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* Posts by AndrueC

3767 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Wait til the November update screws up even more computers

Someone should light a bonfire under Microsoft.

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Microsoft Windows 10 October update giving HP users BSOD

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: HP keyboards are special?

The last W10 update hosed the key I used,

Run the hot key installer.

As per that link my setup was in 'C:\SWSETUP\APP\Applications\HP\HPHotkeyS_SS9NB2\6.2.40.1\src'. Ran that, rebooted and keys were working again. If can't change brightness even from display settings, manually update the graphics driver.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

My HP laptop (ProBook 470 G5) seems okay but I did have a bit of hassle. After the reboot my screen was at full brightness and the hot keys to adjust it didn't work. There were no options in the Windows display settings page either. When I checked Device Manager there was an exclamation mark against the Intel display driver. I manually updated it and it found a newer version. After that the display settings page allowed me to adjust the brightness but hot keys still didn't work. Ran the HP hot keys installer and they came back.

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Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on

AndrueC
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Facepalm

ASCII

Or as we used to refer to it several years ago 'Arthur's Code'.

This came about because early versions of The Sphere by Michael Crichton spelt it that way.

One of several mistakes in the text, actually. Another was a transmission of a block of digits they receive (and it was only digits in the text) that one character identifies as a hex dump. Shortly after another character claims it can't coming from a 68000 processor "because the 68000 doesn't work in hex".

The film was better. Just.

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Microsoft's elderly .NET Framework shakes stick at whippersnapper Core while Visual Studio drops another preview

AndrueC
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Mushroom

I'd just like the VS team to fix the various stability issues. I just want VS to build shit when I ask it, to debug for as long as I need it and not to crash out at random (but seemingly the most inconvenient) moments.

It used to be a goodtolerable IDE. Now it just gets in the way,

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Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Oh, go on then

Definitely one of my least favourite medical memories, although I did get to see the inside of my own bladder, which I suppose few people can say.

Are you taking the p...

No. Best not. Not gonna get any respect for such an obvious pun.

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Day two – and Windows 10 October 2018 Update trips over Intel audio

AndrueC
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FAIL

They seem to think that software developers will tolerate it from Visual Studio as well. That's also on a rapid release cycle and is become rank. Nothing serious, mind, just:

* Sometimes can't reopen a source file after it's been closed.

* Builds stalling because of a file saving/locking race condition (possibly fixed in a forthcoming release).

* Debugger sometimes just gives up and will go no further.

* Sometimes just freezes and takes Task Manager with it often along with Explorer.

So it's becoming an IDE that doesn't always allow files to be edited, doesn't always build projects, can only debug for a while and sometimes leaves you no option other than force rebooting the computer.

Way to go Microsoft :(

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UK.gov asks biz for ideas on how to 'overcome' data privacy concerns in NHS

AndrueC
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Boffin

Force standardisation of the *interfaces* between systems - that does make sense.

HL7 made good inroads despite being a bit of a ball-ache to work with. Speaking as a developer I'd prefer it if FHIR got more traction. Helluva lot easier to work with especially if (as we are) you're just a consumer of data.

RESTful is way easier than getting involved in passing ASCII messages around.

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UK comms watchdog Ofcom pokes probe into Vodafone and EE over network coverage numbers

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Well there's no Vodafone signal in and around Brailes, Warwickshire. Not even enough to send or receive an SMS. Thankfully I only go there to play golf so it's a good thing for me but Brailes isn't all that small nor isolated half way up a mountain. Kind of shocking to find a large village in the South East with no mobile coverage.

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New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: I wonder who

..and did they leave any ice cream?

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Tech to solve post-Brexit customs woes doesn't exist yet, peers say

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: The answer is...

Nah the real answer is IoT - Importation of Things.

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First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

AndrueC
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Re: designed entirely BY computer

And stop that incessant snapping of their whips. Bloody keeps me awake all day.

