* Posts by xanda

57 posts • joined 24 Oct 2016

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More than a billion hopelessly vulnerable Android gizmos in the wild that no longer receive security updates – research

xanda
Mushroom

If only...

"...we'll need to either look elsewhere...

This assumes there is indeed somewhere else to go. After years of errant behaviour from the likes of Nokia et al, Android was touted as this 'elsewhere' due to it's mostly open source nature. For a while the CyanogenMod experiment gave a glimmer of hope as a credible option until, amongst other reasons, the wide uptake of closed-off MediaTek hardware proved yet another a barrier.

"...or keep the pressure on..."

In the absence of a serious marketplace contender there is really only one other avenue: regulation. It seems there is something to be said for obliging manufacturers to open up some of their code and other processes to prevent what is a flagrant abuse of the marketplace - maybe there are some racketeering laws being broken here? ;-)

xanda
Unhappy

Gotta luv them Softies...

"They consider they bought a tool ... as long as it does whatever they want it to..."

Functional stability is a big problem across the board with updates often doing enough harm to make users think twice. In Androidland, capabilities such as USB mode, call recording, Bluetooth compatibility and even 'Do not disturb' (to name but a handful) get arbitrarily deprecated - sorry, broken - thus diminishing the value of the 'tool' in critical ways.

It is often the case that even the developers/manufacturers are unaware of the impact of changes and are subsequently unwilling to rectify them afterwards.

This is not a phenomenon unique or new to Android but in this case, it's promise of openness ought to have mitigated such inertia and afforded the makers & customers with viable & accessible alternatives. Instead there's a fragmented, disjointed and ineffectual support landscape.

No wonder Mr Torvalds swears so much.

A cautionary, Thames Watery tale on how not to look phishy: 'Click here to re-register!'

xanda
Mushroom

Privacy apparently...

"...centralised on an IBM mainframe..."

We found it curious that Thames Water insisted how the need to re-register was for privacy reasons,which sounds like a half-baked 'dog ate my homework' cover for 'Yes, we really didn't think this through'.

Turns out both are true. Accounts have been ported to some Microsoft backend service a consequence of which leaves LastPass scratching its head (so much for bookmarking then).

The site now reports NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID - which is nice...

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

xanda
Headmaster

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

...When did you know of a major OS update that didn't have snags - including Windows and Linux?

Spoken like a true software 'engineer'.

Only in this discipline has it been acceptable to say things like "Updates(grades?) are always this bad" or "Everyone else is just as guilty of shoddiness as we are". As an aside, perhaps this is Tesla's reasoning on the smart summon feature? But we digress...

Given the money Apple receive, their purported prowess and the level of control they wield over their customer base, any reasonable person would conclude that such 'snags' - as you call them - would not reach the level described by so many on this release.

We're not anti-Apple (we have some of their kit ourselves) but we are pro 'getting the expected quality paid for'.

Android dev complains of 'Orwellian' treatment as account banned after 6 years on Play store

xanda
Facepalm

...Just sell your app on your own website...

Many do already if you hadn't noticed - or they at least refer back to Google Play thereby giving the indication to the user that they are looking at something kosher.

..."Why on earth you need an 'app store' to install a freaking app on your phone?"...

Because after decades of experiencing dodgy downloads in the personal computing domain (of whichever persuasion) the largely uninitiated mobile device buying public finds it helpful to have a single point of reference for apps even if only for safety.

There are many who are not particularly tech savvy, but who have at the same time learned that the source of their apps is important; having a default store goes a long way to helping these people.

True there is more muck than brass in the Google Play store (& maybe the others too?) and users still need to be selective (as other comments here attest to), but having it is still better than not having it.

Besides, at least on Android, the user still has the option to go elsewhere if they want to.

YouTuber charged loads of fans $199 for shoddy machine-learning course that copy-pasted other people's GitHub code

xanda

Indeed.

