* Posts by briesmith

132 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Mar 2011


WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone



Christ, how that said it all for me.

What's this guy on? Running his business from an iPhone? Sending a ton of emails - from a phone? Wants his phone to know what he's doing? What he needs? Get out of here.

The man's a total prat and he should take his hunt for the magic screwdriver and stick it up his smartarse.

PS I use a Lumia 925 and it shows every sign of being a useful, reliable and, dare I say, likeable smartphone. I also own a "live" (ie has a working sim and network connection) Samsung GIII but prefer the Lumia. My wife has an iPhone 4S which I "look after" and which just doesn't do it for me. So, unlike a lot of posters here I'm guessing, I've actually got current experience of todays' mobs (except the Blackberry which I've always avoided because of their price.)

In defence of defenestration: Microsoft MUST hurl Gates from the Windows


Big Yellow Taxi

People always lose sight of just how good, how fit for purpose, Windows OS is.

Single user, non-enterprise app dependent users can get on very well with Apple; the high costs, restrictions, single solution options etc don't matter to them.

Play users can similarly work very well with Android; the flaws, defects, unreliability and so on, don't affect them so much they give up.

And Linux users with their cookbook approach and endless patience with software issues are probably biologically indisposed to anything that doesn't go wrong.

Phone are moving into the fashion area and there are signs that loyalty to the OS is beginning to break down as consumers increasingly choose novelty and "the latest" when shopping for a new mob.

But if you are running a business where you expect new staff to be able to use your computer system productively from the moment they first arrive; where, when shopping for mission critical apps, you want a rich, competitive marketplace to shop in, where, when working with customers, suppliers and others you must have compatibility and when, above all else your IT stuff has to work, then Windows and Microsoft are unbeatable.

And will be for a long time.

People have short memories and little recollection of what computing was like before Windows. The notion that Microsoft is expensive overlooks the enormous competition that their standard platform has made possible. Because everything is directly comparable and often substitutable, unique or the "only show in town" software solutions have largely vanished. Upset a client and watch your business lose a customer.

In 10 years and in spite of continuous upgrading and enhancement, the ticket price of the software solution I sell has gone from £50k to less than £20k; if it had somehow been an Apple OS based product it would probably be £60K or more now.

I started in IT about the time Joni was singing her song and the lyric, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone" was right then and it would be right now, if Windows and Microsoft were somehow to disappear.

Don't tell the D-G! BBC-funded study says Beeb is 'too right wing'


The Public Eh?

Many people believe many silly things. Some, for instance, think the BBC is right-wing in its views.

David Attenborough warns that humans have stopped evolving


Who Gets the Most Shags

Natural selection has always been a combination of random failure of cells to divide accurately; radiation and biology working together to produce mutations. I think we all understand this, apart from some Americans who are perhaps still a little too close to their monkey.

This imperfect cell division resulted in new versions which were either better, no worse or absolutely hopeless at getting their end away. The biggest antlers, the brightest plumage, the biggest nose (in monkeys) got you the most shags. This meant your particular set of mutations got to continue while someones else's withered (for a want of sex).

Nowadays, we don't compete so simply and directly or Andrew Lloyd Webber would never have got to shag anyone, instead he's donated his genes to nearly every diva you can name. So I think evolution is continuing but driven now by intellectual rather than physical success. The smart birds are putting their money on the smart bollocks. The successful shagger these days isn't your square jawed, muscle man but your bespectacled geek who knows how things work.

I mean, have you seen Ed Milliband's wife? Or David Cameron's? Clegg's is a bit of a mystery - I mean, her, with him, who'd of thought it? - but nobody said evolution was perfect.

Massively leaked iFail 5S POUNDS pundits, EXCITES chavs


Compensayshun shurely?

If I laugh so much reading an article that I physically damage myself can I sue? And this lawyer ambulance chasing malarkey. Who does all the running? If the ambulance runs over the lawyer do you get points? What about if you actually catch the ambulance? That must be worth something surely?

Still laughing. Painfully.

Looking to sell the cloud? You're going to need references


Meaningless Jargon

WTF is " reference architecture"?

Anybody know?

Report: Secret British spy base in Middle East taps region's internet


If We Weren't...

Who are these people that whip themselves into a frenzy of paranoia over these stories? Do they live in some kind of Olympus detached from this world?

If my government wasn't doing all the things they stand accused of, I'd want to know why.

And, equally, I'd like to know every now and again, that we're good at it and getting better.

