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* Posts by Steve Evans

2363 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

His Holiness Benedict XVI to tweet to his Catholic flock

Steve Evans
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Re: Mine is a two-parter, your pope-i-ness

A plague of downvotes?

All this time I just thought I was upsetting apple fanboys. :-)

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Steve Evans
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Re: Mine is a two-parter, your pope-i-ness

So Mr downvoter, which humourless, intolerant group would you belong to?

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Steve Evans
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Re: Mine is a two-parter, your pope-i-ness

Good thing you opted for Anon... You've just upset two huge angry mobs!

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WD to crash down five terabyte desktop job, mutterings suggest

Steve Evans
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Paris Hilton

I think it should be measured in the number of 1080HD copies of Paris' only genuine claim to fame it can hold.

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MIDI: 30 years old... almost

Steve Evans
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The picture they currently show does indeed have a USB connector shown, but right next to a pair of standard 5 pin DIN midi ports.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and spare you a down vote. Several haven't been so generous!

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Facebook tries to stop its staff using iPhones in 'dogfood' push

Steve Evans
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Re: BBC News

@DougS

I wonder how many of the iOS devs actually do make money. If they weren't already a Mac owner, they would have had to purchase one before they could even start developing. Not a good start to the bottom line!

The Android dev suite runs on anything, and costs nothing. Maybe this explains why a lot of apps are decidedly amateur.

@Craigness

Now that is odd. What version do you have? I've just checked on my vanilla Nexus 7, JB 4.2 and there is no update. BBC News Version 1.1 is what I have.

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Steve Evans
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If they are supposed to be supporting a wide variety of devices, they need to be testing on the wide variety of devices.

So far the Facebook Android app always seemed to lag behind the iOS version, even though Android is the dominant mobile phone OS.

So they needed to do something to give their staff a kick up the behind to at least get them to more accurately reflect the real world user base.

It's not just FB. How often do you see "The hit app now available on Android!!!", answer, a lot. How often do you see "The hit app now available on iPhone!!!", answer not much. For whatever reason, iOS always seems to get the initial attention. It will be interesting to see if this changes if the ipads dominance of the tablet market is threatened.

Now if only the BBC could be given a similar kick... Their Android iplayer is horrendously low bitrate, and their news app doesn't even do basics like rotate, let alone take advantage of larger tablet real-estate.

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Samsung Google Nexus 10 tablet review

Steve Evans
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""we can't even see them (i.e. the competition) in the rear view mirror" being a particular favourite of mine"

Maybe that's because you only see things behind you in a rear view... ;-)

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Steve Evans
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Re: "Adding more pixels when the iPad is already 'retina' seems a bit like doing it for the hell of

What amazes me is that the whole world wasn't sitting there going "Oh my god, those huge square pixels, they hurt my eyes!!!" for all those years before Apple (sorry, Apple's LCD manufacturing suppliers) brought along "retina".

And you know what... A large proportion of the world are still using those huge pixels without screaming in pain or going blind... Weird eh?

Although I'll have to admit I enjoy Apple fans re-arranging their arguments now somebody else has brought an anaconda to the willy-waving competition.

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Steve Evans
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@Davtom was Re: Why the downvotes?

"With Android devices, it's easy; you plug it in and then select "Mount file system" on the device"

Plug it in?

How quaint... I just turn on the FTP server installed on my Nexus 7 and send it over from my desktop! ;o)

(Or open the FTP client and suck it over).

I generally find iOS (and OSX for that matter) over protective and simplistic. Trying to do complicated things is either impossible, or buried. For your general Joe/Jane Bloggs in the street I guess this is great, but unfortunately I'm the guy they then ring up with the terrifying "Hey, Steve, you know about computers and stuff right? Well I have this problem with my iphone"...

I think I'll stick with my 'droid devices.

Having said that, I probably won't be buying an N10. The iOS OS wasn't the only reason I didn't buy an ipad. It's just too damn big! I really don't think I have a use for something like that. The N7 in my pocket is perfect for just that reason. It is in my pocket.

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Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB

Steve Evans
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Re: Downvoted? What??

Thank you Charles! I had wondered about the downvotes myself, but then I remembered this is El Reg, so logic goes out of the window!

