* Posts by Al Taylor

344 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007

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Avast! Mobile Security

Al Taylor
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Notification bar

You can disable the notification bar icon in Settings - just scroll down to Show Notification Icon and uncheck the box.

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Orange San Francisco 2

Al Taylor
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For what ir's worth...from the author

I tried various Flash players on the SF2 and not one of them would play video in the browser. Not saying it can't be done, just that I didn't manage to get it to work.

Al

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FilmOn

Al Taylor
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Yes

http://www.filmon.com

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android Tablet

Al Taylor
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from the author - use as a netbook/laptop?

Indeed you can. The hinge and dock connector are both very robust. With the tablet locked in place you can treat the Prime in exactly the same way you would treat a netbook or laptop. Actually I'd say you can be more brutal with the Prime because the hinge joining the tablet and dock feels far stronger than most laptop hinges I've comes across.

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Al Taylor
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from the author re. updates

All updates are over the air - out of the box my review unit was running Honeycomb but it downloaded and installed the ICS update and a camera firmware update without any problems.

For what it's worth I've always been of the opinion that a tablet could never replace a laptop. The Prime has changed my mind - it can easily do 95+% of the things I do on my Ubuntu netbook.

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Nissan Leaf battery powered electric car

Al Taylor
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Fog lamps

According to the Leaf handbook they are fog lights not side/running lights. I consulted said handbook while chatting to the police office at the road check. We both agreed that if they were running lights there were the brightest set either of us had seen.

That's why they pulled me and not the other cars driving past with their running lights on.

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Go Contacts EX

Al Taylor
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From the author

Yes it can.

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Motorola Xoom 2 10in Android tablet

Al Taylor
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Good point

I was watching a film on the Xoom 2 last night and had to re-charge half-way through when it suddenly dawned on me that yes, you can rotate the device through 180-degrees which at least puts the ports where you can see them.

The only problem is that the volume buttons then migrate from top right to lower left and the speaker grills are too easily covered by your hands. I'd much prefer the ports to be on one side or the other.

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Samsung Galaxy Note

Al Taylor
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Battery Life - From The Author

Folks, I thought a few words of explanation would be in order.

The 48 hours figure was arrived at using the Note as my day-to-day handset in place of my Desire HD.

My average daily usage regime involves 30-45 minutes of cellular calls, leaving the Wi-Fi on continually, having the screen at 75% brightness, setting K9 to poll every 15 mins, 30-odd mins of web browsing and an hour or so of ebook reading. It doesn't include watching full-length feature films or any serious gaming beyond 5mins of AB here and there.

That regime drains my HD in 12 hours but the Note regularly got me through two full days. That didn't come as shock to be honest - the Note has twice the battery capacity and though the screen is larger being OLED rather than back-lit LCD it should be more efficient.

The Note's battery performance was easily the best I have even encountered on an Android "phone".

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Al Taylor
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Now that was something I didn't try.

Happy to be proved wrong about this and thanks for all the comments about what the stylus can do if you spend a little more time fiddling with it than I did!

Al

PS..in slight mitigation my review unit didn't have a box/manual/quick start guide etc.

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Al Taylor
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from the author

Folks, I've had a few e-mails telling me that a double-tap of the screen with the stylus (with the button held down) takes a screen shot. Not for me it didn't. Maybe an issue with my handset or the Wacom pen, maybe me being ham-fisted. Either way none of my efforts to grab a screen shot bore fruit.

Al

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Al Taylor
Facepalm

My mistake

I meant the Galaxy Nexus.

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Greatest ever first-person shooter* brought back to life

Al Taylor
Mushroom

Time to deploy superior fire-power...

and endure.

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Asus Eee Pad Slider SL101

Al Taylor
Happy

from the author....

@bigphil9009 - it's the built-in reader app. It's called Asus MyLibrary. If it's a re-brand of another ereader app it's not one I'm familiar with. It is very good though.

@ Craig12. H.264/MP4 files will play at 1080p but, MKV, AVI and WMV files will only play at 720p. That's from a combo of MoboPlayer, V Player and the stock video player.

@ jedit. I think you underestimate the potential. I took the Slider down the London for a day of meetings last week and the option to either use it as a regular tablet or set it up on a desk to bash away at my mails came in very handy. It's the first tablet - iOS or Android - I'd actually consider buying because it could earn it's keep at work and replace my netbook.

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Renault Fluence ZE

Al Taylor
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From the author

Folks, that screen grab of the smartphone app is a stock image for illustrative purposeds, not one I took myself. Renault weren't about to let us all log into their test fleet vehicles at the hotel and start messing with charge cycles.

I'm guessing the app was connected to a Twizy at the time, it has a much smaller battery so those numbers would make sense in that context.

Al

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Al Taylor

From the author

"Nissan Micra, Peugeot 106, Peugeot 107, Citroen Saxo"

Those would all be small 3/5 door cars.

