up teaching costs, because you would need to have, certainly in primary education where most of the important skills are learnt, 2 teachers, and a doubling of teaching assistants, per class to cover the day.

Which would double your manpower costs to deliver primary education.

Also I have children aged 5 & 7, who do afterschool clubs at the moment because Mrs B and I both work, so they are out the house 8-1730 as it is, however the afterschool bit is time for them to socialise and play with "friends" who also go to afterschool club.

It's the last week before half term, and they are knackered, and need the holiday to blow off steam and relax. Formalising the school day to 8-1700 and you'd need shorter half terms to allow the children to manage.

At Mrs B's school they have afterschool clubs 3 days a week that parents pay for, which are sports clubs, massively oversubscribed. Mrs B is also (free) Clubs Co-ordinator for her school, and for every place that she manages she has 3 applicants because a large proportion of parents see it as free additional childcare.

We need to decide if we want schools to be a national childcare service so everyone can contribute to the GDP of the Nation, or whether they want a good quality education service. Private schools spend double per pupil that state schools are paid, the only way we will get a better education system is to spend more per pupil, if state schools are to be compared to private education institutions.

Microsoft takes InfoPath behind the shed, says successor will be better

Stuart Ball

Infopath is/was a very under promoted tool in Office Enterprise, I used it several times in recent years for data capture & report producing.

I rate it highly.

Microsoft boffins test rival 'Google Glass' geek goggles, say insiders

Stuart Ball

Maybe they should just leverage the Shadowrun (also based in Seattle) universe for more ideas than just poor online games.

I'm sure Tom Dowd or Jordan Weisman could offer time as technology consultants....:)

LIVE, my beauty, LIVE! Nokia revives dead phone with LIGHTNING powered Frankencharger

Stuart Ball

"On that note, Nokia is keen to emphasise that no-one should try this at home: pointless playing with machines of lethal power is best left to the chaps in the white coats"

And probably Lester Haines....

Microsoft waves goodbye to Small Business Server

Stuart Ball


I've been looking to replace the email service at the Scout Group I run the web ops for as Lunarpages Shared Hosting server is having a hissy-fit at the moment, and I was told "It's a shared platform....deal with it" essentially...

Looked around for a collaboration bundle on a LAMP stack and came across Zentyal.com which is a small business in a box software stack.

It has a community edition which is free, of course, and comes with Zarafa which so far is looking like a good replacement for Exchange.

Zentyal is multi-role and is well worth the look based on my evaluations this week.

Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet

Stuart Ball

I have the Navigon software from Garmin on my HTC 8x and it does run hot, although they seem to have improved the consumption so that it doesn't consume power faster than it's getting from the charger.

Perhaps Garmin should ask for an override so that power doesn't go to the battery to charge it when Navigon is running, and just bypasses that "switch" into the circuit. (not tech engineer) that should reduce heat generated for that purpose.

Navigon does seem to generate a lot of heat in the phone, but it's got an awful lot going on. Not looked at a CPU trace whilst its been running to see.

However Navigon is by far the best GPS software I have come across for mobile phones. Not cheap, but very good. If they could sort out the heat.....even better.

Rogue Nokia splinter cell drops its Jolla phone A-BOMB

Stuart Ball

Rolling upgrade

If the phone comes in two halves, you could end up with a rolling upgrade "programme" whereby the front and backs are upgreadeable independently, so if you splash for the uber spec camera, you can upgrade the front processing unit & screen as and when you can afford it.

Interesting concepts.

O2 to turn your innocent nipper into Silicon Roundabout hipster

Stuart Ball
Thumb Up


There is a chronic shortage of adult helpers, and waiting lists for children to join, if you can help out, even as an occasional helper, or fundraiser, please get in touch with your local group or district.


Stuart Ball

Shows you that O2 know NOTHING about modern scouting, and the benefits that Scouting brings not just in fending-for-yourself skills, but also leadership, practical problem-solving, and a wider sense of community.

That's appallingly naive from O2.

Stuart Ball

Scout Leader

High-rollers’ shop pitches wallet-pounding, wall-pummelling MONSTER TV

Stuart Ball

Dumb Telly?

Hang on!

You get a massive screen, huge resolution and its all connected to an STB which makes it smart, so you can keep the screen but upgrade your Smart TV bit....

It's a TV and Console combo!

Who's a Siri boy, then? Apple hoards your voices for TWO years

Stuart Ball

Sorry this doesn't ring true, and is possibly a lie. If they are an enterprise with an enterprise backup system that retains tapes off-site for longer than 2 years, it can still be associated with you if the backup is restored within that time period.

