* Posts by Notorious Biggles

39 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Dec 2009

Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Notorious Biggles

About time!

I'm a long time Firefox user. I want to see it remain independent and useful. I don't like the fact that Chrome has come along and slurped up half the Firefox userbase as I'm inherently untrusting of Apple, Google and Microsoft. But there's no denying that it got a lot less user friendly over the last while.

The first annoying change was with version 4 and The Stupid Orange Button. TSOB meant I had to teach old dogs new tricks again, but it wasn't that hard. At least they stuck with it for a long time. The UI change in v29 or whatever was horrible however, and I still don't like it. Not enough really to get around to trying to make it look like it used to (although it could yet happen) but enough to be actively annoyed. The Pocket nonsense was annoying. The Hello nonsense was annoying. Most annoying of all however is the fact that one tab going funny kills them all. It's less common than it ever used to be due to plugin containers and stuff, but it does still happen. And it bugs the hell out of me because Chrome fixed it what feels like decades ago.

I see the whole thing as quite simple really - there's a section of people who don't want to be spied on and like openness and there's a section of people who don't want to be annoyed and of course there's some who will only ever use IE because it's already there. If Firefox can be both open and not annoying again, it should take the majority of users who actually care.

Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

Notorious Biggles

Peak Mobile

The smartphone market has basically reached it's own version of peak oil - the maximum rate of extraction after which there is terminal decline. Like the writer says, there's nothing particularly gripping around any more, to anybody who had a decent device in the last two years or so.

I have an original Samsung Galaxy Note. I've had mine for two years and it was launched about six months before I bought mine. Compared to the Sony Ericsson Satio I had before it, it was a dramatic difference. The large, HD screen (1280x800) meant that it was great for watching videos, it was useful for the web and the chips inside meant it had the grunt to do stuff, whereas much as I loved Symbian, the Satio was comparatively underpowered by the end of it's life.

At this point though, I'm still finding my Note to be very useful. The stylus was a novelty for a long time, but now that I'm doing things like occasionally using RDP or VNC on the Note, it's become a properly useful tool and that puts me off something like the HTC One Max, which I quite liked the look of previously. The Note is now running Android 4.2, so although not the latest and greatest, it's modern enough. I don't play that many games, so couldn't tell you how FIFA 107 is on it, but Candy Crush works fine...

I look at the Note 3 and I think, "yeah, that looks great, bigger, faster, some more features" but then I realise that it's not going to let me do things I can't already and it's going to cost me the price of a cheap foreign holiday over the course of a year to actually get it. And I'd rather drink my body weight in local beer and burn on a beach than have a higher definition screen and faster (and more invasive) Facebook.

So like my Core2Quad desktop before it, I think the Note is good enough. And a lot of people are now at that stage with their phones, so I expect to see even longer mobile contracts coming out soon. For those that had an HTC Desire or similar, you might benefit from an upgrade, since it was so close, but not quite.

But 2011 Samsungs... they were the smartphones that were Good Enough.

'You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back'

Notorious Biggles

The Google stuff...

Makes me realise that I'd really like to see a European technology company be a viable alternative to the chocolate factory. I know Google has by far the dominant position in search, online advertising, mobile operating systems and right up there in email, but I don't trust them anymore. The fact that all the other big tech companies are American means that any alternatives have the same privacy implications - that you're being watched.

Surely there's got to be a European company that could knock-up a decent webmail or search engine.

So long, Hotmail: Remaining users migrated to Outlook.com

Notorious Biggles

'tis good

I've had my Hotmail address since the 90s, although the oldest email I still have in the inbox is from 2001.

Some argue that Hotmail addresses can't be taken seriously, and I suppose when the addresses are things like john12398384@hotmail.com or thisisareallycoolemaillol@hotmail.com then yeah, it is just spammy looking.

But that's because of the address, not the domain. I have firstnamesurname@hotmail.com and I think that comes across as far more professional than the umpteen work email addresses I've had in that time or using a personal domain name which are all tied to a particular project or interest. I also think that personal domains like johnsmith.me.uk are totally lame. A sane Hotmail (or now Outlook) address comes across as neutral.

The new interface is a bit tidier, and I prefer it to Gmail.

There's only one single thing that I'd like to see implemented - IMAP.

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

Notorious Biggles

It's not all bad...

Some of my experiences...

There was the beautiful friend of a friend whose PC died and wondered if I could resurrect it and recover her pictures. I cloned the (corrupted) hard drive, fitted a new motherboard and installed Windows. Then as I copied back her pictures I realised she was in fact into glamour modelling. That one was worth it.

