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* Posts by John Robson

848 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files

John Robson
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Higher sample rates are useful, you better define of the sound at e.g. 16kHz:

With 44kHz sampling you get 3-4 samples per lambda, so you can tell it's there, but nothing else. With 96Khz you're sampling it nearly 8 times per lambda, with 192Khx that's 16 points.

Draw a sine curve with only 3-4 points, now do the same with 16.

Now assume you don't hit the perfect sync between them, you might have two points at "-50db up" and 2 at "-50dB down", then repeat. Is that a sawtooth, a sine wave, a square wave? They all sound different. Take 16 points and you have defined the shape of the wave, better allowing you te recreate it.

By the time it comes out of most home speaker / headphone combinations then I'll agree. But when I'm recording I'll go higher rate, then drop it down as the very final step.

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

John Robson
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The Russians are still the best evidence...

(I mean aside from the stuff up there)

Since they never called NASA out on it, and they would have been tracking it pretty carefully...

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SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE

John Robson
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Photo

That's a pretty sweet photo!

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iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

John Robson
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Once some players drop out then....

...the others will be able to sell more devices, and so will make be able to recoup the cost of the devices they sell?

Isn't that the principle of supply and demand - at the moment supply is way too high, meaning no-one get's to leverag economies of scale, so some companies will fail and/or quit and the others will get a larger slice of the pie, and be able to make it work?

Or maybe I'vce missed something.

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Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

John Robson
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Replacement cycle....

And what's the typical lifespan of a monitor?

I haven't bought a monitor in (/me thinks) crikey, nearly a decade - and it might get replaced over the next few years, but it might not... It's served the full life of two three computers so far...

I remember the office I was in when I received them, and I have had three jobs since then, so it's somewhere between 8 and 11 years ago (probably 9).

Let's assume a 10 year life...

So if you're selling 0.4% touch enabled monitors this year that's an installed share of 4% of a single percentage point (from this year's sales), and probably a little less than that again from last year.

In the laptop market it's going to become impossible to buy a laptop without a touch screen soon (assuming you still want a laptop rather than a tablet)

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Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE

John Robson
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Re: Except that...

""We have no police any more,"

Well there's around 130,000 people currently being paid as police officers, plus another 13,000 PCSOs. Over ten years that's a fairly minimal 3% reduction in real coppers, with the number of plastic plods rising by 12,000, so I'm not sure what your baseline is for "any more"."

Hyperbole?

Of course we still have police officers, but the actual rate at which they monitor for basic bad driving or dangerous vehicle maintenance is virtually nil. Even with the PCSOs and the Highways Agency (who I've never seen clear anything up, let alone quickly) there is virtually no enforcement of any law on the road.

Motorists jump traffic lights, ignore speed limits, use hand held mobile phones, fail to clear their windows before setting off, only have one head/brake light working, use their foglights in good visibility, fail to indicate, ignore double white lines, ignore double yellow lines.... and none of this is regularly detected or prosecuted by the judicial system (yes I know illegal parking is now "decriminalised").

Obviously not all of the above applies to all motorists all the time, but it doesn't take much of a journey to observe them all.

Currently the judicial system makes important what is easy to measure (speed), and ignores what is not (tailgating) - then they give such massive latitude against what is easy to measure (such that the police have told me that the speed camera just up the road from where I live is set to 37mph in a 30 zone that habitual speeding is practically encouraged.

This general laissex faire attitude towards driving, and the complete lack of any punishment if you ever do manage to get to the courts, means that bad driving isn't dealt with until you kill someone - and at that point the motorist was "unlucky".

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John Robson
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Except that...

We have no police any more, so the chances of being caught are sufficiently small that noone cares.

At least that's what I see on the roads - huge numbers of people still using handheld phones.

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

John Robson
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Re: Two factor ...

You can lose something you have (or have it stolen)

So a thief could steal my RSA token, and maybe beat the PIN out of me. But they'd need to go towards GBH to get my vein patterns (seems to be the in vogue biometric) - or just take me with them.

Both of those are harder than just nicking a token/swipe card.

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Scotland wins WORLD RECORD as voters head to referendum polls

John Robson
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Really?

"I was a bit surprised by this. I figured that the liquid cooling would yield a better flop/watt ratio vs. the air cooled systems.

However, my analysis could be flawed. I don't have figures for exactly how much power each team was using for the LINPACK run they submitted. All I know is that they were using an amount that was less than the 3,000 watt power cap."

So you assumed 3kW for all of them and are surprised that the GFlops delta is mirrored in the GFlops/3kW delta?

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US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux

John Robson
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Re: Numbers always confuse me

Not using spectrum from 0Hz to 28GHz, but some bandwidth around the 28GHz carrier...I think

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Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets

John Robson
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Re: I don't like it.