As you may have guessed, I too did several years working in the computer telephony industry, this included systems with voice recognition. As you know (and other probably don't), DTMF detection is usually performed on the telephony card, it's occurrence generates an interrupt so the processing application can then service the telephony card and point it to a new prompt or transfer the call etc. Voice recognition is usually farmed out to a specialist card, or to the main CPU as required.

Having a CPU or dedicated cards capable of continually processing audio from all the 30/60/90/120 inbound channels (modern systems usually have coax/fibre connections) is just crazy. Sure it makes the programming easy, just bind all the resources one to one instead of the more usual round robin pool allocation, but blimee that's gonna cost on the hardware!

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Steve Evans
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This would only work if the queuing system kept a constant, unique, audio link from you open at all times. Whilst this is technically possible, many IVR / Autoattentant systems simply connect you to a common audio source (music on hold, comfort messages), and don't bother listening to you unless they really have to.

The resources required for speech recognition are also pretty high, so it would need a pretty beefy system to be performing speech rec on every inbound channel 100% of the time. Usually these resources are only allocated when required, i.e. when you've been prompted to say something.

So whilst it might work on some queuing systems, and the idea that an Apple system would be "spying" on you all the time isn't exactly shocking to me, I wouldn't go banking on it working in every situation.

You'll probably have more luck having a keyboard mash (don't forget * and #) and finding a get out of jail that way.

Alternatively, and preferably, just spread the news of the terrible support far and wide. This will reduce the number of customers, and hopefully you position in future queues if you haven't seen the light and taken your business elsewhere.

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BOFH: The Great Patch Mismatch

Steve Evans
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A slippery slope...

If you're going to explain what a Halon system is, where are you planning to stop?

Relays? UPS? Patch panel?

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Sailboat cracks 100 km/h for first time

Steve Evans
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Wow!

That is pretty damn rapid... It's mad enough doing that kind of speed in a powered water craft, but at least you have control of everything (bar the waves). Pulling that kind of speed at the mercy of the wind - mental!

It's also nice to see people in their rightful places too. Brits doing the design thing in their sheds, and a crazy Aussie piloting it. That's how it should be!

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Plan to let you phone people up from within Facebook

Steve Evans
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I think FB know enough about me already, without knowing who I called and when!

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Texan schoolgirl expelled for refusing to wear RFID tag

Steve Evans
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Re: Quite right too!

I thought the simple, student style method of rejecting this system would be to anonymize it.. Just swap tags with each other every couple of days.

That way the powers that be would know where students go, just not which ones.

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British Ruby conference cancelled after diversity row

Steve Evans
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Re: What a prat!

Nice answer Chris! lol!

If there's one thing HR are more scared of than being seen as non-PC, it's being hit with a wrongful dismissal case!

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Steve Evans
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Re: What a prat!

You've got to have some kind of racist chip on your shoulder if you start checking out the ethnicity of the speakers.

People should get a spot on the podium purely on merit, and nothing else.

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Skype 3.0 lands on Android tabs, says all your bass are belong to it

Steve Evans
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Re: Just updated...

Yup, landscape only... What a superb advance... *rolls eyes*

I haven't tried it in video chat yet, but I bet I can guess what happens... If I hold it landscape, I'm sideways to the other person, if I hold it portrait I look correct to them, but their picture is shown sideways to me.

I'm going to roll my eyes again because I'm going to need the rotational practise soon!

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Oprah Winfrey tweets her love of Surface – from her iPad

Steve Evans
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Stop Press: Celebs will say anything for cash.

"a plug from Oprah has been enough to send product sales up more than 600 per cent."

You mean they might actually sell two dozen?!

Seriously though, anyone who thinks Oprah, or the UK version, Stephen Fry, are the Oracle of all things technical (and supremely knowledgeable about devices available for only a few days) really do deserve to be parted from their money.

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Super-thin iMacs WILL be here for Xmas, cram warehouses even NOW

Steve Evans
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"cram warehouses even NOW"

You mean they won't run out and give the Graudian lots of "tech" headlines to write?

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Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'

Steve Evans
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Re: So it's a swipe from the left, and then a move to the right...

I'm not hanging about to see if Ballmer's coming onto the stage in fishnets!

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US paper spaceplane disintegrates at 107,000ft

Steve Evans
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Accepted engineering practise would be to build in a safety margin.

