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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

Mr_Silver More than 8 minutes (401 comments)

...but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country"...

Slight correction: the customer service representative pressed him for a further eight solid minutes.

He'd already been on the call for ten minutes before they started the recording!

about two weeks ago

Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

Mr_Silver Re:oh, please, it's never "leaked" (346 comments)

It's always, without exception, a strategic move by the PR department, to encourage public chatter about some product.

As someone who actually had a product (they owned and managed) leak, I can tell you that it is never "always" a strategic move.

This might be orchestrated by the Microsoft PR team, but please don't assume that every leak is.

about three weeks ago

Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption

Mr_Silver Meanwhile in iOS land (91 comments)

In iOS, when the factory reset is performed the key is removed so when the phone is reset and tied to a new account a new key is generated which is unable to access the old content. I'd rather the content was erased first, just in case some exploit is uncovered that can get at that key, but it's better than what Android has.

To expect an Android user to know that they must first encrypt the phone then do a factory reset if they want their data actually erased is absurd. Does Google not share the same view as the public on what the phrase "factory reset" actually means?

This (along with the all or nothing approach to app permissions) is something Google's PHDs really need to sort out.

about three weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

Mr_Silver Re:smartwatch (381 comments)

I'd like a very *simple* smart watch...

* Simple caller-ID and memo display, programmable shortcut buttons, nothing else.

* Very long charge life comparatively (2 weeks would be okay) and/or very easy charging (put it on a charging pad).

Closest I can think to those requirements are the Casio G-Shock Bluetooth models. Two year battery life and notifications for most of the common things you'd want. A comparison chart can be found here.

Unfortunately they don't really go so well with a suit - although I don't suspect that will be a problem for the majority of Slashdot readers.

about three weeks ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

Mr_Silver Isn't this obvious (502 comments)

It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies.

If you need that kind of stuff then, sure, it's probably a good investment.

I don't and, as a result, haven't bought soundcard since 1996. The ones that came with my various motherboards have been just fine.

about three weeks ago

Apple Hires Away TAG Heuer's VP of Global Sales

Mr_Silver Re:What's next (67 comments)

The laptops you mentioned aren't selling well because consumers are repelled by Windows 8, the design of most Windows laptops right now is dreadful, and Apple's marketing is ferocious.

Sales of computers running Windows have been in decline for may years now. In April, IDC reported that world-wide shipments of laptops and desktops fell 14% in the first quarter from a year earlier. That is the sharpest drop since IDC began tracking this data in 1994 and marks the fourth straight quarter of declines.

Even if all the issues you identified were resolved, I don't believe that it would reverse that trend.

about a month ago

Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

Mr_Silver Doesn't make much sense (681 comments)

One of Microsoft's main goals with Windows 9, the next major version of Windows, is to win over Windows 7 hold outs

If you're a true Windows 7 "hold out" then you won't be moving to a new operating system until that goes out of extended support in January 2020.

Working on one new update every two years, once extended support ends then it'll probably be Windows 11 that Microsoft will want those hold outs to move to, certainly not Windows 9.

about a month ago

$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

Mr_Silver Interesting you say that (252 comments)

Whilst it might not be for everyone, here I am sitting at my PC looking at my Computer Science books (purchased between 1995 and 1998) and I don't think I've opened any of them in the past 10 years (looking at you "Unix System Programming" by Haviland and Salama, reprinted in 1994).

If I get a DRM free digital version after the course has ended and the pricing is right, then this might actually be more useful than a pile of dead wood taking up space on my bookshelf - most of which is probably long out of date.

about 3 months ago

iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

Mr_Silver Re:Better tablets out there for your money (386 comments)

There are much better tablets out there for your money.

The problem with all the other non-Apple tablets is that they insist that 16:10 is the perfect aspect ratio because it means that there are no black bars when watching video.

Unfortunately it completely ignores the fact that doing anything in landscape at that aspect ratio means that whenever the keyboard pops up, you lose almost half of the screen. Given a choice between that and some black bars (which I already get on my TV), I'd rather deal with the black bars.

