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* Posts by Steve Evans

2381 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Steve Evans
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Yeah, right...

I think they already know too much, I think I'll stick with separate accounts thanks.

Plus of course hotmail/gmail et al don't go fiddling with their sites every couple of days and break things, The example the notifications list hasn't worked on facebook mobile for at least they last few days.

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No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

Steve Evans
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Re: C++ blows - Agreed!

As a young teenager in the 80s I started playing first with a commodore PET at school and then my own BBC Micro. So I picked up BASIC. My 'O' level was written in 6502 machine code. My 'A' level was written in BASIC. They had taught us Pascal, which was an option, but I was pissed at them for not letting me use machine code for the 'A' level.

I would give Pascal another chance a few years later.

Even doing the 'A' level I started to become disillusioned with what we were being taught, so when I saw the degree syllabus I decided I'd had enough of this education rubbish. I still remember the computer science teacher calling me out of a geography lesson to help him set things up when I was 13!

From there the big old world of work started. COBOL, PCs, 8086 machine code, DOS TSRs, windoze, bit of OS2, VB, Delphi, C etc. Intarweb and TCP/IP.

Delphi (Pascal++) is probably my favourite for writing windows apps. It's just so quick. How C became some dominant when it was designed to make thing unreadable after you turn away for 5 minutes is beyond me.

I never ceased to be amazed at the number of grads I worked with who just had no fundamental knowledge of computers. Sure I could forgive them for not having built a computer from spare bits aged 15, not everyone was a geeky as me, but to looked astonished when I open a command prompt and type a few magical incantations is unforgivable.

Typical example - "I have a load of music mp3s, mpeg movies and word docs all together in a directory, how can I move just the tunes and movies?"

Errr, move *.m* <destination>

Reclaim all the drive space windows has cluttered up with temporary files?

del "%temp%\*.*" /s /f /q

Simples.

These days I program windows apps and microcontrollers. It's interesting juggling between Delphi windows apps and C/ASM on the MCU, ad yes, fixing other people's C code.

There is always a sigh and relaxed smile on my face when I return to Delphi and have native string handling once again! Not to mention the inherent security aspect of having a language which knows how to handle strings, and isn't just forcing you to throw random characters about in memory!

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BA slams stupid security checks

Steve Evans
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Re: Why can't we just have....

Or red plane and Green plane. I think the red plane would have to be flown by remote control, probably from the green one, who'd want to pilot that one?! It could work you know... Make everyone eat a ham sandwich. Those that refuse go into the red plane.

Sure it will mean the Muslims and Jews are on the same plane, but hopefully the hippy vegetarians will manage to keep it calm with a sing along.

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Steve Evans
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Re: 3. Incident with underpants bomb - no action

Pity, I think any terrorist who wants to set fire to their own genitalia, and cook their DNA from the gene pool should be allowed to do it.

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Steve Evans
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Hallowed?

They wouldn't let me out of the UK with a 125g pot of Marmite.

I tried to explain the difference between a 100ml measure of liquid volume and 125g measure of mass, but had to admit defeat in the face of overwhelming stupidity.

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UK border police seize £500k from Nigerians' hand luggage

Steve Evans
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Hmmmm

"...seized the cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act until the men can prove it comes from a legitimate source."

So guilty until proven innocent? I'm sure UK govt tried this kind of thing before, and got a slap from the EU lawyers.

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Cinema iPhone pirate escapes jail in test case appeal

Steve Evans
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Jeeez

He should be locked up for crimes against video quality (not just his choice of movie, but his chosen recording device) and for polluting the bittorrents with this crap!

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iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid: purveyors of pestilence

Steve Evans
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Oh let's stick touch screen on a report...

Of course sharing bugs and germs wouldn't happen if you shared a non touch screen phone with someone else, or a landline handset or a book.

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OOo's put the willies up Microsoft

Steve Evans
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Gates Horns

Interoperability?

Curiously, it's interoperability which has caused me to install OpenOffice on the most machines... machines which up until now were happily working with Office2003... Why? Well because people kept emailing docs in M$'s latest and greatest format, and not wishing spend $$$ upgrading to yet another version of office I searched round for something which could read docx.

I now notice M$ seem to be releasing far more format converters so 2003 can now read the newer formats... Too late M$!

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Ryanair wins ihateryanair.co.uk because of £322 ad revenue

Steve Evans
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Is that all?

£322 from affiliate links to services including travel insurance that appeared on the site... He should take a leaf out of Ryan Air's books. I've never seen them offer a special or bundle during ticket booking that I couldn't get at least 25% cheaper with 3 clicks and going direct to the company concerned.

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Jobsian fondle-slab in SEXY FILTHGRAM CRACKDOWN

Steve Evans
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Jeeez

The US patent office will allow a patent on anything won't they!

