* Posts by Edwin

432 posts • joined 12 Apr 2007

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

Edwin

Transrapid

I was wondering what El Reg was reading that said it was in the pipeline... Mind, they've slowed it down somewhat in recent years: it only runs 431 kh/h a couple of times a day these days.

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Uber execs charged, will stand trial in France

Edwin

Re: Nice way of shooting yourself in the foot, or both

This is true only because they owned the US government YEARS ago.

But the audacity of Uber is pretty astonishing.

Interesting question: will they throw their own staff under the bus? Will they cease and desist if these guys go to jail, or will they just hire some new execs and carry on?

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Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame

Edwin

Rogue? Nethack?

'nuff said.

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Nokia declares war on data centres to win back telco customers

Edwin

Microsoft?

I think you need to read up on Nokia and Nokia Siemens history 2007-present.

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The 'echo chamber' effect misleading people on climate change

Edwin

Catalysts?

Anyone who's spent time on social media is able to see the echo chamber effect quite easily.

I wonder though if in this case the effect was strengthened by the apparent inability of the media to put down a balanced story. The relentless spindoctoring by politicians, activists and business have probably left a large part of the population unclear on who they can trust. And in that insecurity, they hold on to whatever belief they've formed for themselves.

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FCC to crack down on robocall spammers' beloved loophole

Edwin

Meh... start by tightening up the rules

I'd lose the exceptions the FCC has graciously handed its masters in congress. Friends and family in the US go nuts during the 3.9 year election cycle since political lobbyists are allowed to harass anyone they like.

@Ole Juul - is there a clever bit of hardware that lets you do that or are you running Asterix or something similar?

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Synology slings patch at buggy NAS boxens

Edwin

'Support'

Photostation is an app, not OS so should presumably not be limited in terms of hardware. In any case, my 5 or 6 year old 410j is still in support, which is well beyond what I would have expected.

But maybe I have low expectations..

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Cheesy video shows ex-Gooners pronouncing 'Huawei'

Edwin

Re: LG

That said, when they first started punting large, high-end tellies, I did wonder if they were the same company that made the ISA I/O cards I was putting into PCs in the early 1990s. I can imagine wanting to distance yourself from that.

Mind, the cards (usually) worked.

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Do svidaniya Roscosmos. By the way, any idea where that 92 BEEELLION rubles went?

Edwin

Re: The wonder of it all

Bit of a testament to their engineers, innit?

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Why does Uber keep its drivers' pay so low? Ex-CFO: 'Cos we can'

Edwin

True

I think the point is that Uber isn't only shafting existing taxi companies. They're shafting *everyone*, or more specifically: they don't care *who* they shaft.

Taxi laws in many places are onerous, but they do afford the travelling public some protections. Uber claims to be great because they avoid the onerous bits, but they don't mention the small print they're circumventing.

So I think it's great they're shaking up the system. I just hope they go down with the ship when lawmakers get around to reforming it.

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Edwin

Re: Ah, yes. "Capitalism"

Yeah, when the driver clips you as they drive off, their enormous net worth will more than cover your medical bills.

Or when an Uber driver broadsides your car and your insurance company points out it's the other driver's fault so their insurance will ...oh...wait...

So maybe the PASSENGER shouldn't care, but YOU damn well should.

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Spy-tech firms Gamma and Trovicor target Shell Oil in Oman

Edwin

It never ceases to amaze me...

That there seemingly normal people working at software houses that will teach their children good behaviour, but check their ethics and scruples at the door when they get to the office.

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WHY can't Silicon Valley create breakable non-breakable encryption, cry US politicians

Edwin

@asdf Re: There is...

While your point about the Boomers and Millennials is spot on (and apparently universally true), my point was rather that the US guvmint acknowledges American citizen's right to privacy, but nobody else's. So while an American's personal information is protected by law in the US, my information is not.

Yes, there's Safe Harbor, but I don't know that it's bulletproof and in any case only covers a small part of the rest of the world's population.

