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* Posts by Steve Evans

2377 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

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

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

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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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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Steve Evans
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Re: This is new...

One man's fragmentation is another's consumer choice.

A Fandroid decides if he wants his chosen OS on a phone with an SD card or not. He chooses the screen size he wants, if he wants a real keyboard or just a virtual one. FM radio? NFC? Or maybe he fancies a stylus... etc.. etc.

A Fruitdroid just crosses his fingers the great west coast oracle will give him what he was missing with the last model, and when it doesn't he still queues up and buys it.

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UK iPad Mini FRENZY: Queues stretch SEVERAL FEET from till

Steve Evans
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Happy

Point taken.

Maybe I should rephrase...

"So the mini ends up so underspec'ed and over priced that even rabid fanboys starts to smell the coffee"

Better?

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Steve Evans
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Re: What about the flagship store

More security than fanboys... That's gotta be embarrassing.

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Steve Evans
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Thumb Up

Re: I for one am waiting...

LMAO!

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Microsoft building its own Phone hardware: Not 'If', but 'When'

Steve Evans
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Well that's it for Nokia then...

Overloaded with middle management, infected with the Elop virus, R&D decimated, eggs into one basket, basket shared with others with no preferential treatment given, and now basket maker wants to lay it's own eggs.

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Asus pledges Android 4.2 update for Google Nexus 7

Steve Evans
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Don't forget the incognito browsing option ;-)

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Steve Evans
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Multi-user! W007!

Su-bloody-perb!

£200 tablet with multi-user!

I'd rush right out and buy one if I didn't already have one!

I hope the app devs have been following the rules and guidelines correctly so my Angry birds scores are protected from the missus!

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Steve Evans
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IIRC, Google announced the N7 would get the 4.1.2.

It's not really an odd thing for Asus to announce, someone probably ask them about it, so they answered.

Doubt it has much, if anything, to do with the iPad mini news (which from what I have seen is "Smaller queues than usual for Apple device"). The N7 already kicks it about with the existing facts and figures. Hardly need multiuser support to do that. Although having said that, getting some Android coverage from El Reg is quite something - This site pretty much slept through the Google announcement last Monday with one single, very short, copy/paste article.

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Steve Evans
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Re: My Nexus 7

It might have been out for several weeks, but it took its sweet time getting to some of us. It took a week from first reports to reaching my N7 in the UK despite me pressing the check button at least twice a day.

I know seven days is a hell of a lot better than you get for the non-Nexus devices, but it was frustrating not knowing when it was going to be my turn, others in the UK got it within days.

Worth the short wait though. It might not have had many headline features (home screen rotation was about it), but it seems to have fixed the right hand side of touch screen becomes unresponsive issue I had seen (a quick off/on used to clear it, so I was 99% sure if was a software issue).

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Felix Baumgartner sadly turns out to be blinkered FOOL

Steve Evans
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Mushroom

You've missed a trick...

With NASA out of the running, the El Reg special projects bureau could be a world leader!

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British judge: Say you're sorry Apple... this time like you MEAN it

Steve Evans
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14 days?

So Apple can't edit a simple website page in under 14 days?

Maybe Samsung should think about using that their next laptop ad...

"Why take 14 days to edit your website, the new Intel i7 powered Samsung XYZ can do it in minutes"

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Steve Evans
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I was expecting a little more in the shape of a contempt of court charge. Maybe they decided to give them one last chance to get it right before hitting them with that.

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The Register's iPhone app gets a makeover

Steve Evans
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Given the minimal coverage the Google multi-launch has received here, I suspect you could be right.

They managed to keep the buy-out from The Guardian pretty quiet didn't they!

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Google goes ahead, unveils Nexus 4 and 10

Steve Evans
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Huzzah!

At last, El Reg reports on the actual launch which world+dog (including the BBC) has covered all day.

Pity Google don't seem to deserve the 1 article per device/minor feature the apple event received.

How about a mention of Android 4.2's tablet-tastic multiuser support? In my household that is going to be a rather big deal.

