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* Posts by John Robson

809 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Forget Wi-Fi, boffins get 150Mbps Li-Fi connection from a lightbulb

John Robson
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Headlights?

Taillights much more useful.. information about required braking could proceed back along the traffic queue virtually instantly, and therefore prevent all manner of accidents.

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Wanna run someone over in your next Ford? No dice, it won't let you

John Robson
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Re: Self-driving cars are never going to take off

"The nice thing about human-driven cars of course, is that there's a fleshy meat sack behind the wheel who assumes (nearly) all legal responsibility for its use."

Really?

Our judicial system doesn't agree with you:

http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/what-the-law-told-us-this-week-no-4/

It’s not your fault. It may be your vehicle, it may be the weather, but it’s not you that’s ultimately in control of your vehicle. Nor, thus, are you responsible for it destroying the lives of others either within or without it.

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Listen, Google and Amazon: Soon we may not even use tape for COLD STORAGE

John Robson
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And I thought...

That the zuckerburgs etc were looking at "poor quality" flash as a solution to this issue.

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New Terminator-style 'bots can self-assemble, leap, climb and SWARM

John Robson
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Re: Control

Wouldn't that require another actuator to rotate the flywheel perpendicular to it's axis?

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John Robson
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Control

If they only have a single actuator then can they not only jump "forwards" and "backwards" - how do they turn a corner?

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Apple iMac 27-inch 2013: An extra hundred quid for what exactly?

John Robson
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Re: Another comparison

Vauxhall <-> Mercedes comparison is entirely fair.

Since both are limited to the same 30/40/50/60/70mph depending on the road they actually provide the same function.

You're paying how many more tens of thousands of pounds for a badge with three spikes...

You're paying how much more for a badge with a bite taken out of it...

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'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

John Robson
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So the story is...

Worlds safest car has major failure, and noone is hurt.

Doesn't that rather match the "worlds safest car" moniker?

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A14 to become UK's first internet-connected ROAD

John Robson
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Because what we really need

Is WiFi on roads....

Trains I can understand, lots of people doing nothing safety critical - plenty of time to fire up a tablet/laptop/phone and use some data.

On the A14 the vast majority of cars (certainly in rush hour a few years ago) are single occupant - i.e. everyone is driving, and should be taking responsibility for each other.

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Torvalds: 'We're not doing Linux95 … for a few years, at least'

John Robson
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Re: If it's too hard for the experts...

"I long ago gave up on doing backups. I have actively moved to a model where I use replaceable machines instead. I've got the stuff I care about generally on a couple of different machines, and then keys etc backed up on a separate encrypted USB key.

So it's inconvenient. Mainly from a timing standpoint. But nothing more."

Basically he lost the work he was actively doing.

That's pretty much inevitable...

He archives emails (off the mail server) as he works, maybe he should review that method - but he's been doing this for a while, so there is a good chance that the event is sufficiently rare that the occasional "can you resend merge emails for this branch" email is a good compromise.

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Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

John Robson
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Re: USB OTG

Works fine for me on a first generation N7 - regularly plug in either a USB drive or a mouse (use a BT keyboard)

I think I have "Nexus Media Importer" to make the import of data easier, I can't recall if it was essential - but if it was it was about the same as the cost of the USB OTG cable (the trial version is time limited, to confirm operation IIRC - although it's a while since I've installed it)

The mouse comes in really handy for remote/virtual desktop style operations - the USB drive allows me to take a TB drive in the car, and play any video the kids want in the car - or to take a USB stick and be a bit careful about loading it.

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Flash! Ah-ahh! Saviour of the universe? It'll save every one of us?

John Robson
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Re: Best upgrade...

"I think that in 3 to 5 years SSD will replace disks on NAS as well in terms of affordability, however, rapid access is not as important on a NAS as it is on a laptop / desktop of course.

My biggest worry with spinning disks on a hard drive is reliability and file errors and every few months having to do a scandisk /f and crossing my fingers hoping for the best."

If Zuckerberg has his way then I agree - he is looking for low power, low rewrite, low speed (for flash) CHEAP storage for pictures of cats from more than a few hours ago...

That's basically the function 90% of my NAS space needs.

I can then just drop 2 bits of rust (or "proper" SSDs) in for the last few percent, which is actually being changed by people

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Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

John Robson
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MRI

We live in a world terrified of the word nuclear, to the extent that when technology is used to actually help doctora understand what might be wrong and heal us we rename it to avoid the word.

That's all that is wrong...

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100 MEEELION self-driving cars will be sold globally in 2035 – report

John Robson
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Re: Driverless cars

"Currently, only private cars can take you from any point A to point B, without changing conveyances."

