* Posts by strangelybrown

32 posts • joined 18 Feb 2013

Here's 2018 in a nutshell for you... Russian super robot turns out to be man in robot suit


Re: Nothing new here.

The only 100% genuine robot was, and remains, Metal Mickey.

Although why he had a demi-Keegan made from strips of tin foil was never made clear.

The wait is over ... Nokia's BACK!


Re: They still have a couple of loyal customers here and there

Actually, the Nokia WP phones were very good devices indeed from the 800/900 up to the 925. True, there wasn't an app for that, but then for the most part it the OS came with an embedded app (Office, SatNav, connected People Hub for FB/LinkedIn). The only other useful stuff was National Rail, and a few others - and they were present. Given I've never felt the need to play endless fruit or sweet themed versions of Connect 4, it was all good.

Because I liked WP, I happily got a 950 when the 925 came up for replacement. It's obvious Nokia had left the party by that stage - the camera autofocus hardly functions (they all do it apparently), It's cost engineered to a point where a mid 80s edition of Buckeroo would feel more solid. WP/Win10 is usual MS effort - better in places, but missing so much from it's predecessor (people hub is especially poor comparatively). Apps? Couldn't tell you, as it still has all the onboard stuff I need. It is so much less than the sum of its parts now though.

In short - Nokia WP Phones were really good, once you got over the misconception you need an app for literally everything in your life. Post Nokia WP (i.e. the 950/950XL). Just don't - MS took that bus and drove it off the cliff... on fire... Good job Elop.

Top Brit biz giants love to outsource IT so much, they're gonna do it more


I do love a good press release

Thank heavens for Pinsett Masons' marketing team, otherwise El Reg might actually have to write an article. Expert application of Copy > Paste, good job. Only the keenest sorts will notice that everyone in the article is a specialist from Pinsett Masons.

Troll icon because, well, because I couldn't find a sockpuppet one.

Microsoft Surface sales numbers revealed as SHOCKINGLY HIDEOUS


A little postscript... why Surface RT/Pro will continue to bomb.

Nearly launched the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet II (catchy, huh?) across the room, thanks to Windows 8 being a pile of unutterably half-arsed tripe. Given this is exactly the same environment as a Surface Pro, I'm amazed anyone thinks the following is in any way representative of an awesome operating system.

My Sennheiser MM450x bluetooth headset packed up, so they sent me a new one, which arrived today. Obviously I need to delete old pairing and create new connection on iPad and the Lenovo.

iPad first; Wake device. Stab Settings>Bluetooth>MM450>Forget Device>Bluetooth and then pair to the new ones. Took all of 30 seconds end to end.

Lenovo next. Wake device, slide out charm>Settings>Devices>MM450x>Remove Device /pause for 3 minutes/>Add new device>pair new 'phones. 'Device Paired' then 'Device not connected, please use Bluetooth manager', so out of settings back to tiles. stab desktop. find BT manager, double tap. As BT manager thinks it is connected to the Sennys, it doesn't launch the manager per se, but simply tells me the device is not paired. Microsoft loop then ensues where I flick between desktop and the tetchy BT manager and tiles/settings/devices unpairing/pairing/deleting the damn things. Gave up after 10 minutes.

Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if Microsoft are actually a front for the KGB or SMERSH and are planning on slowly killing the world with software that's 63% functional.


Can I say it now?

Back in March, I wrote this on a Reg article about Pro cannibalising RT sales. Can I say 'told you so' now? The only change I'd like to make to this comment is that I don't think the price slash is going to do anything for sales of RT

March comment;

PlayBook anyone?

Competent, trusted (arf), maker of things produces a technically capable and likeable device which has an ecosystem that makes the genetic pool of Hull look diverse. It keeps the price high, in the belief that people will buy it simply because they already have other products made by it.

Despite said device selling like ice cubes at the North pole, maker of things resolutely refuses to accept that said device is, in fact, irrelevant/overpriced/useless/lacking cellular connectivity. "Look at the funky adverts! Don't you want the shiny? Our shiny is so much better than the other shiny because... because... well, because we made it!"

After a while, maker of things slashes the price, which although stimulates a blip in volume of device, just ensures everyone's granny has a cheap device for listening to The Archers that doesn't matter if it absent-mindedly ends up in the dishwasher, or microwave. The ecosystem remains an exercise in uselessness.