It certainly doesn't bode well that all those technically, and perhaps scientifically, intelligent students have such an affinity for daftness. Or perhaps they feel the principle of due diligence is not of value for AI?

Time to check in again on the Atari retro console… dear God, it’s actually got worse

xanda
FAIL

Re: Fools and their money...

I personally find it hard to understand why many fork out major cash for such baubles in the first place, even when they are a reality.

So being prepared to send ~$400 to a ghostly outfit, trading under a brand name long synonymous with failure, for stuff that only exists on a webpage (at most), does sound a bit unhinged to me...

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

xanda
Thumb Up

Re: Eh?

I too suffer a disability.

It's often mocked, both in everyday conversation as well as in the media at large.

And you know what? I'm still here - and what's more it gives me some great jokes to share...

That said, my beef (no apologies to vegans) with those shouting out the 'p' word is that they really do make my life difficult: The effect is that people are nervous/not candid with me in day-to-day life for fear of causing offence. Plus don't get me started when it comes to job interviews...

Frankly anyone who has a problem with the word gimp needs to grow up, get a life and a dictionary (not necessarily in that order).

Fresh stalkerware crop pops up on Google's Android Play Store, swiftly yanked offline

xanda
Trollface

Re: Monopoly!

I can just hear Google shout out 'Daffyd Thomas' style: "I am the ONLY stalker in the village!"

Android clampdown on calls and texts access trashes bunch of apps

xanda

Re: Call recording too.

There's really no need for the snark...

The point is that laws which are unenforceable in practice are effectively useless i.e. not laws in reality. Such legislation is often rendered void by judiciaries when put to the test - in democracies at least. It's the difference between de jure and de facto.

xanda

Re: The trouble is...

...So now they're being stopped ( hopefully).

There are definitely plenty of apps that make dubious requests for permissions of all kinds and for sure a lot of them will be trying to slurp sensitive data. It's always been one of our worries that this takes place without our understanding and being of limited knowledge, seems difficult too difficult to keep track on.

That said, rather than just issue a blanket ban (the software engineers' response to almost all problems they don't know how to deal with), it would help if there was a general policy for apps to behave along the lines of: "Can I have permission? No? Ok I'll just do my best without it and stop whining..."

For certain there are plenty of apps that will fall foul of this approach but it would help in many cases at least. Otherwise it seems helpful to open source everything or at least insist Google Play offers some kind of privacy accreditation?

xanda
Mushroom

Re: Call recording too.

"...so long as it's for personal use..."

It doesn't matter if it's for personal use or not - call recording is acceptable/legal period. Even in those jurisdictions where it is apparently proscribed there is little can be done to stop or enforce it making the whole regulation useless.

The release of the recording is another matter however. If there is a clear public interest need then any blow-back is likely to fail. The other scenario is where a dispute arises between private parties (perhaps in court) and even then the recording can be rendered as a written transcript to circumvent this, if need be.

Otherwise everything you said is on the ball and we thoroughly agree. Having either 3rd party or native call recording deprecated is a complete pain and a major red herring in terms of security/privacy.

It's just another example of the dumbing down of Android and it seems the 'smart' part of the phone is being lobotomised. Maybe it's time to get our old S60 out again...

Granddaddy of the DIY repair generation John Haynes has loosened his last nut

xanda

Re: RIP Haynes

"assembly is the reverse of disassembly"

Roughly translates as "We're tired of having to write this now..." ;-)

Still, using said manuals throughout the 90s to fix our big Japanese motorcycles meant we could run such beasts on a student/trainee budget.

Despite some of the latter editions being of somewhat dubious quality and tricky to read at times, we for one were grateful time and again for the insight they offered; giving us a fighting chance to know whether or not the local garage was making a meal of things.

A salute to John Haynes - it's a sad day to be sure.

Apple: You can't sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home... we can explain

xanda
Paris Hilton

Re: Do they still do it?

"...I frankly don't trust any phone company at this stage."

For sure they are all dubiously motivated and below par in terms of competence.