"What will people give me for these here two chickens and a goat? .. don't laugh, I believe even the tax man would be after the eggs on a barter transaction."

Certainly in Australia (where bitcoin is not a currency, but barter, and therefore taxable)

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Uber alles-holes, claims lawsuit: Taxi biz sued by blind passengers

John Robson
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Re: I'm going to catch hell for this...

Since it's not an "on the street hailing" service there is no issue with people setting their own conditions - and saying "I can't take dogs because I'm allergic to them" is a reasonable restriction.

It simply means you won't get chosen for that fare.

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John Robson
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Re: I'm going to catch hell for this...

I could reasonably accept drivers who were allergic to dogs - but then they should specify that they can't take assistance dogs.

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FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist

John Robson
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Re: The Good Stuff Is Encrypted, So Bite Me Surveillance State

Just don't come to UK when failure to hand over the key is an offence with time involved.

And of course on release you can be arrested and asked to hand over the key.

Repeat.

No, forgetting it is not an excuse.

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US! govt! ordered! Yahoo! to! hand! over! user! data! or! pay! $250k! fine! PER! DAY!

John Robson
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Advertising...

Line on this year's published reports:

- Protecting user privacy against unconstitutional surveillance from US Gvt. $90m (See Secret court transcripts #2343/24b)

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Who on Earth would buy a digi-watch? Answer: NUDISTS - in their millions

John Robson
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Smartphone glued to ear?

He doesn't get out much - the phone is a distinctly secondary (or lower) function...

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It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

John Robson
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Re: Engage smug mode

Yep - although there are a couple of things I've had to install from source (although at least one of those the "source installer" was itself a package, so it may well get updated automagicaly anyway)

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

John Robson
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Really?

"There are five per cent of people who don't pay - so the funding available to make those quality programmes is less by £200m (sic). The criminalisation does ensure the payments are made."

5% of people don't pay - fair enough. How many of those watch live TV broadcasts.

I don't pay, but then I don't watch live broadcasts either, so that's £145 you can take out of the £200m. Neither do a couple of colleagues at work - so that's another couple of fee's you're overestimating the shortfall by.

Remind me of the Hollywood Mafia.

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Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

John Robson
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Navigation...

When I'm riding, something that notifies me of upcoming turns, and that I can have a decent look at (i.e. not on the bars, a long way away and inevitably pointed to optimise sky reflections) would be useful.

Would it be £200? Maybe - if it did HR measurements from the wrist, and could pair with ANT+/BT sensors for other "sports" information then there could be a market. But the thing has to do this independently - it needs to not rely on a phone.

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Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs

John Robson
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Not quite...

Tape is for stuff you want to read sequentially...

And these files are sequential in nature.

£50 for a 2TB HDD (consumer grade)

£35 for a 2.5TB tape (LTO 6)

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Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it

John Robson
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Re: I don't geddit.

I read it as underage pics = ban.

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Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

John Robson
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Standards...

No mention of if it even gets down to EN1078, or if it manages to achieve the higher (but still very low) SNELL standards?

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Heads up, Chromebook: Here come the sub-$200 Windows 8.1 portables

John Robson
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600 pixels?

Really?

I know this isn't a high end machine, but 600 pixels is a little limiting. It's an 8 inch screen, 1024 shouldn't be beyond the wit of manufacture...

My eeePC 701 had a titchy screen, but then it defined a new way of working. Eventually (last year) its keyboard failed, and it's not worth repairing it (shame).

These are late additions to the tablet party, use a, how do I say this diplomatically, less popular environment and have pretty poor hardware to boot. Why are they costing as much as $200?

$200 would get you a current generation Nexus7 (First hit, I'm sure cheaper is available: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/google-nexus-7-16gb-black/1484847.p?id=1219052238174)

OK, you might want to add a keyboard, or an OTG cable. but the hardware difference...

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Microsoft, eBay apps open to man-in-the-middle diddle

John Robson
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Users could...

"The information could allow users to uninstall affected apps until fixes were produced or could run it over trusted networks."

If only you could rely on apps shutting down, and actually being shut down.

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YES, I have ridden the UNICORN: The Ubuntu Utopic unicorn

John Robson
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Re: why?

Outlook?

Your complaint is that there is no outlook clone?

How many people outside their office use outlook/exchange? I can't think of many people who use a mail client at all, pretty much everyone I know uses webmail (gmail, outlook, hotmail, take your pick).

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

John Robson
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Country / company

“We were gearing ourselves up on the basis Russia would become a full member of the WTO [World Trade Organisation], operating the way other companies operate but this is disappointing,"

That's where we've been going wrong, we need a CEO, not a PM...