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Edwin

Re: There is...

Hmm... My European personal data housed on an American server by an American company in the USA encrypted by a system that only the American government can pop the lid on.

What could possibly go wrong?

(Hint: it's in Mr. Johnson's line about "the privacy rights and expectations of the American public")

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Watch out for the products that have snuck in behind your back

Edwin

Re: Not just IT, but largely

@Ivan 4

Agree, and I didn't say it was easy :)

However, I have seen it work in at least one Fortune 500 company, but that was a company that also had good budget control and accountability all the way up and down the food chain, as well as across geographies "in matrix", which makes it quite hard to hide any substantial IT.

Sadly, most companies claim to have this sort of control, but in practice it often applies only up to (but not including) VP level, so the overarching supervision is missing.

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Edwin

Not just IT, but largely

Agree completely. The problem is that too many IT departments are ultimately run by the CFO that sets the budget. Anxious to meet targets, IT management squeezes out development cash and competence is outsourced and lost. If you're really unlucky, IT management will be hell-bent on overperforming on finacial targets.

For the business, this really isn't a problem because they will have their own discretionary spend budget, and since IT won't use that money, they take care of it themselves.

If people were to run their company based on a recharging model whereby the business owners set priorities and fund IT from their own budget, you could get around this mess. Of course, that also means that the business 'wants a say', which may not always be a good thing...

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Microsoft shows off South Korean PC-on-a-stick

Edwin

Re: lucomsamerica.com

Because natively written sites are better, right? Like the time I visited the HP website a few weeks ago and it offered to 'Show me the results anyways'?

(no, there's no excuse for crappy language on a commercial website, but there's even less excuse for HP to let an abomination like that escape. And yes, I have a screenshot to prove it)

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NXP snaps up Freescale to form new chipzilla

Edwin

Re: "synergies"

There are a couple of industries where these two are a substantial part of the market, and not just digital IC.

I'd expect to see some divestments before the deal closes.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Edwin

Facebook complaining about Lenovo on privacy topics?

Granted, he may only be an employee, but there's something very pot & kettle about this...

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TV Idol star's keyboard upstart idolizes our gear too much – BlackBerry

Edwin

Bad idea

If the patents have been granted, then I guess BB has a case. I can see the Typo2 seems a little less blatantly BB than the original, but it's still pretty similar IMO.

Reading a few product reviews, I do wonder though if BB would be better off suing for defamation.

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Five years of Sun software under Oracle: Were the critics right?

Edwin

Pleasantly surprised

In the end, it's turned out to not be quite the bloodbath I feared. If only they'd drop the Ask.com promotion on the Java installers...

(oh - and is Larry Captain Thompson?)

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Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

Edwin

We're all buggered

Android, IOS and Winpho all track everything we do, so it doesn't look like you can escape easily. Maybe Blackberry, but I don't know the handsets.

Agree that MS is getting uncomfortably invasive (stop that sniggering in the back!) now that Win8.1 is trying to get me to spew my personal details all over the desktop.

That said, I like the way WinPho sandboxes certain types of content and apps, and there's a couple of other features (family rooms!) that I find immensely useful. Android makes me paranoid when I see what kind of crap my kids can easily install, and IOS is just as walled garden as WinPho, albeit at twice the price.

My 930 will keep me happy for the next year or two, but I have *no* idea what'll come after that...

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Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes

Edwin

Re: Flagship?

but does it bend?

(my 930 doesn't)

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Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

Edwin

Re: 7110?

The huge screen was one thing I really liked about the 7110 - perfect for the carkit!

I never had a spring on the mic slider break, but the catch on the end occassionally failed, causing the cover to fly through the room when you tried to answer the phone. Aside from being mildly humorous, it also meant you could only hear (not talk) until you'd clicked it back on since it also housed the mic.