Apple aren't the only ones of course but are by far the worst offenders due to their sheer arrogance and downright meanness; being the size they are ought to give them scope to behave better all round.

In a like experience our Wileyfox was out of service a whole year because of an update which was *forced* i.e. WF held the warranty and support to ransom unless it was installed (see their Facebook page for more). We got it working in the end but *without any help* from WF.

Given that similar experiences are described the web over, it does seem that perhaps some kind of regulation is now in order, at least?

We hate to say this and are not even convinced if it's feasible or truly desirable even. Yet it does seem to us that giving consumers the right and ability to use whatever version of whatever OS they want on their own devices ought to sustain an environment where vendors would behave better.

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off

xanda
Thumb Down

Re: A bridge too many

"How can it be useful if its was never advertised, documented or, published..."

We got no beef with issuing security updates and the like but...

You mean to say that Logitech didn't know their kit would be used this way? Of course they did. It was probably decided early in the project's life that letting such compatibility remain would make it all the more desirable in the marketplace.

And even if this is not the case they certainly knew about it long before the supposed 3rd party security experts 'brought it their attention' - how could they not with a thriving community of enthusiasts/hackers right under their nose all that time? Did they not stop to think what that would imply?

The concept of 'accepted custom and practice' comes to bear here which makes Logitech responsible to a large extent. They ought not be so 'righteous after the event' or to have stuck the two fingers up. Nor should they have have pulled the rug...

They ought to have come up with something else (no - I don't know what that would be) that protected the expectation and investment of their customers.

xanda
Holmes

Re: A bridge too many

These are undocumented unofficial APIs...

Means what exactly?

Presumably it means you think it's OK for Logitech - or any other manufacturer - to sell kit with such capabilities; knowing full well that it's a key feature; that their customers will want to make use of it, only for it to be trashed by unchallengeable dictate later on?

You're happy for the makers of all your stuff to treat you this way and be paid handsomely for the privilege yes?

Of course you are...

The Palm Palm: The Derringer of smartphones

xanda

Re: Oh dear

C'mon - all smartphones are fadware...

xanda
Meh

Re: Nice concept!

"...thoroughly fed up with the large, heavy attention-sucking monsters that smartphones have become...

...many long for the simplicity and small size of the feature phone of yesteryear."

Amen to that!

We would love a flip or slider phone with buttons again, with a more robust & water resistant case. Think Motorola RAZR but with 4G and dual SIM.

The touchscreen thing has its uses but having to take it everywhere is such a pain: bulky, difficult to use with disability/single-handed/with gloves on and expensive to drop kerbside. Having a companion phone when that suits best is a great idea.

But it needs to be done right - it cannot be just a miniature Android - it needs to offer something else; something it's counterpart does not do.

The Palm doesn't seem to have done this: no buttons, lacklustre battery life and no maybe no call recording (now being ditched by Android). Other valiant but poorly supported efforts like the HTC Mini+ and SocBlue A850 arguably came closer.

Perhaps using a simpler, lower cost device as a primary, complemented with a beefier touchscreen partner when desired, is the best way forward?

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

xanda
Mushroom

Throw money at the problem... oh no - wait up....

"The fact is building and operating a nationwide network requires huge capital expenditure..."

In our limited understanding of the network side of things it does seem to us that enough has been ploughed in already. This being so, one might think that such protocols would have been in place as part of the standard package perhaps, or at the least been factored into the acceptance and testing regime prior to overall commissioning in the field.

At the consumer level we pay top dollar for MVP kit and services that are fun and shiny but which have apparently poor resilience when put under modest stress.

At both the network and consumer level, vendors have eschewed the need for decent local/offline fallbacks which would provide much needed continuity in such events; they have sacrificed this irritating niggle at the altar of The Cloud. A prime example of this was 'exposed' in this particular outage: According the Beeb some plumber was unable to use their satnav - presumably Google Maps or the like - to get to jobs.

