* Posts by Andrew Macrobie

38 posts • joined 14 Sep 2007

Spotting a Big Data faker as you set up Big Data for someone

Andrew Macrobie

Re: On a completely unrelated note...

Oh VERY good !

Amazon yanks SimCity download from store

Andrew Macrobie


Face it chaps and chapesses, EA have consistently rolled out unfinished crap for years now and we, as consumers, have been only too happy to vote with our wallets and say "Yeah, that's okay, stiff me for £40 now for the beta and £30 later on for the DLC that finishes it off".

Terrible attitude, terrible customer service, terrible company.

Help-desk hell

Andrew Macrobie

Re: beware of pissing off BE Tech support.....

Not uncommon on ISP provided equipment, I'm afraid. My experiences of BE support have been generally positive. BT & OpenReach... that's another matter - even if they deign to turn up.

Mozilla needs to find alternatives to the Google umbilical

Andrew Macrobie

Re: Dear Matt,

And now we have .NET MF running on Arm (netduino, various GHI products) as well. The Arduino Due uses an Arm Cortex M4 (I think) processor too.

Google's Nexus 7 tabs 'can't perform' if flash RAM crammed

Andrew Macrobie

Isn't flash...

... a type of EEPROM??

Also while it's correct the device has 16GiB of storage (seems no-one measures storage by the GB any more), the user accessible storage area is mounted in /sdcard so the available storage varies according to what's in the rest of the filesystem. I feel this is misleading advertising - your average bloke on the street will see that 16GiB as user available storage and to be fair, that's an entirely reasonable supposition.

So, as far as I (a reasonable and relatively sane person) can see, the issue there is not so much that people fail to understand why the built-in storage isn't entirely available but that the information regarding typical available storage is suppressed for the purposes of marketing. That's an improper stance to take, but a very typical one; after all, honesty and marketing don't historically go hand-in-hand!

Ten phones for seniors

Andrew Macrobie


Had a couple of Emporia life handsets at my old workplace, terrible build quality, poorly thought out design and had a tendency to fall to bits at the slightest knock. Of course it's not just seniors (isn't that a US term for the elderly?) that occasionally have a need for big buttons and large, clear displays; the chap who used these handsets was partially sighted and frankly, from my experiences looking after mobile comms for that firm it's apparent that accessibility for mobile handsets / smartphones is still in its infancy. That's probably worthy of a reg article in itself...

Bill Gates, Harry Evans and the smearing of a computer legend

Andrew Macrobie

Re: Douglas Adams 1995

Dear Douglas, your acerbic wit is sorely missed.

IOC asks Olympic spectators to cut back TXTs and tweets

Andrew Macrobie

Risk analysis? What risk analysis?

Surely this should have been spotted as a potential risk when the solution was being designed ? Network congestion is not a new or unusual phenomena; there are plenty of ways of designing around the problem.

Menaced cartoonist raises $60,000 for copywrong

Andrew Macrobie

Re: "You seem to be trolling"?

But only one is being paid to sit under this particular bridge...

The iPad 3 would make me so horny...

Andrew Macrobie

Re: Now, to be fair...

Pretty much precisely what I was thinking as I reached the point of the article.

GiffGaff mobile network goes titsup for 3 weeks

Andrew Macrobie

Been going on since November...

Been trying to get number ported to 'Gaff since mid-November last year. That's two months ago, more or less and each time a service agent picks up the issue they promise to sort it. After a few days, the open ticket disappears and they are never heard from again.

Frankly, it's all well and good being "run by the people, for the people" but "the people" have demonstrate some commitment to each other. This commitment seems to be (unsurprisingly) lacking.

BT gets 14 days to block Newzbin2

Andrew Macrobie
Big Brother

To be fair, we'll be paying for the whole bloody thing - start to end, taxpayers paying for court time and due process, customers paying for the costs incurred by BT and their "legal support" and ultimately, we'll be paying the copyright holder whatever they ask (and the removal of secondary sources of supply will guarantee this is the case) for access to their materials.

We will also end up paying, one way or another, for the implementation and management of any filtering systems required by the courts to support their judgements.

Awesome. Out of curiosity, is there /anything/ we're not paying for out of all this ??

Ten... outdoor gadgets

Andrew Macrobie

Would also have liked to have seen (or considered as alternatives to other entries)...

Motorolap Defy semi-ruggedised smartphone (got one of these for my gf, fantastic bit of kit in most circumstances)

Viewranger application for Android, Symbian and Iphone (which is also used by mountain rescue teams)

Powertraveller range of chargers inc the solargorilla

Obviously you can't please everyone, but still..