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Edwin

Re: Your 9110 is a 9210

I'm pretty sure there were terminal emulators for the 9210 (and later models) but on the 9110 you could actually get a native DOS prompt. I seem to remember you couldn't do very much with it, but the point was that you *could* get right into the bowels of the OS, which was unique. I think it involved hacking some of the configuration files to the device booted to a prompt rather than GUI.

Pointless, but cool.

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Edwin

Your 9110 is a 9210

Bounce was the game showcasing the 9210s colour screen - the 9110 ran GEOS and didn't have the colour screen. I had both, and while the 9210 was better, the 9110 had much more geek appeal for the ability to launch a DOS prompt.

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GT sapphire glaziers: You signed WHAT deal with Apple?

Edwin

I can see how this happened...

These sorts of contracts are not as uncommon as we'd like. The sexiness of having Apple (or some other A-list brand) as a major customer is extremely seductive to many 'executives'. Not only because it's great advertising, but the bolstering of the supplier's individual executive ego.

What's perhaps more surprising is the audacity of setting up production to compete with your customers. That's never a good idea, and doing it in such a high-risk method is either incredibly stupid, incredibly cocky or - probably in this case - both.

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Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

Edwin

Pricey?

Absolutely, but if waterproofness isn't a must, an Aura HD (like the H2O, just not waterproof) can be found online quite affordably (though generally only on the western side of the pond). Love the HD - it makes my previous Sonys look pretty dismal, to say nothing of the BeBook Neo I have in the closet as a 'spare'.

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Let down by a lousy UberX driver? They probably skipped the 'optional $65 customer service training course'

Edwin

Re: Just one question...

I suspect it's because the taxis vs. minicabs distinction does not exist in most countries - AFAIK, only the UK has this fine line.

Coming back to an earlier question about waiving rights: no, in many countries, you can't. The famous 'the management of this establishment...' signs pertaining to e.g. wardrobes are a good example.

If you make use of a service in good faith (call a cab, hang up your coat), you have a right to expect that the company you are dealing with (restaurant, Uber) has made reasonable efforts to ensure the service is as expected. I suspect 'a background check' and 'vehicle inspection' would be borderline acceptable in many countries, and look forward to the first civil cases in Europe.

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Edwin

Yes and no...

Best buy should be delighted. More cables and adapters for them to sell - no sooner had I bought a displayport adapter for my DVI KVM switch than I got a laptop with a mini-DP socket, requiring another adapter. Coupled with the HDMI adapter I already had, I can now wait to buy a USB C adapter. Should be good business.

However much I may hate BB though, I have tried cheap and less cheap USB cables, and the super-thin, super cheap versions are much less reliable than the nice thick hefty ones.

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iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

Edwin

Re: NFC was never just payments

The pairing feature is quite nice, but the 'tap to share' NFC feature on the Lumias is something I use almost daily. Want to share a contact card, photo or web page with someone? Hit 'share', 'tap to share' and tap the two phones together and you're sorted. No hunting for active bluetooth profiles, typing emails or anything like that.

I think there are loads of use cases for NFC. What nobody else has managed so far is to make the payment process work. Apple's ecosystem may change that, and that's what the real news is IMHO.

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Edwin
WTF?

Re: "...haven't you seen what the iPhone 6 costs?"

Well, yes - the US price incl. VAT may be comparable to the UK price ex. VAT, but then you're not comparing apples to apples.

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Ye Bug List

Edwin

WinPho app (red-faced vulture bug)

I told myself I wouldn't be a pedant, but when I saw it today, I couldn't help it anymore:

If the WinPhone app is unable to load an article it informs me that it's unable to 'retreive' the content.

The fact that it throws up an error message from time to time is one thing, but could you please, please, please fix the typo? "i" before "e" and all that.

Much obliged.

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Synology and the NAS-ty malware-flingers: What can be learned

Edwin

According to Synology...