Really - my pedal cycle does the same.

In fact a friends motorbike does the same as well...

As a cyclist I'd far rather see automated cars than driven ones - machines tend to be far more patient and predictable, as well as getting tired/distracted far less often.

As a motorist I'd rather see automated cars than driven ones - it would make life cheaper and far less stressful on the roads of today.

As a motorists who quite enjoys driving I'd therefore also want a "driver" option on my vehicle - which is available for use in appropriate locations (i.e. tracks).

Of course an automated vehicle has no inherent objection to an electric drive (and the low noise level would be appreciated by many) allowing redistribution of emissions to more appropriate locations (and preferably to nuclear/geothermal/??? plants). Infrastructure involving on-the-move charging on motorways would become much easier to justify as well.

There are many, many benefits to this technology, and as for objections about driving at night in the rain. They don't exactly use HD cameras - they use all sorts of different sensors, which allow the software to have a good, all round, picture of the surrounding area - and more importantly to know where it doesn't have a view and drive accordingly....

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IT now 10 percent of world's electricity consumption, report finds

John Robson
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Manufacture?

Isn't manufacturer of devices a capital cost, allocated to my ourcahasing decisions - and should therefore not be allocated to each an every query I make...

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Telefonica and Arqiva set to mop up BILLIONS in smart meter cash

John Robson
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Either

TETRA or weightless seem like better options than 2g for a smart meter in a basement

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Foxconn mulls solar panels, sticking Apple where sun doesn't shine

John Robson
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Japanese...

"The Japanese are moving away from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima incident, using solar power to fill the gaps and allay a population spooked by the dangers of atomic energy."

So they're moving away from atomic energy to... atomic energy with a really poor delivery system (to electrickity)

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Apple wins Samsung import ban, loses 'Battle of Rounded Corners II'

John Robson
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Re: RC II??

Developed? Rounded corners are not a development

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Microsoft cuts Surface Pro price by $100

John Robson
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Re: Still too expensive

Agreed.

My nexus (with BT keyboard and USB mouse when needed) does basically everything I want. My parents have a transformer, and it does extremely well.

My wife, an author, wrote her last book (collaborating with another author) entirely on her iPad - because it's nice, light, portable, usable and with a decent editor for £9.

They are productivity devices, when you have appropriate peripherals (much like a PC needs peripherals). That they are also convenient to use without peripherals is just a bonus....

PS - for old games try DOSbox

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No fondleslabs please, says Microsoft as Office 365 hits Android

John Robson
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Because I want to use my small screen

for editting documents.

Is their tablet racketeering not up to speed yet?

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Chromecast: We get our SWEATY PAWS on Google's tiny telly pipe

John Robson
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CEC?

Why doesn't it set up using your TV remote and CEC?

Could even have a direct UI then...

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Virgin Media hangs from traffic lights, hands out free Wi-Fi to Brummies

John Robson
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Limit the speed...

Frankly when in the centre of $CITY I can't see a need for a free super high speed connection - even iPlayer will run over a Mb or so IIRC.

Else if I lived in B'Ham - why would I have a fixed line, or a (virgin) broadband connection, at all?

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Smartwatch makers: You need apps to beat Apple

John Robson
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e-ink, gps, BT/3G/WiFi

With 3G/WiFi optional (but it would replace my phone if it did that and bridging to wireless)

I don't need colour on a watch - I *do* want battery life (although frankly another daily charge isn't going to kill me), and that's where e-ink comes in.

But almost more important than anything else is that I want a device which is discreet. Even the garmin watches don't manage that...

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Microsoft admits it's '18 months behind' with Windows 8 slabs

John Robson
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WTF?

Re: What took them so long?

>> people want to be "productive at work, to be able to print and have a keyboard".

>Sounds like they've just reinvented the laptop. If you want a keyboard, the absolute worst place to put it is

>on the screen - the small, expensive and in entirely the wrong place for typing - screen.

That's what bluetooth is for...

I sit down with a tablet on a stand, pull out the BT keyboard and type away quite happily.

I can even plug in a mouse for the odd occasion I need one (think remote desktop etc).

So my "laptop" has an excellent screen, a 90% sized keyboard (that folds up nice and small) and the two aren't tied together to the point that my screen is too low and too close for comfort.

It also has an 8-12 hour battery life without the excessive cost associated with "ultra book" labels... With modern network printers there is no problem there either...

My wife, an author, has used her iPad exclusively for 6-9 months. They really are usable as productivity devices - assuming you add the correct peripherals.

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BT slammed for FAILING to explain why its broadband investment has shrunk

John Robson
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Live in sticks

get worse services, it's not a new idea

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Linux 3.11 to be known as 'Linux for Workgroups'

John Robson
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WTF?

