* Posts by Rallicat

31 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Sep 2013

You've been baffled by its smart thermostat. Now strap in for Nest's IoT doorbell, alarm gear


Re: They haven't quite figured this out

Gotta see what the full kit-package looks like.

I recently got the Ring Pro and -for the most part- they included the stuff you need to wire it in, even a replacement power supply transformer for the consumer unit.

Nest will need to 'think of everything' to avoid having to buy lots of extra stuff to get through installation.

As for theft, Ring have a measure of theft 'insurance' in that -depending on the circumstances, they /say/ they'll replace it if it's stolen. Nest need to match/beat the service as well as the specs.

Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit


I'm not quite sure some of the conclusions that are being drawn in this article as on the sort of solid ground it implies.

For example, a link is provided to another Register article that explains the 'full extent' of the privacy violations, and in virtually the same sentence goes on to assert that -for enterprise customers- home folders are sent to Microsoft.

The linked article makes no such conclusion anywhere, but does refer to the wording in the privacy agreement that Microsoft may -for a number of reasons- share your personal data, including files stored in private folders.

This does not mean that Microsoft have now granted themselves access to your hard disk or home folders. Indeed the context is actually data you have chosen to upload to Microsoft's cloud services. Which is manifestly not the same as the contents of your hard disk or corporate home folders.

This kind of breathless 1+1=5 scaremongering is astonishing. Serious IT managers and consultants jumping to these kind of conclusions is frankly far more worrying! I know that a lot of people will /want/ to answer the question 'do you think Microsoft are that stupid?' with a resounding 'YES', but frankly I don't believe that to be based on any kind of logic. Microsoft /know/ that their business customers would avoid 10 like the plague if they thought everything it touched belonged to Microsoft. My answer to that question is no, obviously they aren't.

Skipping to the end: clickbait.



Re: The article is wrong - there is NO £20 limit for Pay payments

I think the problem is that it's variable.

We don't yet fully know what is going on. Many terminals don't activate for contactless payment if they are charging you above the £20 limit. I've ready elsewhere that back-end updates can allow for terminals to make a distinction between an authenticated tap (as Apple Pay delivers) and an unauthenticated tap (as would occur with a plastic card).

Time will tell. I suspect that at first, you'll be able to bonk up to £20 (£30 in September) from pretty much anywhere that currently accepts contactless, and over time as updates roll out, more and more places will support authenticated payment taps, thus breaking us out of some of the current restrictions.

Something I'm also curious about is the 'revert to PIN' restriction. Currently, after X transactions using contactless, you'll get bumped and asked to use chip & pin ... just to make sure it's still you. Will this be the case with Apple Pay? I'm guessing not since the back end us getting a different token every time and should be able to make a distinction here. Again .. we'll soon find out I guess!

Microsoft's curious Sway comes to iPad and iPhone


Re: What online content does it let you help yourself to?

The default image search in this is Creative Commons stuff - free to use images.

Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!


I think part of the issue, is that whilst it's absolutely true that many people might see it as a fair exchange to hand over personal data in exchange for the services they receive 'for free', the issue is that they have no choice. Do I have an alternative where I can pay to use certain services, and /not/ have to hand over my personal data? No.

Of course, one could argue I'm free to choose to not use those services at all, but this is something of a hobsons choice - if I want the services, I have no say in the way I acquire access to them. In a working market, competition would produce more, real choice.

A secondary but equally important issue is that my data remains data about me even after I have exchanged it. It's not a sale (apples for pears) it's a lease - an ongoing arrangement to exchange data for services. If I were a landlord and a tenant subletted my property without telling me, I might be rather annoyed given said subtenant had not been vetted or approved by me. By the same token, If I hand over my data to -say- Google, I don't necessarily agree to that data then being either sold to other companies, or forcibly accessed by governments and other related agencies.

Between the free market capitalist and the hippy, there's a nice middle ground, and in that space many people are indeed happy to hand over their data, so long as they still have some kind of a say, and as long as basic controls are in place.

ONE MILLION people already running Windows 10


Right, because the fact that the leadership of those teams have changed is something we can all conveniently ignore.

Come on, the fact that Microsoft went to the trouble of putting a feedback mechanism in here /does/ mean something. Oh sure, it'll just get ignored right? Why bother. I mean, why bother going to the trouble of making a feedback app at all if all you're going to do is ignore it. Give people a warm fuzzy feeling that they matter?! If Microsoft don't care about your feedback, then they certainly wouldn't care about making you feel good. It just doesn't add up.

Or, alternatively, new people in charge are making a difference .. maybe, just maybe that's the explanation. Time will tell. But hey, feel free to pre-judge.