Supermarkets trounce telcos on mobile services

Andrew Macrobie


Oddly, I've found Vodafail to be about the worst in terms of call initiation and completion - also their coverage appears to be patchy even on major trunk routes. Then their call costs abroad have risen sharply in the last year (change of T&Cs that they published five clicks deep in their website and apparently nowhere else).

I've migrated back to O2 this year; my data connectivity works again (is now relatively fast too) and the coverage is at least honest - if I get service I can make a call which is more than I can say for Vodafone or Three.

BT wholesale kit crash silences thousands of customers

Andrew Macrobie


Certainly the quality of service is a good as it's ever been, at least as BT's

Motorola Defy Android smartphone

Andrew Macrobie

Motoblur ?

More like motobo**ocks.

I bought one of these a couple of months ago for my partner to replace her HTC legend. While the device itself is absolutely great, no doubt about it; the motoblur software overlay is nothing short of horrific - particularly if coming from something with the sense overlay which does a significantly better job of aggregating all your messaging and social accounts.

How motorola continue to make such a pigs ear of this is beyond me. I had a milestone on release and found it much easier to deal with (and comparatively as snappy to use despite the difference in MHz). The clue here ? No motoblur.

I've took the tack of applying the "blurless" defy rom to the phone some weeks ago and installed launcherpro (as described in your article). Feels snappier generally now and the social networking overview is far easier to deal with. Plus of course, the author of launcherpro will probably have updated the shell several times before motorola finally release froyo for the defy...

Becks offloads Posh Porsche on eBay

Andrew Macrobie

Matte Black

Is often a vinyl wrap applied over the top of the paint job. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fliquibzhQ from 1:33 onwards. Personally, I think the RS500 looks better with "real" paint than the plastic crap, but hey ho...

Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

Andrew Macrobie


There's no defined minimum trigger speed; some police forces have practiced zero tolerance (1mph over) for a while now (am thinking lincolnshire). I personally got tugged by the SPECS system on the A616 some years go for doing 67mph in a 60. I wasn't particularly amused, but hey ho...

ACS:Law's mocking of 4chan could cost it £500k

Andrew Macrobie

I think you're right re DPA

But where there's suspiscion of downloading pornography etc., there may be a case for defamation.

Apple locks resellers out of iPad sales

Andrew Macrobie


Sounds almost like Apple are deliberately restricting the supply of ipad in order to raise public awareness and get as much journalistic attention as possible.

What's the expression, any publicity is good publicity ?

Darling confirms telephone line tax

Andrew Macrobie

Openreach excess charges

Are, frankly a farce and a joke. Not only is the consumer expected to pay for the initial installation (to the tune of thousands of pounds) but then is expected to pay upkeep and duct use charges on top before they transfer a bit of data or make a single call.

I recently had half a kilometre of 24 core fiber installed as part of a business project, crossing through private and HMG property; terminated and and costing half of what OR are asking to drop 100m of fiber into existing ducting, run along existing traywork terminate in an existing cabinet.

The schedule of works is the real eye opener; Cherry picker hire - £580, Drilled holes (2 off) £380 ea, Ductwork etc etc etc.....

If they're operating on that basis, then you'll need a lot of bloody 50p's to even start considering getting fiber to street cabinets and exchanges.

BT and Openreach have the market sewn up and make no mistake.

Crypto snafu grounds 3D Avatar screenings in Germany

Andrew Macrobie

Washed out colours ?

Can't say I noticed this in Avatar or any of the other 3d screenings I've seen lately.

I saw a "Real 3D" presentation in a cineworld, the projectors for that were definately digital. Can't comment on Imax...

Unused phone lines to be taxed for rural broadband

Andrew Macrobie

Already the case...

BT charge you regardless of whether or not there is BT copper going into the premises. Brilliant huh.

Consoles & Gadgets Rapid Fire

Andrew Macrobie

65 Quid ? Having a laugh !

The source code for this type of mod (as well as wiring diagrams and instructions for making a homebrew programmer) have been available on the internet for some time. In fact, I would be surprised if the code used in these controllers differed from the original by very much...

See : http://www.acidmods.com/forum/index.php?topic=29999.0

for more information and tutorials.

Helpdesk Heroes or unappreciated geeks?

Andrew Macrobie

Professional User == Qualified Idiot

@ Jam + Others

Yes, if it has any form of cable attached it's very obviously an IT issue. Kettle, microwave, television, vcr, dvd player, answering machine, photocopier.... all are supported by frequently understaffed IT departments - allegedly.

In my experience, users are generally stupid, deceitful and spiteful. So-called qualified professionals (solicitors, accountants, anyone who works in education) are merely qualified idiots :).