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World's oldest URL – fragments 73,000 years old – discovered in cave

AndrueC
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Joke

Reminds me of a cartoon in an old Sinclair Spectrum magazine. There are two cavemen in a cave (well - where else would you find them) and one is drawing an animal. The other has written 'PUSH BC; RET;' and is saying "I bet that'll confuse the archaeologists" :)

Mind you when I read it I thought "It'll confuse a few programmers, as well".

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Microsoft: You don't want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

AndrueC
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Thumb Down

Not just insider preview. I took delivery of a new laptop yesterday and got the same 'in your face' adverts when I downloaded Chrome. And of course when you visit MSDN or a lot of other MS sites in A.N.Other browser it suggests that you try Edge.

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Vodafone cops ads rap over Martin Freeman's vanishing spaceship

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: The only useful measure

Yeah. What we need is some kind of concept of 'it'll be as good as we can make it, all things considered'. Something like the current law on service provision that says the service doesn't actually have to be fit for the purpose or achieve any particular target :)

But more seriously another aspect I've run into a lot is machines that just don't perform network I/O well. Almost every laptop I've bought has exhibited this. Run the Thinkbroadband speed test and they show poor single threaded throughput but multi-threaded is fine. Classic signs of congestion or possibly TCP window configuration issues. Interestingly though I've just bought an HP Pro Book 470 and for the first time in several years it actually has the same single and multi-threaded speed test results.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Throughput speed is the real-world maximum once realistic physical limitations and the like are taken into account.

Um..and congestion. The only aspect of the end-user observed data rate that all UK ISPs can control and therefore the most important if you're going to attempt to rate an internet connection ;)

I'm also impressed that it appears the ASA have more technical knowledge about broadband delivery than I have previously credited them with. I still think they are wasting their time trying to create a useful speed measure though. End-user observed data rates are specific to their router, their LAN and their telephone line. Adverts are regional or national so any figures they quote are always going to need interpretation.

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Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

AndrueC
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Thanks, I'll look at that phone.

As for my email client it's currently Google Mail (I have my server forward emails to my GMail account). Unfortunately any other client needs to use IMAP and all of the ones I've tried soon get put to sleep for longer than half an hour and the connection drops. From that point on they won't connect again until I wake the app to check for mail. Google Mail will eventually notify me of an email by itself, albeit sometimes up to three hours late. Or else it will reconnect when the phone wakes up and then notify me. It's quite common for me to pick my jacket up to go out for lunch and have an email notification sound.

And yes I've whitelisted and exempted all mail clients from battery savings but ultimately there seems nothing anyone can do to prevent Android from putting them to sleep if you leave the phone idle for long enough (a couple of hours seems to suffice).

Unfortunately I doubt your other battery saving tips will help. I'm one of those rare people who can genuinely leave their phone alone for hours at a time. Thus Android ends up putting the phone into 'full on' doze mode. Consequently almost everything except the radio and phone functionality ends up asleep. That's presumably how I manage to keep battery discharging down to 1% an hour since most people seem to struggle to avoid charging the phone once a day. The screen is probably on for less than 15 minutes out of every 24 hours and the CPU hardly ever worked hard.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

I'm at the end of my 2 year phone+contract right now. I'm waiting to see if Vodafone will reduce my next month's bill without me having to chase them. I currently have an S7 Edge and looking around can't see anything worth upgrading to. The one thing that might tempt me (better battery life) doesn't seem to be on offer. I'm not a heavy user (a very light user in fact) and I'd like to be able to charge my battery just once a week. But apparently that's not possible. When it's in a good mood my S7 Edge can sometimes make it Monday to Friday without needing a charge but other times it's down to 20% by mid-week and needs a top-up.

And to make it worse, for all their much vaunted attempts to extend battery life all Google's developers have managed so far is to make email unreliable because the phone goes to sleep and now it seems SMS notifications are unreliable as well. What next - is the phone going to be so deeply asleep that it can't ring when a call comes in?