Windows 10 feedback: 'Microsoft, please do a deal with Google to use its browser'


Re: IE - it's a question of trust

Indeed I can completely appreciate that, however by your own admission it's illogical.

It is indeed ancient history, and judging a company based on the decisions made over a decade ago - often by people no longer working for Microsoft- is quite simply unfair, and smells of grudge-holding.


So, some good feedback in there - pinning tiles to the desktop is perhaps a good idea if implemented appropriately.

Browser wars clearly abounds. Most of the world still uses IE of course, but despite the 'waaah IE sucks' attitude that seems to prevail so strongly, Microsoft /have/ been making steady improvements to IE over the last few years, and the reality is that it works just fine.

/IF/ Microsoft wanted to switch to something different (and they don't) then they wouldn't necessarily need to do a deal with Google, they could just do exactly what Google did, and grab themselves a slice of Webkit, ditch the Trident rendering engine and replace it.

This isn't going to happen of course, despite feedback, certain things are still 'red lines' and won't be changed. Feedback on the general functionality of Windows 10 (and bug reports) is one thing - asking for fundamental strategy shifts is quite another.

Don't forget, Microsoft /is/ making strategy shifts. Given how many of Microsoft services are now available on rival platforms (You can get OneNote on Android watch, Office on an iPad etc), I really don't think anyone can accuse them of being the 'bad old Microsoft' of years gone by. Not saying they're perfect - but they're different, in a good way, and should be applauded for the approach they're taking in Windows 10.

Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10


Windows 10 is partly a rebranding exercise. The original plan was always that there would be a "Windows 8.2", but with too many users (business especially) steering clear, it was obvious what needed to happen: Add back the start menu, and make Store-Apps run on the desktop (like with 'ModernMix' from Stardock).

As such, calling it a 'new version' of Windows is primarily all about sending a clear signal that this is a different beast from Windows 8. Critics might point out that there's little new here, but why shouldn't the guys in charge of Windows now put their own stamp on it? Steven Sinofsky is long gone, and these guys are putting together what Windows 8 /should/ have been from the beginning, so yeah - this is a good thing.

Microsoft's Brit kid Cortana lands on UK WinPhone 8.1, but China's is the real cutie


Re: Did anyone else notice...

Quite right. Siri's /real/ response is 'No Match Found'


Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

You can check here: http://www.nokia.com/global/support/software-update/wp8-software-update/availability-in-europe/

If your phone has not received the update yet - sit tight, it will come along soon!

The low end devices with 512MB RAM should get virtually all the features. The only one I heard of that might not make it to those handsets are the new 'live lock screen' functions.


Re: Which WinPhones will get 8.1?

All current Windows Phone 8.0 devices will get the 8.1 update. You can check whether it's supposed to be available for your phone here: http://www.nokia.com/global/support/software-update/wp8-software-update/availability-in-europe/

If it isn't yet, sit tight - it will get to you soon!

PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point


The degree to which the point is missed is tremendous.

What we have here is a modern refresh of the Lumia 920. That much should be abundantly clear. Whilst it's relatively well rumoured that a phone with a few more tricks up it's sleeve could well be coming later in the year, the timing of the 930 is obvious. It's been launched to show off Windows Phone 8.1, and get /that/ OS into the hands of reviewers.

The approach of integrated hubs and experiences just didn't work well in the long run. Baking those things into the OS made it more difficult to update with new functionality without having to push out an OS update. So what we have instead is a whole range of new functionality that arguably should have been there a long time ago.

The idea here is to make a bit of a statement 'look, we can do what those other phones can'. Complaints like 'it doesn't have a notification centre' now go away - but that's fine, because reviewers will always find something new to complain about. Now the complaint is that it somehow Windows Phone 'hasn't stayed true to itself' - as if said reviewers had been praising it all along.

In reality Windows Phone has now taken a big leap forward, and this new milestone is the perfect jumping off point for another 12 months of minor feature pack updates which will keep on making Windows Phone better.

Say goodbye to landfill Android: Top 10 cheap 'n' cheerful smartphones


Re: No Lumia?

I'll wait for the register to do a similar top-10 for other devices then.

I'll probably be waiting a long time.


No Lumia?

So, I find it pretty surprising that you'd do a review of cheap smartphones, but not include at least one of the cheaper Lumia devices.

I realise that there are plenty of Reg readers who aren't exactly fans of Microsoft, but plenty of people like WIndows Phone, and plenty of regular consumers have been buying low-end Windows Phone devices. The Lumia 520 easily fits into the £150 and lower price point of this article, as does the recently released 630/635.

This kind of omission is -frankly- a bit dodgy. I'm not necessarily claiming a bias here, but when you've got 9 Androids, 1 BlackBerry, and not a single Lumia despite there being several Windows Phones that fit into this price category, to not have a single one begs the question - why?

Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update


Wow, people being vocal about mostly the bad stuff and keeping quiet about what they like? What an astute observation!

Seriously though, of course people are going to complain about the bad stuff. There are bugs in 8.1 - it is, as you say, a preview, but what you complain about depends on your usage pattern. I for example, never really 'got' the integrated hubs. I use twitter a lot but never used the built-in system for that. It couldn't handle multiple accounts, couldn't handle direct messages, and was just generally 'lacking' compared to a fully fledged, dedicated app. That Microsoft are recognising this and de-emphasizing the integrated stuff doesn't really affect me - but others may be disappointed. They'll adapt, change happens, and happens on any mobile platform including iOS and Android.

For me the experience is a positive one, I like the new notification centre, I like the new swipe keyboard, I like the new start screen layout and customisation options. All of the 'new' features (as opposed to changed ones) /are/ being generally well received. How do I know this? because there are very few comments about it. People don't tend to take to forums about features they approve of - only the ones they don't.

To be fair to Microsoft, this 'early access' approach was as much an enthusiast program as it was a developer program. Most people only hear about these sorts of things if they care about their phone enough -and are enthusiastic about it enough- to start reading sites like WPCentral. How else would they hear about these sorts of routes to get updates early.

Overall this update is a hugely positive step forward in most ways.

Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost


Here's an article on the smartphone usage in the UK from last year, putting it at around 72% http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/7-10-people-uk-now-own-smartphone/

We can of course trade figures all day, but if we're going with marketshare as being 'sales' of SmartPhones then that translates over time to the Windows Phone install base getting: a) steadily larger, and b) definitively in the 'millions' class.

I'd certainly suggest that making a statement like "It is unlikely that there are as many as 1million WP phones in the UK." with no clear evidence to support it, would fall into the category of something you /want'/ to be true as opposed to something you /know/ to be true.


Hilariously funny though the comments may be (well, to be honest I'm being rather charitable there), the concept that 'only five people' use Windows Phone is sort of out of date information, and it's sad to see people wheeling out that line.

Here in the UK, the market share of Windows Phone is actually just above 10% ... and growing. Given that about 75% of people in the UK have a smartphone, we can probably make a good calculation that the number of Windows Phone users in the UK is between 4.5million and 5million people.

That number may be smaller than those using iPhones or Android handsets, but it's still a pretty healthy number. More people use Windows Phone than many seem to realise.

Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana


This is just generally good news. If you don't currently use Windows Phone, then this obviously doesn't affect you, and if you're already using a phone with a digital assistant .. and hate it, well, again, there's little for you to really be concerned with here.

Why this matters is that whilst the overall gloss is that Microsoft have 'done a Siri', they have added unique, smaller features that the other platforms don't have. That's not a dig, but it should be recognised that this kind of competition eventually brings benefits for all.

Unless they patent it, in which case it brings lawsuits :)

Microsoft: Let's be clear, WE won't read your email – but the cops will


So, judging by the comments here, despite Microsoft going out of their way to tighten up their privacy, that's still not good enough?

This really is conspiracy theory territory we're in now. Microsoft can't win because despite zero evidence to support the position, people still believe Microsoft are the bad guys. I can only hope that the tin foil hat wearers are still in the minority.

Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update


I'd say that Windows 8 apps have improved dramatically over time. For example,. nothing is mentioned in this review about the mail app being drastically improved since the original 'version 1' release. by the same token, many third party apps have also come on leaps and bounds, and those that have not are simply lagging due to the lack of developer investment on behalf of that third party - not problems in the OS.

It's also worth pointing out that there are still certain strengths to Microsoft's OS on the tablet side (since we're talking about apps it's only fair). Native (and unparalleled) multi-user capability, native split-screen app multi-tasking, file and network browsing that's pervasive throughout the OS both on desktop and in the 'Metro' environment to name but a few.

I'll agree there is room for improvement, and the return of the start menu as well as native ModernMix style capability can't come quickly enough.

Nokia Lumia update spreads Black death


Updated OK

My install of 'Black' completed without a hitch - no error codes at all.

I haven't been able to get the Nokia Beamer software to install - but I have faith Nokia will resolve this problem.

So far in the little over 12 months I've had my Lumia 920, I've now received two firmware updates and two 'GDR' software updates. So, I'm rather happy that both Microsoft and Nokia are rolling out updates and keeping things fresh with new features. This is certainly much better than was the case in Windows Phone 7 after the '7.5 update had been released (after that one was pushed out things pretty much fell silent!).

Most of these updates haven't individually delivered big new features, but added together they have steadly improved the overall experience, and with Microsoft confirming that Windows Phone 8.1 will be available for all current Windows Phone 8 handsets then I think things will keep getting better.