As a friend once said to me; Ignorance is an condition that can be cured with time and study. Stupidity is an affliction for life.

Every IT staffer I've worked with has been more than happy to help educate users, what they resent is being systematically lied to about the root cause of problems.

ALK CoPilot Live 8

Andrew Macrobie


Unfortunately, the article makes no mention of ALK licencing restrictions. Unlike other android applications, you cannot simply redownload and reactive it if you lose your handset - a licencing and registration system similar to the one used on the WinMo versions of this software appears to be used in tandem with google checkout.

Whlie this may not sound like a particular drawback, I had my hero replaced around a month ago and redownloaded copilot. Everything went perfectly until a little over a week ago it decided it was now a trial version and refused to run. Brilliant when you're lost in Leeds city centre.

Furthermore it's now around ten days since I raised the issue with ALK asking how to resolve the problem and so far, no response. I've no doubt I'm going to wind up on the phone to them for an hour next week trying to sort the sorry mess out. Hardly the epitome of customer service.

Personally I can't wait to see some other satnav sofware suppliers getting involved with android, perhaps having some competition will cause ALK to make some effort re customer service.

If they can break the law, why can't we?

Andrew Macrobie

Scale ?

"it is probable they would not wish their own employers to pursue such a draconian policy either. If you are alleged to have fiddled your expenses, you would expect a full investigation before you were fired. You would also hope for a warning for a first offence in most businesses, rather than summary dismissal."

Had I fiddled my expenses to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds I would expect nothing less than an immediate dismissal - this, to me, would be in direct proportion to the level fraudulent actviity in which I had actively participated. I don't see how you can argue that the systematic and repeated theft of public funds /at this level/ by a number of individuals can be likened to claiming an extra few miles on expeses except for the basic fact that it's fraudulent activity.

That's rather like saying one man murdering another is much the same as the mass murder of many indiviuals. They are manifestly different and should be treated as such.

Texting peer released from prison

Andrew Macrobie

@RotaCylclic & Nathan

Re : Roadcraft

Yes, precisely. If you can't see then you change matters so that you can. Too many idiots drive on motorways on sidelights / foglights only at high speed.

Now a minor point, we drive on the left in this country. Said Lord whassername was in the outside lane and hit a stationary car. One would assume that he was that lane whilst in the process of overtaking other traffic; in which case there would be traffic ahead of him illuminating said stationary (and bollocksed) vehicle. It is often easy to see ahead by the lights of other vehicles and, since people have a tendency to slow down as they approach something dangerous it would normally make the presence of the vehicle even more apparent.

Frankly, I'd suggest that Lord thingummy was :-

a) in the incorrect lane

b) driving too quickly for the prevailing conditions and

c) likely to not be using all the facilities at his disposal to make the road ahead more visible

and thus safer for all.

Which probably (in my inexpert opinion) boils nicely down to driving without due care and attention and quite possibly causing death by dangerous driving - at the very least it was driving like a idiot.

Exam board to hear appeal over format cockup

Andrew Macrobie
Thumb Down


"How is that? They were scored based on results. More specifically, they were scored based on the *absence* of result (a significant part of the work not being available to the examiners). Hey teacher, here is my homework, it's printed on transparent weightless paper using invisible ink! Can I have an A+++ please?"

Because students are "educated" in a system where there are few boundaries and no strict guidelines. Instead of getting knocked back when they fail or do something stupid (and have them learn from their mistakes) the mentality of "Never mind, it's the effort that counts" becomes the norm for them. I double and triple check every piece of work and documentation I send out knowing it will be scrutinised to the n'th degree - this is basic common sense not to mention bloody good practice.

"Also, if DiDA qualifies as"Academics" or "higher education" for you, I understand why you failed to get the point."

Oh dear; I think I'd give that comment a "3/10 must try harder".

The people who lecture these students have been through higher education, almost certainly to degree level and they failed to demonstrate the level of care and sense common among people who live and work outside of education.

It's simply unwise and unfair to entirely blame the students for this fiasco, at least 50% of the blame lays with their lecturers for not making them understand the course requirements and for allowing them to submit their work in this format.

Andrew Macrobie


It seems to me that common sense is neither required nor prevalent in the modern "education" system - spending any time with Academics (particularly those in "higher" education) only serves to reinforce that belief.

Once again we're demonstrating what happens when people are scored on effort rather than results.

PayPal glitch freezes sellers' cash for weeks

Andrew Macrobie

@ AC 20:08

No surprise - I have a couple of word-for-word identical emails from paypal. It was obvious when someone had finally looked at the issue because the tone and grammar of the email I received was really quite different from the template mails they're sending out.