I'd love an Android tablet the size and aspect ratio of the iPad Mini, yet (like high specification handsets with a screen size below 4 inches) no-one in Android land wants to make it.

about 3 months ago

WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

Mr_Silver Re:What?? (116 comments)

Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
Text messages are already free.

They may be for you, but they aren't for everyone. The USA != The World.

- 1:1 and group chat support.
Already do that with regular text messages

SMS doesn't support group chat. Messages to more than one person are sent individually, there is no way for the recipients to see all the people who were messaged and therefore there is no way for them to group reply.

- Picture and content sharing.
Already do that with regular text messages

You might want to read up on the specification for "regular text messages". SMS has no provision for much beyond simple plain text messages.

- No additional fees when you're roaming.
"Roaming" doesn't really happen in most of the modern world

Again, the USA != The World. If I go from France to the UK or USA then I'm roaming.

Like I said, it's a small niche, and it's shrinking rapidly as more and more people just get unlimited texts.

A one billion person niche that isn't solved just by a bunch of unlimited text messages.

about 3 months ago

WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users

Mr_Silver Re:What?? (116 comments)

It seems like the only point is to get around the few remaining billing plans on the planet that don't have unlimited text messaging.

This comes up every single time something is posted on Slashdot about WhatsApp.

Lots of people have packages with tonnes of text messages making them, essentially, free or very low cost - however SMS doesn't do anything beyond 1:1 communication in plain old text. So picture sharing and group chats are out.

MMS can do that, but it's often excluded from SMS packages - so after a few messages it can start to get rather expensive. Even more so when you are sending these things to different countries.

iMessage can do that too and it's nicely integrated into iOS. If your friends aren't using iOS though then it all falls down.

So, combining these all together gets you the following wish list:

  - Very cheap almost to the point of being free.
  - 1:1 and group chat support.
  - Picture and content sharing.
  - No additional fees for sending worldwide.
  - No additional fees when you're roaming.
  - Not tied to users of one operating system.

WhatsApp (and the like) fill this gap.

about 3 months ago

AT&T's Gigabit Smokescreen

Mr_Silver Favourite quote (129 comments)

My favourite quote comes from Karl Bode of DSLReports:

Before you get too excited, you need to understand that this is a bluff of immense proportion. It's what I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release."

about 3 months ago

Google: Better To Be a 'B' CS Grad Than an 'A+' English Grad

Mr_Silver Well .... duh. (358 comments)

In other news, industries where command and use of the English language is the priority will state that it's better to be a 'B' English Grad than an 'A+' CS Grad.

Google's comments don't prove anything new about the value of the degrees of either course - short of the fact that it's generally better to have a degree in the industry you intend on working in.

about 3 months ago

IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

Mr_Silver Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (322 comments)

And you would expect hundreds of QA engineers to be employed for this task? (lets not forget they already have everything in place to continue patching and testing)

Certainly not "hundreds", but slightly more than the zero that the OP currently thinks are required.

about 4 months ago

IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

Mr_Silver Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (322 comments)

Every corporation and agency is independently paying millions and millions to have them continue to patch their computers. I would not wager a guess at how much it costs to continue producing patches, but I cannot imagine it is more than a handful of full time devs.

You appear to have overlooked a testing team in your planning! The regression testing on the various h/w, s/w and language variants won't be small either.

Unfortunately on large scale projects, it's not good enough to fix the bug, check if it seems to run okay on the developers own computer and then call it a day.

about 4 months ago

IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

Mr_Silver Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (322 comments)

Because of their ignorance, governments have already paid Microsoft probably more than it costs to fix the few security defects found each year.

Correction, it wasn't ignorance that caused Governments and other organisations to end up running late on project with a fixed delivery date at least five years in advance.

