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* Posts by Simon Says

43 posts • joined 11 Jun 2008

3 offers best iPhone deal

Simon Says

Tethering no extra on Three

Another point in Three's favour is that they include tethering by default - you can use your 1GB for whatever you like, and if 1GB isn't enough then an extra 2GB is only £5/month extra.

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Orange outs iPhone 4 pricing

Simon Says
Black Helicopters

Any, any, any, any, you can use any SIM...

You can use any SIM you like in an iPhone (provided it's on the right network if the iPhone is locked). The only "benefit" of iPhone tariffs used to be the unlimited data you got with them, and on O2 the perk of Visual Voicemail support. Since now loads of other tariffs (including SIM free and some PAYG) have large data allowances (and unlimited in rare cases), it seems you may well be better off just getting the iPhone SIM-free or on PAYG and then choosing whatever PAYG/SIM-only deal suits you best, as the iPhone tariffs are getting ridiculous, especially as they seem to have very little subsidy included in them compared to comparable phones.

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Simon Says
Thumb Up

giffgaff is your friend

giffgaff £10 goodybag is a PAYG monthly bundle that gets you 100 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited data (and with them unlimited is actually unlimited). Even pairing it with the SIM free phone from Apple ends up costing you less than the cheapest cost of ownership from Orange.

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iPhone 4 no longer available to UK buyers?

Simon Says

It's the bumpers...

You will probably find it is the bumpers (or possibly another accessory) that is delaying the estimated dispatch. If you delete those items from the order it should then show that the iPhone 4 will be dispatched in time for delivery on the 24th.

Oh and I think the confusion over availability stems from the two different methods Apple is offering. Full pre-orders (that you pay for upfront and which get delivered to you on the 24th) are still fine, but "reserve and collect" (which is simply asking your local Apple store to keep one for you that you then go and pay for on the day) are "sold out". Presumably they were only allowing a limited number to be set aside in each store (especially as no advance monetary commitment needs to be made on the part of the person doing the reserving) and they are wanting to make sure people could just turn up on the day and have a half decent chance at picking one up.

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Three intros second-gen MiFi

Simon Says
Black Helicopters

and...

mywi on iPhone (jailbroken)

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iPhone 4 coming to T-Mobile UK

Simon Says
Boffin

T-Mobile USA <> T-Mobile UK

If by "won't be able to use it properly" you are referring to the earlier post about different bands for upload and download then you have got your wires crossed a bit - it is only T-Mobile USA that does that; T-Mobile UK use 3G in the normal way.

I agree with the posters further up the thread - it is always a good idea to try out the different networks first if you are planning to switch, and most offer free PAYG SIM's with which you can try. The iPhone coming to 3UK as well is good news I think - they have a pretty good network for data and have typically had quite competitive tariffs too; it will be interesting to see if we simply see carbon copy tariffs again this time around or whether there will actually be a bit more variation.

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O2 to step back from unlimited mobile data deals

Simon Says
Stop

giffgaff is a subsidiary of O2

Yes they are owned by O2, but they are a company in their own right and they set their own tariffs and have their own arrangements with O2 for carrying their service. Their whole model is around low cost (basic customer service is provided by other customers on their forums, who are rewarded with payback for doing so - a core team of support staff deals with account specific issues), so I don't see any particular reason that they will be changing their rates anytime soon - especially as their unlimited data with goodybags (their monthly bundles) only just got introduced a couple of months ago.

They have had a separate free data promotion going on since their launch 6 months ago which was due to end at the end of May (but got extended to end of June), but that is quite separate from the goodybag data bundles which aren't due to change at all.