I don't know if they are simple dyed-in-the-wool antis, dreamers or just troublemakers but I wish they'd both shut up and stop damaging essential and vital intelligence gathering by the UK and US.

As much as they may smirk at what they see as their own cleverness, lives do depend on the effectiveness of our intelligence acquisition programmes.

Murdoch machinations mean Microsoft must rename SkyDrive


SkyDrive Was Always A Misnomer Anyway

Continuing the "big drive in the sky" theme as the name SkyDrive did was poor marketing, product positioning, statementing, however you want to call it. The big drive shared over the network isn't what the lately renamed SkyDrive service is about at all. That is what Novell offered 20 years ago and what DropBox, eBox, Box and all the other sky drive offerings are about.

SkyDrive isn't about storage; it's about functionality; about doing stuff either self-collaboratively (sharing stuff around your own devices) or true collaboration; building resources with co-workers and other principals. The sort of thing that Google+ with Google Docs etc was trying to get going and the sort of solution that cloud services like Kahootz and Podio provide with their rich "can do" out of the box tool set.

As an aside I don't believe anybody in a commercial environment could ever seriously consider using DropBox where anybody with access to a folder can delete anything in that folder. That way lies only despair - and constant undoing.

I would call it Clusterz and leave others to find a place for the missing "fuc"

Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster


Monopolies and Remembered Pain

I'm not a management geek, I've never bought a book at an airport telling me how to take over the world - and manage it - in my life but I have long held to the theory of remembered pain.

What made me decide this was a piece of management speak that had some truth to it was the fate of IBM. Even at its pomp, through the 70s and 80s, everybody hated IBM. They hated its arrogance, its dominance, its threatening sales behaviour (if you Mr DPM don't buy our stuff when we tell you to we'll tell your bosses you're not up to the job) even while IBM's sales continued to grow.

But the remembered pain that was being generated would have its day and as soon as any opportunity presented itself that said not buying the IBM solution was the right solution, people in their 1,000s made the move away to alternative technology.

This is why the author of this piece is so right when he emphasises the community engagement aspect of company success. You annoy, frustrate and disenchant your user base long term at your peril. They will turn and bite you as soon as they can.

There will be many people just waiting for the day they can ditch WORD simply because Microsoft have annoyed them for years by not fixing the document preview bug. There is a similar number of network admins waiting to out Windows Server because of the pain Microsft caused them in Windows Server 2008 by not recognising 4096 byte disk sector size and the same thing is happening now with Windows 8.

It is almost impossible ever to get a meaningful response from anyone meaningful in the Microsoft empire when something is clearly wrong and forums all over the place are full of people complaining about something in a Microsoft product that doesn't work and they can't get fixed.

Why a company the size of Microsoft can't manage this crowd speak to its advantage is beyond me. And it will be their undoing.

US Navy robot stealth fighter in first unmanned carrier landings


Carrier Nonsense - The Sequel

I know, it was 1941. Couldn't find an Edit button. Sorry for the carelessness. (It also took a little longer than 15 minutes to polish off the PoW - a totally new ship commissioned only a few years earlier and already the victim of a seeing-to by the Bismarck) - and her much older consort, Repulse but I was trying to make a point about vulnerability.)


Carrier Nonsense

All of this ignores the decreasing, rapidly decreasing, survivability of aircraft carriers. Within a procurement generation - 10 to 15 years - no carrier will have a combat life expectancy sufficient to justify its exposure to enemy contact/interdiction. What the Japanese did to the Prince of Wales and Repulse in 15 minutes in 1942 the Somalis will be able to do the Nimitz, Reagan etc in 2030 and God help the poor Queen Elizabeth.(I won't mention the name of her sister ship out of sensitivity to people's feelings) which will be sailing with none of the protection the US can give to its carriers.

The same could be said to apply to fast jets. Their development, build and deployment costs continue to outstretch the costs of killing them to the extent that purposeful affordability has almost disappeared.

So, how do we apply our technology in a way that is effective, durable and affordable?

We build or take up from trade, cheap general purpose ships, harden them a bit ("militarise" them) and use helicopters to launch and recover UAVs. As a refinement of launching we could use catapults in a similar way CAM merchantmen launched single use Hurricanes in WW2 leaving just recovery to helicopter capture.

In this way we can have lots of drones on lots of ships doing lots of different things all very cheaply and in an eminently scalable fashion in the event of conflict.

(Some fleeting Googling reveals a lot of weapon systems (examples I found include the Bushmaster and Goalkeeper systems) are already containerised and suited to deployment on temporary "warships",)

This is an affordable war fighting future where brains, imagination and adaptability (I know, not noted British qualities) and not money will rule.