Finally, seeing the metaphorical ageing family labrador that keeps pooing on the corporate sofa for what it is, the device is quietly taken out the back and put out its misery. No mention is ever made of it again in polite company... especially not when they're sat on the corporate sofa.

That said, when the price is slashed to two shillings sixpence, I'd definitely be getting a PlayBook, sorry, Surface; my mum put her last one in the dishwasher.

IBM CIO's Great Refresh: No, Sales Guy, you can't JUST use DropBox


Even by IBM standards...

...that's some total BS.

Ex-IBMer, have the 1000 yard stare to prove it: Lotus Notes at IBM is singularly the worst bit of software I've ever used, anywhere, period. Took over a month to get a new laptop. I don't think I ever found anything I was looking for on W3. On and on and on.

The fundamental issue with IBM is not that it doesn't have the knowledge and capability to have the world's greatest IT infrastructure - it does - but that there are so many career-obsessed middle managers all falling over themselves to knife each other in the back that by the time stuff is rolled out the workforce it has been obfuscated beyond the point of usability in the interests of someone's 'internal brand'

If you really want to understand IBM these days; When the last edict about cost cutting came out, ITS management instructed that we sales specialists should be charging customers our travel costs when we went to see them on a sales call. "Yes, this XYZ will transform your business Mr Customer... now give me £30 for the train fare home".

It never ceased to amaze me how many apparently intelligent people would buy a sub-par service at three to nine times market rate just because it was IBM.

Secret ROYAL BABY birth VIDEO leaked! (And other malware scams)


Re: Inbreeding?

All humans share a common mtDNA marker which suggests that we, as a species, sprung from one loins of one woman in Africa however many thousand years back.

You could call her Eve if you wanted to, but it is not creationist nonsense.


Actual science - just happened to be the first link I arrived at


Re: Inbreeding?

Technically we're all descended from one woman.

That aside, the royal breeding thing is quite astonishing - for example, Prince Michael of Kent is a cousin of both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. Not only that, he also bears a startling resemblance to Tzar Nicholas II, who was his cousin twice removed on both sides of his family.

In fact, it only seems to be errant princesses and indiscreet cavalry officers who manage to occasionally squirt a bit of variety into the gene pool.


They could do good work.

The general rule of thumb is that the internet is 10% useful, 90% photos of pussies and kittens.

Given that the halfwits who believe that the internet would magically have a video of the royal clunge disgorging another screaming mess of selective inbreeding are almost certainly the same idiots who think that by Liking a photo on Facebook then some huge socially important change will magically happen.

Therefore they are guaranteed to be ones causing all the global warming by requiring the Internet to have the bandwidth needed to store all the cute kitteh photos and faux-social-commentary-like-this-now-to-ensure-the-Alsatian-puppies-get-their-cancer-treatment-police-justice things.

Thus, the malware can be used to identify people who really shouldn't be allowed an Internet connection. Which would negate the need for Kittehs, meaning about half the Internet would suddenly be freed up.

It is likely this would cause job losses at hosting firms, and limit the growth of security software houses.

It is also likely the security agency snooping on web traffic become more effective, as they'd no longer have to wade through endless videos of cats doing cat things.

Nokia flops out its 4G, 4.7-inch WHOPPER: The Lumia 625


Re: Makes sense... sort of...

Sorry, wasn't clear - I meant it fills a gap for those on a tighter budget who can't stretch to a dirty great phablet but equally don't want to be seen with a tiddly little 620 or similar. Strong sales ploy too - here's a PAYG 4.7" device for the same price as, say, mid-tier Android.

I'd guess you'll most likely see this in the greasy little claws of male yoofs. Good for gaming, innit? (if anyone ever releases any decent games on WP... I'm still waiting)


Makes sense... sort of...

Well, Nokia does have the WP market all to itself - HTC and Samsung don't seem terribly bothered by it for obvious reasons.

This is a sensible piece of positioning - WP works better on big screens, and it pre-empts the next wave of phablet things for people who can afford a £500/£40pcm device.

In the context of the wider range, it all starts too look odd though. There's the premium 1020, with silly camera. Then the 925 which is a special/tweaked version of the 920, which is near-as-damnit the same as the 820. These are the upper mid-market corporate devices. Then there's the 520, 620, 625, and 720 in the budget section, although the 625 is the biggest of all.