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Simon Says
Thumb Up

giffgaff still have unlimited data

giffgaff still have unlimited data on their goodybags (PAYG monthly bundles), and they don't even have a FUP - they just stipulate that it is for handset use only (i.e. non-tethering). They only just introduced these goodybags so I'm sure they must have sorted out a fairly long term wholesale agreement with O2 (their carrier) for data. Their free data promotion (for non-goodybag users) ends at the end of June, but that's been on the cards for months anyway - and was originally planned to finish at the end of May but got extended for an extra month as they were waiting on O2 to get some mechanisms in place for their planned charging structure for PAYG data. The goodybag unlimited data is entirely separate from that promotion and is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Worth checking them out at giffgaff.com - I've been with them since January and very pleased so far. I'm currently on their £10 goodybag which gets me 100 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited data each month - not to mention the £220 payback I'm getting this month for the last 6 months of forum participation and friend recommendation signups. They also have £15 (with 300 mins) and £35 (with unlimited minutes) goodybags available, or pure PAYG if you prefer - but that's not very attractive for smartphone data users. They are apparently also looking at getting into mobile broadband too, so might well be worth looking at for that as and when that comes along.

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Simon Says
Boffin

smartphone tariff <> iPhone tariff

"smartphone tariffs" are these new ones they are introducing (which will be used for all new smartphone contracts, including the iPhone 4). The "iPhone tariffs" are the current ones that will become ringfenced as of June 24th. After that you can remain on the old iPhone tariffs and keep your unlimited tariff (with supposed FUP which they've never seemed to bother enforcing), but as soon as you want to upgrade your handset or start a new contract, you will be moved onto the new smartphone tariffs. In other words, the only way to get an iPhone 4 and keep the old unlimited data will be to get it on PAYG and simply continue using your old ringfinced iPhone tariff but without a formal upgrade.

The new smartphone tariffs will, for a limited period (until October 1st), have unlimited data too - but after that their caps will come into force.

If O2 are to be believed (and I'm not quite sure I believe this statistic), 97% of their customers use 500MB or less, and only 1% use more than 750MB. Even if that was true, it rather begs the question why not simply enforce the FUP that supposedly already exists? I expect their 97% stats are for all customers (even those on ancient phones with virtually no mobile internet capability), so this is almost certainly going to affect more than 3% of their users.

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iPhone 4 splashes down on both sides of the pond

Simon Says

FaceTime <> 3G videocalling

The reason FaceTime will be launching WiFi only is that the FaceTime calls are free, and therefore the 3G networks are going to need some convincing to allow them on their networks when they will essentially cut off their potential revenue for paid 3G videocalls. Given that the WWDC keynote is always US-centric, it wouldn't surprise me if the no-3G was an AT&T restriction anyway (like how they were so slow with MMS and tethering), and it might not necessarily follow that it will be wifi-only elsewhere.

That said, I don't imagine it will necessarily take off anymore than 3G videocalling did. Just because it's free and higher resolution, doesn't mean you look like any less of an ass when using it in public.

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Simon Says
Stop

What O2 discounts?

I think the author is getting confused as to what O2 will be offering. They will be having a limited time opportunity to upgrade early to the iPhone 4 - and it certainly won't be discounted. The deal will be that there will be a reduced upgrade fee (of £20 per month remaining of existing contract), but other than that the price will be the same as for any other customer - details of the early upgrade offer are now on their iPhone 4 pages. There has been no suggestion that I have seen that the handset prices themselves will vary between the UK operators.

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Jobs: iPhone sales spank Android

Simon Says
Badgers

iPhone tariffs aren't required...

Or you can just bite the bullet and buy it "outright" on PAYG (and unlock it if necessary - which you can do officially with O2 for £15), and choose whichever contract or PAYG offering you like. It may be a significant outlay upfront (as is any high end phone on PAYG), but the iPhone has such high residuals that you can afford to sell it 12 months later for a significant amount and use it to subsidise next year's model for a much reduced "cost" (e.g. I sold my 16GB 3G for £275 this time last year to help pay for the 32GB 3GS).

I'm currently paying just £10/month for 100 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited data with giffgaff, plus I get payback from them too for occasionally helping people out on their forum. Between that payback and what I should be able to sell my 32GB 3GS for, I will probably completely pay for a 32GB iPhone 4.