The vulnerability that is being exploited was patched in December 2013.

http://forum.synology.com/enu/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=88770

Admittedly, it's "based on their current observations" but does suggest that this is an old vulnerability - there have been numerous patches and updates since then, so it would appear that these are old and unpatched systems.

While I'm appalled at the fact that I've not had an email notification from Synology, I think this article is a little harsh: it would appear to me that Synology has done fairly well in terms of patching and updates. The newer DSM versions are also fairly proactive about emailing me when updates are available.

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DAMN you El Reg, CALL ME A BOFFIN, demands enraged boffin

Edwin

Re: It was the threat of a sarcastic comment...

Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

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Curriculum Vitae - must rage

Edwin

Old thread but...

Excellent post!

Some further comments:

TAKE YOUR TIME! If the ad appeared today, tune your CV to the ad and write a cover letter. Then review it carefully tomorrow. The day after, reread the ad and look for key terms. Are they covered in your cover letter? If not, tune some more. If there's a deadline of e.g. two weeks, take ten days to get your ad in. If well written, the person on the other end will know that you put effort into your application and take the process seriously.

There is no silver bullet. There is always the chance (sometimes a very good one) that the wrong person will read your CV. Think they're asking for the wrong qualifications? It may not matter - if an overworked/disinterested HR drone is first to sift through the CVs, there's a good chance they will compare your CV to the list of qualifications and bin it anyway. No matter how good your argumentation (or supplementary qualification) is. The important thing is to stick with it and NEVER let the quality of your applications slip.

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Who DOESN'T want to play world's tallest game of Tetris – all 437ft of it

Edwin

Others have...

Yes... but Electrical Engineering students at the Delft University of Technology were probably the first in 1995 - long before MIT. There's some TV coverage (in Dutch) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwNQqePk8Kg

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Comprehensive security in the home

Edwin

Final rollup

Hi all,

After a lot of consideration, I've gone and sprung for the Bitdefender comprehensive license rather than one of the other packages. In addition, I'll be setting up a proxy on the Synology NAS at home to add an extra layer of protection.

Why Bitdefender?

- Nice licensing model: one fee, infinite devices

- Seemingly robust protection (e.g. no worse than anyone else)

- Online client management

- Unspeakably scrupulously honest

A few words on the last two:

The online dashboard is quite clever, though I think it could be clever-er.

With Parental controls installed, you create a profile for each child and group all their devices (or in the case of Windows, their usernames on each PC) under that one profile. Set up the various controls (when allowed online, which sites permitted) and you're off. The defaults are pretty strict but a good place to start. I've tuned them a bit and the kids are not complaining.

Things I'm missing are limiting online time (duration, rather than time slots) and the ability to check the status of a client (last updated) or even enable/disable features (BitDefender Wallet: I'm looking at you).

Features I think are a bit over-the-top: the detailed reports of what the kids are doing (applications run and sites visited). But if you're a paranoid parent, you'll probably appreciate those.

Other features (client protection and Android theft protection) not tested.

On the unspeakably scrupulous honesty:

The privacy assessment of android apps is quite clever - apps are evaluated and the device is given an overall score. The wife and kids spent an afternoon competing with each other, trying to get the best score without sacrificing anything "important". Also very clever is the ability to share the risks of an application with friends. Which brings us to Honesty: The Bitdefender Android Security application correctly identifies the Bitdefender Parental Control application as a major security risk (which it is, of course, since it captures user data). One of the kids massively enjoyed sending me security risk reports to this effect and demanding the app be uninstalled (no).

My thanks to you all for your input!

Regards,

Edwin

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Edwin
Happy

Rollup on the first set of comments

First, my thanks to El Reg for bumping this topic. I owe you a drink! Also thanks to all the helpful responses. I feel some pride in having started a thread with a troll:helpful post ratio of substantially less than 1.