I wonder if another reason for this huge range is down to retail space hogging? Back when the 800 and 900 were launched, you could find WP devices in a phone shop if you looked for them - usually tucked away in a corner. By having 8 devices, along with the couple of HTCs, they're going to be far more prominent in the store.

Ubuntu boss: I want to make a Linux hybrid mobe SO GIVE ME $32m


So what happened with Ubuntu on tablets then?

Linux fan. However, saw this yesterday, as part of my weekly check to see whether Ubuntu tablet has been released yet - I've got a Motorola Xoom II here, which is utterly crippled by ICS4.0 and never used. My initial thought on Ubuntu Phone was 'ooh, interesting development', followed by a steady descent into measured cynicism caused by a number of things;

1) Who's paying for all the various patents and licences needed to run the thing? Or is that why it'll have Android on it, for phone duties?

2) The phone spec seems to be missing the back end of the statement of 'at least 4gb RAM and Unobtainium Glass' with "and it'll be waterproof to a gazillion feet and have a special shark-launcher with lasers and ninja death monkeys and if you press this button here it'll turn into a morning star so my dad can beat your dad up and it cost a bazillion pounds".

3) What happens when it breaks? And break it will - Nokia, for example, have been making these wireless telegraphy contraptions for some considerable time, including the nuclear-proof 6310. However, even with all of that experience and employing most of Finland, they'll still expect a returns rate of 10% on new models.

4) So we, the crowd, cough up £20m to see Ubuntu mutilated to run on a small touch screen... then what? It's rolled out onto tablets? Everyone else has to pay also? Or does it remain true to the open source roots of Linux?

Surface RT: A plan worthy of the South Park Underpants Gnomes


Pro will be the same story

Sat here in front of me is a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet II running the full version of Win8. It sucks, frankly, and that's down to one thing alone; the OS... or more specifically the lack of time and care taken by Microsoft over making the OS usable on a slate.

The few apps which work purely in Metro are very crude - Twitter, for example, is actually less functional that the WP8 version. AccuWeather simply crashes on launch. The apps which require desktop - such as Office - aren't optimized for touch at all. This means you need to resort to the stylus or a mouse in order to use them.

Furthermore, if you're in desktop mode, it assumes you have a keyboard attached. Calling up the screen keyboard loses half the screen estate and the program open doesn't compensate. Meaning you usually lose sight of the field you're trying to type in. Not being able to easily edit the spreadsheet or powerpoint sort of negates the whole point of the damn thing being a tablet in the first place.

Lastly, the whole setting/usability interface remains mouse-centric. The worst is bluetooth which can be controlled, to a degree, from metro - but usually requires dropping into desktop to play around with it properly.

Simply, Win8 doesn't work nicely on a tablet - yes, it works, but compared with true Tablet OS I have in the house - Android, iOS, hell even QNX, it is disjointed. As a laptop, it is simply too small - both physically and technically - to be a viable device to work on all day.

Having had this thing four months I still struggle to find a use for it, either in work or at home. Given that Surface Pro is the same thing in a different box, I really can't see they're going to get much traction in the business environment - especially since they're well into high-spec Ultrabook territory.

Apple unveils hints of Monday's new-product announcements


Re: What do we want? Gradual change!

I prefer;

'when do we want it?'

'In good time!'


What do we want? Gradual change!

I may have sprinkled to much Cynicism on my Mehflakes this morning, but I can't really get terribly excited about keynote product launches these days... mainly because it's all gone terribly conservative.

In fact, I think the last genuinely surprising launch was the Surface RT - steaming pile of mediocrity it may have been, but at least it was different.

The only surprise about BlackBerry's last effort was Alicia Keys.

Nokia are fully paid up members of Darwin's theory of IT product development.

Samsung just make it MOAR SKREEN! each time (I heard the Galaxy S7 will have wheels)

Will Apple launch anything different, radical, or revolutionary? Probably not. Will whatever they launch sell like hotcakes? Absolutely.

BBC suspends CTO after £100m is wasted on doomed IT system


It takes two, baby.

Take a massive monolithic organisation run by ruthlessly ambitious backstabbing 'career manager' types whose skills begin and end with the ability to endlessly spout corporate buzzword non-speak, and trust it to design, sell, and implement a complex solution to the BBC?

