Thursday, October 06, 2011

Windows 8 Developers Preview


After much gnashing of teeth and hair pulling I have managed to get Windows 8 up on both an old laptop and a Virtual machine.

The installation was much helped after I found out that there have been download issues from the MS website and some people (me included) ended up with truncated .iso files!!  I re-downloaded it an checked that it was the correct 2.8Gb, which is was second time.

After that…. 

It would not load on VMware workstation, but I am using V7 so I was only able to specify Windows 7 as the OS type not Win8, not sure if it makes any difference whatsoever.
I then tried Oracle Virtual box.  When I started the App it immediately wanted me to update it, so I did (more out of habit than any belief that it would make a difference) and loe and behold it offered me a “Windows 8” OS type!  Notable features.  Well I noticed immediately that it set the memory requirement to 1Gb(for 32bit 2Gb for 64bit!) Which is much  higher than the usual values for other OS’s.
My laptop only has 4Gb, 1Gb of that is used by the graphics card so I had to kill a few tasks to get it to a point where it would actually install.  But it then went on to install and start working!

Initial comments.

My 1st impression was “Very pretty, but nothing works”.   Then I changed the screen resolution. It, by default, sets the resolution to 800x600 (on both the laptop and the virtual) but then you click on the tiles and nothing happens.  I wound it up as far as I could, just to see what it looks like, and the tiles sprang into life.

Many (all??) of the tile apps that come pre-installed seem to want to be full screen.  I will withhold judgement on that for the moment.  IE looks totally different when launched as a tile, but can be put back in to “standard” mode.  I like the apps I have played with (Facebook, Twitter)  they are pretty, not revolutionary, but pretty.  I think that if I can pin Word Excel, and a few other key business apps to the Metro interface it could actually be quite good for offices where you only what the staff to have the apps you authorise.  I must remember that, being a techy, I am not like other users.  I typically have several apps open at a time, and visible (maybe even on two or more screens).  Most “normal” users tend to switch from app to app, using one at a time.

The active tiles are interesting, but I must admit the Facebook tile is very irritating as it scrolls through an ever changing selection of pictures from my friends.  Very distracting, especially as, when I saw a picture that intrigued me, I clicked on it and it took me to the home screen rather than the picture in question.  I think I would like it to scroll the news feed rather than pictures (this may be possible, but I have only been looking at it for a while and have not got that deep).

Another “odd” feature is the lack of “Exit” buttons on apps.  The intention is that you just use the apps and don’t worry about managing them.  When you want to move on you just go back to the “Start” screen (incidentally, alt + tab will take you back to the desktop not the start screen.  This is a pain, but, again, I am assuming it is a tweakable feature) and select another app.  Windows 8 will manage the open apps and will terminate the “oldest” when it needs more resources. 

So far I quite like it.  It will require slight mental shift and a change in my working practices, nothing dramatic, but still a change.  I will have to take my own advice and stop fighting the system (to make it behave the way it always has) and try to go with it.  The performance is not what I would call snappy, but I am not too upset about that as a, I am running it on a Virtual Machine and an aging laptop, b, It certainly is not bad, c, I have heard reports from people running it on better hardware that it is quite snappy and d, it is not released code so it probably does contain debug info, which will make it bigger and slower.

I will carry on experimenting and see where it takes me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

HP Customer Support

Is this the worst Customer Support I have ever experienced?

I have just spent a considerable amount of time on the phone to HP Support trying to get a simple bit of information about a device that HP produce and sell.

Initially they bounced me around their various departments as they could not decide who should assist me. Each time the wanted ME to call a different number, but relented and transferred me when I objected. Eventually, when they could not find reference to the product I wanted I got through to their complaints department.

They took all the details and then 24-hours later they called me back and said that they had found the info that I require, but they would not give it to me as I do not have a support contract!! They actually do not know if I have one or not as I have not given them the serial number of the device, just the Model number. They said if I paid £15 they would give me the info! How much trouble must they be in to be scratching about for £15????

All I need to know is the maximum supported resolution of the device. That could be read off a data sheet by a monkey!.

When I asked to escalate it I was told that I can't all I can do is write in, but that would go to the same department that I had just spoken too. The management will not talk to clients.

I think I now know why HP are coming out of the PC market! This is so far from my definition of customer service that I am lost for words.

If you want to talk to them you need Alex on if that is not an address that is designed so that it cannot be used then I don't know what is.

The final irony is that I actually found the info that I was looking for, just not on the HP website.

How is it that Dell keep records of all the PC's I have ever purchased? All I have to do is enter the TAG number and all the specs of the machine, as it was shipped, appear (even for some machines that are many years out of maintenance!!)

They world is rapidly becoming one where service is tops. Apparently HP don't know that, can't do it, or just don't care!