Why 2014 might just be the year of the Google Chromebook


I love that the headline and the subheadline boldly give the impression that this is an article explaining why it will be the year of the Google Chromebook, but then within the first /sentence/ the words 'probably not' are used. Linkbait much?

Anyway, lets keep in mind that these NPD numbers being bandied around lately showing chromebooks at 20% are based on business to business sales (and by that we mean 'sell-in', not 'sell-out') and as I understand it, for North America only. So, it's inaccurate to draw conclusions that consumers are moving in droves to Chromebooks.

To me Chromebooks are just another incarnation of Netbooks, with all the same flaws therein. The real threat to Windows is not that Chromebooks will do well, but that Chromebooks will deliver another shift in the perceptions of consumers about what personal computing hardware should cost.

After Netbooks, consumers were less willing to return to the days of paying high prices for PCs and laptops. Thus putting the squeeze on the 'old model' for Microsoft and it's partners. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons Android tablets sell so well, particularly 7 & 8" tablets that are priced affordably.

Another shift in consumer perceptions could well deliver damage to Windows, but in the long term there's only so far that can go. PC sales may have declined, but the PC industry is far from dead.

Microsoft yanks Surface 2 DIM SCREEN of DEATH fix in update snafu


Because only Windows has bugs...

... oh, wait.

I KNOW how to SAVE Microsoft. Give Windows 8 away for FREE – analyst


We already got the 8.1 update for free - something that affected far more PC users than Mac users (yes, there are already more PC users out there running Windows 8 than the entire Mac install base).

Should it be free for Windows 7 users too? Maybe, but I don't think it would make sense, at least not now. Most Windows 7 users have regular desktop PCs or laptops, and don't want Windows 8. It will only be when Windows 8.2 comes along that desktop users might finally be tempted.

Windows 8.2 is being slated to potentially bring back the start menu, and to allow the use of Metro apps in a window - exactly as it always should have been from the start! I guess Microsoft must finally have taken notice how many Windows 8 users had bought copies of Stardock 'Start8' and 'ModernMix' :p

Microsoft Surface slabs borked by heat-induced DIM SCREEN OF DEATH


Re: analysts...

"EVERYONE I know has been told by me that those devices simply suck"

What about it sucks? Go on, be specific. Saying they suck is a blanket statement that implies that these device are unfit for purpose, that the software and hardware don't work.

My experience is different, I can browse the web, access my email, calendar, Skype, Netflix, games, Kindle etc etc. It doesn't crash or fail on me, everything tends to work pretty well, and so far no sign of a screen issue - very far from the concept of it 'sucking'. So before demanding Microsoft prove you wrong, how about you lay out your case a little more intelligently and prove to us all why you are /right/?


I have a Surface 2. So far, whilst it indeed does get quite warm when running intensive activities like games (yes, there are Games in the Windows Store, no, not just Solitaire), I've yet to see any screen dimming.

I like my Surface 2, it does all the things I want it to do, including a few things I couldn't do with an Android tablet or an iPad. Doesn't mean I'm not totally respectful toward people who like their iPads or Samsung tabs or whatever - feel free to use what you want.

Google gets closer to EU antitrust deal over search dominance 'abuse'


Re: So Bing must also include in its results links to Google services?

No, in the same way that the EU's judgements against Microsoft enforcing their display of a 'browser choice' screen doesn't mean that you get the same thing in Mac OS X, iOS, Android or for that matter any other OS.


Re: how utterly predictable

Regardless of how it impacts Microsoft, or not. You are indeed correct that the EC are operating in an independent and fair minded approach, and so it was the case when they found that Google were indeed abusing their position by harming competitors. Otherwise, surely they'd have thrown the case out, right?

Ad giant Google makes new 'abuse' case offer to EU antitrust cops


Shocker, a company with a monopoly abusing it's position? Do no Evil? Myth busted.

Microsoft: Surface is DEAD. Long live the Surface 2!

Thumb Up

I agree the price needs to be cheaper, Microsoft are playing catch up, and they need to be prepared to make a loss in order to establish share with Surface. On the other hand, there are plenty of other vendors out there producing Windows 8 tablets, so it's not as if there isn't choice at other price points.

I generally see Surface as a premium reference tablet. Given the limited distribution, how else can you view it? It shows what a Windows 8 tablet can be, and fills the premium space because let's face it, who else is really going to seriously build a premium Windows 8 tablet?

As for whether or not it's any good... well yes, it is. There's nothing in particular 'wrong' with it, and the best fault finding that most people are doing in this thread is largely splitting hairs. Sure it's not for everyone, but it can really suit a lot of people's needs, and for anyone looking for a premium tablet it's worth at least considering it rather than dismissing it just because it's Microsoft.