Second, to all the suggestions that I should change my home setup to Linux, Mac, OS/2, or CP/M: Trolls aside, I think you're missing the point. The vast majority of people looking for a comprehensive solution will be working cross-platform, unless you're running Chromebooks and Nexii only. And yes, I have sufficient *nix cred to run Linux (I even have my first Slackware distro on 60 floppies lying around for nostalgic purposes), but at the end of the day I'm only 1 out of 4 users in the house. Even if I were to change (hardware costs aside), I'd still want some sort of protection against virii, phishing and various types of mal- or grayware. There would be a lot of new shiny toys, but the problem would persist.

OK, on to the topic at hand - some comments:

Cost: As I said, it wasn't only about cost. As some have pointed out, my prices didn't match with 'shopping around'. They were based on what the vendor was offering in their own webshop and in the end, they weren't *that* different. I'm in Europe, but since the first quick round of websites put me in dollar land, I stuck with USD. Anyway, yes, cost is a consideration. Otherwise I'd have plumped for an enterprise-grade solution.

Multiple vendors: I must confess to quite liking the idea, and may have a go with it. I feel my data risk is fairly low: all the data at home lives on a NAS which has a weekly offline backup. I guess here my expectation is a bit different from Joe User since he's probably not as paranoid as I am. Second, this is slightly at odds with my laziness: what I want is a comprehensive licensing model: I want my 'home' covered, so that if one of the kids buys a new tablet, or we install an extra PC or whatever, I don't have to worry about it: just install the application and it's covered. Still, a second line of defense on the main PC is probably worthwhile (any other PC only takes me an hour or two to wipe and reinstall).

Routing: my FritzBox already provides a certain degree of protection on the network, but the idea of a separate proxy server is something I'll have a go at. Synology is pretty hackable, and I've seen some tips on getting it up and running as a proxy server.

On the clients: my shortlist is currently Norton and Bitdefender. I've always had a soft spot for Norton, though the performance impact used to be horrific (and one of the home PCs is a lowly Thinkpad T60p) and online research suggests they haven't quite solved this yet. The lack of a true many device license is also a pain point.

Bitdefender gets good reviews, though there appear to be some installation niggles about disabling parts of their software. OTOH, the "every single device for 5 family members" and "parental controls" are very tempting, particularly since you can apparently manage the parental controls via a portal.

I'll try to get things sorted over the next week and report back. Meanwhile, further comments welcome!

E-

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Edwin

Comprehensive security in the home

Hi all,

I'm hoping to get some suggestions, because I'm rapidly losing my mind in the minefield that is security software, particularly when it comes to licensing many devices... The internet has become useless for this sort of research, I find: 90% of search result hits are resellers trying to sell me software rather than a comprehensive comparative review.

Let me sketch it out:

I'm looking for a software solution to manage security on the family digital devices (me, wife, kids of 9 and 12). Between the four of us, we have three Windows 7 PCs, three Android tablets and four Lumia phones.

The software in question must:

- provide good antivirus and general protection for the PCs for all platforms

- provide good malware protection for the tablets

- provide an overview of which android apps pose privacy risks

- be free of ads and whatnot (which is why I'm abandoning Avast)

Nice-to-haves:

- parental controls (restrict what the kids can install on their tablets)

- have some intention of covering WinPho in the future

- whatever system optimisation and other features they care to add

So far, I'm looking at Symantec, Bitdefender, Webroot and Kaspersky. They all seem to offer more or less the same features, though licensing is a nightmare: almost everyone will cover *5* devices, but not *6* (or, if we include the handsets, 10).

WinPho doesn't seem to be covered by anyone, though Webroot indicated they have been contemplating it, which puts my costs for one year (in USD, since that's what the websites are offering at first glance) at:

Symantec: $100. They offer Norton 360 licenses up to 5 devices, so I would need to buy one extra mobile security license. The customer service agent I chatted with suggested Norton One instead of the Norton360 family pack, because you can 'add seats'. Great idea, except Norton One costs twice what the 360 pack costs, and offers for no clear extra value that I can make out.