Given the weight difference between a 4gig and 32gig SD card is negligible, they're a bit daft not to go for the bigger card.... If they were already using the largest card available, increasing the shooting interval would have been a good idea.

And why stop shooting when it reaches altitude? That misses all the "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!" shots on the way back down again!

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BBC iPlayer downloads BORKED by Adobe Air update

Steve Evans
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Re: Annoyingness ^ N for some large N

Get_iplayer works fine in windows, although I did have to pay with it a little - manually update rtmpdump to get all the shows to download correctly...

I wish rtmpdump would sort out the 32bit arithmetic issue (or just make it unsigned!), then it would cure the max show length issue - that only kicks in at about 3 hours (funny to watch the counter flip over the top and start descending toward zero before going boom!) so not a major issue. I only noticed it when grabbing some Olympic stuff.

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Steve Evans
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Re: People still ...

As opposed to what? Paying for 20 minutes of adverts per hour for sky, or lowest common denominator "reality" shows with premium rate phone ins on the commercial channels?

Apart from the news, I watch almost 99% of TV shows "off-line" from either iplayer, PVR recordings or torrents when I've forgotten to record something, or the main UK channels stop showing a show after a couple of series and I have to resort to US recordings to keep watching.

Generally the BBC are pretty good, but their handling of the F1 coverage (sharing it with SKY, and only showing 50% of the races, with the rest being high-lights) is just a farce. I gave up on F1 at that point. God help them if they ever screw the MotoGP up like that!

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Steve Evans
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You mean something like: "Jimmy Savile virus penetrated my tablet due to BBC incompetence!"

?

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Steve Evans
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Re: Testing, testing, 1-2

They're probably too busy w*nking over some reskin for their retina ipads/imacs whilst ignoring the non fruit majority and then fobbing them off with half-hearted efforts.

For example, the Android BBC News app doesn't even rotate!

Anyway, back to the subject... get_iplayer does indeed work... Very nicely thank you.

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Apple to settle with Samsung? Korean honcho: 'Fuggedaboutit'

Steve Evans
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Re: Of course they won't

Settling does not mean HTC have admitted guilt, they just looked at the bottom line figures (lawyers) and falling profits and realised it wasn't financially viable to fight...

Given the way some of the judgements have gone I don't blame them!

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Mobile phone sales slump bites Nokia

Steve Evans
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Re: Wow

Engadget must have been reporting smartphone figures which have Samsung top with Apple second. Nokia are way behind.

These charts are for all phones.

Unfortunately for Nokia, the big profit is to be made in the smartphone arena.

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Sorority girls gone WILD: '1 to 3' casual sex 'hookups' every MONTH

Steve Evans
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Re: Should that not have been

Boner-finding

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Apple granted patent for ebook page-turning

Steve Evans
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So a patent for producing an animation which copies real life? Hardly an inspired idea is it.

God help the first mouse that learns to speak, Disney are gonna be on them like a ton of bricks!

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Analyst: There are LOADS of iPhone 5s, Apple is keeping them back

Steve Evans
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Re: Impressive number

Want one model... Okay... Samsung Galaxy S3

Copy/paste from cnet:

"The latest sales figures from the numbercrunchers at Strategy Analytics show the S3 top at the tills, shifting 18 million phones in the last three months. Meanwhile 16.2 million iPhone 4S blowers changed hands."

I'm making an L shape with my right hand against my forehead... That's for you that is.

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Steve Evans
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What?

Apple throttling supply to cause hype?

I don't believe it.

I'm convinced that they're just completely shite at managing supply and demand.

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Crafty app lets phones send data by ultrasound with speakers, mics

Steve Evans
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Re: Hmmm...

A thought came to mind last night (as they do)...

Surely a faster (and less annoying) way to transfer small chunks of data over a short distance already exists...

QR codes!

Most phones can already read them via the camera, so you just need a generator app on the "source" phone.

Obviously this is one way, no hand shaking or anything like that, but for most uses instances this would be able to send far more data, far more reliably and wouldn't annoy the pets (including children).

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Steve Evans
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Hmmm...

Nice idea, but 17KHz to 20KHz sounds a bit low to me.

I remember being able to hear above 18KHz when I was in my late teens, early twenties. No idea what it goes to now, but I suspect a fairly large proportion of them there youngsters would find this rather annoying.