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

John Robson
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"The idea is to make pirate sites more inaccessible for the casual user - although they're still accessible to the determined tech savvy leecher. BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said the top 25 pirate sites were now blocked by the major UK ISPs, reducing traffic to them by around 80 per cent."

So the UK accounted for more than 80% of the traffic to these sites?

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Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds

John Robson
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We'll not tell you who

No, it wasn't atheros.

SO I just need to start a rumour against each manufacturers, and get them all denied except one?

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

John Robson
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So no CPR on Casualty until the "correct" gender of nurse can be found?

She hadn't yet passed out, but this was basically the "PR" bit of CPR...

Although there are many male nurses my experience suggests that they are outnumbered by their female colleagues. So women need to be doubly sure not to require CPR on TV now...

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Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

John Robson
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" I certainly wouldn't wear an expensive watch for exercise."

Iff it can do standalone navigation (as per OSMand for example) then I would -more convenient than a Garmin or similar. For that matter the BT4 would pick up a cadence sensor and the watch does HR itself. It would be a nice device. I'd get one...

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Galileo can't do the fandango: Two Euro GPS nav sats sent into WRONG ORBIT

John Robson
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Re: "Sometimes wish I never gone up at all"

"At least this time it's not feet vs. meter."

Gaaaah

Metre - a metre is a distance, a meter is used to measure something.

Stupid USians - the order of letters in a word is important.

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NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess

John Robson
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Key expiry

Surely this would be a useful feature to add to keys (and enable by default)?

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Totes AMAZEBALLS! Side boob, binge-watch and clickbait added to Oxford Dictionary

John Robson
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More importanly

It's just two words, both of which are already in the dictionary.

Combining their usage doesn't add more information than was already present.

I eagerly await other combinations of words being added, and of course each and every one of Shakespeare's plays, sonnets etc. should be first.

That should keep them busy for a while.

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Boffins brew TCP tuned to perform on lossy links like Wi-Fi networks

John Robson
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Re: @Suricou Raven (was: @ Brian Scott (was: Broadcast?)_

Very useful to allow it - OK, it's on a limited subnet, but when many things need to listen to the same data - it's useful.

Particularly if that data is out of date as fast as is it created - say in an audio distribution network.

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HTTP-Yes! Google boosts SSL-encrypted sites in search results

John Robson
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Re: When I can self sign, and provide my CA by side channel (e.g. DNSSEC)

"Encouraging the use of self-signed certificates is never going to happen. On a public facing website, their use only encourages users to blindly click through security warnings. Their only appropriate place would be where you have control over all the client devices so you can install your own certificate authority."

Hello - there is a really big clue in the title of my post, let me just quote it for you:

"and provide my own CA by side channel"

There would be no security warning, and rather than trusting some Iranian cert authority I've never heard of I'd be asking you to trust, for instance, the DNS root cert - which feels alot safer to me.

The root cert signs the country cert which signs my domain cert which signs my "SSL CA" record.

The SSL CA is then trusted within that domain, so I can use it to authenticate my website, and the encryption comes for free.

I can update my CA on a daily basis if I'm paranoid, or more likely an annual basis

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John Robson
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When I can self sign, and provide my CA by side channel (e.g. DNSSEC)

Then I'll go HTTPS more freely, but at the moment I don't feel the need to pay people

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Microsoft fixes all those shaky GoPro vids nobody wants to watch

John Robson
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Wow...

This, alongside that new map stitching, is a real "value add" service, which would be well provided with on a server... (cloud if you must)

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TracBeam sues Apple over location

John Robson
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Trollface

Re: A US patent doesn't seem to be worth the paper it's printed on anymore

"I think you'll find somebody has already patented that idea, as long as it's printed using a computer."

So I can patent it by adding "or mobile device" at the end?

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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

John Robson
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Re: We are all going to love...

"...it when the driver engages the regenerative braking and the stop lights come on every time the "throttle" is released. Still, it should stop tailgating :-)"

Tesla lights do this as well (on the S, not the roadster) since to slow down that hard on a normal car you'd have to hit the brakes. At a measured 40kW of regen braking it's actually quite significant. It's a good idea to have the brake lights come on when you start slowing down fast, whether you're heating up bits of disposable material or refilling the "tank" whilst you do it.

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John Robson
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How long is the battery warranty

Was 100k miles too hard to guarantee - 99,360 miles is all we can offer, those extra 640 miles really do the damage...

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Facebook wants Linux networking as good as FreeBSD

John Robson
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Re: Simpler Solution?

There is always a bottleneck - maybe if they used BSD then the memory *would* be a bottleneck, and a slower one than the linux networking bottleneck.

In which case hiring to improve the linux networking stack is a good call...