Seems the smart device era aint so smart after all.

xanda
Trollface

...The tar is already being warmed and the chickens are being plucked...

Please spare some too for the pillock(ess) who came up with "functionality"...

Slabs, huh, what are they are good for? Er, not quite absolutely nothing

xanda
FAIL

Re: Not surprised...

'Could do better' springs to mind.

The three tablets we've had thus far have all been bluff & bluster - high on price, short on performance and maximum on unreliability.

Even the larger brands seem ignorant of what's in their own kit: we had a devil of a time trying to find out what storage card was right for our Lenovo. Can't think the experience is any better for brand-X types.

It seems the vendors suffer with collective ADD inasmuch as no sooner have they sold one half-baked effort, they then rapidly disavow/withdraw support for it and dish out the next one.

It's a tiresome cycle indeed and maybe customers are starting not to bother because of it?

Mourning Apple's war against sockets? The 2018 Mac mini should be your first port of call

xanda

Please sir - I want some more...

We bought an original line Mac Mini G4 when they were first released. We were tired of Win2k/XP and really wanted a change; something capable and elegant yet fun.

The base model seemed good value even if a little more pricey than the equivalent spec PC. The promise of an essentially open sourced OS plus a generally willing attitude to make stuff work nicely - especially with our Nokia S40 & S60 phones - was a big factor in deciding to quit MS/PC land. Its ability to work with HD video as standard was definitely a big plus and, if we remember rightly again, ahead of its time.

There was even a complementing DTV/Firewire receiver which Apple marketed with gusto at the time (although this has sunk without trace since) as a well as the Griffin FireWave - a 5.1 Dolby AC3 interface. We couldn't afford it at the time but the promise of having a novel and capable home theatre/gaming platform was certainly something to look forward to.

Plus it could run Halo!

Upgrades were pricey: If memory serves it cost us £399 for the base model with 512MB RAM and the basic superdrive which could read but not write DVDs. The options for 1GB and DVD burner were outrageously expensive - another £150 or so. We waited about a year and fitted our own RAM and optical upgrade for less than £50.

It served us well as our main desktop and did loads of photo's and video which would have been more tedious on a PC platform. But when Apple hobbled it after just a couple of years by ending support for PowerPC - no Snow Leopard too - we couldn't really see sense in plowing more money Apples way. It's a shame because the rest of the world was really warming up to the Apple ecosystem at the time with hardware & peripheral support getting better.

We considered an upgrade, perhaps to the iMac, but with Steve Jobs' stubborn refusal to incorporate Blu-Ray into the range we decided not to bother with Apple any further.

Our Mac Mini still lives on as a basic file and print server and it works delightfully still. But with the initial outlay and its subsequent assassination by Apple we can't help feeling we deserved better for the dosh - maybe we're not alone?

So, about that Google tax on Android makers in the EU – report pegs it at up to $40 per phone

xanda

Mo' money

"...amazing how they always find a way to turn a remedy into a new source of profit..."

Sure they will make a bit of extra cash - the sharpest organisations will always try turn a bad deal into a good one.

As for how much extra: Well that remains to be seen. Android devices generally follow the high volume/low margin model so it's hard to see how much they can squeeze out of vendors already wafer thin margins. Besides, Google will want to consider if their dominance would be compromised by pricing their main method of reach out of the market.

Can't see them wanting to do that somehow.

Android creator Andy Rubin's firm might think its phone is Essential, but 30% of staff are not

xanda
Stop

Just another clone...

"Stand in front of investors aghast that the world hasn't snapped up your 95% identical-to-every-other-phone-but-costs-more product..."

Hear hear.

Especially as the Essential phone is $499. Really? An Essential product costing that much? He obviously didn't take a leaf out of Tesco's idea on an essential, value product...

As for Dysons: they suck proper (no pun intended) and have merely filled the world with more plastic bags instead of the paper, biodegradable sort. Naughty - very naughty. :-(

Sure, Europe. Here's our Android suite without Search, Chrome apps. Now pay the Google tax

xanda

Re: Or the fourth option...