Then there was the guy who was a mechanic and happy to exchange time in a pit under my car for removing viruses from his laptop. The new suspension that the garage quoted £1200 for? That was about 4 hours and a 12-pack of Stella, plus £120 for parts.

Of course the old guy who my mother used to work for and who is bombarding me with emails about his unstable wireless is unlikely to repay in quite such a way as the first two, but you win some you lose some.

Corporates! Bring in all-purpose filler for IT skills gap, thunders Steelie Neelie

Notorious Biggles

There was me thinking the problem was that employers only wanted foreign workers on ridiculously low salaries. PhD for £22k a year - I lol'd at that job advert.

Or that all European tech companies die.

McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, says Home Secretary

Notorious Biggles

Time to give him a job

Firstly, he was in the UK, so as far as I'm concerned the only law he would have broken is UK law. Charge him for breaking the computer misuse act or whatever, but to extradite him to a country he was not in is a bit much and was always ridiculous.

Secondly, I'd have thought hacking NASA and the Pentagon to require an above average skill set. In which case, wouldn't we be better employing him at GCHQ to get him to help us stop the Chinese hacking us?

Microsoft hires former Hillary Clinton adviser as top strategist

Notorious Biggles

It's The Name

It's not that Bing is a bad search engine, it's that it sounds stupid. The name has zero credibility with consumers. Just make msn.com point to a blank page with a search box, call it MSN and watch it grow.

My dad is quite the luddite and he still remembers altavista.com but despite the gazillions spent on TV ads, never Bing.

Asus outs 1920 x 1280 Android ICS tablet

Notorious Biggles
Thumb Up

I approve!

Finally, a tablet I could possibly see myself buying. I figured it wasn't worth it until 1080P was possible available, and here we are.

How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

Notorious Biggles

Fact Check

"which continue to buy Symbian feature phones en masse"

Er, I think you'll find that Symbian is a smartphone operating system with a lot of features that iOS lacks even today.

US trade body rejects S3 'Apple nicked our IP' claim

Notorious Biggles

Surprise Surprise

Imagine that, the US find Apple innocent of patent infringement.

Seems like protectionism to me.

PlayStation 3 sales catch up with Xbox 360 total

Notorious Biggles

But who buys them?!

I know something like 3 people with a PS3. I know at least 20 with an Xbox 360. And nearly all of these people are in the age range 18-30. The only thing I can think of is that my mates and colleagues are more likely to buy a 360 because we all have them already, and that elsewhere there's bigger groups of PS3 owners instead.

Samsung reveals Ice Cream Sarnie updates for 2012

Notorious Biggles


Glad to hear that the Galaxy Note is on the list. It's almost a tablet as it is, but it's launching with Gingerbread at the same time as ICS is coming out and I was worried it'd basically be obsolete at launch.

I approve. Just hope that Q2 isn't 30th of June in reality.

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note

Notorious Biggles

Sold! as well

I've come to the realisation that I want a good portable internet experience/media player/casual games console/camera more than I do a nice small telephone. I don't make many calls - of 600 minutes a month I can't remember the last time I used more than 50 of them. But I do send a lot of texts, a fair amount of emails and I surf the web a lot.

And for that reason, a really big screen is a good thing, even if I have to hold it to the side of my head once in a while.

RIM launches five BlackBerry smarties

Notorious Biggles

RIM missed the boat...

RIM sadly missed a huge target market and a unique selling point. We can all argue over the varying merits of different smartphone platforms, but BlackBerry Instant Messenger is great. No, really great, especially if you have family abroad.

And, not only does BIM do text, it does pictures too. Unlimited, free MMS. And voice or video clips.

It's the ultimate sexting platform.

And they never marketed it as that. Shame, because they could have had just about every 14-40 year old buy their phones.

Zuck brushes aside dull 750m Facebook sign-ups metric

Notorious Biggles


Yeah, 750 million accounts != 750 million people.

I know a bunch of people with multiple accounts. And I also know there's gazillions of spam accounts as well. Just like how MySpace used to have 14 billion users worldwide or thereabouts.

So not all that impressive.

Apple pilfers rips off student's rejected iPhone app

Notorious Biggles

Or better yet:

"Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.


Sent from my jailbroken iPhone."

Sony ships 50m PS3s

Notorious Biggles

Where are they all?!

I'm not getting in a slagging match about it, but I don't know where all these PS3 owners are.

I can think of three people I know with one. One uses it exclusively as a BluRay player, one never uses it and the other one is the only actual gamer I know with a PS3.

On the other hand, I know around 15 people with a 360.

