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* Posts by Dave K

112 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008

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Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos

Dave K

Re: I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard

Allow me to recommend the Ducky Shine range of keyboards. They're not cheap, but mine looks simple, black and restrained. Turn it on and you get wonderful backlighting, mechanical keys (Cherry MX brown in mine), programmable macros etc. Turn it off, and it goes back to being a simple and clean-looking keyboard.

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Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade

Dave K

Re: firefox ESR updated too

Agreed. I also messed around with Classic Theme Restorer for a while, got sick of the bodging (plus it didn't originally play nice with some of my other tab-manipulating add-ons), so I ended up moving to Pale Moon. Like Firefox, with add-on support, but without the awful new interface.

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Dave K

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Instead of having to manually draw out each letter in a word, imagine if someone could create a device where you press a single button to get that letter to appear. And imagine how much faster people would work if they get hold of such device and become proficient with it...

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Google clamps down on rogue Chrome plugins and extensions

Dave K

Re: The problem with that

Understood, but some websites have really been asking for it by relying on ever-more intrusive ads. You've got videos with sound that automatically play, huge overlays covering the entire back of the website, javascript popups which move across the screen and obscure the text until you chase after them to close them, other ads which are flashy to the point of distraction, some rely upon so much Flash and javascript that pages slow to a crawl, etc.

Hence there's a reason why so many people are driven to utter distraction that they feel the need to install an ad-blocker. From the advertisers point of view, their relentless approach to make their ads more and more intrusive and in-your-face has meant people just switching them off altogether.

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Chuh. Heavy, dude: HP ZBook 17 mobile workstation

Dave K

Re: ARGH!

I agree entirely. A "Workstation" should be designed for work, this means having a screen resolution and aspect ratio which is geared towards work. 1920x1080 16:9 panels do NOT cut it for professional use. If this had a 1920x1200 panel with an optional 2560x1600 panel, it'd be great.

As it is, laptop manufacturers insistence on sticking with crap, cheap multimedia panels - even on supposedly high end machines is one of the main reasons why I am NOT replacing my existing laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad with a 16:10 panel, Core i5 and recently upgraded to 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, because that way I got to keep the nice screen).

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Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

Dave K

Re: FF at home has gone nearly unuusable

Pale Moon is worth a shout. Basically a heavily tweaked Firefox. It's compatible with FF extensions and removes some of Mozilla's annoyances (Australis theme being one of them).

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Dave K

There's a warmth to the sound from vinyl you just can't recreate with CD's or MP3's

Part of this does come from the mastering being scaled back a tad. Vinyl just doesn't suffer from the same, blatant, digital clipping that MP3s and CDs suffer from in this day and age. If you do put a clipped waveform onto a vinyl, the response of the needle will smooth off the worst of the damage, hence reducing the harshness of the sound.

Of course, this vinyl will sound MUCH better than the CD release for one reason from the article above:

- Zero compression used in the mastering

Now THAT is good news. The CD release will almost certainly be dynamically compressed and fully of clipping/distortion (the usual in other words), whilst the vinyl should be rich, dynamic and natural. If only more bands could look at mastering stuff properly for vinyl. Last one I saw before this was Red Hod Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (vinyl was mastered separately by Steven Hoffman and sounds fantastic in comparison to the CD).

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Sony on the ropes after revising losses UP to $1.3 BEEELLION

Dave K
Meh

Bad news, but I'm struggling to be sympathetic

I agree that the world needs Sony. MS needs competition in the gaming arena and it's only because of the laid back attitude that Sony took with the PS4 that MS was forced to backtrack on some of the awful restrictions that they wanted to impose on the XBone. As a result, I want the PS4 to succeed and the XBone to fail.

But, with their past attitude towards consumers (the awful rootkit scandal and their bungled response to it, the DRM which crippled the Minidisk system, appalling Vaio support etc), Sony is a company which has exhausted a lot of my sympathy. I've spent the last few years avoiding Sony where possible as a result due to their previous immoral attitudes towards its previously loyal customers, so I'm not surprised to see them losing money. Dump on your customers and they'll return the favour by shopping elsewhere.