I've only rarely been involved with selling to Public Sector, but I think one of the fundamental problems is that as commercial rules don't really apply to the Public Sector, they seem to be unable to grasp that anyone might possibly flog them something that isn't very good - The assumption being that because IBM/Atos/CSC/whoever is big then they must be on the level.

London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub

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The 6,500 jobs bit will be one of those staggering stretches of imagination which seems to involve assuming every person actually employed in the conversion, running, and populating of the thing will create an extra 5 jobs trickling down through the economy.

Then you add a bit, and multiply the figure by 3.14... Then round up to a nice sounding number. Finally release the statement being careful to prefix everything with 'up to' or 'as much as'

New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for


Re: Have you noticed they're hiding the screen...

Or perhaps the Reg was given a dirty great press pack with a load of photos in, and decided to show the readers the pictures of the 925 showing the new piece of hardware?

Honestly chap, you really need to use one of these things for a week. It won't kill you, it won't eat your children, and it won't do unspeakable things to your dog. It's a very slick OS on a phone, and works beautifully with social feeds and Outlook, Office, and so on.

Having spent over a month with a Win8 Pro slate, WP8 is miles ahead of that - don't base your opinion on your irrational hatred of Microsoft, or that you might have stabbed your fingers at a Win8 desktop.

With the self confessed mess of Android, and the steady stagnation of iOS, there's only WP8 and BB10 offering anything new in the phone space at the moment. Personally I prefer WP8 as it less convoluted than BB10, but there's merits to each.

Anyway, OS arguments aside - looks a nice bit of shiny, can't wait to get my hands on it.

FONDLESLAB market DEATH STRUGGLE: Latest rankings in


I have an 8 Pro Tablet...

Here, sat next to me, on eval from Lenovo. Arrived yesterday. I'm a WP8 fan, and a Linux fan, and I have an iPad, Motorola Zoom 2, and even bought a PlayBook... with my own money, no less (guaranteed way to social leprosy, that was). So I count myself as an avid fondler of slabs and not especially OS loyal.

Leaving aside the hardware, which is pretty nice, the 8 Pro tablet is rather underwhelming... Not entirely sure I see the point of it. My customer (who I'm doing the initial eval with) is thinking about them as a laptop replacement. I can't see they're really suitable for that myself; yes, it will run Office properly, and not mangle your macros, but it's too small and underpowered to work on all day - not helped by the odd screen size making it feel smaller than it is. Yes, it does the tablet thing nicely, but so does an iPad.

It seems to fall between the gaps as the market stands currently, really being a netbook with a detachable screen. Most tellingly, I think, is that even as a gadget nut I faffed about with it for a few hours yesterday, and haven't touched it since. It's not bad by any means, and indeed I dearly wanted to be skipping around the place with my shiny held aloft proving the naysayers wrong. As it is, I've not even touched it today.

Virgin Media revs up for Liberty Global merger


Not as much as that. From memory it was a fixed annual fee arranged when ntl:Telewest bought Virgin Mobile.

Rebranding I think would be a long way off - it cost a fortune then, and despite the internal naysayers it was a very positive thing. Overnight the bad old names and images of ntl: and Telewest were gone. Even business customers, who should have known better, suddenly expected everything to be better because of the big red badge.


Re: Could be good

Ah okay, I stand corrected.

I'm three years out the loop on it.

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Could be good

Joined in the ntl days, left over three years ago. It's a good thing, and much needed for VM - the asset has been sweated to a quite ridiculous level, as the whole shooting match has been up for sale for a long time. First it was Networks, then Business and Networks, and now it seems the whole company.

The potential landmine is the age of the fibre core - much of it dating back to the original cable companies, which VM is basically made up of. A lot of the fibre is very old, and not capable of carrying the DWDM necessary to meet the growth demands placed upon the network.

So it remains to be seen whether Liberty will actually do something with it, or just continue the circle of cash-starving the network and milking the customers.

Review: Nokia Lumia 720

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I'm only here to watch Eadon

As I keep saying with WP8 threads - I love the OS, especially in Lumia flavour. I still maintain that the reason 'the market' doesn't get it is because a) 90% of people walk into a phone shop already decided on what they're going to get, and b) you need to spend time with WP8 to appreciate it. That said, it isn't for everyone.