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O2, Vodafone list simple iPad data deals

Simon Says

3 better for longterm?

Seems to me that 3 still offer as good or better data rates for their mobile broadband. Either 1GB for £10 as the official iPad tariffs do, or opt to buy a chunk of data in one lump that can is valid for up to 12 months - e.g. 12GB for £79.99, which works out at £6.66 per GB. If you get it with a MiFi then you save a bit of money as you only need the WiFi version of the iPad (though you do end up having to take the MiFi device with you of course).

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And now - new stealth jumpjet makes first hover landing

Simon Says
Boffin

Not that unknown

The demonstration version of the jet (X35B) performed several VLs (and VTOs) way back in 2001. Yes there are a lot of differences between that and the production version, but the principles for the powered lift are very similar.

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Supersonic stealth jumpjet achieves its first mid-air hover

Simon Says
FAIL

Hot air

If only the engineers involved had decades of experience dealing with these issues from an existing V/STOL aircraft that takes off and lands on carriers and had the testing and design expertise to use for the F35 and CVF? *rollseyes*

And LOL at the idea that converting CVF to nuclear power would cost "a bit" more.

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Adobe sounds off on iPad's Flash slap

Simon Says
Thumb Up

Do you html 5?

HTML 5 is supported in mobile Safari so yes the iPad will deal with HTML 5, as does the iPhone right now.

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New avast freebie security scanner aims to keel-haul MS

Simon Says
Thumb Up

Yarrr!!

Been using avast! ever since I moved to 64bit XP and discovered AVG didn't work with the 64bit OS and haven't looked back. It's been rock solid, been very resource light, has very frequent virus database updates, and most important of all barely ever requires a reboot of my machine (doing so is only needed when the core program itself is updated - which isn't very often). I got very bored having to reboot every time certain other AV products just needed to update the virus database. Having to re-register every year (which involves filling in a couple of boxes on a website and then just copying and pasting the code which is emailed into the program) is a small price to pay for an AV solution that "just works".

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Traffic reports for the wrong country? There's an iPhone app for that

Simon Says
Boffin

UK traffic is "coming soon"

The press report linked to was the pre-launch stuff that was put out. Originally UK traffic was supposed to be launched at the same time as everywhere else, but for some reason (Navigon twitter/facebook updates seem to imply it is actually a legal holdup and NDA prevents them from going into details) the UK traffic data is lagging behind.

Because you can buy both the British Isles version and the European version in the UK appstore, and traffic data is available for certain European countries, you can purchase the traffic add-on for the European version, but the British Isles version won't show traffic as a purchasable add-on until the UK traffic data is actually online. When this happens (which Navigon are still adamant will happen), users of the British Isles version will be able to purchase the add-on and receive the data, while European version users who already have the traffic add-on will get UK traffic info automatically at no additional cost.

The reason that the author of this piece sees French traffic info has nothing to do with where he spends time using the app or where he bought it - it's simply because it is the nearest available traffic info for his location. It won't be factoring into any UK-based routing of course, and it's only there when you specifically look for traffic info. When the UK traffic info comes online it will be able to actively influence routing while in the UK and give warnings of traffic issues on the route ahead.

I'm still quite disappointed that Navigon still haven't got the UK traffic online yet, but it still seems to be pretty good value (once it is available) at a £20-25 one-off charge for lifetime traffic info (i.e. not a yearly or even monthly cost that some other satnav providers charge).

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Android 2.0: what to expect

Simon Says

it's free!

Small point, but the iPhone OS upgrades are completely free. It's the iPod Touch OS upgrades that carry a small charge.

Reading through these comments it is interesting to read that so many of the shortfalls that Apple are so often bereated for are actually found in Android too (at least pre-2.0 anyway). At least with Apple you know you are getting an OS upgrade for every iPhone, and for free.

That said it does look like Google are at least listening to their users and trying to correct issues which people find particularly problematic. It typically takes Apple much longer to respond to the criticisms of their OS - MMS anyone?