Saying that, I hope Sony does survive. Their attitude with the PS4 has been much improved. If they keep it up, maybe I will one day buy Sony products again.

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

Dave K

Re: No

Microsoft got themselves into this mess and only have themselves to blame. Windows 8 was a decidedly half-baked release. Even the biggest fan of TIFKAM has to admit that the shutdown process for example was ridiculously convoluted and the whole interface was very immature.

This has meant MS scrabbling to release updated versions to fix Windows 8's shortcomings, and now MS is stuck in the hole of either supporting multiple versions of its OS, or discontinuing support for them. If they'd bothered to ensure that TIFKAM was properly implemented in the first place, they wouldn't have this issue.

And of course, a lot of Windows 8's problems from a perception point of view are down to the "stick" approach that MS used to push TIFKAM. They wanted in on mobile, so they made a deliberate decision to try and *force* it onto everyone. They went out of their way to disable registry hacks for beta versions of Windows 8 that re-enabled the start menu and decided that hitting with the stick was the right approach. You WILL use our new, convoluted and immature interface whether you like it or not.

Call me picky, but if there's one thing I DETEST, it's a company dictating to me exactly how I should use their products, exactly how I must use their interface, etc, all to try and drive that company into markets which do not concern me. The result is a deep personal hatred for Windows 8. Not just from a technical/interface point of view, but from a point of view of what it stands for.

The only thing MS can do to get around this really is to accept that Windows 8 and the stick approach has been a failure, add more options and customisability back into Windows (which they are slowly doing), and then kill off the Windows 8 brand altogether.

Like I say, all their own fault. the more you hit with the stick, the more people will resist as a matter of principle. And now with multiple versions to support or abandon, they're riling up even the adopters.

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Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray

Dave K

Re: Cuing the obligatory audiophile discussion regarding sample rates...

It's not the sample rate that bothers me, just the overall point of this. I simply do not see the point of introducing high-definition audio formats when the music industry is utterly and totally incapable of making proper use of the existing technology. Modern music (well, for about the last 15-20 years) sounds absolutely dreadful - not because of sample rates or MP3 compression, but because of the utterly abysmal mastering.

The fact is that almost all music since the mid-90s has been mastered and released without the slightest bit of interest in quality. Instead, it's all dynamically compressed into a lifeless brick-wall of fatiguing distortion and clipping. CDs from the late 80s and early 90s showed how good basic 44.1Khz 16bit stereo can sound, but the format has since been utterly abused by the industry.

In my opinion, this is what needs to be fixed first. Sod spending £17 on another copy of a classic album, just learn how to properly use and exploit the existing technology first before we worry about 92Khz, 24bit and surround sound. The old CD format has the potential to deliver MUCH better sounding music, if only the music industry would try exploiting that potential.

3
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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Dave K

Agreed. Windows 3.1 had more going for it visually than the Windows 8 desktop. I've used it on a couple of machines and the bland, lifelessness of the Windows 8 desktop just feels depressing.

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Dave K

Re: Someone must be blind to think thats a Window 7 Start Menu

Just depends how tweakable it is. The impending return of the Start Menu is a good thing. However MS need to keep it tweakable. So long as I can tweak it to suit my needs, great! Now all they have to do is provide some desktop themes that dont look lifeless, flat and downright god-awful. Sorry MS, the Windows 8 desktop is just a dreary place to be. The Windows 7 desktop looks far more visually pleasing still.

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Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad

Dave K

Re: Isn't the iPad (and code) part of the deceased's property?

And this is an account which is set up on the iPad already (and hence locked), and which is in the name of a relative for whom they have the death certificate and will? Surely that combination of information rules out the chance of it being stolen from Joe Public.

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In spinning rust we TRUST: HGST slips out screamingly fast ... HDD

Dave K

Re: Am i the only one

It's likely to make a bit of noise, but not too much. I have an old SGI machine at home which has a 15K 3.5" system disk and although it's audible, the noise is surpisingly low. And as said, noise in a datacenter is less of an issue anyway due to cooling fans, aircon and the likes.