Anyway, here's two observations for Eadon based on my actually use of things;

1) The Lumia range is great, if you've bothered to use one before deriding it using the awesome power of Caps Lock. Arguably one of the best built things on the market at the moment.

2) Linux Mint is nice, but after an update last month it forgot my netbook has Bluetooth and onboard 3G. ndiswrapper isn't working (without a lot of mucking about) so I'm stuck without it. Windows, for all the trouble it has detecting and installing hardware, doesn't tend to forget things once you've finally coaxed into accepting it does have the driver

I have to ask, do you have a black & white telly?

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


I've never hidden the fact I'm a big fan of Windows Phone. I work for the business arm of a mobile telco, and I know broadly how many we've sold, and it's not many. The guys in consumer and SMB haven't sold many too, relative to the other platforms. However, even I was surprised a few months back on a very packed train out of Victoria just how many I could see in my immediate vicinity - five, including mine. Surprised because I'd always assumed I was the only person in a three mile radius with a WP device.

What does perplex me though, is those who gleefully proclaim Nokia is on the ropes. Yes, they probably are, but like BlackBerry, both of them vanishing (and at the current rate it's a likely outcome for both - we've sold even less BB10 devices than we have WP8) is a bad thing; the ultimate result being a market of only Samsung and Apple... and that, folks, would be a very bad thing for everyone.

Microsoft: 'Facebook Home just copies Windows Phone'


I'm in the mobile industry, and I've got a 920, a 5, and a Z10 sat here on the desk. The Lumia is my preferred device, and was in 900 WP7.5 flavour too.

Windows Phone is brilliant - arguably the best - at the social/people hub thing. For example, my top right tile is my main customer. From that tile I can email or text all 40 of the contacts, see who's updated linkedin, twitter, or facebook. It syncs perfectly with Outlook, Word, Excel, Lync, Office 365, and everything else you might reasonably expect to find in a typical Enterprise.

If I call a customer (or anyone else for that matter) and I want to see the last email sent or received between us, it's there on their entry in the contact book. There's a myriad of other little things which make it a very slick bit of kit in the business environment. The iPhone isn't even close on this score. The Z10 is, but I find the GUI unnecessarily complicated - for example, use a Z10 to ring someone when you're walking down the road, then try to find the calculator whilst on the call.

There's three problems though;

Firstly, you need to spend a while with WP8 to really appreciate it. From a consumer perspective, 20 minutes of some spotty oik in a phone shop isn't going to change your mind - not to mention that 90% of people go into a phone shop already decided what they're going to buy. No consumer take up these days, you may as well pack up shop.

Secondly, it's actually best suited to Enterprise types like myself for whom the phone is used primarily as a device for contacting people. Tellingly, the only non-MS app I've installed is the local train company. If you're after a phone which has endless versions of bubbleblitz type games, then WP isn't for you.

Thirdly - and this is the real dirty great stinking psychotic elephant in the room - for businesses, Microsoft just don't get it. I sat through a presentation given by one of their best WP people to a bank a couple of weeks back. Mostly they wittered on about the camera, speech to text, and social feeds. No demo of how groups can be made, managed, or the seamless integration with the Office suite.

They're obsessed with beating the iPhone, which is a stupid idea. What they should have done, and there was enough of us in the industry telling them this, was take RIM apart during Q3/4 last year. Trusted Enterprise provider, captive market, great contact at very high level in massive enterprises... completely and utterly failed. RIM have finally shut that open door with BB10 - albeit with a vastly more complicated GUI. Somewhere along the line MS spaffed $1bn dollars on marketing the thing (or was that Win8 marketing, of which WP8 was included?) and managed to actually lose market share.

The really sad thing in the whole sorry WP tale is that when I get a Lumia or Ativ in the hands of a CTO for a week the feedback is always "Blimey, this is very good... how come our Microsoft account manager has never mentioned it?"

Review: Jabra Revo Wireless headphones


Better than the Sennheiser MM offerings?

For that price they're squarely into the Sennheiser MM450-X territory - true, the Sennys are around the £275 mark, but if you're prepared to pay £200 for a set of cans, you're probably just as prepared to pay £275. I've got a set of the 450-X, and they are very very good at making the best of what is a particularly difficult job; MP3 playback over Bluetooth from the phone's media player.