Re: Indeed!

"Check this out.... Windows 8.0 still has Windows 3.1 crude code built in. You can see it easily.

Go to Drive Properties from the desktop... the ugly blue and purple drive pie-chart... zero difference from Windows95 and a bit updated from Win3.x.

Microsoft has little talent."

Hang on - we're berating them for changing the UI and for keeping it consistent...

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Microsoft's murder most foul: TechNet is dead

John Robson
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Re: About OpenOffice - Display of incompetence...

Last time I was in a mixed environment OO handled the (then) latest MS Office formats better then the versions of MS Office we had on the mac or windows systems - even after installing the filters.

And I've converted a number of macro based spread sheets to libreoffice, it "just work"ed.

I don't doubt that there are some dodgy bits of VBA that won't transfer, but in most cases it's all happy.

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Live or let dial - phones ain’t what they used to be

John Robson
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Facepalm

Re: No correlation betwixt one and t'other

No 999 is slow - deliberately.

Only the first two are actually required (hence 9 for an outside line on most PBX systems).

The third provides time for the network to connect you and an operator to be on the line...

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O3b's satellites on launch pad, ready to bring cats+porn to billions

John Robson
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So perfect for an ISP in a remote location not served by fibre?

Rather than a fibre you have a trio of dishes, then a local distribution (3G/4G/WiFi/cables???)

That sounds like a good solution for much of Africa. Probably add some DNS caches and Squid proxies for best effect...

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Who should play the next Doctor? Nominations needed!

John Robson
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Someone unknown (or mostly)

It's a hugely taxing schedule, so a relative unknown is normally the best bet in terms of Dr. longevity.

If female (although I can't quite get my head round that) then Sue Perkins would probably carry it off well...

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iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent

John Robson
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Re: Low impact and USA only

"Now who will buy an iPhone4 when they can get 4S or a 5?

Who buys the iPad or iPad2 when they can get a iPad(3)/retina ?"

Me on both counts, in the last few months. It helps that the price of the iPad2 and iPhone4 are significantly lower than the newer versions - yet they still do the job that my wife and I require.

The iPad is a primary computing device, no laptop/PC for the last 6 months (just bought a mac mini because the iPad can't configure an older iPod Classic.

Why would I pay significnatly more for an iPad3/retina or a 4S/5 when the 2 and 4 do the job just fine.

Similarly I'll not be throwing any more money to HTC for a while, because my >2 year old phone works just fine...

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Apple releases Mountain Lion, Safari updates

John Robson
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So more than 2 weeks away then...

"Apple provides a link to its security updates page for "detailed information about the security content of this update," but as per usual with OS X updates, that information has yet to be posted, but will appear when Cupertinian web folks get around to it."

Takes them two weeks doesn't it?

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Shorteurs rejoice as Vine comes to Android

John Robson
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To be fair...

It's the easiest test platform - if an fanboi won't pay for an app then fandroids certainly won't...

I just fail to see the point entirely...

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Bobbies need broadband-enabled gear, insist 4G LTE fans

John Robson
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Black Helicopters

Streaming video

Can be useful for the emergency services, but not from "hostages" from Chase vehicles etc - the second traffic cop in a car viewing the live helicopter image of the person he is chasing might not be an absurd idea for instance.

The ability to see what officers are actually doing from base might also be useful in various situations - do we need to send more people into this burning building - yes there are three warm bodies in there, seen over the thermal imaging camera, the fireman can therefore go and get one and two others will be on their way.

You *can* do these things with voice, but you get more interesting abilities when you don't have to.

OTOH the current voice system works pretty darned well, so LTE would need to buck up it's ideas in that department!

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Garden fertilised by Twitter output wins Gold at Chelsea

John Robson
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Fail:

“One of the things we’re trying to do through our research is to understand how digital media can be made to meaningfully intersect with the physical world," explains Shaun Lawson, Professor of Social Computing at Lincoln.

Unless of course this in an Edison moment...

"I've not failed, just found 10,000 ways not to make a better light bulb"

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WW II U-boat attacks prompt new US response

John Robson
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Joke

Re: Fun fact

Surely we just shut the barrier and set it off?

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HTC woes prompts 'leave now' tweet from former staffer

John Robson
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Holmes

Re: Quality is key

Their problem for me is that my 2-2.5 year old DHD is still working just fine - and I expect it to go on working for another couple of years at least.

This is a challenge - you make something that falls apart and get berated, but if you make something that lasts then you get no future sales, because in this arena things move so fast I'll be looking completely afresh by the time I need a new phone...