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Sony set to axe 5,000 workers worldwide as it flings PC biz overboard

Dave K

Re: Is this laptops as well?

Samsung make some very nice laptops. The Series 9 ones are sleek, robust and well built.

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Dave K

Sony always had dreadful support and this is a prime reason why I stopped buying their kit. Took them nearly a month to replace the motherboard in my sister's Vaio for example.

Then at work we bought a Vaio for a member of staff. Battery died just after a year and we were quoted nearly £250 for a replacement. They charged £45 for a set of driver disks for it (and even then they were fresh from someone's CD burner), the thing was piled to the gills with crapware and took hours to clean up into a usable state.

In fact, we had such a bad experience that we placed a block on buying any further Sony laptops - the only company that we had this with.

Sony make some nice hardware, but fail dismally with software and support, and the whole package is important when you're shelling out £1,000 for a supposedly premium product.

Bye bye Vaio, you won't be missed. Not by me anyway!

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Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

Dave K

Re: What we want to know is...

Many people I know used it and learnt it - myself included. I can navigate around Windows 8 from TIFKAM, I can get into the control panel, shut down Windows etc. The problem is that I find TIFKAM to be less usable and less optimal than the Start menu. The Start menu was smaller, quicker and easier to use IMO.

TIFKAM is like Marmite. Some do admittedly love it, but too many people out there do not like it. Too many for a company like MS with around 90% of the desktop/laptop market to just force it unconditionally onto everyone without creating a backlash.

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

Dave K

Re: Bring back Aero too

Agreed! Mixed case is easier to view without really thinking - hence why it's used on road signs and the likes. And I also bemoan the loss of rounded corners. Even Windows 3 had rounded corners...

The default themes in Windows 8 for the desktop are dire, and you can't add new ones without hacking about with system files. Even then, you cannot restore all the functionality that Windows 7 could do with the desktop visual elements.

MS: Add choice. Give people a choice of flashy/rounded UI themes or flat/square ones. Give them a choice of TIFKAM or Start Menu. Add choice and the complaints will go away.

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Light, fast ... and pricey: Toshiba's Portégé Z30 – now THIS is an Ultrabook

Dave K

Re: You're right about the screen!

It's a nice, high res, but has two drawbacks. Firstly, it's still 16:9, so an aspect ratio that is geared towards watching movies rather than producing work on. Secondly, it's a glossy screen and I HATE shiny reflections when I'm trying to get some work done.

Back in about 2007 at a previous job, I was fortunate enough to have access to a Dell Latitude D820 which had a 15.4" matte 1920x1200 screen. The clarity was excellent (and not too small that Windows looked bad - due to its poor DPI scaling) and programming on this machine was beautiful. Last I heard, it was still in use as there's simply nothing out there replacement-wise today that can match it screen wise.

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Dave K

Re: You're right about the screen!

"Can't we have 1680x1050 as a minimum, 1900x1200 for mid-range (think of it as Full HD with some extra space at the bottom for subtitles), and 2560x1600 for serious work?"

Now that would be beautiful. Just beautiful. I'd splash out right now if someone could make a 15" laptop with a 1920x1200 screen. They used to make them 4 years ago, but not anymore.

5
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Dave K

Agreed. I can just about accept a 1366x768 screen on a budget £400 laptop. But when I'm paying high prices, I don't expect a low-res, cheap-as-chips screen like this. Ideally I expect 16:10 of course for work because screen resolutions have actually gone backwards over the last few years (at work, we're replacing laptops that have 1280x800 res screens with 1366x768. For vertical space, that's a downgrade).

I still hate how you look at modern laptops and see such a fat bezel at the top and bottom to make up for where usable screen space used to be 3 years ago (this Toshiba is no exception).

Personally, I'd still go with the Samsung Series 9. <£900 and you get a very sleek ultrabook with a matte 1600x900 screen, backlit keyboard etc. It's not perfect, but it's still pretty decent, and it's a much better display than this!