Which is a point worth raising I think. The bitrate of the track, and the phone's own player are what really seem to be the critical factor in this instance. For example, the Sennys are faithful in their reproduction, so 96kbps MP3s don't sound very good at all. Similarly, the wooly playback of the Bold 9900 is worse than the Lumia 900.

I'm also unclear whether these Jabras have any of the following; active noise cancellation/suppression, play/ffwd/rrwd/volume controls on them, fold flat for briefcase. Without that, £200 is asking a lot when the Sennheiser range have all that and more.Not suggesting the MM450/550 is everyone's cup of tea, and as an audiophile I occasionally wince at how they reproduce sound, but on balance they cover all the bases extremely well.

Last point to raise, every phone I've paired my Sennys to has decided to treat them as a traditional BT headset, and thus disables any onboard EQ ability. Seems these only work with a wired connection. So if you like your bass boost, or concert hall settings, they may not be active on a BT headset.

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

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It's all good fun until...

All of my friends have learnt to not let me anywhere near their laptops/desktops unless they want Linux installed, with accompanying rant about Windows, how simple Linux is, and "just a moment, ndiswrapper isn't working... that's odd. You'll have to do without wireless I'm afraid"

HQ, meanwhile, has stopped volunteering my IT rebuilding services on her friend's generic high-street bloatware PCs after the incident with Miss S's dead laptop. Having offered me to swap all of Miss S's photos from the old HDD to the new one (after all, I'm stood idle at the weekends, best keep me occupied otherwise I might get a day off or something).

Anyway, long story short, Miss S is a wonderful girl, but very round and very single. As I discovered rummaging around in the drive looking for photos, she's also apparently developed a Universal Port which will accept anything that fits, and quite a lot which doesn't. Seems you can make quite a tidy sideline with a webcam and your Universal Port. I still scream myself to sleep at night.

However, it did ensure that HQ now denies I'm "good with computers" when asked if I can help.

iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close

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It's all about the shiny

Unsurprisingly enough, my teenager's school has just announced every one of the kids is to have an iPad or iPad mini... funded by the parents for the most part. Being a geek, and in the mobile/mobility space, I actually deemed it worthwhile going to the presentation, as you never know, with my 16 years IT knowledge, and having sold the things into Banks and stuff, I might actually have an idea of what they can and can't do.

The presentation was given with the help of some Apple salesman, and my questioning did cause some squirming... well, rather a lot of squirming actually. Especially once it had dawned on me that precisely no thought had gone into this whatsoever. Still, I did enjoy myself tearing apart the hapless board of governors, teachers, and assembled muppetry for 90s minutes. A Phrryic victory, but a victory nonetheless.

In a nutshell, none of the self-congratulatory leftie halfwits had thought to consider than 1500+ kids in uniform carrying £300 devices in any way presented a security risk. None could articulate what actual benefit having an iPad would bring the classroom that didn't already exist with current tools. No plans were put forward to accommodate the built-in redundancy of Apple devices. Nor were they able to explain the selection process for the associated MDM software (after I'd explained what MDM means).

Just for japes I asked whether they'd considered something like the Chromebook. It has a keyboard, no data on the thing, longer battery life, is fixable should the screen get broken, far more useful for actual computing tasks, can be used for writing homework on, and in all probability Google would give them away for nothing, and a Cloud OS gets round the problem of people leaving the things on buses/in the dog. Again, had never occurred to them.

Then the final thing, which probably aggravated me more than anything else - yes, the school will continue to expect homework and coursework to be created in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.

Bloody fools, the lot of them.

My own, geeky, view is that if you want to encourage an interest in IT/programming/software a far better plan would be to set as 3rd year (whatever that is in modern terminology) curriculum with "Here's a Citrix licence and 2FA fob. Now, get yourself online. Minimum specification is on this sheet of paper. Go off and learn about IT - it really isn't that difficult. Extra points/marks awarded for the least amount of money spent. Extra marks if you buy the thing off eBay and completely replace the OS. Automatic A++ Distinction if you rock up with a £30 old 10" netbook now running a new OS and with a Pixel Qi screen." Yes, it would be absolute chaos, but probably cheaper than forcing iPads on everyone... keep the IT Teacher busy though.