It was incompetence.

about 4 months ago

The Inside Story of Gmail On Its Tenth Anniversary

Mr_Silver Re:conversational format (142 comments)

Wasn't Gmail the first to introduce the conversational layout? I remember the first time I saw it I was blown away over how simple the idea was yet how much impact it made on UX.

Not quite, Microsoft Outlook had conversational layout in 2003. There are probably other programs that had it even earlier than that, but Outlook was probably one of the most mainstream.

The improvement that Google made was that the conversation included the emails you sent, not just the ones you received. Sadly, it took another 7 years before Microsoft got around to updating Outlook to include that feature.

about 4 months ago

Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community

Mr_Silver Re:Infighting: Linux's biggest weakness (155 comments)

Not that being Apple has done that much good for their computing platform. They are still the same marginal also-ran that they have been since before Linux ever started.

Last year, the Mac took 45% of all profits in the PC market and earnt an average 19% operating margin on its Mac sales.

In comparison, it was 4% for Dell and less than that for HP, Lenovo, and Acer.

Pretty good for a "marginal also-ran" if you ask me.


about 4 months ago

Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

Mr_Silver Excuses? (367 comments)

But that's hard to do with Microsoft dictating the software upgrade timetable.

Looking at the lifecycle fact sheet, Microsoft are currently giving 9 years notice on when 8.1 will end extended support.

How many years do they want? If they cannot manage with nine years notice, realistically how will a few extra years help?

Secondly, what makes them think that if they installed Linux that they wouldn't need to do any further upgrades?

about 4 months ago

DirectX 12 Promises Lower-level Hardware Access On Multiple Platforms

Mr_Silver Re:Let me guess... (107 comments)

It's Window 8 only, right?

To be fair to Microsoft, this is not a new strategy for them. Windows 7 SP1 can only go up to DirectX 11.1 and Windows Visa SP2 can only go up to DirectX 10.1.

Unless I've read the history of this chart incorrectly, then I would assume that both DirectX 12 and 12.1 would be compatible with Windows 8, but that you'll need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 if you want to get DirectX 12.2

about 4 months ago



Fake XBox rumour causes tech publications to do everything, except apologise

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Mr_Silver writes "At 1:41am today (GMT) a gamer with no ties to Microsoft released some bogus rumors to some gaming and tech blogs about the next Xbox console. By 9:58am it was being reported as fact by Pocket-Lint followed shortly by Yahoo, CNET, and Gizmodo (amongst others). However as Harry Marks points out, the number of those that actually apologised for failing to perform the most basic of fact checking were few and far between. The moral of the story? Until Microsoft and/or Sony announce something, don’t believe even the most reputable gaming sites."

HTC flip-flops over Gingerbread for Desire

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "Yesterday HTC posted the news on their Facebook page that Desire users would not get the Gingerbread update because their engineers said that it didn't have enough memory to handle the updated OS and Sense UI. Unfortunately very few people believed the reason (considering the success that Xda developers have had in doing just that) and less than 24 hours later, HTC retracted their claim and promised to provide Gingerbread for the Desire. If you don't like visiting Facebook then The Register provides the details."
Link to Original Source

Times UK paywall loses 4m readers, makes money

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "TechCrunch is reporting that The Times (a UK based newspaper, owned by News Corporation) lost 4 million readers since introducing the paywall in June 2010. However this isn't bad news as Erick Schonfeld speculates that their revenue would have increased from $200,000 to $800,000 per month thanks to the reduced visitors generating 2 to 4 times more revenue in subscription fees than the ad revenue ever did. Looks like a paywall could be a viable business case after all."

Vodafone UK upsets mobile content developers

Mr_Silver Mr_Silver writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mr_Silver (213637) writes "In a story on Techcrunch, Vodafone UK's content adaptation engine (which reformats HTML for small screen devices, such as mobile phones) has started causing problems for developers who rely on the user-agent and ua-prof headers to do the reformatting themselves or send specialised content for that device. This chorus of disapproval is being lead by Luca Passani who develops WURFL. You can find several threads on the Vodafone Betavine portal from people expressing their frustrations over the policy."


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