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Thought sales were in the toilet before? Behold the agony: 2013 was a PC market BLOODBATH

Dave K

Re: What's the point of upgrading

Precisely. Both my desktop PC and laptop are approaching 4 years old. Both are Core i5 (2.6GHz in the laptop, 3.2GHz in PC), 6-8GB of RAM, both now have SSDs. Only major upgrade I've made (apart from the SSDs) was to replace the budget graphics card in the PC, and even then it was to a £170 Radeon.

Result, it boots in a flash, can run Skyrim at 1920x1200 with all the detail on maximum. So, why replace it? Go back a few years and an upgrade to a dual/quad core CPU from an old single core CPU was quite noticeable, and ditching a clunky P4 made a world of difference. These days, if I spend hundreds of pounds replacing my PC with a Haswell system, I honestly doubt that I'd notice much difference over my old system.

Intel are right to focus on power efficiency improvements with Haswell, but for me the difference doesn't justify a new system - especially (laptop wise) when it'd mean downgrading to an awful 16:9 screen!

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Apple wants sales ban on Samsung smartphones nobody is selling

Dave K

Re: You're banning it wrong

Apple products currently leave a nasty taste in my mouth*, to such a level that I find it morally wrong to buy one at the moment. Apple's incessant suing of everyone over tiny, petty and pointless details - especially when they didn't invent most of them themselves anyway - is really starting to grate - and that's before you even get to the walled-off App store and Apple's anti-competitive rules for app publising etc.

My stance was similar for several years with Sony over their dreadful attitude over the Rootkit scandal some time back, Ubisoft over their awfully invasive DRM, EA over their cannibalism and destruction of small gaming studios - just in case someone thinks I'm just anti-Apple.

As it is, I know from talking to friends that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Apple have to ultimately realise that constant legal action over petty details makes them look like a sad, desparate, petty and moaning company. Suing over bigger technical infringements is fair enough, but when they're suing Samsung over the little rubber band effect, or HTC over "slide to unlock", it just gets ridiculous.

Apple: Please grow up, or else this will end up costing you even more sales as punters become increasingly sick of your attitude to competition.

* Now that really IS holding it wrong!

5
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Yahoo! boss! Mayer! sez! soz! for! lengthy! mail! outage!

Dave K

First the layout, now this

Yet another calamity to hit them, following the awful roll out of their updated interface a couple of months back. In just 2 months, Yahoo Mail has gone from a powerful and flexible interface on top of a pretty reliable mail system, to a crippled, stripped out and lousy UI on top of a flaky mail system. Two reasons why I'm in the process of ditching my 14 year-old Yahoo Mail account...

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Dave K

Re: I had to Google how to find the Control Panel...

Although you are correct, having to resort to the search box to find basic functionality and underpinnings of the OS which have been there since the early 90s (and maybe even earlier) is a sure-fire way of accepting that the UI is a complete failure.

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Dave K

Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

"At some some point in the evolution of their products all those vendors have to make a change & we consumers are obliged to accomodate those changes (by accepting or moving on)"

Rubbish. If Microsoft implement a crap interface and provide no way of working around it, I'm not forced to either accept it or move to a different OS (ie Linux). The third option is to shun that particular version of Windows, stick with one that works properly for what I use it for (Windows 7), then make damn sure that Microsoft is aware that I think Windows 8 is a mistake.

If everyone quietly accepts even when they disagree, MS will continue to steamroller over everyone. If enough people shun that version of Windows and complain, MS eventually are forced to react. They did it with Vista (by fixing it and calling it Windows 7), then they tried to do the same thing with Windows 8.1 (although not successfully - hence the continuing complains and the further planned concessions).

And to go back to the first point, nobody is demanding that MS get rid of Metro and force the Start Menu on everyone again. I'm fully aware that not everyone loves it. The only thing anyone is asking for is choice. MS used to provide this, Windows 8 is the first version that doesn't. That is the crux of the problem.