Most kids are remarkably technically capable, more than most of us older generation will give them credit for. My 'don't give a monkeys about computers' teenager figured out torrent on her laptop, how to bypass or disable most of the security/content controls I put on, and then when I took to turning off the Wi-Fi at 11pm she broke into next door's WPA2 network... (although oddly still doesn't understand about clearing temp folders).

Anyway, the penny dropped at the end when the head said something along the lines of "this will improve the teaching experience at the school". Which is basically what this is all about - teaching. 'Learning' is something else entirely, and doesn't seem to figure.

Microsoft Surface Pro sales CANNIBALIZING Surface RT


PlayBook anyone?

Competent, trusted (arf), maker of things produces a technically capable and likeable device which has an ecosystem that makes the genetic pool of Hull look diverse. It keeps the price high, in the belief that people will buy it simply because they already have other products made by it.

Despite said device selling like ice cubes at the North pole, maker of things resolutely refuses to accept that said device is, in fact, irrelevant/overpriced/useless/lacking cellular connectivity. "Look at the funky adverts! Don't you want the shiny? Our shiny is so much better than the other shiny because... because... well, because we made it!"

After a while, maker of things slashes the price, which although stimulates a blip in volume of device, just ensures everyone's granny has a cheap device for listening to The Archers that doesn't matter if it absent-mindedly ends up in the dishwasher, or microwave. The ecosystem remains an exercise in uselessness.

Finally, seeing the metaphorical ageing family labrador that keeps pooing on the corporate sofa for what it is, the device is quietly taken out the back and put out its misery. No mention is ever made of it again in polite company... especially not when they're sat on the corporate sofa.

That said, when the price is slashed to two shillings sixpence, I'd definitely be getting a PlayBook, sorry, Surface; my mum put her last one in the dishwasher.

Microsoft Surface Pro will land in UK in WEEKS*

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Like a hovercraft at a bar mitzvah

I'm in the mobile space, and have the oddly detached experience of working with Microsoft from time to time. I like Windows Phone 7.5, clean and simple, which suits me - lack of apps aren't really an issue as the useful ones are present. I detest Windows as a desktop OS though.

Nonetheless, one of my customers (a merchant bank) expressed an interest in Surface in both forms last week. I duly trotted made contact with Planet Thames Valley Park, and asked to speak with their leader. Initially communication was difficult, as working for a UK firm I lack the necessary vocabulary for subtlety on that planet. I resorted to loudly saying 'synergies' a lot, which seemed to do the trick.

"My customer is interested in Surface. Can we go in and demo an RT?"

(sucking of teeth) "Hmm, not really, we don't really do demos on Surface"

"Riiiight. Howabout we come to Reading and try that?"

"Well, we can, but we can't leave you alone with one."

"Okay, before I tell them just to buy an iPad, what support can you give me? Howabout something on the Pro?"

"We can come and give them a presentation on Windows 8 and Office365!"

Following this impressive display of point-missing, I cast around in my business to check it wasn't just me... sure enough, my peers have experienced similar ineptitude.

Seems all those years of default OS have really pushed the Redmond cranium-rectum synergies to new heights.

Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow


Mint Cinnamon for me...

Still running an Ubuntu laptop (the kid's one), but Unity is a mess... not to mention the constant updates. The endless updates being the reason I dropped Xubuntu on my little Sammy NC10. Mint Cinnamon is a bit heavier than Xubuntu, but no daily upteen thousand package updates makes me a happy camper.

I'd venture to suggest that Ubuntu is actually the biggest issue for entrants to the Linux world at the moment - for newbies it seems to be the first place they end up (I did, several years ago). Whilst the install is relatively simple for anyone with four or more braincells, the GUI Pile-Up that is Unity is enough to make most people not bother getting past the live USB stage.

The support forums for Ubuntu are awful - I just don't bother with them these days; if the search returns nothing then you've got the choice of your question either insta-locked and linked to something vaguely relevant, or ignored. The best you can usually hope for is that it goes in a pile with a load of other related bugs where someone may eventually fix it. I've not had cause to try the Mint support yet, after 6 mths installed on two netbooks.

Anyway, interesting comment regards Mint being very 'Windows' in it's feel - hadn't really occured to me. I like Mint because it's clean, relatively light (using around 130mb RAM at idle on this 2Gb netbook), and aside from installing the Samsung packages in Terminal I've had to do the square root of nothing to make it work.


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