Andrew Macrobie
Thumb Down

Still happening...

Three hours on the phone to PayPal on an Irish phone number plus numerous missives to get payments released four days after positive feedback was recieved. Just not good enough but sadly, PalPal are not subject to UK or EU banking laws and it seems that Ebay are comitted to pushing PayPal as the primary means of payment through their alleged "protection" policies...

Convicted spammer goes AWOL from federal prison

Andrew Macrobie


What's dumb is that he would get more time for escaping than his original crime plus, obviously he was able to escape in the original instance - dumbasses. Wish we coudl just neuter the cockends 8-)

BT 'security upgrade' causes email headaches

Andrew Macrobie
Thumb Down


"Boo Hiss" was the least offensive way of describing the thoughts going through my mind at the time. It's like AOL, alll over again, only no-one knew about it...

BT's customer support is (in my experience) historically terrible and I'm glad I don't have to deal with them at work for data services, only for analogue services. Comments about lepoards changing spots spring to mind.

Thumbs down for BT's typically crappy handling of the situation. A bit of publicity on the customer services homepage and a round of emalis forewarning of changes (with helpful links) would have sidestepped the entire issue.

Andrew Macrobie

BT Relays

I'm not quite getting the gist of this story.

a) Are we saying that people who have their domains hosted by BT (and thus have BT as designated mail exchangers for those domains) are having their outgoing mail blocked because they've not jumped through a set of hoops ?

b) Or are we saying that people who have their domains (and websites, email etc) hosted by third parties but have, in the past, relayed through BT are complaining because BT are now blocking "unauthorised" domains from relaying through them (hardly a technically bad situation, but boo hiss at BT for not forewarning people).

c) Or, finally, are BT redirecting all outbound SMTP traffic (a-la AOL) through their own servers and causing "b" to occur ?

Anyone ??

Man buys MacBook Air, pulls it apart, takes pics

Andrew Macrobie


16Gb is 16 giga-bits. 8 bits to a byte so makes 2GB or 2 giga-bytes.

(Uppercase B for byte, lowercase b for bit)


PC superstore suffers breakdown over Linux notebook

Andrew Macrobie

@stop moaning

The hardware is blatantly defective - the issue is that PCW are using the end users choice of OS for not repairing a hardware issue.

If you choose to install Ubuntu or NT4 on a server instead of Windows 2003 and then the handle on one of the hot swap bays fell off, would you expect the supplier to tell you you're voided your consumer rights because of your (often necessary) choice of operating system ? Is this any different to the hinge failing on the laptop at the centre of this ongoing issue ? I think not.

The application and use of this equipment (the computer is intended to be used as a computer, not as a doorstop) does not deviate from the norm and the user has not used the equipment in a manner that may be considered incorrect nor out of the ordinary - freedom of choice in terms of installed software (including operating system) is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable requirement for any computer. If the user was purchasing an appliance (Snap Server, Firewall etc etc) and replaced the OS then it's a legitimate claim that they have modified the equipment and voided the warranty as they are attempting to modify the equipment in order to change it's purpose. To change the OS on a computer does not change its purpose nor does it change the functions the user will require of it.

Moreover, it's easy to argue the supplier has not taken sufficient measures to ensure that the user can restore the equipment to its original state - I know all about the recovery partition, but that really doesn't hack it, all you need is for the partition table to become screwed and repairing the computer is, quite literally, a non-starter. I understand there's an economic argument for supplying the recovery data on the hard disk, but in the long run, it simply costs the suppliers (and subsequently the manufacturers, in terms of lost sales) more by doing this as every time a machine takes a big poo on its hard drive (not entirely uncommon) the machine will have to have engineering time wasted on it having the disk re-imaged or replaced.

To take the short view that it's somehow the users fault for installing linux is missing the point entirely, there's a principle here - PCW abusing the rights of it's customers (the right to freedom of choice) in order to excuse their desire to not repair or replace the defective laptop.

BOFH: Building changes

Andrew Macrobie

Oh Hell...

B*gger. I'm 30 - no wonder I feel like I'm in some sort of perpetual twilight zone here !

As for the office moves, it's plainly the responsibility of senior management to avoid every single opportunity to involve ICT staff until the management, sparkies and architects have finished making arbitrary decisions about where people are going to work and where the structured cabling should go.

I mean, God forbid that someone put a floor point somewhere logical and / or sensible. For example; actually NEAR a workstation - someone might run over it with their wheelie chair, and break something (hopefully the CEO and his neck as he rattles down the stairwell, negotiating several tight turns while duct-taped to his chair. That's the kind of pleasant thought that keeps you warm at night.)


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