You would need to be able to guarantee the tapes had been destroyed to really be able to say your data is anonymised.

Nokia: OK, Q1 has been weak, but there's 'underlying' profit

Stuart Ball

Well they lost a sale from me because of the Exclusive EE.....Rarr.

That being said, I really like mt HTC 8X.

Google's 'power to switch off the lights in Europe' has 'chilling effect' - rivals

Stuart Ball

Re: @Stuart Ball

BT was NOT a state monopoly at the point it was broken up. The "Golden Share" had already been sold off.

Stuart Ball

If you take BT as comparison example. BT was split up into the platform (OpenReach) and Retail arms, and had to compete fairly with other retail providers of broadband products.

The same could be done with Google, with Google's competing services forced to be treated as essentially external customers to the platform.

No.10 guru: UK tech scene is AN EXPLODING CHEESE

Stuart Ball

Hold on, there is a ManFromMars imposter! That made perfectt sense!

I need a lie down.

Google: Our 'freedom of expression' should trump punters' privacy

Stuart Ball

Re: MASSIVE red flag here

I agree with you mostly, however the Common Carrier argument is lost the moment any processing is carried out on the stream to alter it in anyway. By censoring anything, even at the laws request, it is devoid of the moral high ground that pipe providers have, by injecting it's choice of adverts into the stream of results, it is not a common carrier.


Dell takes aim at iPad, uncloaks enterprise-level Win8 tablet

Stuart Ball

Nokia not selling Windows 8 phones can also be the fault of Nokia, not MS, by signing stupid exclusivity agreements with a single carrier, and not releasing the full palette at launch, and a multitude of other reasons other than the OS.


Tizen mobile OS releases v2.0 code

Stuart Ball

Tizen may help Samsung crack China, where Google is frowned upon, and an iPhone costs you a kidney.

And it won't be beholden to Google, or MS, for code changes, it can fund features directly.

Tesco dials 999 after Clubcard vouchers are 'nicked' online

Stuart Ball

Re: Inside job

That's why we cashed our new ones in as soon as they became available online. We had £462 of vouchers because of a Tesco Bathroom/Kitchen deal on points.

Without knowing the "How" I was buggered if I was going to leave them another opportunity.

Stuart Ball

Sorry Dave, I disagree with you.

Ours were stolen from the November mailout, as was others, so its not just the Feb mailing impacted. the Register has an ICO article from November where Tesco is heavily criticised for its online security, the inference being that as forgotten passwords are emailed out in plain-text that there is two-way or n-way encryption on the password field in their database.

Online vouchers are available 2-3weeks before the voucher booklet arrives on your doorstep, I know mine arrived today, and we'd spent ours the day they went live online so as not to get stung again.

Stuart Ball

Our vouchers were spend instore, up near Burnley, and we never spend them instore and they were spent with a clubcard that wasn't ours! So the cashier didn't check vouchers matched the card, and nor did the computer system. I still have the mailed out vouchers in the In-Tray upstairs, so it wasn't Il Postino nicking them either.

There are reports also today that Pizza Express email voucher codes that have been converted from Clubcard Vouchers, have also been used in appropriately.

Suffice to say we've cashed ours in this time around before the mailout, as they appeared online a couple of weeks ago. Would hate to lose them again...and have the points rolled towards Mays mailing, we've got stuff to do!

Stuart Ball

We had ours nicked November last year, I did some background digging to see if I could replicate the fraud with login details etc, and as far as I can deduce it's an inside job re-printing online vouchers, or the printer is re-running the print job.

LibreOffice 4.0 ships with new features, better looks

Stuart Ball

In my experience most teachers can barely drive Office to any reasonable degree. Making them cross train to LO just for the sake of pennies will dramatically decrease their productivity. Trust me, Teachers have enough to do as it is without wrestling with a new package.

Eeejit making sweeping assumptions!

Big Windows updates may ship this summer – and every summer

Stuart Ball

Re: Increasing the pace of global business disruption

And that is why Apple doesn't do Xserve any more I guess, consumers proved more lucrative to them.

Microsoft is in a position where it has to please both the server and infrastructure userbase, and consumers & company desktops.

Not an easy position. It would perhaps be better divorcing its consumer & business divisions, which should each have their own engineering sections with a common kernel developed by a separate division. Kinda of like I perceive linux distros. Common kernel fiddled about with to meet the needs of disparate customers.