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

John Robson
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Re: At last

"Real Scientists, when they get the same result with their null control as with the DUT, look for flaws in the measurement instruments."

Yes - but they didn't get the same result, they got some thrust, but much less than with the test thruster.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

John Robson
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Re: "a tool Microsoft uses to hide its source code from being copied"

I'll grant you merge issues - but the user/machine separation is handled just find in *nix world.

/etc contains the machine defaults

Your home dir contains your preferences, which may override the machine defaults

Parameters set at run time override both...

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

John Robson
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Re: Post PC

Reasonable assumption, it was mostly prose - although as is pointed out in the article/linked review with Wacom inputs for a tablet they're moving rather well into the graphical space as well. I've not used a tablet-ised Photoshop, then again I rarely use more than the most basic of features in the GIMP either, so I'm relying on reviews rather heavily here.

I believe I made specific mention that video editing was an exception - but that's more to do with sheer computational grunt than anything else. Yes the lifetime of workstations and "mobile workstations" will be measured in decades, if not more (unless pulling in remote CPU becomes feasible - and that feels a long way off, and running secondary++ monitors becomes the norm). Of course the Surface tries to accommodate this by being a full bown OS and docking in to a monitor at your home/office - so a high powered tablet of that kind could replace them. You might even be able to dock onto more CPU???

What's the difference between an iPad running Pages and a mac running Pages?

The OSX version has a few more formatting features to choose from, but it's the same(ish) keyboard into basically the same software. The iPad has a smaller* screen, but doesn't have lumps taken up with menu bars and docks etc. it's still perfectly capable of holding a decent amount of content on screen in a visible fashion.

*Although not that much smaller than the portable end of the laptop/notebook range.

Frankly I think the point is that peripherals are king (assuming that software exists to do what you want).

The advantage a tablet has therefore, is that most of the time you don't need the peripherals at all, but they can be there when you want them - and for *most* people (i.e. non el-reg readership) that's a fairly rare event.

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John Robson
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Re: Post PC

My wife did it. Her second book was written on an iPad. She's not particularly technical, so the "just works" element is very attractive.

No I don't expect you to use the soft keyboard, any more than I expect you to click on the onscreen keyboard on a PC. She used a BT keyboard, and with Apple selling some rather nice models it's an excellent combination. An "origami" case protects the keyboard in a bag and provides a convenient prop for the iPad (with case) in and orientation.

Tablets are perfectly good devices, and deserve well chosen accessories, just as your PC does.

Oh, and I don't expect a hunt and peck user to type a full manuscript, so an onscreen semi alphabetic keyboard puts the keys in an order they recognise.

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John Robson
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Post PC

For most people (i.e. the non el-reg readership) I *still* think that a tablet outdoes a laptop, and a desktop.

Simple to use, no moving the mouse to move an arrow on screen, decent battery and screen. Pair a keyboard, or for true "hunt-and-peck" users simply install an alphabetic or semi-alphabetic keyboard on screen.

Email, web browsing, writing a book, all things that are easily achievable on a tablet. Video editing might want more grunt, but that's as niche as compiling large software packages.

I've stopped with smartphones now. If/When I upgrade my Nexus7 (1st gen) I might get something with 3G capability, but my feature phone shares it's 3G connection by bluetooth, so it's hardly a deal breaker. My mobile operator will do me a data SIM for the same cost as the data bit of my existing contract, so that's not a change either way. I don't buy into the phone upgrade every 18 months lark either.

I like the 7" device size - it just slips in a pocket nicely.

Tablet + feature phone (so it actually makes calls and the battery lasts me all week) is an attractive combination. Add a bluetooth keyboard and I've suddenly got everything I need with me - miniHDMI out would be nice for a second (or replicated) screen

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Tesla and Panasonic to build NOT-SO-SECRET GigaFactory in US

John Robson
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Re: Rather a reversal of roles

Or maybe.... local control

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Cold storage, Facebook style? Flash FPGA controller to knock your SoCs off, vows upstart

John Robson
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Re: YASSPTH

Promising the earth is much easier when you are promising cheap flash with low rewrite cycles.

I don't need my main storage to be fast, I need it to be able to chuck me data a reasonable rate, but most of it is load and leave - if I can buy a couple (one at my house, one at a family member living on a different tectonic plate) for a reasonable price/GB then I'm in.

10TB SATA backup disk for a few hundred quid?

That'll do nicely for all my home data archiving. How often do I delete photos/videos of family?

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Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away

John Robson
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Re: "Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

Of which no instances were found in the APP^H^H^HPlay Store.

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You, Verizon. What's with the download throttle? Explain yourself – FCC boss

John Robson
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Surely the...

..."for those on our unlimited" is merely for the convenience of those not on that tarrif, who won't be using much data anyway...

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