Then again, bloody teenagers! Grrrrr!

I do feel sorry for the cats and dogs.

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A bitter spill to swallow, or 'how to smeg up your keyboard'

Steve Evans
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Worst...

The worst clean up I had to do was a Thinkpad with Orange juice.

The "offender" had spilt it at home the night before, and left it. By the morning the Orange juice had dried out, and left all the pulp caked onto the keyboard and motherboard.

Luckily Thinkpads are good for spares, so I skipped trying to clean the keyboard and just bought a new one for £30.

The motherboard had to come out and went into a bowl of water and be left to soak to loosen up with bits of orange fibre and sticky goo.

Soapy water and toothbrush followed. Then a rinse, dry and finally all the little contacts and switches were cleaned with contact cleaner.

Amazingly it survived!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Anyone else..?

I remember accidentally spilling my cornflakes (with milk) over my BBC Micro when I was a wee nipper.

Off came all the keycaps and into the sink they want. The keyboard PCB was then disconnected and cleaned with soapy water under the tap. Finally rinsed from the water butt in the garden (rainwater is soft to avoid lime-scale problems!).

Keycaps got bagged up in a towel and then a "spin dry" over my head.

Unfortunately after a few days there was a funny smell, so the entire motherboard came out. All socketed chips were removed, and then that got the soapy water toothbrush clean and the rinse in the garden.

Result, it stopped smelling funny, and worked.

In fact it still works.

They don't make 'em like that any more.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Simple solution

I really dislike typing on Apple keyboards. They're too flat, the keys don't have much travel, and they always seem to have a bit of side wobble too. I don't think they feel much different to a Sinclair Spectrum with a hard plastic cap stuck on the top... Oh, hang on, that's a QL keyboard. Yes, that's what they feel like to me.

I can understand the need for a flat, short travel keyboard on a laptop. It keeps the thickness down, and you want a laptop to be <25mm thick (<15mm in Apple-land). But a desktop? Come on! Let's have a nice solid keyboard with a positive Cherry click please!

Plus my cat won't walk on my big clunky keyboard, but happily wanders all over the Mac one, and even sits on it. Makes a mighty fine mess of any document you might be writing if you happen to forget to lock the desktop before going to make a cuppa!

"What on Earth are companies such as Apple thinking? Anyone would think they had deliberately designed their peripherals to be irreparable, forcing you to buy replacements more frequently than was previously necessary. Ho ho, as if."

Yes, as if... Have you ever tried cleaning the bits of lunch and dead skin out of an Apple mighty mouse? The bloody thing is glued shut.

I regularly clean my 5+ year old Logitech mice, and have no problem, the use two screws (shock horror, witchcraft!) but when the Apple rodent died on my other half's Mac I gave up, cursed and bought her a Logitech too. Luckily she hasn't completely succumbed to the church of Apple so I could get away with it. It also means she got a 27" 2560x1400 Dell monitor with a far more useful non-reflective panel for half the price of the Apple equivalent.

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Bird of Prey: 1980s IT on on the small screen

Steve Evans
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@EddieD - was Re: Compulsive viewing for me...

Sod the Apple II, check out the acoustic coupler!

Damn I feel old now!

I vaguely remember this series, the more I read of the article, the more it came back to me.

I think I'm going to have to watch it again now.

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LOHAN's cold heart beats beneath silicon breast

Steve Evans
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Re: Hmmm...

Nice chip, it looks familiar.

My query was actually that they'd doubled up on the semiconductors, but not on the electromagnetic mechanical part... The part which could freeze solid at those altitudes.

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Steve Evans
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Hmmm...

So you have two transistors for redundancy switching a single relay?

I'm pretty sure I know which components I would have doubled up for redundancy, and it wouldn't have been the solid-state semiconductors.

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Ten... Apple iPad Mini alternatives

Steve Evans
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Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

A good switching PSU should be able to handle 100-240v with ease. Their power must be pretty bad to make providing a couple of amps at 5v a challenge!

Then again, having stayed in Spanish hotels and seen the wiring... Maybe it's not that much of a surprise!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

Would this be a travel charger by any chance?