It will be interesting to see what sort of effect Android 2.0 has on Apple and whether it will have any influence on what direction the development of the next version of the iPhone OS takes.

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O2 finds new way to bind iPhone users

Simon Says
FAIL

Nothing new

Visual voicemail was only ever available from O2 on the dedicated iPhone tariffs - this isn't news! Moving to the Simplicity tariff (the cheapo one you can switch to once out of contract) has always meant loss of visual voicemail - but it's hardly a killer feature that would bother most people.

It's worth noting that in several countries you don't get visual voicemail at all - even from the official carriers!

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EU turns beady eye on flaming iPod menace

Simon Says
Stop

Re: The issue isn't the number of incidents

Well some bloke who claims an iPhone was propelled 10 ft up in the air claims that Apple offered him a replacement in return for keeping quiet. Sounds like a load of bull on both counts to me! Why on earth would Apple even consider that a replacement iPhone would be offset by signing a non-disclosure agreement? The whole thing makes no sense at all! Wouldn't suprise me if the bloke had dreamt the whole thing up. At worst it was probably a malfunctioning battery that caused some damage to the iPhone and when taken into a store some spotty dimwit said he could have a replacement and jokingly said "please don't go advertising it".

Also I'm pretty sure at least one or two of the other so called incidents had involved users mucking around with the innards of the device, which is generally not a good idea if you start damaging a lithium-based battery.

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Sony reveals slim PS3, drops price

Simon Says

Some clarification

1. You can still mount it sideways - it comes with a cradle for doing so.

2. Sony Pictures do not own Sony Computer Entertainment - they are both independent subsidiaries of Sony. Yes there will be some influence from on high that affects both, but aside from the inclusion of very capable Blu-ray playback, the PS3 is very much a credible games console and remains so.

3. Slim PS3 will be £250 here, not £300.

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Tesla speeds to $1m profit

Simon Says
Coat

How far and how much

"What distance can be travelled on a single charge, and how much does a complete charge cost in terms of electricity consumption?"

Well according to the Tesla website it's about 220 miles on a single charge. They also say that after a 100 mile trip it should only take about 2 hours to top up the charge using the home charge unit (which they state operates at 70 amps - which I presume is based on a standard US 120v supply). So that's basically 2 hours at 8.4 kW, which for a typical UK supplier would be charged at around 5p per kWh if on a dual rate tariff (and charged during the night) - so you would be looking at about £0.84 per 100 miles in terms of charging costs.

They also say the battery pack will be good for 100,000 miles or 5 years (after which it will degrade rather than be completely dead) - and if the quote above of a replacement cost being $12,000 (~£7,220) is accurate, then the cost of that spread over 5 years and 52 weeks per year is about £27 / week. That still works out considerably cheaper than my weekly fuel bill!

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Apple adds 'S' to iPhone 3G

Simon Says
Jobs Horns

Shocking UK prices

Well I upgraded from the original iPhone to the 3G this time last year thanks to O2's offer of being able to replace the original 18 month contract with a fresh one (which from what I can gather was purely down to the fact the original iPhone wasn't subsidised). I was on (and remained with) the £35 18 month package which offered the iPhone 3G for either £99 (8GB) or £159 (16GB) - which was roughly equivalent to the $199 and $299 price points for the US (with a bit of variation due to taxes and subsidies I imagine).

This time around the 3GS is being offered in the US for $199 and $299 again, this time for 16GB and 32GB models respectively, while the 8GB 3G has dropped to $99. Here in the UK, ignoring the temporary VAT decrease for a moment, the £35 18 month contract will now get you the 3G 8GB for £99 (no reduction), the 3GS 16GB for £189, or the 3GS 32GB for £280!!