BT earmarks super-speedy 300Mbit/s broadband for 50 exchanges


The problem with BT

Where to begin? None of the drivers that apply to "normal" businesses apply to BT. They have no competition. They are at no risk from newer, better technology. They cannot go bust. They have no shareholders, banks or other interest groups and stakeholders to please. Basically they can, and do, do whatever they like. So where does that leave us, the poor bloody user?

Well, let's abandon this pretence of the relevance of ROI. It's meaningless if you accept my description of the business environment BT operates in. Any pretence by BT that it is a real business like any other and the cost of money, internal rates of return and all the other efficiency indicators real enterprises use, apply is a silly nonsense. They have more money then they know what to do with and if they need more, well, they can simply go and get it.

It leaves us in the position of being the stakeholders in a long tail business a bit like a closed insurance company where the only real business influencer is time and its effects.

I say tell BT to stop believing in, or pretending to anyway, fairy tales about ROI and other real world econometrics and stick to the effects of inflation. This means they can spend whatever they like today delivering broadband to the Outer Hebrides or in my case, inside the M25 just north of London, in the sure knowledge that inflation will wipe out those debts in 15 to 20 years.

UK sitting on top of at least 50 years of shale gas – report


Houses Floating on Air

I meant to add a big thank you to the greens for inventing gaseous underpinning for houses and other buildings. And for not bragging about it as much as such a life changing invention would reasonably deserve.

Clearly all the houses in England that are currently supported on gas platforms cunningly hidden by nature in shale formations many meters below ground will be at terrible risk of toppling if the gas that is currently holding them up is removed by fracking.

Fracking must never go ahead; we can't have people living in toppling houses.


No Magic Bullet, no Holy Grail, no Bottomless Pit (of money)

This gas - if the greens combined with the nimbys ever let any of it out of the ground - will be sold on the world market where it will displace whatever similar gas products are more expensive. The overall impact on prices will be negligible as world wide gas is already fantastically cheap (provided you don't load it with massive green taxes).

As with petrol and diesel at the pumps, most of what we pay as consumers for gas is government determined through its tax regime and has absolutely no connection with what it costs to supply.

If fracking ever gets going - and I don't think it will for as long as the LibDems are in power (and they look likely to form another coalition in 2015, this time with Labour) - it will make no difference to supply cost but will bring more of the extraction element in the production and distribution stream within the ambit of the UK tax system.

And that means it will be spent - while it lasts - just like the rest of our tax income is and always has been, the way all governments spend the wealth this country produces, on buying votes.

So no change there; but the greens might have to put up with killing just a few less of our grannies every winter.

Nokia, Microsoft put on brave face as Lumia 925s parachute into Blighty



Got a Lumia 820 and it's a very good device. If Nokia could find their way clear to providing a battery that lasts long enough to turn it on AND do something; like make a phone call, read an email, that sort of thing it would become an excellent device, good enough to be a phone.

Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes


What's Happened Since Maggie?

For the last 100 years or so, since before the Jarrow marchers, every UK government of any colour has sent billions in development aid to the regions.This continues to this day with massive flows of capital from, mainly, the south east.

What has this a achieved? The public sector component in the economies of Scotland, Northern Ireland, the north east, all the English regions in fact and Wales exceeds 60%. There is more state ownership in these countries and regions than was typical in communist Europe. The mining, steel making and shipbuilding communities in receipt of 100 years of subsidy or more (but supposedly devastated by Maggie 30 years ago) are still there; still with their mouths open and their hands out.

Had Maggie not started the privatisation process - copied by every other country in the world by the way - God alone knows what sort of state we would be in.

Re-establishing enterprise and rolling back the public sector is at least as big a challenge as taking on taming the unions was in the 70s and 80s.

Microsoft exec: No 'Plan B' despite mobile stumbles


Forget All the Noise and Interference this is About MS Mobile - Isn't It?

I don't see the point of giving all the MS haters yet another forum to get their rocks off by going on about Windows and how crap it is etc. This article is about Microsoft's failure to make a dent in the mobile market with both its tablet and smartphone formats.

And on that point one can only ask: how do they get it so wrong? Their phone OS is now relatively mature having gone through 3 major releases and it's still very poor. (I write as a committed user.) There is just so much wrong with it, and which has been wrong with it since WP7, that one is left completely puzzled as to what goes on in Redmond.

The same is true of the tablet - not bought one yet because of the reviews (what possible use is a tablet that only lasts 3 - 4 hours?) - which simply isn't up to the job people want it for. They want instant on, they want holdability, they want battery life and they wan't interconnectivity. None of these things are included.


