* Posts by Encorespod

9 posts • joined 16 Oct 2009

Flippin' heck! Magnetic poles of Sun are gyrating: What Earth needs to know


But have the neutrinos mutated?

El Reg rocket squad poised to select Ultimate Cuppa teabag


Yes, Altitude

But also, water... I discovered the altitude problem as a young man when I found that my tea tasted stronger when I was on the coast compared to my relatively lofty office.

But there is also the composition of the water to consider, soft or hard water? Opinions?

The world's first Windows Phone 8 hands on – what's it like?


Never ever, EVER again

My phone history:

Never liked mobile devices, I didn't see the point in having an iPaq or suchlike without a data connection so I stayed out of the way until the iPaq 6340 came along, it was a brick but it finally rolled data a phone and a handheld computer into one. And so I became trapped in windows mobile, or pocket pc as it was known then.

The user experience was terrible of course, everything had to be done with a stylus as no-one had given much thought to a touch interface beyond replacing a mouse cursor with a pointy stick. Appart from that it was okay, I could telnet from it, even remote desktop if you didn't mind the tiny screen, it was useful.

When it came time to get a new phone I went for a HTC P3600 and flashed it to turn on the GPS so it is probably my own fault that the thing kept cooking lipo batteries. The camera was terrible and Windows was getting ever more annoying, during the life of the handset iphones and android devices started to evolve.

I was presented with a choice, I had decided whatever I got was going to be a Samsung, all the Samsung handsets I had played with had good cameras and build quality. They knew how to build a solid phone, cutting edge gadgetry was no longer my primary concern. I found two models that looked worthy, one was android, on was windows mobile. I opted for the windy phone because I had little homebrew apps I wanted to keep using, little did I realise that the android marketplace would explode so rapidly.

That was my big mistake, from the word go I found the latest windows mobile to have all the annoyances of the old version plus a few more, it was slow, battery hungry and even basic features like text messaging would sometimes completely stop working for no apparent reason. Samsung had tried to polish the turd by adding UI tweaks but every time I wanted to go a little deeper than making a phone call or viewing a webpage, old style pocket pc dialogs would appear forcing me to reach for a stylus.

Towards the end of its life I actually got so annoyed with it that I partitioned the internal storage up and installed android on it.

I've just bought a new device and I didn't even have to think about the operating system, I wanted android. It was designed to be used on smaller, touchscreen devices and more importantly it just works for me, seemlessly. Since using android I've not once had to think "I better reboot it just in case someone is trying to txt me and its stopped receiving messages again." as I did under the malformed offspring of Windows CE.

I don't care how good the camera is, I wouldn't touch this phone because it runs Windows. I don't care if it makes me coffee in the morning and gives me oral sex at night whilst checking my email at the same time, its Windows. It will be slow, unresponsive, badly thought out and given the rise of android and ios there will be absolutely no support from developers.

Now obviously I haven't even played with the handset so you can flame me for making these assumptions but that is EXACTLY the point. From previous experience, these are the assumptions I and everyone else who has ever used a windows phone will make when they see the word Windows.

Its too late for Microsoft, they shot themselves in the foot when they could have got a foot in the door. The only people who will buy this handset are those who don't get a choice or aren't technical enough to know better.

And those poor souls will do exactly the same as I did when they become annoyed by the usual Windows bugs and an inability to play <LATEST HOT GAME> with their friends because the developers didn't do a version for windows.

Give it up MS, the only way people are going to buy your phones in this cloudy age is if you can come up with something really, REALLY special. Something with the trendiness of an iGadget, the application support of a Droid and the reliability of the can opener on my swiss army knife.

I think we all know, they just can't.

New UK network touts FREE* mobile broadband



Remember the X-Stream network? They offered dialup internet on 0800 numbers in return for an ad banner across the top of the screen, of course everyone soon worked out you could kill the banner and the dialup continued, then they changed it... so everyone just took to hiding the banner.

They'd do 'free weekends' where for 48hrs you could get online for nothing and quickly realised that everyone would jump onto their modems bang on midnight and stay there, so they then switched to kicking people every couple of hours.

IT Got me depressed

IT Angle

I made the mistake...

...of getting into IT because I was interested in it, pretty good at it and presented with the opportunity to build up my knowledge and experience.

What a stupid boy I was, of course I quickly got as far as I could go. After collecting years of knowledge and experience I found myself in a position where I was doing the job of the guy above me better than he could, stupidly thinking I'd get a promotion at some point.