"...the competition does exist, and is ready to take over if they stumble.''

Not sure that's true even though we wish it was.

Mobile has essentially been a two-horse race between Android and Apple for quite some time now. Either punters can empty their pockets and pay the Apple tax for a quality experience or they can take their chances on the roulette wheel that is Android - at any given price point.

Although we hate the iPhone there's no doubt it wins hands-down in many ways over Android. That said though, both fail to offer a satisfying experience with each hurting their customers in unique ways.

We wish for something else badly but have to use a so-called smartphone because there is no viable alternative. Even the basic form of these devices is an exercise in dull conformity: a 'one-size fits all' that fails to please a great many.

Besides, given the maturity of the technology and the industry's continued push towards services as its main bread and butter, isn't it about time the whole hardware/software realm was opened and freed up? After all, other industries aren't encumbered by such things in order to survive: for example, the last time we looked the construction industry didn't seem to be paying patent royalties on bricks and cement...

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

xanda
Linux

He did what now?

...you may have left behind the digital tools that we all use every day and which have made our lives immeasurably better...

Hmm. Can't decide whether that's more of the same satire or not.

Maybe their originators can come get 'em back now?

https://goo.gl/Msxupx

xanda
Meh

Re: He said what everyone else was thinking regards Adobe Flash. We're all better for it.

Half of what you said is right...

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

xanda
Mushroom

Re: Have fun!

"...I'm happy to unlock my phone for any reasonable authority who asks politely..."

Are you deliberately being stupid for kicks or are you just a naive exhibitionist? Please state what you think a 'reasonable authority' is; by definition it is not one where their agencies seek to pry into areas where they have no right or cause to in the first instance - that is a most unreasonable thing to do indeed.

In the case of the NZ law using the "reasonable cause" argument: this is both erroneous and dangerous because it is a weasel clause. It can - and will be - abused by the very agencies required to implement it, whether polite or not.

"...It's a phone. What do you expect they'll find?"

Is the wrong question.

Of course terrorists and criminals will always have something hide - BUT SO DO THE REST OF US. The concepts, in case you haven't heard, are called privacy and dignity and many people have a strong sense of what that means for themselves .

So it doesn't matter if it's a phone, personal diary, family photo album etc. the state has no business in arbitrarily violating their sanctity - which this law undoubtedly grants license to do.

... By this time they've already got my name, address, biography and family details. ..."

And also where you like to shop, what restaurant you visited last Saturday, when you last got a parking fine and so on and so forth. What of it? None of this stuff is remotely private so it makes no difference whether the state, journalists or other nosey-parkers know or not.

...Seriously, I've never seen so much fuss made about a provision that - by current international standards - is still incredibly mild...

So in other words: everybody else is doing so we can too. From a statement like this it might appear you are perhaps a NZ politician responsible for said legislation.

Nobody would realistically suggest that state security agencies refrain from following bona fide intelligence in helping us to remain safe, but granting free reign without restraint, as this law basically does, is bad for everyone - authorities included.

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

xanda
Joke

Re: Profitability

"...customers were still going in and buying stuff, but the author's contention is that spiralling corporate debt killed them."

It always seemed to us that Dragon's Den was just entertainment - a sort of censored happy slapping for TV. Apparently not though - the disease is real after all. Hubristically overpriced valuations of businesses leading to unfathomable exposure to debt. The result being the business raises prices far above any realistic expectation for the market they operate in and effectively killing their own business.

It's still an amazing achievement for Maplin though: according to the second table in the article they made £135m profit on just £269 of sales!!

;-)

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

xanda
Mushroom

Re: not yours

"It's not quite an absolute right though - it's as long as you don't circumvent any copy-protection technology in doing so."

Yeah it is. Granted there may not be a statute on the books that codifies this, but the general principle is thus: you bought it, you own it and therefore you have the right to protect it. This is a time honoured principle of western democracies.