Mozilla puts squeeze on slow Firefox add-ons

Notorious Biggles
Thumb Up


I commend this. I don't like toolbars, and don't know anyone who actually uses them, but there they are jammed into every browser of every user I support. It used to be that the easy fix was to put on Firefox instead of IE, but now there's Firefox toolbars as well, and since it's required by several in-house systems, I can't move them on to Chrome.

This way though, there's a chance they'll not screw up their browser.

Nokia flings out WinPho 7 phones

Notorious Biggles

/facepalms AC

The current range of Symbian^3 handsets don't have a dog-slow interface at all. They've got the fastest mobile GPU in them after all. You might only have been using that phone for 9 months, but the hardware is almost certainly older than that. And if I were to use a year old Android handset, I could probably complain about it too.

At least Symbian is a smartphone OS, unlike the shiny-but-dumb WP7.

Rhapsody bristles at Apple subscription grab

Notorious Biggles
Jobs Horns

Not allowed

The Apple T&Cs are that the in-app subscription has to be at the same price as offline. Because they know that people are generally lazy, so would prefer to buy in-app but if they had to pay 30% more they might be less lazy and go through other channels.

After Black Friday, Nokia acts to halt share slide

Notorious Biggles
Gates Horns

Well duh...

On Thursday, Nokia had IP worth billions, an ecosystem they controlled and the largest existing smartphone userbase, plus the largest marketshare in the past year and second largest in the last quarter.

On Friday, Elop told the world all that was worth nothing.

Of course the shares fell!

FWIW, I'm still strongly of the opinion that Nokia should properly have focussed on fixing the Symbian UI and keeping their own ecosystem and control of their own destiny. They are now irrelevant.

Satan the Bill, because that's what he is to Nokia shareholders, customers and staff.

Google aims Nexus S smartphone at US, UK

Notorious Biggles


So what's that improved from the Nexus 1? It's very similar hardware, not even a higher resolution camera.

iPhone to tap NFC, rumours say

Notorious Biggles
Jobs Halo

What's the betting...

That everyone lauds Apple for it's innovation in NFC for the iPhone 5?

Of course, the Nokia C7 has an NFC chip in it already, it just doesn't do anything.

But Apple have an incredible knack for getting praised for doing things others were doing first. Like video calling...

Sony soars, sinks, soars on Apple buyout rumor

Notorious Biggles

Nintendo, duh

Nintendo are the more obvious choice.

Consider the synergy. They both make small white electronic things. They both have raving fanboys. They both sell a lot of games, but don't really cannibalise each other's market. Then there's naming conventions - DSi easily becomes iDS and Wii could be either iWii (after a few too many of these <-- ) or iiW.

Symbian Foundation faces closure

Notorious Biggles


I've had a bunch of Symbian phones in a row. Never had that bug. How do you manage it and under what conditions?

How Ellison could fight Google's Android - without lawyers

Notorious Biggles


I'm a Symbian user (shock horror!) so I've used plenty of Java ME apps as well as many native apps. And nearly every time, the native apps have been much better. Whilst there are good Java ME apps out there (the Dilbert one from Ovi is excellent and free, go download it), the majority are pretty poor and the experience sucks as soon as you run it on a phone it wasn't aimed at.

Java ME should by rights be far more widely adopted since it turns a dumbphone into an almost smartphone and there's literally billions of Java ME handsets out there, but for whatever reason, compatibility never seems that good.

The next issue, and one that would be fixed by a hugely increased scope of the Java app store, is that the app downloads from a lot of operators and/or game developers don't work on the basis of profiles.

For instance, looking at the www.orangedownloads.co.uk website right now, games that show as compatible on the Nokia N82 don't show as compatible with the N86. Sure, slightly different Symbian revision on it, but should work. So lets try comparing with the N95 8GB which does run the same version of Symbian. Damn, same apps don't show as compatible on virtually identical hardware and software with little more than a product code (and different plastic housing) to differentiate.

My point is that the Java ME apps market gets huge amounts of potential custom blocked right at the start when the app store sells them on the basis of manually having been tested with a particular handset and only becomes available after it's been added to a "supported" list by a person. End result - Java ME become a hassle for users and less profitable for developers.

Orange coughs to data network failure

Notorious Biggles


I've complained. I have two 24 month contracts with them, should they like to give me anything towards it or a get out clause any sooner then it suits me...

O2 offers Pay & Go BlackBerry basket

Notorious Biggles


I understand it's not suitable for everyone, but contract seems WAY better in this instance. My wife got a Bold 9700 with 100 mins, unlimited texts and BIS for £20 a month on Orange from a third party website. Phone cost a whopping £24. It just works out so much cheaper in the long term and with no up front cost.