While the US gets the 16GB 3GS for what the 8GB 3G cost last year, we get stuffed with it costing even more than last year's 16GB model! And the 32GB model is right up with what the original unsubsidised iPhone cost! What gives? I was under the impression that memory was dirt cheap at the moment, so why on earth is a) the memory jump commanding such a huge premium, and b) the UK prices so insane compared to the US ones? I don't buy that it is just down to the weaker pound as up until yesterday the iPhone 3G was still priced at a sensible level compared to the US. Furthermore the difference in £:$ from summer last year (~2) to now (~1.6) would put the prices closer to £120 for the 16GB 3GS and £190 for the 32GB 3GS.

It's like Apple & O2 haven't noticed there is a recession going on and thinks people have money to burn. They clearly aren't interested in having people upgrade from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS as they are insisting on having people pay up the remainder of their contract before being able to upgrade (and if those people do wait until January 2010 and beyond they will probably be just as likely to either wait till the next iPhone comes out in June/July next year and not bother with the 3GS at all, or just ditch O2 and go somewhere else). At these prices I'm pretty sure they won't exactly be inundated with new customers either. I imagine the only ones they may get will be owners of the original iPhone who for whatever reason didn't upgrade to the 3G last year, assuming they aren't completely put off by the price.

I for one will be sticking with the free 3.0 OS upgrade and then thinking very seriously come January whether I want to stick with O2 or not. It's even making me think of moving away from the iPhone next time I get a new phone too if Apple & O2 continue to think they can get away with trying to rip us off like this...

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Supersonic stealth jumpjet passes hover thrust test

Simon Says
Boffin

@CC

The hover pit is to simulate hovering in free air - it's not what they will actually be landing on. The 1% excess is what the engine produces over and above a performance requirement - it isn't a 1% margin for normal operations.

Also, as Lewis reported back in mid-Feb, the intention will be for the F35B to use a short rolling vertical landing as a standard procedure for the RN carriers as it will allow it to land with more stores.

As for other comments about spending money on improving Harrier instead, well that happens anyway. Doesn't mean we shouldn't also be thinking about replacing them with something faster, stealthier, and newer; there's only so much you can do with a 40 year old airframe that will be closer to 50 years old when the F35 enters service! There's still plenty of Brit know-how going into the F35 - Lockheed may be the lead, but BAE Systems are still a major partner. On a project this big (the largest military aircraft project ever), you get plenty of economies of scale, and therefore more bang for yer buck.

Oh and the lift fan is actually a pretty effective means of delivering a STOVL capability while maintaining decent conventional performance. When you have a highly specialist engine as you have with the Pegasus in the Harrier you sacrifice a lot of wingborne performance due to the arduous path the jet exhaust takes through the nozzles. The beauty of the lift fan method is that when it isn't required the jet operates pretty much as a conventional one and hence allows the jet to get much closer to conventional aircraft performance. The F35 jet obviously has considerable specialisation due to the rotating rear nozzle, but in conventional mode it is much closer to a conventional jet than a Pegasus. Yes there is a fair amount of "wasted space" when in conventional mode as the lift fan is just dead weight, but when you consider the other options it actually ends up being one of the more efficient solutions. The main issue is sorting out the gearing so the jet can cope with a huge great fan suddenly needing to be spun up mid flight.

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iPhone 3.0 adds cut-and-paste, search, new dev toys

Simon Says
Boffin

@Steve

You don't need to do anything unofficial to get an mp3 as a ringtone, though admittedly you do have to jump through some hoops. It can all be done using iTunes - just right click the mp3 you want and use Get Info to set the start/stop times for the (up to) 30 secs you want and then export it as AAC. Find the file in the iTunes music folder and copy it to the desktop, then back in iTunes delete the AAC version from the library. Back to the desktop rename the .m4a file to .m4r and then simply double click it to add it to iTunes library as a ringtone and sync up your phone (you can then remove the .m4r file from the desktop as it has been copied to the itunes directory).

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Apple to show off iPhone OS 3.0 next week

Simon Says

@itards

Errmm my iPhone happily syncs up all my music whether it is in a playlist or not so don't really know what gave you this playlists only idea. It's an option certainly, but not the only one.