Microsoft 'touches 16k shop workers' to flog Windows 8 hard

Stuart Ball

My Youngest was most put out that a cross platform painting programme she used on my Asus Transformer was not "Touch-Enabled" when using it on Windows, as her monitor doesn't have touchscreen.She point blank refused to use the mouse to finger-paint.

There is a danger we are missing the point in that Touch is not an interface for "our" generation, but those actually growing up with touch now. MS is laying the groundwork, possibly badly, for future markets.

However £400 for a touchscreen standalone monitor is a TAD excessive.

Dell finally takes Dell private - with $24bn and help from Microsoft

Stuart Ball


"As Eadon has long predicted here, Microsoft will collapse surprisingly quickly."

isn't that an oxy-moron.....Long predicted, and surprisingly quickly...

Comp Sci becomes 'fourth science' in English Baccalaureate

Stuart Ball

But that's what we used to do with computer magazines, the included the text to copy and run, because it was cheaper than including cassettes with the magazine.

I cannot create code from scratch, yet, but I can read VBA, some PHP, some ASP and Javascript to understand whats happening, and why.

Copying code is a good place to start learning good habits, for when you DO start to write your own fart apps..:)

Don't like your cell network? Legal unlocking ends TONIGHT in US

Stuart Ball

If you never "own" the phone outright, and only lease, with the ability to unlock it at your discretion, surely then the carrier becomes responsible for recycling it.

I am SURE Carriers want THAT responsibility.

Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

Stuart Ball

I have an 8x primarily because Nokia faffed about with their Lumia 920 release. I really like the phone. I bought the Navigon Satnav software for it, which is good, but expensive.

I much prefer it over the Mrs' iPhone 4, although she is resisting upgrading her 4 to anything newer at the moment, even though it's out of contract.

App store is a little sparse, but I have what I need, and for games I still have my TF101. Coupled with an Xbox Music subscription who needs iTunes? or additional storage for music.

What I really want is a decent dock for it. non iphone accessories are still very hard to come buy despit ethe fact that micro usb is probably as populous as the iphone port.


Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'

Stuart Ball

I got Win8 free with my HTC 8X phone, and I must confess to not fully understanding why all the negativity.

I'm sat here with the desktop open, pretty much doing things I always did, no live tiles present, Outlook is running, as is IE, and a citrix session connected to the corporate VDI platform.

All Metro is is a full screen start menu, I barely use it!

Ballmer: Windows Phone 8 'WILL ramp quickly', god dammit

Stuart Ball

Spoke to Nokia Customer Care today and tehy had no clue 9where I should really stop, but humour me) when stock levels would ramp up so you could actually buy one, let alone on a network you want it on.

HTC were unable to say when their O2 exclusive would run out, but its supposed to be soon.

So of the 5 phones on the Windowsphone.com website, you cannot actually BUY one with any degree of success, let alone in a colour you want (yellow in my case).

It's like someone forgot to raise the purchase order to manufacturing for the hardware part of the WinPho8 launch.

Nokia primes Lumias for Windows Phone 8 push

Stuart Ball

HTC comes in Orange is thats any help...

Stuart Ball

At least I am not the only one wanting the Tweetie Pie Yellow one. I too am on Three, and it's galling I cannot have what I want on a contract with my preferred provider.

Stuart Ball

According to the Nokia Press release from yesterday:


They are in the "Channel" so it will be down to internal P4U supply chain on when they hit the shelves I would guess.

I want a 920 in Tweetie Pie yellow.....sad, i know.

WinPho 8 fans now able to order HTC handsets

Stuart Ball

Re: Weird, isn't it.....

It is an odd observation, but yes. Android and IOS are so prevalent that in order to be different and individual WP8 and HTC/Nokia colours is a way to express that individuality.

Apple is no longer cool IMO, it's common, mainstream, mass market. You cannot be a premium brand if every bugger you see has one. Samsung for example, never tried to be a premium brand, again IMO, they wanted mass market numbers.

So in order to be different, the only real standout differentiator is WP8, rightly or wrongly.

Stuart Ball

This has put me in a real quandry. I want WP8, partly to be contrary, but my contract is up for renewal today. I wanted the Lumia 920 in tweetie pie yellow (contrary theme again), but still no firm release date, and now HTC tempt me with a snot green one...

No Fair!

Dolly the Sheep creator scientist Keith Campbell dies

Stuart Ball

There's a man who should have been Nobel-ed.

Google shovels more small-fry apps on Larry Page's pyre

Stuart Ball

So you pay for 100GB and get 95GB and your free 5GB allocation?!?!? The wording will need to be clever on that one or trades descriptions comes into play?