A patent is only supposed to be granted on a new innovation which isn't blatantly obvious.

Content word filtering is hardly new. There may even be prior art on this exact use. I'm sure somewhere like a right wing Arab state or China have been doing this for years.

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Windows Phone 7 leaves operators on the hook

Steve Evans
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Re: Good

Agreed.

I have never seen an addition installed by a mobile carrier that was worth the memory space it took.

Plus of course that "custom" firmware then delays (and often prevents) firmware updates from mobile manufacturers which invariably fix bugs and add new useful features.

The sooner the mobile operators settle for being a dumb pipe, the better!

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Flying gyrocopter jump-jeep gets $3m from DARPA

Steve Evans
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So...

Whereas the UK are now withdrawing the lightly armoured Landrovers, and replacing them with things which resemble the taxis from the Judge Dread movie (incidentally built on a Landrover for the film), the US are going to use vehicles which are light enough to fly... Best they give them some serious flying range (like one of those helicopter things for example) or the first time they touch down an IED is going to reduce them to shrapnel.

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Car wrecks rise after texting bans imposed

Steve Evans
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My thought exactly...

When not explicitly illegal, you could have held the mobile on the steering wheel, in plain sight, and also had some awareness of what is going on outside the vehicle.

Now it's illegal, the mobile will be sitting on the drivers lap, stealth mode.

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Toshiba Satellite A660 16in laptop

Steve Evans
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Bl**dy widescreen

Hate it on a laptop... Just makes the things twice the size, and you still lose the far more useful vertical resolution.

16:10 and 16:9 are only really useful for TVs, and even then they are still a compromise when it comes to films which are wider still than 16:9, so you still end up with a letterbox!

I'm happily typing this on my aged ThinkPad R52 with its 15" 1400x1050 4:3 screen and suspect I'll still be using this in 5 years time... By which point it will have probably had a second hard drive transplant and be equipped with SSD.

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Nutter repairmen scale 1,768ft TV mast

Steve Evans
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Re: Parachute

Too right, only way you'd get me up that thing!

It'd be a quick (fun) way down, and way safer than dangling about with no safety, or a safety hooked over the end of a thin foot rung!

Actually, I lied. That still wouldn't get me up there. You would also required a gun about 6 inches from my head - so you're coming up with me too!.

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Apple in 873-page legal claim to word 'Pod'

Steve Evans
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Right...

Right, we need to go back after them, the word "Job" being well known English slang for a turd. "Jobs" is obviously the plural form of this noun.

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Paris brushes off Japanese ejection over coke bust

Steve Evans
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Paris Hilton

Advisor...

You have to question who advises Paris on her trips (let's face it she hardly likely to be organising things herself), given Japan's stance on such matters it really was an ill-advised trip. Even her own country, the US of A takes a dim view of visitors with a drug conviction (curiously introduced during the "reign" of a president who confessed to smoking weed himself - although not inhaling).

Oh hang on (interfaces hand with forehead), of course they knew this... This is all about column inches isn't it (not the kind of inches Paris prefers I'm sure).

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Crash grounds RAF Eurofighters - for Battle of Britain Day!

Steve Evans
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Re: So ...

That might not be as daft as it sounds... I wonder how well heat seeking missiles lock onto the not so hot exhaust of an internal combustion engine as opposed to the huge wash of hot gasses that come out of the back of a jet?

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Steve Evans
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One of these is a truly impressive British fighter plane.

Well it's the Spitfire of course... An example of what a single country can produce under pressure.

Whereas the Eurofighter is not a British fighter plane, it is an example of what a bunch of countries, speaking different languages can produce when driven by bureaucracy.

I'm sure there were less people involved in the entire production run of the Spitfire than there are in the powerpoint generating division of the Eurofighter!

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Thieves jam key-fob lock signals in mystery car thefts

Steve Evans
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There are some dodgy gadgets about...

My brother recently disturbed two guys trying to steal his motorbike from outside his house.

They ran off.

When he came to move the bike to safety he found his alarm completely disabled. There was no sign of physical tampering. His alarm automatically arms after the bike has been turned off for 30 seconds and he has never experienced any problem with it until that night.

Pressing his keyfob the first time did nothing. The second time he pressed it the bike did its normal "disarm" beep, and has continued to function normally ever since.

Very suspicious.

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Intel slips anti-theft tech into hardware to deter thieves

Steve Evans
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All well and good only if...

... the technology is turned on by default!

Many laptops (including those lost by HM Govt) have supported various hardware security features for years, but they are never turned on!

So what about the hard drive data? Is it encrypted? Whilst the loss of a laptop is annoying, it's nowhere near as bad as the data that is lost on the drive when it can just be removed and read in another machine!