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Speeding cops, fearsome drops and Death Star shops

Dave K

Re: Personally

Me too. I will happily pay a few pounds for a decent game, and have done on many occasions. However, I want a one-off payment that will allow me to unlock and complete the game at a pace dictated by me. The "freemium" model is nothing short of a scam IMO and I will actively avoid any game that pushes it.

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Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

Dave K

Re: are friends electric?

Sorry, I tried it, used it for a bit, and didn't like it. It has some nice features, but Metro was god-awful and the desktop just looked flat, lifeless and dull. Slapped Windows 7 back on and haven't looked back.

Windows 8 does have real promise, but there's just a few irritating "gotchas" that hold it back. With the option of a Start Menu, a few nicer themes and the option to turn off Metro on a desktop PC, it'd be great. However at the moment it's sadly lacking these options.

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Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Dave K

Re: Where's the matt screen?

In fact I've found it: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2011/05/23/glossy-vs-matte-screens-why-the-pc-industrys-out-of-touch/

Scores seem to be 75% preference for matte, 13% for glossy and 13% for "undecided". I don't expect it to be completely impartial as a lot of those who responded will be matte screen fans that are annoyed by the abundance of glossy screens out there, but it seems to debunk the claim that a majority of users prefer glossy screens!

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Dave K

Re: The lack of upgrade option is slightly ironic

Agreed. I have a Lenovo X201 laptop from 2010. Core i5 with 2GB of RAM and an slow 160GB hard drive. It was definitely showing its age and ran rather sluggishly.

Now, it's got 6GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD and it boots in a flash and runs very fast and snappy. I've bought a good 2 or 3 years of extra life out of it and all for around £100. Plus it took less than 5 minutes to install both components. THAT is why I like a bit of basic upgradability in my laptops!

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Dave K

Re: Where's the matt screen?

PC Pro did a survey on that a year or two back and around 80% of people who responded claimed they preferred matte screens. Sure that means some that like glossy screens, but you'd be surprised how few do. Problem with matte is that you lose some of the "Look at the shiny shiny" effect from it, which is probably why Apple aren't doing one.

Personally, although I love the 16:10 aspect ratio, the lack of a matte option combined with being utterly unable to upgrade any part of it would be enough for me to say "No". I can understand lack of upgradability on a tablet or ultrabook, but on a proper laptop there's no excuse for it.

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Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

Dave K

Re: Zoom?

I generally agree. The biggest advantage of a high resolution snapper is the ability to incorporate better digital zoom. Set it to 8MP and you end up with about 2.5x zoom without loss of quality (as it effectively crops the 20MP image down to 8MP rather than down-sampling it. At 20MP though, all it does is fill your storage up quicker.

0
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'F-CK YOU GOOGLE+' ukelele missy scoops BIG WAD of $$ - for Google

Dave K

Re: yea google F*ck you

A single sign-on which *requires* you to provide your full name and various other personal details, just to leave a comment on a video. Gone are the days when an e-mail address and password were sufficient.

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BOFH: GOATSE? No, I said goat fetis... you know what, forget it

Dave K

Excellent as always!

And nice to get two in quick succession as well!

1
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Google Chrome: Extensions now ONLY from the Company Store

Dave K

Re: This is why...

I agree. I resisted the urge to move to Chrome a few years back and the latest Firefox versions are very good. In fact in recent reviews I've seen, the latest Firefox build has shown to be faster and more stable than Chrome. Oh how the tables have turned compared with how sluggish Firefox used to be a few years back!

4
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iPad Air BARES ALL, reveals she's a high maintenance lady

Dave K

Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?

Fair enough, I won't then. I've repaired an iPhone 3G before as they're fairly easy to disasemble (and replacing the screen on one myself was FAR cheaper than getting Apple to do it). Other than that, I'll stick with my Samsung phone which has a user-replaceable battery and an iFixit score of 9/10. At least I know if I drop it that replacing the screen is possible.

And even if I can't do it myself, the higher the iFixit score, the cheaper it's likely to be for a 3rd party repairer to do the job. Take an iPad Air to the guy on the market and I bet half of them will just refuse these days.

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Dave K

Re: The point is

"I can't replace the engine (myself) in my car either..."