Compare UK sales of the VW Golf and Bora. I rest my case. The Brits don't buy small saloons.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S Android smartphone

Al Taylor
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From the author

@ HeyMickey. I described it as faux because the image isn't truly stereoscopic, The way the Arc S does it, as you say, is a "trick".

@ DrXym. My reasoning ran like this - I use an HTC Desire HD and I have a lot of apps on it, all stored in the system rather than on the SD. I loaded up the same apps onto the Arc S and still had 40MB free. When I moved the five largest to the SD card that number jumped to 85MB. On that basis I reckon the average user will get by with 330MB as long as they clean out the various app caches on a regular basis.

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Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty phone

Al Taylor
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from the author

I was in two minds about mentioning the fixed data notification. On the one hand it takes up space, but on the other for anyone on PAYG or with a limited data plan the option to always see - and quickly disable/enable - the data link could be rather handy. Either way the option to remove it would have been nice.

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Skifta

Al Taylor
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from the author

@ Chrome - what phone are you using? The app takes around 10 seconds to launch and update on my Desire HD.

@ Dapprman - In a word yes. When you stream media to your handset Skifta asks which video player on your phone you want to use.

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Al Taylor
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from the author

@ Bassey

Yes, you can use the app to play media stored on a PC or NAS on your Android handset. I should have stated clearly in my review. Apologies.

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Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 Windows 7 tablet

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Al Taylor
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Linux - from the author

Stfn - it was 11.04. The system booted off the memory stick A OK - the touch screen worked fine with the BIOS - but as soon as I attempted to launch Ubuntu it got a screen full of error messages. I'm no Linux expert so this was more of a quick'n'dirty test but it didn't look a problem with an easy fix to me.

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Al Taylor
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from the author

@ Fibbles

Yes, with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.

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Orange Monte Carlo budget Android smartphone

Al Taylor
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from the author

@ Mike Flex

Mike, I take your point but I had to judge the MC as a handset costing well under half the price of my own 800 x 480 4.3" Android handset, the Desire HD.

As a video and games machine the Monte is poor, but for everything else it's fine.

The large screen makes working in Google Docs or Docs to Go a joy, ditto web browsing as long as you are prepared to forgo Flash. Similarly, for reading/writing e-mail, looking at Facebook, using your Google Calender or reading eBooks - which I do a lot on my phone - the large screen is an absolute boon.

Is it worth an extra £50 over the San Fran? In my book yes because I really don't like working on a phone with a screen any smaller than 4 inches and frankly the larger the better.

I would have liked a good GPU, at least 1GB of system storage, a better camera and a glass screen - just as I have on my own phone - but at the moment you are not going to get that for £150.

Yes the Monte C. is flawed, but it's a still a lot of phone for the money, hence my rating.

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Hologram Live

Al Taylor
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from the author

All screen shots taken using the Android SDK running on an Ubuntu laptop.

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Ten... budget Android tablets

Al Taylor
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from the author

re. the Kogan Agora, the screen and UI were just fine on my review sample (I'd like to know what "terrible screen" actually involves), nor did I notice any powering up/down issues looking for a 3G signal though I did have the Wi-Fi radio switched on constantly.

Assuming the power/up down issue is real I'd try turning off the auto-sync and background data options.

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Al Taylor
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from the author

@ zxcvbnm - apologies for the oversight, the AndyPad's screen is 7 inches corner-to-corner.

re. the Archos 7c and Hanspree etc as is often the case with these round-ups it's not always possible to lay hands on all the desired kit in the allotted time frame.

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Cerberus

Al Taylor
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From the author

@ Alex C - In my experience the app has no noticeable effect on battery life.

@ Chris007 - the auto-GPS enabling works on my unrooted 2.3.3 HTC Desire HD so I'm assuming that when the developers say you need a rooted handset if running ">2.3.3" they mean 2.3.4.

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Al Taylor
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From the author

Granted Android Lost includes the same set of core features but the browser interface is a bit rough and ready and it's nothing like as easy to use. There are at least half a dozen apps similar to this in the Market but Cerberus has proved the most reliable in my experience and I reckon that alone justifies the cost.

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DeskSMS

Al Taylor
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from the author

@ N15L3

The fees will be the same as if you had sent an sms from your handset - the app simply pushes information back and forth to your Android phone over its data link, it doesn't sent messages directly from Gmail or your browser.

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Al Taylor
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From the author...

Studley, sadly a demonstration of my lamentable habit of going over word count!

Once you have synced your contacts with DeskSMS you can trigger your phone to call a number from the browser. I couldn't convince myself this was a key feature so I dropped the paragraph. If you have your phone rigged to some sort of hands free device on your desk it could be of use.