And despite all of that the phone is no better at staying charged than it ever was. I thought Google was supposed to employ only clever people? I might have to upgrade in a while anyway simply because there's a dead area developing on one scren edge. So far it's nowhere of any importance but I hear these things spread. Curious how it started just toward the end of the contract period :-/

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Quit that job and earn $185k... cleaning up San Francisco's notoriously crappy sidewalks

AndrueC
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Joke

It certainly seems like a crap solution.

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Ex-UK comms minister's constituents plagued by wonky broadband over ... wireless radio link?

AndrueC
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Unhappy

So the village was difficult and expensive to lay a fibre to. Someone wanted to make a point and decided to opt for a radio link. Still not a particularly cheap option so they didn't spec it particularly well. Link is not doing what it should.

Sounds to me like someone tried to stretch the money too far. Would be interesting to know where that decision came from. I'm envisaging a situation where a bunch of mid-level managers sat around a table and picked that village as some kind of 'poster child' showing how too little money could be stretched to do the job.

Puts me in mind of this cartoon.

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Rejoice! Thousands more kids flock to computing A-level

AndrueC
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I've been programming computers for a living for nearly 30 years now. Taught myself to do it on a Speccy at home and a Beeb at college. I've made a pretty good living at it with only a total of about two months redundancy over all that time. I have nearly always enjoyed it and still do. I've never wanted to be anything other than a programmer and am pleased that I avoided getting pulled into a management role.

30 years, decent pay and an enjoyable career and all without a computing qualification to my name :)

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Visual Studio gains some go-faster stripes for Android emulation

AndrueC
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Yup, been doing that for years. Unfortunately it wasn't having it. I think a few things came back with the import but most of it didn't. And I'd spent ages trimming down the context menus :(

The weird thing is small numbers of people keep getting this from VS updates. Just seems like there's some hidden lottery and this time I was one of the ones affected. It suggests something not being initialised somewhere in the settings management engine :-/

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AndrueC
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I guess the problem with procedural code like C is that intellisense can't really work with it. The functions are not *in* the object and in 99% of the time, the object is an opaque pointer anyway so there is no way to extract a nice fancy list of "stuff I can do".

Borland Builder managed it back in the day. It used to run the compiler in the background to figure out what was available at that point. It even used type checking to eliminate things from expressions that weren't valid. It had a few glitches, mind, but it mostly worked really well.

And MS intellisense works well with C# so I don't think being procedural is of any concern.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Hopefully it won't trash all my settings like the 15.7.5 did :-/

Took me several days before I'd got all my windows and key mappings back where I wanted them :(

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Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Details of the mechanism...

Maybe you can fax the source code for the malware.

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You won't believe this but... everyone hates their cable company: Bombshell study lands

AndrueC
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Alert

This is why we shouldn't push too hard for competitors to put BT out of business. BT is the only telecoms company in the UK that is required by its license to allow other CPs to offer a service over its cables. That's why almost every property in the UK (those outside Hull basically) currently have a wide choice of CPs.

The upstart FTTP providers like Hyperoptic are helping kick start the revolution but being stuck with one provider is not good. And if the alternative is other CPs overbuilding their own fibre network that is a silly and unlikely solution.

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Oh, fore putt's sake: Golf org PGA bunkered up by ransomware attack just days before tournament

AndrueC
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Joke

Any way you slice it that's rough. I bet the criminals get a fairway before being caught. Do you think we all need to chip in and help?

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New age discrim row: Accenture, Facebook sued by sales boss for favoring 'new blood'

AndrueC
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WTF?

I mis-read that headline as meaning that a chap in his 30s had lost his job to a younger underling.

As a fifty-one year old I was rather shocked at first :)

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Alaskan borough dusts off the typewriters after ransomware crims pwn entire network

AndrueC
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Stop

Yep, blame the victim, that always helps.