Actually, you can if you remove the correct bolts then winch it out. That's because your engine is held in place with nuts/bolts and not with glue. Hence with the right spanners and time, you can remove and re-insert your engine as many times as you like without any damage at all. Just because you don't want to doesn't mean it's not possible.

With an iShiny though (or a Surface, or an HTC One for that matter), the risk of damaging it due to the copious amounts of glue means it's a very difficult task indeed.

3
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Dave K

Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?

Can I offer the suggestion that it's not the actual battery itself that the iFixit guy is complaining about, but the way that it's been fixed to the case with half a ton of glue? Perhaps half a ton of glue where a couple of screws or a couple of small blobs of glue would have been equally sufficient?

3
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IT'S patent WAR: Apple, Microsoft vs Google, Samsung, Huawei

Dave K

Here we go again...

Whilst I understand the need for patents, I'm really not sure about the idea of buying "ideas" and then using that to sue other companies.

16
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BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

Dave K
Happy

so familiar...

"Is the system running slow today?"

I have genuinely lost count of how many times I've been asked that. Or the other classic "Is the system down?". No further info, no slightest hint as to what they're doing, just "the system".

I think next time someone asks me that, I'll also have to fire up Google Earth....

And yay for a new BOFH on a Friday morning!!!

7
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RM CEO: We didn't even try to sell PC biz before killing it

Dave K

Tablets may play a minor role, but try learning programming or even word processing, spreadsheets or databases on one. ICT is supposed to be about teaching production skills and tablets are (by and large) consumer devices. Either way, I don't think the time of the school PC is over just yet!

0
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Firefox's plugin-blocker slams into beta - but don't jump for joy, Flash haters

Dave K

Flash for ads...

I'm still amazed that so many ads run via Flash wheny you consider that this effectively auto-blocks them from mobile phone/tablet browsers. Not that I'm complaining about the relatively ad-free experience I automatically get on my phone of course!

1
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Ahhh, SATISFACTION: Watch while we set a NAS on FIRE

Dave K

Reminds me of a few years ago when HP fired a bullet through one of their disk arrays. That one did actually survive (well obviously, or else they wouldn't have shown the footage). I'm intrigued to see how this one pans out!

2
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Lenovo stands up rinky-dinky new Yoga tablet

Dave K

Re: they really have nothing

Show me an Apple product with a design like that.

Thought not.

On the other hand, a Lenovo device with a 16:10 display! All they need to do now is buy a few more and pop them into some laptops. Then they'll have a product I'll actually want to buy...

18
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Virgin Media only puts limited limits on its Unlimited service

Dave K
FAIL

Still a pigging mess

I live in hope that at some point, there'll be none of this "moderate restrictions" grey, blurry line crap. Instead, the ASA and broadband companies might start to actually report the truth. Have a service with no limits or throttling? use the term "unlimited". If you do apply throttling/limits, you don't call it "unlimited". It'd be simple, easy to follow and truthful.

Until that time however, we'll still be stuck in this crap situation where broadband companies are allowed to bluntly and blatantly lie about the services they offer whilst getting away with it scott free.

0
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HGST pops out 1TB fondleslab disc as thin as a digestive biscuit

Dave K

Re: Fondleslab Disc?

Agreed. I'd be much happier if Apple would just swallow their pride and slap a USB port onto the iPad for additional storage. That way you could carry around 1TB of videos if you really wanted, but wouldn't be stuck with the drive inside the casing.

0
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Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

Dave K

Please explain why the Galaxy S4 copies the iPhone? It looks completely different, screen size is different, OS looks different, etc.

This "Samsung copies Apple" excuse is getting old. Maybe old Samsungs such as the SII did hold a striking resemblance to Apple products, but for the last two years or more, Samsung phones/tablets have been very different from both a looks and functionality point of view.

0
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Don't crack that Mac: Almost NOTHING in new Retina MacBook Pros can be replaced

Dave K

Re: Batteries!

Did you read the article? Even Apple will have a tough job replacing a battery that's glued in place and also glued to delicate ribbon cables!

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