That makes circumventing the copy protection for content you already own no more criminal than locking your front door at night...

To our knowledge though this has never been tested in court. This is probably because it falls into the same grey wilderness as all those EULAs for software i.e. the small print may say one thing but its interpretation by the judiciary is quite another; whoever is first to argue the point (from the likes of the big bad studios) will likely get egg on their face.

And rightly so...

xanda
Pirate

Re: not yours

"...But to claim that it gives you the right to make another copy of whatever work happens to be on that disc - is pretty much the opposite of how copyright works."

How so?

Or rather: if an owner of physical media loses that media and its associated backups accidentally e.g. tidal wave, volcano eruption and the like, then why shouldn't they be at liberty to download what they can of it?

Or even if the owner still has the original media intact, downloading it again from the interwebs is hardly copyright theft.

After all, it's not like they haven't paid (enough) already...

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

xanda
Alert

Hold on a moment...

"it's no more intelligent to fight against changing the terms."

The 'terms' don't change in or of themselves - it is people who ascribe the meaning. For example, the word "gay" didn't assume it's current cultural meaning all by itself - the meaning has been artificially imposed over years.

That raises the question of who gets to define the meaning and who gets to impose it.

The issue thus becomes one more important than that of transient semantics or mere practicality. It is one of both freedom of speech and the imposition of authority aka dictatorship.

Like so many other words in the English vocabulary, the word slave has more than one meaning; indeed it's original root has been applied to various different scenarios over time. This does mean that the meaning is largely contextual and so ascribing too much value to an alternate one denigrates the beauty and power of language.

Again this is a problem, both in principle and practice.

In principle it means that certain quarters will seek to establish themselves as the word/thought police, as indeed they are already doing.

In practice it means that the 'innocent will anguish over the innocuous' as well as a ton or more of unnecessary work in changing code, reprinting signs and other tangible material - all at great cost.

It can therefore not simply be ignored or adhered to as if to go with the flow.

Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

xanda
Black Helicopters

Maybe - maybe not...

Prices may go up but it's unlikely - especially in the long term. Customers are now thinking more in terms of total cost of ownership (even if at an intuitive level) and are clearly voting with their feet.

The overpriced and onerous bundles that have been the traditional staple of the market never really had anything to do with the cost of the phone in the first place. That's because, and with a few exceptions, retail prices for goods bear no real relation to the costs of manufacture and distribution. That's why phone models are priced differently across markets - vendors know where they can milk it and where they can't.

There may be some equalisation of prices between bundles and SIM-free handsets if networks go through a phase of determining whether or not they continue with the old ways. Arguably there has been some activity already on this front, with some networks offering contracts with devices that are factory unlocked from new (thanks be the regulators admittedly). They may even relish the thought of simply selling airtime and services as it will remove them from the tedious and costly device support chain - warranty claim anyone?

Those who want the latest flagship and are prepared to shell out will always be there, but mostly the market is fed up with being done-over: being tied into either a poor service or phone that fails to deliver a satisfying fulfilment - or frequently both - just isn't fun anymore.

That leaves the market open to manufacturers who are able to provide commodity handsets at a reasonable price, and maybe even more choice than the paucity that currently exists. While this might mean higher upfront prices (and we can't really see how) in the near term, it will ultimately force the market down as punters shop around.

HTC U12 Life: Notchless, reasonably priced and proper buttons? Oh joy

xanda
FAIL

Re: Truecaller

"...but it does stop quite a few scam/spam calls and texts."

It does nothing of the kind - our Wileyfox is a testament to that.

It does seem to us that Wileyfox have some unholy relationship with Truecaller, hence its 'enforcement' on the range. Truecaller seems to exist with the sole aim of harvesting the worlds phone numbers (a strange phenomenon given the almost universal disdain for being in a traditional phone directory), the aim of which is not entirely clear...

Perhaps WFs tie-in with Russian backers helps the peripheral security services corroborate their records?

