Some Things I Wish to Speak Of

Several things in the news so far this week have grabbed my attention enough that I feel the need to comment on them here, feel free to agree or disagree.

First up 4G
EE have announced their 4G pricing plans this week ( and I have to say that I am not impressed.  The cheapest tariff clocks in at £36/Month but caps you at 500mb data and then requires you to by booster packs when you hit your limit.
The have also put out some details for the cost of the 4G handsets associated with the new 4G network. (

For me this effectively kills my interest in 4G for the moment.  A decent amount of data, lets say 1GB a month as a conservative estimate but given the supposed speed of 4G and its emphasis on truly mobile data use that is unlikely to be enough for any serious user, this sets your tariff to £51 for a 12 Month contract (and who wants a 24 month lock in for a new technology) if you want a decent phone, lets say the new Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2 you are then asked to pay £49.99 or £139.99 respectively.

Sorry but that removes any interest I have in the 4G networks for this iteration.
For me this is extremely unusual, I’ve always been an early adopter of technology and mobile technology specifically has always interested me.  I love my Galaxy S2 and was really looking forward to the 4G Samsung phones (or maybe even the 4G Windows 8 phones as they look extremely impressive) however at that price point I am just not interested.  So when my contract comes up for renewal in the summer of 2013 I will stay with 3G, I may even stay with the same handset and just move to a cheaper tariff.
So yes, I understand that a new technology such as this new network requires capital investment to get it deployed but these prices just seem unreasonable to me.  £51/Month for a barely functional data allowance and an upfront cost for the 4G Enabled handset is an unreasonable price point for me.
Second – The Seeming Stupidity Italian Courts 
So yes, apparently this is a thing.  The Italian Courts have charged a number of scientists with Manslaughter because they failed to give a 100% accurate prediction.
“Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake…”
No one is capable of giving a 100% accurate prediction of the future and it is accepted in scientific circles that any predictive result is subject to a chance of failure.  For a government to prosecute 7 people for failing to know the future is simply unacceptable, this basically sends a message to the entire scientific community that, in Italy at least, they should keep their opinions and knowledge to themselves less they be held accountable for something completely out of their control.
They are actively discouraging scientists from sharing their knowledge because the might be prosecuted and jailed for the things they don’t know and are incapable of controlling.
The sheer incalculable stupidity of the whole thing just amazes me.  But then we are talking about the country that imprisoned and probably tortured Galileo.
Finally – Windows 8
I have had the opportunity to play with Windows 8 on a VM here at work and have formulated myself some opinions, which I will now share with you lucky people.
The new tiled interface the Windows 8 uses is the first major change to how you interact with Windows pretty much ever.  If your device is a touchscreen based device, such as a Tablet or Smartphone, then this change is brilliant, it is quick clean and easy to understand and intuitive to navigate.  If however you interact with your computer via the traditional keyboard/mouse interface then it is about as useful as a chocolate teapot and about as friendly as Smaug.
The ‘App’ model; ok cards on the table time, I hate the appstore model of content delivery is was a dick move when Apple did it, it was a dick move when Google did it and it remains a dick move when Microsoft do it.
The idea behind the Windows App store is that only applications signed by Microsoft can be deployed onto your device, now with a traditional PC or other system running the more fully featured version of Windows 8 you retain the ability to install your own applications, however on the basic tablet/mobile version of the O/S you do not and the system only permits you to install signed apps.  The strength of the PC Platform has always been that you can install whatever you want without needing approval from the O/S manufacturer, you the consumer maintain control over what you want to install and run on the hardware you have purchased.  This move to an App store model represents Microsoft attempting to take this choice away from you, this is instantly and catastrophically limiting.
For example, one of the requirements for the MS App Store is that your product cannot have any adult content of a PEGI 18 rating.  So if this was the only way to get software for the Windows platform in the future you would not able to play Skyrim (arguably the best RPG game of recent years, if not ever) or GTA or any number of other titles featuring violence.  Technically it could also be used to refuse certification to things like the Kindle App (allows access to adult material in the form of fiction) or a Media player (some things contain swearing).
In case I am not being clear enough on this.  The App Store sales model is THE SINGLE WORST IDEA IN THE HISTORY OF COMPUTING.  I would rather still be using Token Ring and Windows 3.11 than be forced into a App Store sales model.
Beyond that the version of Windows 8 that I’ve been playing with has a few other faults, the ‘workstation mode’ keeps associating files with the ‘Metro App versions of software even if the full product is installed, the fact that you are forced to use the Metro interface even on a workstation that does not have a touch screen is a bit of a deal breaker as well.
The biggest issue I have with Windows 8 is that I have to basically pummel it into a form that I am happy to work with, whereas Windows 7 is pretty much fully functional right out of the box.
So yes, Windows 8 has some amazing technology under the hood and some brilliant improvements in general and it represents the first truly original work that has been done on the Windows platform since Windows 95.  However I will not be using it as the negatives heavily out weigh the positives and I will not support further moves toward the appstore model of content delivery.

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