Whatever it is it was supplying a minute current. The N7 will charge from 500mA (standard USB), but the screen has to be off (that panel takes some juice). The proper charger can supply 4 times this current (2 amps), which will charge the tablet whilst it's being used. Most tablets are like this, the screens just use too much power for the 500mA USB limit.

As soon a USB socket can supply over the 500mA standard, it has to tell the device it is capable of it (otherwise the device would just try to pull too much from the socket and cause the PC's USB controller to shut down the USB port as protection). This is usually done by linking the two data wires together (a charger has no use for these anyway).

If your charger doesn't link them, the tablet won't know if can suck harder.

From what you say it sounds like your charger was even worse than outlined above. It is probably badly regulated and maybe dangerous. A friend has some knock off Chinese Apple-esque chargers which my N7 just ignores. Won't charge at all, although both his and my phones will. I checked one out on my 'scope when it was charging my phone and the quality of the supplied power was horrendous. Smooth was not a word I would use. It looked like a the mad scribblings off a deranged fanboy who queued for three days only to have the stock run out as he reaches the front of the queue.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Nexus 7 1A charging issue???

I'm not quite sure what the author is on about TBH.

I've charged my N7 off pretty much every micro USB plug I have. 500mA from the PC, 1A from my phone, the supplied 2A (when I can find it). The only place it won't charge is from the USB socket I put in the car, and the reason for that is I haven't done anything with the two data wires. They're just disconnected. For high capacity chargers these wires should be linked together, I just haven't got round to fixing it. It charges my phone, which was the original reason to install it. The N7's battery life is good enough that I don't run it flat (only the misses has managed that from playing too much Angry Birds!).

Apple devices are no different. They want the USB data pins connected just right or they won't charge either.

So Alun, stop using cheap knock off chargers!

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Steve Evans
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Re: What did 3G do to tablet designers that they hate it so much?

Quality parts?

What have you been drinking? I lose count how many iMac panels I've seen that have done the rainbow stripes of death... And wasn't there a macbook fault a couple of years back with the nvidia chipset?... And white iphone cases going yellow?... And faulty iphone with yellow tinted screen?...

And that's just what I can remember off the top of my head.

My own brother's 4s recently went mad, got really hot, drained the battery within 4 hours. He tried resetting it, still no good. Went to the store and got it swapped (as is your legal right). Two weeks later he's still trying to get all his music and contacts synced properly.

Hardly handed down from Mount Olympus are they.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Operating system

And the iPad with cellular is also so stupidly expensive that you could buy several of the other devices instead...

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Steve Evans
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Re: Operating system

Plus the N7 is a nexus, so Google release an update and you receive it direct... A bit like that fruit company you avoided mentioning.

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Microsoft's 32GB Surface RT has 16GB of free storage

Steve Evans
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Youch...

Then again, did anyone seriously expect Microsoft to not be bloaty?

Looks like they didn't spend much time trimming things down, and simply recompiled Windows 8 for the tablet architecture. There's probably still complete support for the ISA, AGP, PCI and USB3 in there!

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Naughty-step Apple buries court-ordered apology with JavaScript

Steve Evans
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@dotdavid - Re: Contempt yet?

Don't give up hope yet, the El Reg subheading on the original "apology" was actually reported in court last week as an example of how their "apology" was seen by the IT community.

TBH if I had a silly wig I'd have slapped them down with a contempt on the first "mistake". They should have counted themselves very lucky to have escaped that and played their second move with a bit more respect and care. This second "naughty" is not just showing contempt for the court in legal terms, but taking the piss (not a legal term)!

It might have been slightly excusable (or explainable) if the link had ended up off the bottom of a static page on some smaller monitors, but to have it dynamically resize to enlarge the ipad mini to force the link off the bottom even on my 1400 pixel high screen just beggars belief!

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Google stiffs Samsung on price, now wireless charging too

Steve Evans
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@Gob smacked - was Re: This is new...

Agreed. There is a world of difference between the old, Nintendo DS style touch screens of old and the Galaxy Note implementation. They use licensed Wacom technology which is not only pressure sensitive, but also proximity sensitive.

If you can't get to a galaxy note, then go play with a Wacom tablet and do some photo retouching in photoshop, it's another world!

(My missus has a wacom tablet on her Mac Pro, and she won't let me "borrow" it for my photo work, I have to go and use it on her fruit flavoured machine instead... I feel unclean afterwards).

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