Besides, has any WF owner actually got an alternate dialer to work properly yet despite recent updates supposedly being 'pure Android'? Even the standard Google one doesn't work.

xanda
Pint

Re: Gets out key spec list needed for me to upgrade...

There also needs to be spare batteries available too...

...you're forgetting the compass!!

;-)

Otherwise 'amen' to all of the above.

The U12 does have proper dual nano-SIM according to the spec at:

HTC UK - U12 Life Spec

+ something called SIM card manager which is probably an additional eSIM. Not sure if this means it has effectively x3 SIM capability but it certainly looks promising either way.

As for the size - yowzers! 6" is way too big. If I want to lift weights then I'll go to the gym thank you very much; otherwise a 4.3-4.5" display form factor is quite enough ta (less is more).

Redis has a license to kill: Open-source database maker takes some code proprietary

xanda
Joke

Re: Why....?

Can just imagine the Daily Mail headline now:-

Open Source Code Routine Seen Topless by Swimming Pool - looks fab after 6 months on the Atkins Diet..."

;-)

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

xanda
Holmes

Re: You can't fork Android

"...If I can't root it, I won't buy it."

Sounds like a good plan until you realise that this is the mobile equivalent of asking the Hatton Garden gang to hold onto your spare house keys while you're away.

There isn't a root tool on the planet that meets even the most basic notions of security or propriety - not the last time we looked anyway. The fact they exist at all is testament to how broken this industry really is.

The one question we've always pondered is why the mobile makers never learned from the Microsoft debacle of yesteryear: OEMs could have clubbed together - either to force MS to back-off (easier) or, even better, produced a quality alternative to Win (only a bit less easy). In the case of Android both opportunities were achievable from the start. Unfortunately they were squandered and lost finally when CyanogenMod bit the dust.

The result? Poor customer experience, bad vendor faith at every level and literally tons of landfill.

Distie bosses tuck 7-figure settlement into Cisco's top pocket

xanda
Unhappy

The cartel needs busting...

Quote: The problem, vendors have told us in the past, is that counterfeit gear can be brought into the EEA along with kit that is not authorised to be sold here...

The problem really is that the vendors have carved the world into regions so as to over-milk and sell-short various portions of it wherever they can. In the main, there's no real reason anymore for vendors to maintain the plethora of product options which serve no real purpose other than to sustain this model; worldwide warranties & support ought to be the implied norm now as a result.

Since at least the days of the advent of DVD, vendors have been overtly guilty of rigging the market against all senses of fair and free trade. The notion of vendors 'authorising stuff in certain markets' is largely defunct and ought to be abandoned for the stitch-up it really is.

Until then, counterfeit goods are always going to be a problem: as vendors work to maintain the status quo grey markets to will continue to exist, along with the resultant vendor/customer dissatisfaction.

Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

xanda
Go

And about time too...

This is indeed a superlative challenge and one that will need as much luck as it does skill & money in order to achieve.

Many of the posts here are nay-sayers and this, it has to be said, is not without merit given the track record of similar endeavours. Considering Linux on the desktop, CyanogenMod/Lineage and - dare we say it - perhaps ReactOS too, the performance record is patchy at best with the jury out still on the more robust efforts.

Smaller projects have also fared just as badly and frequently descend into a cauldron of self-indulgence and/or an overtly hostile atmosphere.

Sadly the software development fraternity, whether it be open/closed/free/commercial has left a lot to be desired in terms of performance and longevity with the result being a lack of confidence in the very audience it needs the most: its users/customers.

Yet at the same time we really hope something comes of eelo.

Android in its current incarnation should never have happened in the first place and we await eelo with great interest.

Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, 8.1 support forums

xanda
Trollface

Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

...just move on down to the people who actually know something besides how to cut and paste...

MVP = Most Vapid Paster

Schadenfreude for UK mobile networks over the tumult at Carphone

xanda
FAIL

Re: Once the Competition Commission have allowed all the networks to be combined...

"The market benefits from competition as it keeps everybody on their toes and prices will be kept low."