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Last time CO2 was this high, the world was underwater? NO, actually

John Robson
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Re: Really?

35m in 3 million years is 11 micrometres / year

Tectonic plates move at around 1-10 centimetres / year

Not fast really - it's just a *long* time...

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US boffin builds 32-way Raspberry Pi cluster

John Robson
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Fans overkill?

Is it just me that thinks that 4 fans is overkill for a device which basically doesn't need cooling in normal operation.

I know it will be running flat out more than most, but 4 large fans?

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Massive EXPLOSION visible to naked eye SEEN ON MOON

John Robson
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Re: 56000 mph

And does, regularly.

The earth is somewhat a larger target than the moon. It gets hit significantly more often...

Air - it's more important than just breathing...

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Steve JOBS finally DEFEATS the PC - from BEYOND THE GRAVE

John Robson
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Facepalm

Post PC...

My family now live in a post PC house - we have a combination of iOS and Android devices, and they serve our needs very well. If I'm being open then I also have a Linux server (Network services, including VPN) and a FreeNAS - but those are using old hardware to do the job of an appliance.

Pages and Keynote on the iPad are a bit limited compared with their PC versions, but they still do the job well for the professional author/speaker in the family. Google docs serve personal documentation needs quite well on both sides of the OS fence.

The one thing we can't do at the moment... manage music on the iPod classic.

I'd happily pay £30 (seems to be the going rate) for a dongle to connect the iPad to the iPod and manage it's music that way (remember the FreeNAS box for central storage), but for some reason it's not an option.

Pretty much that one single requirement is going to push us into buying a PC, which will (almost certainly) be a mac mini (our first ever mac) - so I guess they have their marketing right, or rather MS have it SO badly wrong...

PS - Yes I could probably use gtkPod or equivalent, but to achieve a sustainable WAF it has to be iTunes...

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Apple seeks techies, designers to revive iWork office suite

John Robson
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Thumb Up

elreg

Hopefully they'll bring many of the missing features to the iOS versions -they're good, but they're a touch limited compared with the desktop versions...

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Rolls-Royce climbs aboard Bloodhound SUPERSONIC car

John Robson
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Facepalm

Re: Interface (Verb)

No - it means make it think it's in a plane.

Oh, and don't let the avionics decide that at zero feet above ground level you've crashed, and should therefore shut down the engine...

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Microsoft: YES! You can have your desktop back again for FREE!

John Robson
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WTF?

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"Ribbon has (by and large) won users over"

Really?

All the users who have an extra couple of inches of monitor they don't actually want to use? I still hate it. I can never find what I want to use any more - I'm always hunting for functionality.

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Who is Samsung trying to kid? There will NEVER be a 5G network

John Robson
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Go

Re: 5G WHY at All ?

I'd quite like to see it used for broadband - much easier to deploy than "better copper" or fibre...

Just pop an antenna array onto your chimney and point it at the local base station.

Also likely to get better choice of providers and more reliable service (given how bad my copper often is)

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Samsung sends gigabit '5G' signal TWO WHOLE KILOMETRES

John Robson
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Lampposts....

There are quite alot of these devices around.

They have power, they have elevation, they are more densely clustered in highly populated areas - cover the vast majority of "places where people are"...

Is it just me that thinks they'd make a good network for mini/micro.../atto cells - with a secondary mesh network connecting them together.

A national network of these, wholesaling out peering links (with authentication and subscriber authentication handled by the "ISP"). I know the concept of BT MkII is unattractive, but it has to beat trying to roll out 4 identical networks with high coverage...

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Degenerate dwarfs tear neighbors limb from limb

John Robson
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Boffin

Units,,,

There are two units of mass - the ton and the tonne.

They are quite similar, but not the same. It's not a question of spelling, but when one is talking about several of them per teaspoon you can take your pick.

In ElReg units...

1 ton is ~ 215 jugs

1 tonne is ~ 238 jugs

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Oz chap blows his own Google Glass

John Robson
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Coat

Is it just me...

“If I want to access my emails I hold down the button on my earpiece and it will announce 'I'm listening', to which I reply with 'Open Facebook'"

Isn't "Open Facebook" an odd command to use to access email?

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Good news: Debian 7 is rock solid. Bad news: It's called Wheezy

John Robson
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I think I'll wait for a while...

To let Wheezy prove it's mettle as a stable release...

Me - an early adopter? Well, OK, sometimes...

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Vodafone slurps MEELLLIONS for redirecting police hotline calls

John Robson
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Email

A decent email service would help a bit...

If it's a crime in progress then 999 is appropriate, if it's not then it can probably wait a couple of minutes to go into an email.

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