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Apple to slash prices by up to 15% on Black Friday?

Simon Says
Unhappy

Well...

Seems the UK Apple store is running this one day sale too - though the savings don't seem to be exactly earth-shattering. A whopping 4-6% off MacBooks!

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iPhone squares up to Android

Simon Says
Stop

@Bill Ray

"I'm probably guilty of over-simplification, sorry for any confusion."

Nice try, but no cigar.

While it appears there may be some isolated cases of push email having some issues (which is just as likely to be a fault with the MobileMe service as it is with the iPhone), you stated in the article that "Also waiting for version 2.2 are iPhone users wanting push email to work in the background, a feature that was removed with version 2.1 of the iPhone firmware." The only feature that was pulled from the 2.1 firmware was the push notification for 3rd party app's - and that was simply pulled from the last beta release and so was never released to the general iPhone userbase in the first place. It is not over-simplification to talk about two completely different features as the same thing just because they share a word - it's just inaccurate and plain wrong!

Push email has always worked in the background since it was introduced in firmware 2.0 - that's the whole point of push! Does it work flawlessly? Apparently not (at least not for some) - but that is a million miles away from stating that the feature has been removed. Lrn2Jrn!

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Blockbuster: DVD to Blu-ray shift slower than VHS to DVD

Simon Says
Thumb Up

Counterpoint 2

Firstly I think Paul Chapman has made some very good points - his evolutionary vs revolutionary remark in particular.

Personally I haven't looked back since getting my PS3 and buying my first few Blu-Ray movies. I've mostly just bought new titles that I didn't already have, though there were some titles I already had on DVD that I really wanted to be able to watch in the best possible quality so I got those on BD and sold the DVDs on eBay for a couple of quid. Oh and I don't think I've bought a single Blu-ray from the high street as they are massively more expensive than online - and that's before considering imports from the US which can be cheaper still (remember only a small fraction of Blu-rays are actually region locked - most are region free).

I watch on a 1080p 42" plasma and can most definitely tell the difference between upscaled DVD and full 1080p Blu-ray. In addition there is the lossless HD audio which is head and shoulders above Dolby Digital and dts on DVD. Interestingly though, one of the things I miss most about Blu-ray when going back to watch a DVD is having to stop the film to access chapter selection (or any other) menus - I'm so used to Blu-ray popup menus for that!

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Apple unsheathes Jesus Phone 2.1

Simon Says
Thumb Up

Updated fine for me - and impressed with results.

I updated to 2.1 without a hitch (as I have done with all previous firmware updates). Never had to do a restore on my handset (aside from when I first got the iPhone 3G as I was restoring my original iPhone's backup onto it rather than setting it up as a new phone - but that was thouroughly intentional and WAI). Oh and this is on a Vista 64bit PC.

Overall I am very pleased with the update - I've only ever occasionally been hit with the laggy keyboard bug but that seems to be fixed now. Also really liking the Genius playlist feature - much better than a regular shuffle mode and saves me having to trawl through my extensive music collection trying to think of songs that work well together. Quicker app installs is definitely noticeable, as is the speedier backup process when syncing with iTunes. I've not yet had a chance to determine how my battery life has been affected.

Looking forward to the next update too which will hopefully bring push notification for app's (a feature that was supposedly pulled/disabled/postponed from 2.1 in one of the latter beta candidates). I'd still like to see a cut/paste implentation at some point, as well as better SMS management (including an option to forward, selective deletion of messages, and being able to send contact information by SMS), but then again no phone is perfect and I still prefer my iPhone over previous handsets that have had those features.

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Apple revamps iPod line-up

Simon Says

@Jim (Guitar Hero clone)

That's Tap Tap - it's a free game available for the Touch and iPhone. Been around pretty much since the App Store launched I think.

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Blu Christmas coming, format fans forecast

Simon Says

@Mike Richards - "region-coding from hell"?