The market is broken and has been for a long time. The level of competition as it stands doesn't deliver value for money in terms of a decent quality, stable service i.e. far too many 'not spots' given the maturity of the technology and poor quality for both voice and data.

"...prices will go up, service levels will drop and the market will go to pot."

We're already there albeit for some of the better deals offered to the subscriber these days. Yet the fact remains that networks are still guilty of overcharging for what they offer and do in return; plus are largely let-off the hook by the regulator concerning some of their more outrageous behaviour in recent years.

Same could be said for fixed-line but mobile is definitely the worst offender.

The only way we can envisage how things might improve long-term is if a commodity handset brand manages to stay focused in delivering a range of decent quality, fairly priced devices with a stable support regime.

This would perhaps break the cycle both manufacturers and networks find themselves in by enabling punters to feel they have made a wise choice with their cash.

Unfortunately it has been lacking across the board (fancy a Wileyfox anyone?) helping fuel the mess that all now find themselves in: punters are no longer parting with their hard earned lolly because they just don't have it anymore, leaving networks and device mfrs struggling.

So it's a lose-lose all 'round.

Brit prosecutors fined £325k after losing unencrypted vids of police interviews

xanda

This one stinks proper.

As the CPS will pay the ICO fine before 13 June, it will cough up a reduced amount of £260,000.

Anybody would think from this that the offence is akin to some kind of glorified parking fine. What kind of attitude is it that allows a body like the CPS - the same body who always press for the maximum penalty - to enjoy a reduction in sanction as some sort of reward for simply saying sorry?

Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

xanda
Unhappy

Re: Paying over the odds for less protection than normal...

...If their prices were closer to competitive then impatience may have won out more often...

It seems you're onto something, although we hate to say it...

We might add that buying off the web is fast returning to the wild west it once was in the not too distant past. Others have said here how there is more security/back-up on the likes of eBay, Amazon et al but that's not been our experience lately.

In recent times our dealings have left more than a sour taste in the mouth. There are too many dodgy sellers with the platforms in question 'enforcing' obfuscated/erroneous returns procedures seemingly designed to stall for maximum time wastage when it comes to what otherwise should be straightforward returns.

We were starting to come round again to the thought of perhaps returning to the high street, even if it meant paying a slight premium. Maplin (amongst others) could have tapped into this sooner perhaps and thus saved their sorry fate; although in fairness they - like many others - are probably another victim to the seriously high costs of doing business in bricks and mortar.

It's a shame because we liked Maplin.

Boring. The phone business has lost the plot and Google is making it worse

xanda
FAIL

Mind the gap - in the market...

The only target market that works is selling too-expensive phones to the idiots who buy them, low and mid range are dead.

It does seem a bit odd, and sad even, that choice is distinctly lacking. Nobody is providing a stable, value alternative in this sector of the market - at least not in mature western markets. Plus it seems that the old maxim of 'you get what you pay for' just doesn't apply in the mobile market - as attested to by the build quality of the many premium phones we've repaired.

Personally we have never been comfortable forking out serious cash for a phone and have always been content with less (it's sometimes more apparently). Almost always our experience has been that friends and colleagues who rave about their expensive new shiny find themselves quickly relegating all the fancy stuff (camera included) in favour of more mundane requirements.

Just how difficult can it be to produce a reasonably priced, modest spec'd mobile and still make a decent profit? Wileyfox seemed to be onto something until the bankers pulled the rug.

Wileyfox goes TITSUP*: Smartmobe maker calls in the administrators

xanda

Re: Colour me surprised... NOT !

"On a more pragmatic note, where can I find a dual-SIM quad-core phone with a 5.5" display that can take an SD card, and has a removable battery and (the only 2 features missing on my Swift) a fingerprint sensor and NFC capability for less than £150 ? (Seeing as my WF Swift was £129 in 2015)"

This might suit you:-

https://www.motorola.co.uk/products/moto-e-plus-gen-4

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