Finding the root cause of a problem usually does. Attempting to gloss over it or 'move on' means less chance of anyone learning from the mistake. Absolutely it shouldn't be a witch hunt and no-one should lose their job over it unless criminal intent or utter incompetence is discovered. But those responsible need to be made aware of what they did wrong so that they work out how to stop it happening again.

That's why I dislike the term 'car accident'. By dismissing such events as 'accidental' you're implying that there's nothing anyone could have done different and therefore no reason for anyone to change the way they drive.

Things go wrong. Mistakes get made. People shouldn't be vilified over them but people who make mistakes should be told then helped to avoid repeating them.

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Microsoft devises new way of making you feel old: Windows NT is 25

AndrueC
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Re: "OS/2 Warp"

Yes, it was. I remember the way the greens drew themselves (2:46 in). A good game.

Although its portrayal of a golf swing appears to have a bit of a reverse 'C' going on so not to be emulated unless you enjoy visiting a chiropractor :)

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: "OS/2 Warp"

(My copy of OS/2 Warp came bundled with a SB16 sound card and a CD-Rom drive to hook up to it).

That reminds me of one of the fixes I saw while browsing through the bug list. It stuck in my mind because it showed how much of an effort IBM was making to ensure VDM<->DOS compatibility. And it sounds like 'cool geeky programmer stuff' :)

There was a very good golf game for DOS. For its time, graphically excellent. Digitised images for the course and contours for the greens. While you were playing there'd be bird song and occasionally running water. The fix I remember seeing was for the sound card. Apparently the game was causing problems because it tried to send the samples to the card 10,000+ times a second and the VDM couldn't service the interrupts that fast. I think the fix IBM implemented was to have OS/2 take over controlling the sound card so that the VDM didn't need to raise interrupts. So presumably they emulated the SB hardware for the VDM. Cool stuff :)

Mind you I also remember them getting snippy because so many joysticks of the time were not programmable and that broke their driver model. A similar problem was that they expected all printers to be connected using Centronix cables with the Acknowledge pin wired up and functional. They seemed quite offended when they discovered that most printers of the time had that feature disabled and/or the owner was using a cheap cable that didn't have the pin connected.

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: NT

Lol, reminds of the one time I raised a support ticket with IBM. I noticed that on the UK version of Warp there was a solitary full stop below the copyright message. Being young and naive and therefore a fanboi(*) I reported it. Two months later out of the blue I got a parcel. It was a Jiffy bag with the latest service pack on floppy disks and a note saying that the SP included a fix for my issue. To this day I don't know whether to consider that extremely good customer service or a pointless waste of IBM's resources :)

(*)I am no longer so naive as to be a fanboi (a good thing) but also not as young (a bad thing) :)

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: The hatred runs deep

Remember there was an OS/2 version (5.2 if memory serves) of WordPerfect

Ah but why would anyone use that when there was DScribe? Possibly the best Word processor I've ever used. Hey ho.

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AndrueC
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Happy

That was one of a handful of things that OS/2 did a lot better. OS/2 VDMs were almost hypervisors. So low level that you could actually boot them off a floppy disc. They could run just about any DOS application you cared to including games and still get crash protection. I remember playing Geoff Crammond's first F1 simulator while downloading from CompuServe in the background.

The other thing it did better (at least in concept) was having an object oriented shell. The implementation was a bit rough but conceptually a very powerful idea.

I also thought its memory management was better, being similar to that of Unix. RAM was just the fastest form of storage and no attempt was made to keep it free. Unfortunately it led to a lot of support queries from people wondering why they never had any free RAM but I prefer the idea of letting RAM backing 'evolve' rather than the original Windows idea of continually trying to trim working sets.

And of course OS/2 had REXX.

Ah well - that was then and this is now :)

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The American dilemma: Competition, or fast broadband? Pick one

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: speaking as a brit

Yeah. Things aren't always as rosy across the water as some would have us believe. In some ways (well okay, one way - availability of something useful) the UK is actually very good. It's only when you consider future requirements or accessing some of the very high bandwidth services that we start to look bad and even there, historically we have just about kept pace with what the majority want/need.