Guess this explains why HP are getting out of the PC market.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tick Tick Tick

Tick tick tick
the sound of my life ebbing away.

Daddy Daddy Daddy.
'Enjoy them while they are young', "they will soon stop asking"

Will there be any me me left by then?

Is there any of me left now?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nokia Raise A Genius Call

Well on we go.

On Friday I get a call from the local expert.  He has escalated the issue to “Nokia” I presume he means Finland.  I waited till today to chase only to be told that though they have raised what they call a “Genius Call” it could take months to get a result.

Glad to know that the customers concerns are Nokia’s.

By the time they get back to me, which I very much doubt they will, I will have moved on to the next phone.  I was quite looking forward to a Nokia Windows Phone 7 phone, but an HTC or Motorola Android phone could be in my future.

Such a shame.  Sad smile

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brave New World

The world is changing.  There was a time that a phone was a phone.  You made calls, maybe took pictures, and that was it.

Today a phone is a small computer.  It has my diary, my pictures, my numbers.  It syncs with various services, accesses many wireless networks and does a myriad of other things.

So what?  Well So I do not want to do a factory restore!  In my phone I have wireless keys for numerous hot spots I regularly use, but I do not have record of these keys.  I have finally managed to settle down the syncing so that I do not get duplicates all over the place.  My address book has settled down.  Do I want to go though all that pain again?  NO!

The does come a point at which I will just say sod it.  I will ditch the so called smart phone and just use a dumb phone.  Or maybe I will be like 90% of the rest of the population and will just use the phone for calling and pictures.  When I upgrade the phone I will loose all my pictures and have to re-enter all the numbers by hand.  Just like a friend of mine that has just posted on FaceBook “Please inbox (Grrrr..  she means email)  me you number, my phone has gone and I have lost the lot!”.  Yer right! I can really see me doing that!

Phone companies have to realise that their devices are now computers and they form and integral part of peoples lives.  I cannot be without my phone for a week while you blow it away!  I do not want weeks of agro setting it up again.  You have to treat this things like what they are.  When they fail your staff have to be skilled enough to get in to the guts and fix them!  I was impressed when the tech in Manila remote controlled my phone, that is the way it SHOULD be done.  I was not impressed when all he did was bugger up my access point priorities and reinstall the app I was trying to fix.  Here’s the news.  "I ALREADY DID THAT!”.

Nokia are already in trouble as they have dropped the ball with the N97 and the N8 (as it was basically obsolete before it was released).  The N8 is a good phone.  It has a great camera, a real flash and in general I like the way it works.  The problem is that it is slow and the touch is not great.

I am looking forward to getting a Windows 7 based Nokia.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Symbian.  I have been using it since I hade a Psion 5!  It is just a shame it has fallen behind, both in performance and in technology.  I like Nokia engineering. The phone looks good and feels good.  Now get the innards up to spec and we will all be happy.

But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get the support people up to speed and change the mentality.  A factory reset HAS to be the LAST thing you do when ALL else has failed.  And there MUST be a way of imaging the phone so that when the factory reset has not fixed the issue I can at the very least get back EXACTLY where I was when we started (just restoring my data is NOT enough).  At least that way I will not be in a worse off position than when I started.

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Nokia Support Takes the Biscuit!

The story so far……

I made the fatal mistake of applying a Nokia update to my Nokia phone! 


The social app will not work.

I called Nokia about this last week, and after some messing about was told that I would be called back. 


Yesterday I got annoyed and posted on the Nokia UK FaceBook page and lo and behold I get a call today.  Coincidence?

So what’s the story?….

Well.  After some messing about (using a great tool that allowed him to remote control my phone) I am told that I have to cold reset my phone and reinstall! I pointed out that I did not want to do that as it had taken me a while to get the phone the way I like it and I do not want to lose all my settings etc.

Cutting a long story short…  It appears that applying the phone update tried to upgrade my phone to Social App version 1.3 but this failed.  Now all they can give me is version 1.2, but this will not over write the scripts for version 1.3. 

I cannot understand why they cannot either give me 1.3 to install or just the scripts I need for 1.2 to work so I can manually over write the damaged ones.

Well, would you believe it?…

In the space of 2 minutes I get a call from Nokia UK Complaints department and then at the same time from the Manila support department.  He has found 1.3 for me and she wants' to talk.  Well I have installed 1.3.  No joy so I am about to call her to talk.

The Lady at the UK help desk is going to escalate to a UK based support person.  This is good as Symbian originated in the UK with Psion in Milton Keynes.  Is it beyond the wit of man to manually remove the elements of the social app or fix the defective scripts and reinstall it, without flashing the whole phone?

We will see.  I have promises from The UK and Manila for a call back…