I tried every which way to make it happen and had to face up to the fact that people get paid more because they know the right people, the duties of the job are just made up in order to justify that pay on paper. Those duties still get done but only because they have fools like I was to do them.

I ended up getting out of IT and I'm now doing something completely different which I have no background or experience in and guess why... because I knew someone at the company who got me the job.

Have I become the thing I hated the most? Probably. Was it that pre deterministic inevitability that I hated? Or was it just plain old jealousy? Probably the later, I hoped I would be doing more of the same and getting paid more because I'd be doing it better and found out that I'd been concentrating on completely the wrong thing, I ended up on the wrong side of that fence and I felt bitter about it. I didn't like it, I still don't but its just the way the world is and if you can't beat em...

I can't exactly say I'm on the right side of it now, I don't think it matters what the job is there just comes a point like being initiated into some secret society where you will either be given a bump up the next level based on your connections, or you won't. Knowledge, experience and being able to do whatever job they bump you up to really doesn't come into it. Half the manager's I've ever met couldn't manage to organise a gangbang in a brothel, its simply that a management job pays more so making these people managers was the only way to give them a bump up.

As BC pointed out, being the absolutely perfect most qualified person for a position won't get you it and I don't think it just applies in IT, you'll get jobs based on whether or not they like you and it seems to me that in the world we live in being a techie isn't just un-attractive, its positively repulsive.

As OB quoted "any good they'd be in management by now", obviously whoever said that didn't think it through as it basically translates to "If this person was any good at being a <WHATEVER> they wouldn't be asked to do that and instead would have been asked to do something completely different instead of the job they are good at." Of course I make this poor translation based on my old definition of 'any good', I'm sure the original speaker wasn't thinking of how good the candidate is at doing the job in hand but rather taking 'being in management' as a sign that this person must be 'the right kind of chap' ... after all, someone made him a manager so he must be one of the club.

I still do the occasional bit of software dev but only where it benefits me, I've learnt that I'm never going to get paid any more than I am now no matter what I do, the numbers might go up but then so will the rent and the price of gas over the years.

The best thing you can do as a techie in my opinion? As little as is required to keep your job, why work your arse off if no-one is going to reward you for it?

As OB said about best work being done in 20s and 30s, perhaps that is true and if it is I can only speak from my own point of view here but I think its because by the time we reach our 30s we realise the above and stop trying. Management like to hire young people because they don't know the score and are prepared to give you their moments of genius thinking they can prove themselves and that rewards may follow... when they didn't I learnt not to waste my effort, all I got from it was a sense of a pride and maybe a pat on the back. Then I got home and realised I was living in a shitty little bedsit with a damp problem and didn't have a girlfriend, the pat on the back really didn't make a lot of difference to the bank balance or my life.

Lucy in 3.4 million-year-old cross-species cave tryst


- US -

...and bigfoot, don't forget bigfoot.

UPDATE: GAGA team hunts down grass-smoking ROBOT


Object location using sound

In the past ultrasound has solved this problem, at least indoors.

Your problem with GPS is the speed of light, but you don't need a GLOBAL positioning system, you need a local one. Ultrasonic transducers of the kind often used in car alarms are easy to get hold of, they have a peak efficiency somewhere around 40khz but you need two or three distinct beacons. Just below, at and above that point. More beacons make obtaining a fix easier.

Synchronised pulses from multiple beacons reach the robot at different times, or you can send pulses from the robot to be located by multiple receivers, whatever, you get the picture.

2009's Top Win Mo Smartphones



I recently got a new smartphone because my HTC was terrible.

HTC just make gadgets. Okay you got a camera, but whats the point when its poo? Okay you got GPS wifi and bluetooth etc etc etc.. but you turn them on and discover the wonderous feature that is a two hour battery life. Okay its a phone, but its useless phone if I can't put it up against my ear without it switching to speakerphone everytime my earlobe rubs against the screen. Okay, you play mp3's but why the hell do you have to leave the screen and backlight on running down the battery whilst you are doing it?

Samsung on the other hand have been making (un-smart) phones for some time and they get this part right first.

I got myself an Omnia II and it fixes all the gripes I had with my old HTC. I still get windies mobile but I get a half decent camera, and a flash so it even works in the dark. The touch screen is resitive so it works when I've got my gloves on and it works with a stylus when I want to write something. Little touches like the way, when I put the phone against my ear it locks the screen so my face no longer presses buttons whilst I'm using it, make the Samsung just plain friendlier and I can't see why it didn't even make the roundup.

UK stuck in tech time-warp, finds report


Retirment fund

My stash of ancient PC's will one day be antiques :D


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