@ AC - it's free at the moment. It moves from a free beta to a paid app at the weekend. There may be a yearly or an all-time fee offered. As I understand it the developer hasn't decided on that yet but as you say $4.99pa seems most likely.

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Magellan Explorist 710 hiking GPS

Al Taylor
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Batteries

My review unit came with two flat Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries. I replaced them with two of the same but fresh for my test.

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Exogear Exomount universal gadget mount

Al Taylor
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From the author

@ FanMan

I've been using the review unit as a screen mount for three weeks now in several cars - including a trip down the M6 in a Ford Transit - and there has been no sign wobble, shake, rattle or indeed roll - it's every bit as solid as any satnav unit I've had on test. Also there is a cuff around the ball/socket joint to tighten it up if needs be.

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Volvo S60 DRIVe

Al Taylor
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Start/Stop and lights

I should point out I'm not defending keeping my foot on the clutch at lights, but I do a lot of urban driving and without a footrest to slide my left foot onto - something my manual S80 had - it's something I ended doing a lot in the S60 unless I knew I was in for a long wait.

Granted it's not safe and it's not clever but a lot of people do it and it takes the wind out of the start/stop system's sails.

As for the lights, I managed to leave them on twice in the space of a week, the first time a neighbour let me know, the second time I noticed before I turned in for the night. My point is, it is possible to leave the lights on, lock up and walk away. That wasn't the case in the S80 (keys out = lights off) and if you try that same trick with my current car a buzzer sounds that could wake the dead.

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Formula 1

Al Taylor
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@ Flugal

If you tap the top of the Lap Time column it shows the gap between ech car and the leader on the last completed lap. Tap it a second time and it shows the gap between each car and the one immediately ahead of it.

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TomTom Start 20 satnav

Al Taylor
Holmes

@ Anon V

I'd defy any light fingered urban youth walking by to spot a black mounting disc stuck to a black dash. And once seen it may not be recognized for what it is.

I'd also take issue with the claim that satnav users polish their suction marks away - I don't know any who do that on a regular basis.

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Boffins brew up formula for consummate cuppa

Al Taylor
Unhappy

Even the writers...

...don't get Reg mugs.

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Peugeot 508 Active e-HDI micro-hybrid

Al Taylor
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Temperature

Below -5 the start/stop system leaves things alone until the engine compartment temperature has risen to above that.

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Al Taylor
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A pillar

Indeed it is, and in the 508 it's so thick it obscures visibility quite badly between the 90 and 120 degree mark (give or take a 1960s female singing trio) looking left of right.

It makes changing lanes and pulling out of junctions that curve back away from you - like the one I have to navigate daily - more of a challenge then it should be.

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Dolphin Browser HD

Al Taylor
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Text

does indeed reflow - or jiggle - in Dolphin HD.

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Ten... Core i5 laptops

Al Taylor
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For the record.

If any of the machines had given me a metrosexual wank-spasm I'd have automatically awarded them 100%.

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Archos 70 Android 7in tablet

Al Taylor
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@ Danny14 re. CPU

Quadrant Standard lists the "current" and "maximum" clocks speeds as 1024MHz.

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My Tracks travel tracker

Al Taylor
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@ Eponymous Cowherd

Fair comment but most of the reader requests we get are to feature apps that have been around for a while.

Agreed My Tracks is no spring chicken, but I've been using Android since the G1 came out and managed to completely overlook it until this March. I suspect I'm not alone. It's the downside of their now being a quarter of a million odd apps available in the Market.

The idea of the column is both to evaluate new apps and look at apps that Android users will find useful even if they have been knocking about for a bit.

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Google Docs

Al Taylor
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@ Jim 15

Well spotted that man! That will teach me to update my apps more frequently.

Steve - must say that I have no problem with selecting/copying/pasting text within the app or between apps. Yes you have to go into edit mode to copy but that's hardly the end of the world.

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Honda Jazz Hybrid

Al Taylor
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CVT / 7-speed override

If you put the gear selector in 'D' the system works like a regular automatic gearbox but if you move the lever to 'S' you can use the steering column paddles to manually select seven fixed drive ratios.

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Go SMS Pro

Al Taylor
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@ Bassey

No you can't.

While looking though I did come across an option to set up a blacklist of people / numbers you don't want to get texts from.

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Al Taylor
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@ batfastad

You can get a simple by-date view of your incoming and outgoing messages by swiping to the folder view and opening your in- and out- box.

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Communicate

Al Taylor
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@ AC 11.03 etc

Well spotted, though oddly it does work the other way, merde to sh1t.

@ jonathanb - I just tried 42 and it said "quarante-deux" as expected though 42 appeared on the screen as 42 not forty-two.

@ Martijn Otto - fair point but Communicate is a lot more finger friendly and easier to use - esp. in 'conversation' mode - on the spur of the moment. You also don't need to tap the screen a second time to hear your translations read-out.

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