Could you please explain why Blu-ray's region-coding is "from hell" or worse than DVD? First of all there are only three regions for Blu-ray as opposed to the seven there are for DVD. Second, and most importantly - region coding on BD movies is optional and in fact the majority of discs are region free.

As a more general comment: I have a small but growing collection of Blu-ray (mostly sourced in UK but a few imports) that I play on my PS3 and I absolutely love the visual quality (on a 1080p 42" Panny plasma) and audio too (HD audio surround sound). However I doubt that BD will ever truly surpass DVD as I recognise that not everyone is actually interested in the extra visual and audio quality that BD offers. Plenty of people are happy watching DVDs on a relatively small screen and may not even bother with surround sound, let alone an hd audio-capable setup. Unless BD hardware/software reaches the same level as DVD then there will be little reason for "everyone else" to feel the need to switch.

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Apple's AppStore closes in on $500m in software sales

Simon Says

@Peter

"can't use songs as ringtones. Pathetic lock in, which really was the last straw for me."

Sure you can. Ok so there are a few hoops to jump through to get them in the right format, but there are plenty of guides on the net and it's pretty easy once you know how. There are also some free online services that will do it for you.

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Apple preps patch for 'problematic 3G' iPhone?

Simon Says
Boffin

@ Utter Tosh

"Anyone care to explain how an omnidirectional radio signal (3G) can be weakened by too many people receiving it? Your phone doesn't 'suck in' waves. A lighthouse isn't any less brighter with more ships in range..."

It's called Cell Breathing and it's a "feature" of how 3G works. As a 3G cell gets more users it will begin to shrink its effective range to ensure that those nearest the mast maintain a good connection, while those on the edge of coverage find themselves pushed from the cell. Not exactly the greatest idea ever, but certainly not a problem exclusive to the iPhone.

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Blu-ray to rule by 2011

Simon Says
Boffin

SD vs HD...

It actually quite surprises me by how much people underestimate the difference between SD and HD. Even Anon up there who makes the point that (UK) DVD is 576i seems to underestimate the situation. Yes it's a 25% increase to go from 576 lines to 720, but that is literally only half the picture. Since it is progressive, 720p is 720 lines 50 times a second, whereas interlaced 576i is 576 lines only 25 times a second (and that is a simplified version ignoring the weird defects interlacing can introduce). Also the increase in spatial resolution is massive - from 720 pixels wide in 576i to 1280 in 720p (over a 75% increase). It all adds up to nearly 4.5 times the amount of detail per second when you include the difference between interlaced and progressive. And of course that is just 720p... 1080p is even better. That's 1920x1080, 50 times a second. 5 times the h x v resolution of DVD and 10 times the detail when including p vs i.

Then of course there is the superior compression technology that is used in Blu-ray (MPEG-4/AVC vs MPEG-2) that makes the difference even bigger, and not to mention the difference HD audio can make (though admittedly even less people have hd-capable sound systems than have hd displays).

Naturally this all means a lot less if the viewer can't see all the detail in 1080p (or even 720p) - but larger screen TV's are definitely becoming more standard, and you certainly don't need a 42" TV to be able to appreciate the difference between SD and 720p (though for 1080p that does indeed seem to be about the benchmark "normal" viewing distances).

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Apple iPhone 3G

Simon Says
Jobs Halo

Pfff MMS

All the cool kids are uploading their pics via the Facebook app anyway (or just emailing). Unlimited inclusive data vs MMS charges? I know which one I like the sound of better.

I'm still on the original iPhone but the apps available with firmware 2.0 have already transformed the device for me - I can't wait for O2 to sort their stock out so I can upgrade to the 3G version (16GB) and enjoy 3G connectivity and GPS on top. And despite their faults O2 are being good enough to allow us original iPhone users to upgrade early without penalty, even though we are only a few months into our original 18 month contracts, and I can then flog my original one to someone else.

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BAE 'skips a generation' in killer robot tech

Simon Says
Stop

Full autonomy not allowed over today's battlefields?