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Google Nexus 4 flips finger at Sandy, appears on YouTube

Steve Evans
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Curious...

Apple ban El Reg from their events and gets months of pre and post launch coverage.

Google, as far as I know, haven't banned El Reg, but cancelled their event for sensible safety reasons, and have still announced the products they were going to unveil at the cancelled event.

El Reg's coverage, bugger all.

Even the BBC have managed to cover it before you!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20127135

Hang your moth-eaten vulture head in shame!

http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/nexus-best-of-google-now-in-three-sizes.html

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Steve Jobs' Apple-powered yacht makes belated first trip

Steve Evans
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Re: Perfect embodiment of everything Apple.

Can't disagree with you there... They say St Jobs had a hand in the design, what did he do? Hide any of the real designers tools which weren't comprised purely of right angles?

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The new Mac mini eviscerated with ease

Steve Evans
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Re: Well Done Reg!

Indeed.... Even after googling "Hollyhock" I was still bemused! Possibly not the best choice for colour identification!

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Apple's iPad Mini mishap: scratching out the retina screen

Steve Evans
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Re: It's kind of about the apps....

You could always have a go at writing the apps yourself... The Android dev software and platform emulator is completely free, has good online docs and will run on any Mac, Linux and Windows.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Owners of rival devices will disagree, but the sales say it all.

The name "Corolla" has been sold on a car more than any other model, but beyond the badge I don't think the range have anything else in common! They've even changed from rear to front wheel drive!

The VW Beetle is probably a better example of a single model.... Right up until they stuck a Beetle shaped body on a Golf a few years back.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Pockets generally aren't 1-dimensional…

The width could be an issue though. The N7 just slips into the back pocket of my jeans. I doubt an ipad mini would.

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Steve Evans
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@A/C 22:15

Thank you for your detailed and in-depth review. You've obviously spent a lot of time with an N7.

Although I think you might have missed a couple of things. In my comparatively short time with my N7 16g (couple of months) I have used it for the following:

Teamviewer/VNC/RDP remote control

FTP server for router firmware updates

FTP client

Email (both Gmail app, and other IMAP/POP based systems using K9)

Google calender

Catching up on the MotoGP via iPlayer (sideloaded flash whilst waiting for BBC to "sort their life out")

Much gamidge (okay, that's the missus - PvZ, All the angry birds, Bubble shoot, Draw Free, SongPop etc etc)

Beebroid BBC micro emulator - old scoolz! That's for me :-)

Radio when I'm in the bath via Absolute radio app

Showing semi-posted photographs to clients on the rather lovely screen (I do a sideline in photography)

It's been worth it's weight in gold when building PCs for referring to motherboard manuals when the original has been lost. No need to carry a laptop anymore.

Not to mention the old favourites of Skype (with video chat of course), facebook, twitter, and reading/writing drivel in the comments on El-Reg, with the swype keyboard.

Oh yes, I do have several browsers installed. Why? I've been known to do websites, so testing on other browsers is a good idea.

After all that, I've still got 10gig free, so I won't be rushing off to buy a 32gig when it comes out, although I might buy one for the missus.

Oh, and so far I haven't spent a penny on apps.

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Steve Evans
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@A/C 21:21

I don't know about you, but I prefer girlfriends which are less wide!

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Lenovo IdeaPad U410 14in Ultrabook review

Steve Evans
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Re: Low res screen

Glossy and low res... Even Apple have started to listen with their new iMacs being 75% less shiny!

Now you know why St Jobs wore the black turtle neck - it was the only thing which didn't reflect in his silly shiny screens!

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Surface tablets snapped up on pre-order, but no camping in the street

Steve Evans
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Re: Of course

Indeed... It's not like we haven't seen the old "sold out in x hours" and "sales exceeded all expectations" headline grabber once or five times before from certain tablet shifters.

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Craig, Connery or ... Dalton? Vote now for the ultimate James Bond

Steve Evans
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A few thousand votes later and it is pretty much the same!

I went for Connery too, although wishing it was proportional representation so I could give 2nd choice to Craig, so I'm glad to see that he is indeed in second place.