Is this end of Empire syndrome? Is there now simply so much politicking going on within Redmond, so many competing projects and influences, that nothing ever gets done? Is every innovation doomed to be a series of compromises made to try and keep everyone on board? Is every MS horse fated to be a camel?

Does MS need to break itself up so that creative energy can get a look in? Personally I think it's their only hope.

Latest exoplanet discovery is a virtual CLONE of Earth


No Moon or Magnetism?

Has this planet got what it takes? I ask because I understand that planets need a magnetic field or some other form of energy shield to stop all the inhabitants frying in the cosmic stream? And don't they need a gyroscopic moon to stop them flipping end over magnetic end?

Finally, on a more serious note, I understand that Apple has already patented this planet and all its subsidiary technology but that the picture has been clouded by the discovery of a Samsung dolphin allegedly very closely related to the species claimed by Apple in its patent documentation. Apple's lawyers are on the case as I type.

Ofcom looks at contract opt-outs as users rage over price hikes


Contracts are the Cause of all our Problems

There really is no reason for utility contracts - not in comms, water, gas, electricity or media - as every supplier these days is fully web administered where all the account set-up work is done by the consumer filling-in webforms.

The phone companies justify it by saying that they've supplied an expensive phone which they can only recover the cost of over many months.

I would like all such contracts to be unbundled with a separate credit agreement signed for the phone (as should happen anyway).

Then consumers could simply walk away (to another supplier who, of course, has the same regard for their customers that the one they've just left has but that's another story).

If the utitlity, media and phone companies thought their customers could walk away at any given moment they would have to change their ways. And there are no commercial arguments as to why that shouldn't be standard practice.

Any smoke screen put up about set-up costs etc could be demolished very quickly on the basis that the companies woud be asked to provide the figures. This they couldn't do.

Feeling poor? WHO took all your money? NOT capitalist bastards?


Past Party Politics

I haven't seen any comments here pointing out errors in Tim Worstall's figures and/or charts. I assume it is therefore safe to rely on the content, that they tell a true story and give a reliable picture of the real world.

In which case it is truly worrying. For the TUC to spin a story is one thing but to tell outright falsehoods aware of the impact such dishonesty will have is not just shameful, it is dangerous.

The charts reflect some fundamentals about the UK economy that are way beyond party politics.

Firstly while the numbers in the workforce have grown considerably - vastly more women, immigration, longer living etc - allowing for inflation, the national GDP hasn't grown very much.

If you divide a constant sum by a growing number you get an increasingly smaller result so that yes more people are getting a wage packet but the packet itself is smaller.

If the amount is topped off - by taxation and other government costs - then the total amount available is getting smaller even more quickly and the resulting wage packets reduced even more so.

It would be to everyone's benefit if the Office of Budget Responsibility (I notice they didn't call it the Office of Responsible Budgets - I wonder why that was?) could publish this sort of analysis on a regular basis.

The electorate is pretty much head in the sand pretty much most of the time but we do need to move these unarguables out of the political arena into the world most of us live in where 2 + 2 always equals 4.

Basically this is a “we can’t go on like this” message I suppose.

Windows Phone 8 must be Microsoft's priority one, two AND three


New Shed, Same Old Ship

It's a great shame, this whole Windows phone business. I waited 2 years to get my HTC HD7 running Windows Mobile 7 and was appalled to find it had been developed by a company that didn't know about Microsoft. They knew about Google and Apple and did some integration with them but Windows was another world.

They also didn't know much about mobile phones so there was no ringtone control, no display text font sizing/colour management and many other usability features that (non smart) phones have taken for granted for years.

Mango did some repair work but a lot of damage had been done.

And then along comes Windows 8 which I think is, in fact, an app, a games app, which could have been called Spot the Difference. Did we really wait two years for this?

Still no automatic "just turn it on" integration. Who designed the latest iteration of SkyDrive? An Apple employee?

You know they say if you haven't got a masters from Yale or Harvard or Caltech don't bother even sending in your CV (resume) to Redmond.

They'd be better off getting some more maids, and a few more mops.

Credit insurance: The hidden data-driven force which killed Comet


Point Missed

The insurance policy change that killed Comet and will probably do for PC World/DSG and others in the future wasn't so much the loss of trading credit but the loss of the income from the sale of extended warranties.

A ramp similar to PPI and Mortgage Indemnity scams, extended warranties were the store's profit. They made very little margin if anything on the goods themselves.