Ten Essential... Symbian Apps

Notorious Biggles

Good to see...

Good to see some Symbian coverage, what with it being the biggest smartphone platform by a quarter of a billion units or so...

Some of the apps I've used and like, a couple I've not heard of, like PDF+ Basic.

That said there's two I'd strongly recommend - Nimbuzz which is a combined messenger that would replace eBuddy AND Skype in one application. Because you create a Nimbuzz profile, it'll automatically pull everything in if you install it on a new phone (or have to re-install it etc) which saves a bunch of time. The other I'd recommend is Opera Mobile, the big brother of Opera Mini. It's got the same sort of features with tabs etc, but it renders pages much better. It's also the first mobile browser to have been fully Acid3 compliant and gives an excellent browsing experience.

Amazon takes Kindle to the UK

Notorious Biggles

Better off with iPad?

Since the iPad costs 4x as much as a Kindle, it should be nicer. And it should be able do more.

But you could buy a good laptop for the same price as an iPad and do *even more* with it!

So really, the comparison isn't fair. Try comparing a Kindle to a cheap Chinese Android tablet.

Government WEEE's advisory board on quango bonfire

Notorious Biggles

Yeah but...

Even if it is the former, you still save money having fewer websites. And fewer different headed notepapers to stock. And just less red tape.

Facebook users warned over stalk-my-profile scam

Notorious Biggles

Not irony

There's a difference in censoring apps which are phishing/scams/bad and what isn't *liked*.

It'd be good of Facebook to have a vetting system to weed out apps like this, not just the ones that they took a personal dislike to.

Monty looks to Russia, China to stop Oracle's Sun buyout

Notorious Biggles

Thank goodness for open source...

Monty left Sun because he felt they were leaving glaring bugs in the database and rushing to get it released. Now MySQL is under threat from the Evil Ellison.

So do the sensible thing Monty, create a fork and fix stuff. The world gets to keep it's free "database" and you're a billion better off.

I can't see what the problem is.

Nokia reckons its Symbian^4 UI will leapfrog the rest

Notorious Biggles

Not so sadly...

The Nokia 5800 has sold more than all Android devices combined. Symbian isn't dead yet.

What I do think is that the new UI proposals look quite nice, and coupled with Symbian's existing strengths as an OS should make for a far better smartphone than any Android handset.

There's definitely something to be said for great power management and excellent cameras.

Sony Ericsson Aino

Notorious Biggles

What's smart about this?

Can you even install anything on an Aino? Isn't just a feature phone really?

IT consultant freed after almost three years in Baghdad

Notorious Biggles
Gates Halo

Think of what the poor guy missed!

He'll basically have missed all of Vista's lifespan! Oh noes!

Googlephone Nexus One leaks more news

Notorious Biggles

Why not to shut up about removable batteries...

Let's see, who might care about removable batteries...

- Anybody on an 18 month or longer contract probably cares since battery life will be getting shorter that far into a contract.

- Replacement batteries from Apple cost £55 + PnP. Replacement batteries from eBay for most other smartphones cost ~£5.

- Anybody who knows they aren't going to be able to charge their phone all day and knows they'll be using a lot of power might, quite sensibly, carry a spare battery. You know, GPS, pictures, video etc. Not that you'd want to take pictures or video on an iPhone anyway, but you might on something like a Satio or N Series.

- Some of my Samsungs in the past came with two batteries in the box. Not gonna happen without removable batteries.

Sure, a removable battery isn't exactly a make or break feature. But it is worth mentioning. And I'd highly disagree with you about the number of users who have replaced batteries. Hell, even a technophobe like my mother has replaced the battery in her phone.

2009's Top High-End Touchscreen Phones

Notorious Biggles

A bit crap...

First of all, the comments regarding the Jet are spot on. It's a feature phone, not a high end phone.

Secondly, the list is crap.

I'll accept the iPhone 3GS being on it. I don't like it, it doesn't multitask 3rd party apps, it has a crap camera and a low res screen and I feel it's a middle ground between feature phone and smart phone, but I can accept it. However, the N900 is too much of a beta to warrant 2nd place. It's just not ready yet to use a line from Grolsch adverts.

What should of been on there is one of the high end Symbian phones. My preference is the Satio, which is very very good, but the Samsung i8910 HD could have been on there, as could the Nokia X6. Hell, it's not high end, but the Nokia 5800 is a damn good phone - it's a fantastic musc phone, a fully fledged smartphone, better camera and screen than an iPhone. Not to mention it still has a whole load of apps.

Once again a pretty quick and dirty list with little thought. I'm disappointed vultures.