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Nokia puts Symbian out to pasture ... why not release it into the wild?

Steve Evans
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Re: Big Shame....

You're both right.

I was a Symbian user for many years, the 7650, the 6600, N70, N95 and the infamous N97. I'm sure I've missed one.

Back in the early days it was simply superb, ground breaking in fact. Even the N95, which suffered from a shaky start (thanks to the availability of OTA updates making OS releases lazy and badly tested - we can fix it later) finally got its life in order.

Unfortunately they didn't learn from the N95's early days, and simply repeated the same with the N97, except they never did get it sorted, and various hardware problems doomed mine to be the only phone I replaced before the end of a contract.

Giving the networks control over OS update releases, and allowing them to customise them, was another huge mistake. Many later (aka fixed) versions never made it beyond the likes of Orange et al. It was possible to "jail-break" the phones and get them back to Vanilla firmware, but it was involved and beyond most.

IIRC, my N95 is currently running V31, most network tied handsets didn't make it beyond V12, and it is a great backup phone with wifi and Opera mini browser if required, sure it's not a touch screen, but 99% of the time you just want a phone and maybe an mp3 player (which the microSD handles perfectly). It does both perfectly. In an emergency you can web browse and it still has full offline maps (something I still miss).

So yes, rather a quaint OS, but functional in most incarnations, and it still had a trick no other smartphone OS has so far matched, namely the ability to go for many days without running for a charger!

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Apple loses UK 'Samsung copied us' appeal: Must publicly GROVEL

Steve Evans
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Re: Arial? How gauche!

and badly kerned too!

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Pirate Bay moves to the cloud to confound copyright cops

Steve Evans
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No change to tracking...

"The move may also throw a bit of a wrench in plans by AT&T and other US network operators to implement a "six strikes and you're out" policy on piracy, which is due to take effect by the end of the year. Tracking IP addresses of Pirate Bay users is going to be key to the RIAA and MPAA's enforcement efforts, and that task looks to have become significantly harder with the latest Brahman bootstrapping."

It won't make the blindest bit of difference. The MPAA/RIAA don't rely on physical access to the server to track people on a torrent. All you have to do is start to download it yourself, and ta-da, you have a nice list of IP addresses of people giving you bits of the torrent.

Automating this process is already widely used in the anti-piracy circles.

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Slideshow: A History of the Smartphone in 20 Handsets

Steve Evans
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Re: Nokia N-Gage?

Good to see the 7650, still got one of those. I seem to remember the N-gage being nothing more than a standard Symbian phone with a different case. I think it was identical to the 6600 hardware (still got one of those somewhere too!).

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Pints all round as Register Special Projects hacks hack off feet

Steve Evans
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Pint

Didn't BMW try this once...

...with tyre sizes?

Didn't work... So here we still are with width (mm) profile (%age) rim diameter (inches).

And long may it continue!

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It's official: Apple will reveal 'a little more' on October 23

Steve Evans
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Re: Oh FFS

I want those down votes expunged from the record after the price and spec are announced ok? :-P

Oh, and to the OP... hold back on the N7, looks like a 32gig is in the wings at 16gig price.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Timing is everything

And which timezone?!

MS are going to have to pull some serious wedges of cash out of their back pocket and drop it in front of many reporters to get any kind of headline coverage from the sheeple press.

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Steve Evans
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Re: iPod Classic

Well at the way things are going it won't be long before micro SD's exceed that... Not that you'll be looking at the fruity firm for that solution though...

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Steve Evans
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Re: Oh FFS

Get the Nexus 7... There is no way Apple will make a comparable device for that money. They're famous for their huge margins, and far too proud to be seen to mix it up with the great unwashed low margin tablets.

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Steve Evans
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How about...

Seeing as Apple blank you, why don't you do the same... "seeing as how it's sure to be bleated far and wide by a herd of helpful live-bloggers. ®"

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Facebook offers just a week of free Android AV

Steve Evans
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Re: Meh

Agreed! 7 days with mcafee would feel like a life time!

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