You'd better tell HERTI then (another BAE UAV project), which saw a successful operational front line debut in Afghanistan at the tail end of last year - that is also fully autonomous rather than remote piloted.

Fully autonomous is not a significant difference from remote piloted? Don't be daft. There is a quantum leap of difference between full autonomy and single / dual remote piloted, so no - Sky Warrior hasn't done this already by any stretch of the imagination.

Also fully autonomous does not mean that the UAV doesn't communicate back what it sees, it just means less two-way communication is required for it to do just the basic flying so the available satcom bandwidth can be dedicated to actually useful mission-specific data.

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BT updates Home Hub Wi-Fi box with 802.11n

Simon Says

@How many ethernet ports

4 according to this page on the BT beta forums:

http://www.beta.bt.com/bta/forums/ann.jspa?annID=103

Also says the admin access login is different from the serial number now.

I'll certainly be keeping close tabs on this new homehub as I'm nearing the end of my contract with BT and had been planning to move to O2 broadband instead (even though I've been finding the BT Vision service quite useful) - if this new hardware is half decent and BT get ADSL2 services up and running "Soon™" then I may reconsider.

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Raptor and Eurofighter go head to head

Simon Says

@The currency of Fighter Planes

Well the $161m quoted for the F22 (and £61.5m for Typhoon) are basically the unit procurement cost (i.e. based on latest production order of the aircraft and generally excluding the R&D and other ancillary costs) and is basically the marginal cost of additional aircraft.

Depending on what you are trying to illustrate, a generally more useful benchmark number is one that includes the whole program (program unit cost) - i.e. R&D, spares, support etc. all included and then divided by the entire production run number; that is where you see the cost of F22 really starts ramping up in comparison to Typhoon.

A study by defence-aerospace in 2006 estimated program unit cost for Typhoon at $143.8m compared with $338.8m for Raptor.

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/dae/articles/communiques/FighterCostFinalJuly06.pdf

All cost comparisons of this nature are invariably inaccurate however as you can never compare like with like and there is plenty of "creative accounting" involved when it comes to presenting the various figures for these things. Also exchange rates have of course gone a bit crazy in the past couple of years which throws things somewhat.

They are both certainly very capable aircraft however, and I have no doubt that both will no doubt see frontline action at some point.

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Google plugs YouTube into Playstation 3

Simon Says

@Flatspot

What I meant was that they tend to update pretty quickly if a PS3 firmware update changes the streaming behaviour and/or causes issues with TVersity. There haven't been many major PS3 firmware updates this year and most of them seem to have been just stability tweaks for particular titles.

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Simon Says

TVersity

My preference for streaming from PC to PS3 is TVersity as it is free, regularly updated to keep up with PS3 firmware updates and it also does transcoding for the filetypes that the PS3 sticks its nose up at. On the face of it there doesn't seem to be anything particularly special about this Google version. Heck even Windows Media Player includes a DLNA server (albeit without transcoding).

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O2 prices up the latest iPhone

Simon Says

@Mat Stace

The reason that iPhone users are being allowed to upgrade early is presumably because their original handset purchase wasn't subsidised, so their current 18 month contract isn't actually offsetting any initial cost for O2; they are able to make this goodwill gesture without having to "write-off" any subsidy.

It was somewhat of an outrageous business model in the first place really - no handset subsidy and yet still an 18 month contract, and I think the shear number of people who jailbroke their iPhone 1.0 (many who were using O2 anyway) without activating an iPhone contract sent Apple/O2 the message that it wasn't an acceptable model to the majority of their potential customers in the UK.

Fortunately they seem to have taken notice as we are now seeing reasonably competitive subsidies, as well as an effective u-turn on the "no subsidy + contract" thinking around iPhone 1.0 (for those choosing to take advantage of the early upgrade offer at least). It remains to be seen whether this change, along with the rest of the improvements coming in the new model will be enough to earn Apple a more significant chunk of the mobile phone pie - the enterprise support at least should make it seriously viable as a Blackberry alternative.

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