Once that little racket was ended the game was up.

EDF: We'll raise bills 11% - but only 2% is due to energy costs!

Thumb Down

Re: Yes, lets focus on short term cost increases...

Fatuous, illogical, arrogant, unscientific.

Wind power requires an exact parallel capable system - usually fast-start gas fierd powered stations - in order for it to be viable.

The gas that this commenter says will run out is the same gas that will (or won't) power the stand-by facility when the available wind is unusable; which it is most of the time.

Android spanks Apple iOS in sales as fanbois hold out for iPhone 5


Mobe Manufacturers - What Market are They In?

Not sure about the US but as far as I can tell from what I read, mobile phones in the UK is a mature market (as is the rest of western Europe - the east part may be different) with little opportunity for sales growth in numbers of phones held. (Phones aren't like TVs and PCs where there is a real opportunity to sell more than one to a customer). So the important metric I would suggest is the number of mobe owners prepared to switch OS.

In the Symbian days changing UI - from Nokia, say, to Sony or Samsung - was a real wrench/shock and I think retailers found it hard generally to persuade us to move. Changing the actual OS - from Apple to Android or Windows - is an even bigger ask.

This must play to Apple's advantage where as first arrivers they have established a very strong user base. That this is supported by quite strong feelings of "must have" (good Apple marketing) and loyalty/inertia means, I think, Android and Microsoft are in for a very long slog.

Microsoft may be able to leverage its PC dominance but only if it is prepared to sync the two so that owning a Windows phone and a Windows PC becomes seamless and an obvious thing to do.This is completely the reverse of their strategy with WP7, where they went out of their way to prevent any hook-up such that WP7 mobes actually worked better with Apple and Android.

Most people still rely on Windows for their work and home computing, making their phone an integral part of that seems a no-brainer to me.

As for Android, if Google don't act to purify the brand it will become very discredited and win a reputation for flakiness and something nerds like. That would be a very dangerous turn of events. Joe Public doesn't like flaky, nerdy or anything that isn't comfortably mainstream as the UNIX/Linux world knows to its cost. Google need to start charging for Android development licences (I can hear you all now "that'll never work") so they can begin to exercise control over their product in the same way that Apple and Microsoft do.

Another big ask?

Untangling the question of antimatter mass


Something Missing?

Two particles, different mass (ie energy) meet up, decide to smash into each other in the hope of total obliteration. Everything is lost yet somehow something remains - surely?

For true total obliteration they would need identical energy (mass) or to have drunk an awful lot of Stella.

Does Cameron dare ditch poor-bashing green energy?


Green Policy Means Dead (Mainly) Old People

It's all very well having these arguments; they go on and on and get more and more arcane and detached from the "real world" as time passes. The Greenies have their religion; and in the last 10 years we’ve all been reminded what that means. Governments want to get re-elected and don't give a shit about anything else. Engineers sit quietly doing their engineering shtick and hope that, just once in a while, one of the stupid people (that's the rest of us) will pay some attention and listen to the facts.

While this goes on fuel poverty is rising. Fuel poverty is caused by the price of fuel being greater than what (some) people can afford to pay. The rate of increase in fuel prices has, lately, been mostly determined by the on-costs deriving from the government's green policy. Because energy prices are rising fuel poverty is increasing and when fuel poverty increases, people on fixed incomes, mostly pensioners and mostly little old ladies some people call Nan, turn their heating off.

Then they die.

Killing our Nans I suppose, makes Greenies the World over very happy as it puts a stop to all this climate change denial that goes on and, anyway, if we can find a way to burn these extra bodies – in an entirely green fashion of course – well, there’s some extra energy for you.

I suppose I should sign off by saying, “the World’s gone mad”, or, “you couldn’t make it up” but, really, the stupid cruelty of it all is beyond words.

Apple plan to rate shops etc by number of iPhones visiting



Simple really.

Hey Commentards! [This title is optional]


Did he really write "seperate"? He'll get fried, you wait and see...


Waste of a bullet surely? Better to keep them around and really annoy them, until they change their mind.


No it's not; mot at my age anyway. Gender is a class, sex is either a piece of anatomy, a noun or a verb.

"The detail of her sex was clearly visible through the shimmer that was her dress."

"Would you like sex?"

"I need to find out how ro sex a tortoise."


Nokia launches new corporate font



I would like to comment on the contents of the graphic in this article but I don't speak Finnish. If a translation could be provided I'll wow you all with my thoughts.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/stop_32.png http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/go_32.png http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/wtf_32.png