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O2 shocks customers by slashing iPad data allowance

Steve Evans
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I guess...

I guess O2 just couldn't resist temptation, especially as the customer has already bent over and lubed up to take it from St Jobs.

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Intel confirms HDCP copy-protection crack

Steve Evans
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Software too slow...

I'm sure a nice modern GPU (or a pair maybe) would have more than enough grunt to do this kind of thing in real time...

The only question is will it be Nvidia or AMD/ATI first?

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Oz pedestrians fall to 'Death by iPod'

Steve Evans
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Re: Canada has a solution

I still think I prefer the alternative way to "vibrate" these morons back into paying attention... Namely shaking them up with the bumper, bonnet, windscreen, roof and road.

Closely followed by a law suit for the damages to my vehicle.

Sometimes people just have to take responsibility for their actions.

Oh, and re the 20mph zones outside schools... I defy anyone to tell me they can do more than 10mph past a school when it's kiddy kick out time! The school run parents and their "novel" parking and driving skills see to that!

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Steve Evans
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Puzzled...

Given that the Sony Walkman was invented way back in the 80s, I can't understand why they are only seeing an increase in zombie pedestrians now. Is it a combination of being daft enough to pay apple prices *and* being a zombie pedestrian?

One other question... How loud do you have to have your mp3 player to not hear an ambulance?! Honestly, I think such deaths should be treated as saving the gene pool from pollution, just like the Darwin awards.

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Code for open-source Facebook littered with landmines

Steve Evans
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Oh dear...

Let's just hope that these four students are studying anything related to IT... If they are then they are failing badly.

Some flaws are to be expected, but falling to know exploits as XSS just shows a lack of knowledge, testing and ability to design in security.

I'm half tempted to go try a bit of SQL injection just for the giggle, but I suspect it wouldn't be much of a challenge.

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Steve Jobs carried 'ninja throwing stars' in hand luggage

Steve Evans
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Don't blame Japan...

Just remember what country introduced, and continues to push petty security restrictions and global paranoia...

Hell, I can't even take a 125g jar or marmite in hand luggage... Attempts to argue the 125g is a measurement of mass and not volume, and the restriction is 100ml of volume fall of deaf ears too.

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ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces

Steve Evans
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Job for a high end DSLR...

Some high end DLSRs such as the Nikon D300s can support two memory cards, an SD and a CF. You can set the camera to shoot RAW+JPEG. The raw gets put on the huge CF, the JPEG on the CF...

"Excuse me sir, I need those photographs under S19 PACE"...

-remove SD

"Sure, here you are... Receipt please"

-insert another SD (just in case he requires more photos under S19) and continue shooting.

You have complied with the letter of S19.

If he continually hits you with S19 until you run out of SD cards then you have probably got grounds for a harassment claim.

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Nokia Home Music HD-1

Steve Evans
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Hmmm

Given the UK Govt headlong push (can't help but think of kickbacks etc) to remove all analogue broadcasts from the spectrum, the lack of DAB/DAB+ seems like a serious oversight.

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Pamela Anderson gets her kit off for Nokia

Steve Evans
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So...

They've already spent more money on advertising the N8 than they did for testing/supporting the N97!

Let's hope they have some left to support the N8!

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Diesels greener than battery cars, says Swiss gov report

Steve Evans
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It's been done...

It's called the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust

http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/245241/

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Steve Evans
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95% of the time?

It doesn't rain in your part of the world then?!

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BBC dumps Gulf oil spill on Middlesbrough

Steve Evans
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Me waits...

...for first member of the terror paranoia thought police to cry that this tool could be useful for a terrorist who plans on deploying a V2.

Re Middlesbrough and Croydon, nobody notice, carry on.

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Apple fans drool over Liquidmetal widget

Steve Evans
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Are you sure...

Are you sure it's LiquidMetal(tm) and not another rather well known liquid metal which is known to impaired cognitive skills?

From the evidence I have seen (queues outside Apple stores) it looks very much like that more common form of liquid metal is used in copious quantities outside of the USA.

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Electric mass-driver catapults to beat Royal Navy cuts?

Steve Evans
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Re: Magnetic...

Well they don't have much choice... They decided to go with a gas turbine driven design ship, so they don't have any steam to drive the regular steam driven launch system (which was actually invented by a Brit!). Why they didn't go with years of experience and user Nuclear I will never know.

Basically they painted themselves into a corner.

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America's top model fights off 'pervert' at Star Wars convention

Steve Evans
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Odd...

"The man was reportedly arrested for disorderly intoxication..."

So not sexual assault, driving under the influence or fleeing the scene of an accident? I'm sure one of those must be a felony.

I thought American law was supposed to be tough?

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Hackers spoof car warning system

Steve Evans
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Thumb Up

Where can I order?