So we've got 'adequate' down pat. It's 'very good' that we've never achieved.

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Openreach annual review: Eat fibre and be merry, we fixed the faults before you called

AndrueC
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Stop

I think you'll probably find that it should read "provided the developer pays them to"

Actually no. For the last couple of years OR has been offering FTTP for the same price as copper on new builds above a certain number of houses. This is the original announcement I think. But it's now dropped to 30 homes or more.

Anyone moving into a decent sized new build that doesn't have FTTP needs to shout at the developer.

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Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Unpaid walking advert for someone else's company

Oh come on, that has to be a wind up.

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Either my name, my password or my soul is invalid – but which?

AndrueC
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Facepalm

I had a similar issue when I tried to sign up with Samsung several years ago (I had a good reason, I wanted a firmware update for my TV so I could get into the engineering console). Anyway it refused to let me create an account so eventually I had to resort to a less legitimate source. I've since found out that it was my DEA system that caused the problem. Samsung will not let you register an email address with 'samsung' anywhere in it. Of course it never actually tells you that :-/

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Fukushima reactors lend exotic nuclear finish to California's wines

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Grapes do not absorb much

There were only two things which drove it off the scale. Cucumbers (specifically the peel) and forest mushrooms.

And there's not mushroom for error, there :)

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'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

AndrueC
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Facepalm

There is some fibre in there

Well strictly speaking (and I think this was what the ASA actually said the first time BT complained about VM's adverts) 99% of the connection to the ISP is fibre. That's true of all telephony data technologies - even an analogue modem. It's only the last mile or so that might not be. Of course the fact that the last mile or so was the most important as far as advertising was concerned seemed to escape the ASA.

One of the daftest decisions they ever made. Although adjusting the 'Up to' figures to reflect customer experience was possibly dafter. 'Up to 80Mb/s' is a valid and technically accurate way to describe the VDSL service that Openreach provide, the more recent speed caps introduced by the ASA are meaningless.

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AndrueC
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Stop

The current law is silly.

No, it isn't, because it's not a law. It's just one of the rules that companies voluntarily follow in order to avoid getting a public slapping. The ASA has limited powers to enforce these things. In theory it can go crying to Ofcom in this case but I don't know if it ever actually has done or if Ofcom will even care.

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AndrueC
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Meh

In practice there's very little difference with FTTC and ADSL2 based on the few connections I had in the UK.

You apparently didn't try many connections then. Most people are seeing at least a tripling of their speed and noticeable improvements in reliability. I, for instance, went from an 11/1.8Mbps ADSL2+ connection that dropped maybe once a month to a 67/18Mbs connection that drops only if/when the DSLAM decides to adjust something which happens maybe once or twice a year in the early hours of the morning.

Of course as I've posted elsewhere one person's experience doesn't count for much but since rolling out FTTC the UK's average speed has risen from around 6Mb/s to around 30Mb/s. Quite why you didn't see much difference is hard to say but one possibility is that the UK buys connectivity on price. Possibly the people you stayed with were typical tight wads and bought the cheapest package they could.

There's an interesting article here that suggests if people in the UK bought the best package available to them we'd actually be in the top 3 countries for 'average speed' with number one a possibility in a couple of years.

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

Ironically, VM started it. BT then complained to the ASA pointing out that VM services are coax in the last mile. The ASA ruled in favour of VM so BT joined in.

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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Not since 1998...

Personally, I cannot believe how unstable Windows 10 is, today. I'm not a rabid anti-Windows-10 hater. I use Windows 10 professionally and at home and I have been developing on Windows-based platforms since 2000 and I feel that Windows 10, in 2018, is about as unstable an operating system as I have seen in a very long time.