Kaspersky: $105. They have a 10 device license, but that costs more than taking out a 3 device overall license for the PCs and another 3 device license for the tablets (why???)

Bitdefender: $130. Bitdefender stands out here in that they offer 'family member' packages, so for households of 3 or 5 people they will cover all devices. Great licensing model, though the most expensive offering of the lot (and what's wrong with my family of *4* people?)

Webroot: $60. They are by far the cheapest option on the face of it. Their customer support also claims to offer a 10 device license, but I can't find it on their website. Plan B would be a 3 device license plus 3 copies of their android software (though whether the android software goes by year is unclear)

In the end, it's not strictly about cost, but about functionality and reliability. Cost comes in second (very very close second if you ask the wife).

My question is: does anyone have experience with any of these packages and different licensing models? Or is there some key player I'm completely overlooking? I appreciate that last question is a bit like starting a discussion about your favourite Linux editor (emacs) or hard disk model (who cares), but suggestions are welcome!

Thanks!

Edwin

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Is modern life possible without a smartphone?

Edwin

236kbit=2g?

c'mon Simon, you're not trying. 2G (GSM) data rate is 9600 baud (yes, I *do* remember dialling in to get my mail using a Nokia 6110 and a cable or IR port). IIRC, GPRS (2.5G) only does up to 100kbit or so, so your 200+kbit is most likely EDGE ("2.75G")

Real men use a Tandy 102 with an acoustic coupler and a pay phone (300bps on a good day)

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Edwin

Ahhh... memory...

My first programming experience was on a LED display HP. A game involving landing a lander on the moon, IIRC.

Still have an old FX-something lying around, but when I need a calculator, I reach for my HP48. None of that pansy smartphone stuff.

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New iPhones: C certainly DOESN'T stand for 'Cheap'

Edwin

Re: Affordability my arse

Plus it's CHEAPER than the affordable iPhone...

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Did Kim Dotcom invent 2-factor authentication? Er, not exactly...

Edwin

Ordinarily, I would support your statement.

Having followed Kimble's career with interest for the past 15 years or so, I will make an exception in this case and suggest that patenting previously patented stuff for the purposes of claiming to have invented it in the future is the correct explanation.

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Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Edwin
Thumb Up

Re: Usefulness of Pebble increasing

The big headache with Pebble (for me) is the lack of WP8 support. In that respect - the Agent looks perfect: WP8 and Qi, which works nicely with my handset.

That said, I like the idea of using e-ink as a power saving feature - that would give the whole an even higher gadgetfreak score...

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Watch out, Nokia: Global mobile phone sales slowing

Edwin

Nokia on the way out?

I'm not buying it.

Tripling their (admittedly tiny) market share without help from their new cheaper wp8 models tells me there is a lot of potential there. And whatever the joys of Elop-bashing , I was very pleasantly surprised by wp8.

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

Edwin
Thumb Up

Re: EEPROM + UV?

No one else has commented on this because it's been so long since I used either that I'd forgotten the distinction....

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Satnav blunder sends Belgian granny 1,450km to Croatia

Edwin

Re: Question:

Not sure about the Croatian border, but within Schengen you can go anywhere without being stopped. Even so, a border stop at the Croatian border is likely to be a quick glance at an ID card (passport not necessary) and being waved through.

IMHO, if you're 'distracted' enough to drive 1500km and not notice, hints like a border crossing are not going to be substantial enough.

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Dead Steve Jobs' mega yacht seized by testy Philippe Starck

Edwin
Go

Dutch news...

Says the family claims Jobs agreed to 6% of the cost of the yacht, and that Starck has been paid in full.

Starck claims 6% was discussed but the final bill was €9M, so he's still €3M short.

Either way, it's clear I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...

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SPEARS fired up for explosive climax

Edwin

Previously discussed

I believe there's a lot of safety and redundancy built in now, but you still have a single point of failure that relies on mechanics - the relay.

Are you sure it'll work at altitude?

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