Sounds like just what I need to get the slow moving taxi driver out of my way (why do they always do 28mph when they have passengers, and 35mph when empty?)...

Oh, and just thing how great it would be to get the (insert latest rep mobile here) that's trying to climb into your boot/trunk to back off on the motorway?! Although in that case I think I'd still prefer a 6 inch steel spike I could launch out the back of my car and straight through the following radiator...

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Steve Evans
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So Mr smarty pants A/C...

How would you connect a wire to a tyre pressure sensor? That's tyre as in big rubber thing that goes round and round and round and round and round (getting the idea now?).

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Ten unlikely iPhone insurance claims

Steve Evans
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Re: Does no one have a problem with...

I think you are relying on the phone being in use at the time too much...

If it was on your hand because you just grabbed it from your desk as you headed out the door, then you could very easily put in on the roof while you rummage for your keys.

Don't laugh, I had a boss that did this with several phones, and once even with a laptop. In the interest of good taste I will not detail what happened to the laptop.

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'Poo-powered' Volkswagen astounds world+dog

Steve Evans
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Well...

In typical El Reg standard it started off with a story of UK poo power and then draws a comparison with charging off a US socket...

In Europe we have 230volts. UK sockets are rated at 13A. So 3kW is easy. The ring main circuit itself is fused to 30A, so some cunning use of several sockets could get you to almost 7kW.

Now if you really want to get clever you need a friendly neighbour. To balance the load across the phases you often find that the phases for the local substation are wired to each single phase house in sequence, so you will have the same phase as the house 3 doors down. NOT the same phase as the house either side of you... So be nice to the neighbour on either side and you can use his live phase and your own (120 degrees out of phase of each other), and tada, 415v :-)

Be warned if you have an earth leakage trip it'll plunge you into darkness!

Please note you should not do this if you don't know what you are doing! If you think 230volts makes you jump, you really don't want to try 415!

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Conficker's 6m strong botnet confounds security probes

Steve Evans
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Re: did I miss a pun?

In a word, Yes.

IT crowd.

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Steve Evans
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Well...

At least Conficker is nice and gives some serious clues to the tech savvy that it is there...

Network traffic goes through the roof and windows update disabled... Hmmmm... Might notice that!

Personally I'm more worried about one that doesn't disable windows update, which spreads quietly without flooding the network, and has so far gone unnoticed!

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Ten Essential... Symbian Apps

Steve Evans
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Curious list...

No y-browser, no Nimbuzz, no Fring, no Opera Mobile...

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Steve Evans
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There's a trick to that...

Assuming the installs will work on your non-Nokia symbian device, try this:

With Firefox, get the user agent switcher add-on. You can use another browser if you like, but you need to be able to change the HTTP user agent field.

Set up a new user agent of

"Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.4; Series60/5.0 NokiaN97-1/10.0.012; Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1; en-us) AppleWebKit/525 (KHTML, like Gecko) WicKed/7.1.12344"

Now you can visit the OVI store and it will think you're an N97. Download the sis and sisx files to your pc... Now you can either use whatever equiv you have to Nokia/ovi suite to install them, or copy them onto the phone and run the installer locally.

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Android surges past iPhone in smartphone sales

Steve Evans
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Oh yes...

Wonderfully distorted US figures... Honestly the US market is so out of kilter with the rest of the planet it's a joke.

Next you'll be saying the nobody uses SMS messages because you've just dragged out some US study.

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UK supermarket starts contactless payments

Steve Evans
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What?

Not that many people have them?

I've had a contact-less VISA with built in Oyster since 2009... And they just sent me a contact-less debit card too.

Never used the damn things! Never seen anywhere to use them!

The Oyster looked and sounded handy for 2 seconds until I read the blurb and discovered it wouldn't give me any more integration than taping a normal Oyster card to my old credit card, and as I prefer not to give all my info to TfL I didn't really want to set up auto top-up from my credit card thank you very much. I'll stick to my topped up by cash only Oyster which was given to me by a friend.

Now that's anonymous data :-)

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French operator pooh-poohs iOS4

Steve Evans
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Nope..

We shall continue the flogging until the distortion field is neutralised!

As for selling like hot cake I have seen more iPads than iPhones flaws... Namely 1 iPad.

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Nude trampolinist bounces free from court

Steve Evans
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Sad...

I'm very sad that the BBC doesn't appear to have a stock photo for this incident.

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Futurologist warns of malevolent dust menace

Steve Evans
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Yeah right...

Smart dust? Some one has definitely been sniffing too much space dust.

You'd be better off filling the air conditioning system with something conductive like carbon dust. Sure it can't wander into the right part of a circuit and start sniffing packets and broadcasting them back over radio (then again, what can?!), but it will cause chaos.

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