You must be doing something very odd then, or running on dodgy hardware. I'm not a huge fan of Win 10 myself but it seems at least as stable as previous versions. My laptop at home is only rebooted if an update requires it (so perhaps three times a year) being left in sleep the rest of the time when I'm done with it. The PC I use when working from home has always been fine but to be fair I don't use it much.

My PC at work is left on all week and only powered down over the weekend. I'm a software developer (albeit a high level one) so my work machine gets a lot of stress. At the moment it's typically running three or four Visual Studio instances, two of which in debug mode spawn web sites and services with the third spawning an application and another web site. The machine is also hosting a Linux Postgres server and an Elastic search server.

It's been many, many years since I'd describe any Windows version as unstable. So called BSODs are a rarity and have been since Windows XP SP1. If you can give us more information perhaps we can help sort out what sounds like an annoying problem.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: "the Windows 7 hold-outs should finally feel able to make the upgrade"

I tried to upgrade my mail server at home a couple of months ago as part of a general 'refresh'. Unfortunately the upgrade process kept falling over at phase two. I tried to read through the log files but there was too much crap in there to make much of it. It looked like at one point it was failing to talk to its SSD but since by that point it had copied Windows 10 on, moved everything around and was supposedly just tidying up that seemed unlikely.

Anyway while trying to investigate this I discovered that after several years (lol) of it being unable to pull down any updates the update fixer actually worked and it found 600MB of Windows 7 updates. So I applied them and after it rebooted I decided I'd had enough.

I will try and upgrade it to Win 10 again eventually but I need to build my strength up first :-/

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

AndrueC
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Re: Futuristic progression of Programming Languages?

All hardware sucks, all software sucks, all languages suck...

Yes, and as was already pointed out 'all operating systems suck'. I learnt that one back in the 90s when I briefly became an OS/2 fanboi. Since then I've forced/taught myself to use whatever is most suited to the task. Of course some of that 'suitability' is 'what managers/customers/the market wants' but a good engineer is a pragmatic engineer ;)

So for now it's Windows and C# for me in the main. With luck that'll see me through another few years until I retire. Beyond that I will endeavour to try and not care.

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Ticketmaster breach 'part of massive bank card slurping campaign'

AndrueC
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Just waiting for the punters who have been hit by this to be past back on forth between the bank and Ticketmaster each saying that you need to get your money back from the other party as they are not to blame

If paying by UK credit card, it's possible that Section 75 would apply. I'm not entirely sure though as there is a third party involved though.

S75 is a great thing - that and not having to pay until the statement is due makes a CC kinda like a financial firewall. I'd never pay with anything else.

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Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

AndrueC
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Joke

And another. :)

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Infrastructure wonks: Tear up Britain's copper phone networks by 2025

AndrueC
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Meh

Affordability is only part of the problem. Fibre doesn't lay itself and requires a reasonable level of skill - if you want it done properly. We're going to struggle to find enough engineers even if we import them from other countries - not forgetting that the current network will still need some until it's retired. It'll mean ramping up training (starting with colleges) as well. And when it's all done probably 90% of the workforce will be useless because one of the benefits of fibre is less maintenance.

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Big contenders in the broadband chart this week, but who will be #1? Well, not Britain

AndrueC
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Stop

It is worse than that. The Government declare that 95% of the population has access to speeds of 24Mb/s or more. My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s.

In what way does your particular experience make it worse than what I described? I said that 95% of properties have access to at least 20Mb/s. The fact yours is one of the unlucky ones doesn't invalidate my statement. It just means that yours is one of the unlucky ~1 million properties that can't get that speed.

My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s.

...aaand here we go again. Your connection is not advertised as any such thing. The service and technology that your connection is using was advertised as being capable of a particular speed under ideal conditions. Those same adverts will have warned you that the actual speed is line dependent. You will have been encouraged to get a tailored estimate for your particular line at the time you signed up and in all likelihood you will have been advised that your line was not capable of better than 9.5Mb/s.

It's ridiculous that so many people still don't understand this, especially on a technical site like this one.

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