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* Posts by Zog The Undeniable

225 posts • joined 18 Jul 2008

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Zog The Undeniable

(Shamelessly stolen from Jack Dee)

Dentists are failed doctors. They dropped out of med school and kept the page on teeth.

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Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

I don't know if CO2 causes global warming but I don't think increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 20% in 50 years is a very good idea; it's bound to do *something* to the balance of plants and animals on the planet. Nor is it a great idea to waste fossil fuels - although I accept it makes no real difference to the atmosphere whether we do it all next week or eke it out over 100 years - until we have a suitable, economic alternative for uses like transport and chemical feedstocks.

However, some people will always see an international Communist conspiracy behind anything that threatens to affect their high-polluting lifestyle, the like of which most people in the world copuld never dream of.

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BMW i8 plug-in hybrid: It's a supercar, Jim, but not as we know it

Zog The Undeniable

Re: 231BHP from 1.5l

A 3-cyl engine has rather poor balance (rocking couple) and needs balance shafts. VW didn't bother with the little 1 litre engine in the Citigo, which is why it feels as if it's going to shake itself apart (and why I didn't buy one after test driving it). Ford economised on their EcoBoost 3-cyl engine by using an unbalanced flywheel to compensate, whcih is a bodge first tried years ago.

I suspect BMW did it properly and used balance shafts in this one, especially as the capacity is too large just to try and ignore the problem, as is tempting with a 1 litre or smaller.

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Zog The Undeniable

49g/km

This shows how stupid the NEDC test is, and how good manufacturers have become at "gaming" it for low taxation. This now happens with all new cars but it's ridiculous in the case of hybrids.

All the car's CO2 comes from burning fuel in the engine, therefore fuel consumption in litres/100km must be proportional to g/km if the two are measured under the same conditions. But it never is these days, not in the official figures. A 32mpg car actually emits over 200g/km (you can do the maths if you like) and should be liable for fairly hefty VED, not a free tax disc.

There are now millions of cars on the roads, mainly turbo models and hybrids, which are paying very low rates of VED yet producing just as much CO2 as older or more conventional cars which are taxed more heavily. And the direct injection petrol turbos have atrocious PM10 emissions too, so they're giving your kids asthma and cancer.

It's all gone mad.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Zog The Undeniable

Good point about loudspeaker and amp designers working separately

The no.1 rule when buying either is to listen to them together. Some amps sound dull and too bassy with some speakers, some sound too bright and thin. Getting speakers that sound good with your amp is far more important than getting components that are theoretically brilliant on their own. You could spend £500 and get great sound, or spend £5,000 and get atrocious sound.

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Zog The Undeniable

The human ear does not have a flat response, either. All that external funny-looking cartilage gubbins (the pinna) has evolved to boost voice frequencies (around 1kHz) and attenuate others. So it's a clever transducer, but you wouldn't copy it for hi-fi, where what comes out is supposed to be more or less what goes in.

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Zog The Undeniable
Holmes

Actually, it's irrelevant for 90% of recorded music

Because it is either:

1. synthesised using electronic instruments

2. subjected to autotune for vocals

3. deliberately manipulated for effect (many modern pop vocals sound like they're been stretched to make them extra trebly and reedy)

4. subject to massive dynamic compression to make it sound louder

5. mucked about with on a mixing desk, overdubbed, artificial chorus effects added etc

Only some carefully-recorded classical music on CD (not radio) might benefit from real high fidelity. Or maybe live pop, but in most cases the performers aren't all that hot without the studio trickery. For everything else, if it sounds good, it is good.

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Gid E-Up? Vulture's claw presses pedal to metal on VW's 'leccy motor

Zog The Undeniable

Re: "If the battery is fully charged, no regenerative braking occurs."

They're not offered to us - although we can have any diesel VW in the range - probably because the battery capacity makes it impossible to use one on company business. One of our main sites is 80 miles from head office, the other is 90 miles. You couldn't get there and back in a day unless they fitted a load of rapid DC chargers and dedicated bays at each site.

So you'd need to persuade the company to let you have one as a second car and use a private dino-fuelled car for longer business trips, which would probably make the fleet manager's head explode. Good luck getting that 0% BIK.

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Feds crack down harder on 'lasing'. Yep, aircraft laser zapping... Really

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

I have a 5mW green laser pointer; legal to own in the UK but (I think) illegal to sell. Anyway, catch the beam in the eye (if it gets reflected in a mirror, for example) and I can report that you have a black spot in your vision for about 10 minutes afterwards. I can see why the Feds take this seriously.

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The fresh Mint of dwell there: This is a story all about how 17 is here for a while

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

I'm desperate to get Windows 8 expunged from my HP Envy ultrabook, but neither Mint 16 nor the Mint 17 release candidate can make the ClickPad work properly. The pointer stops responding intermittently - as in, for a few seconds EVERY few seconds - which makes it totally unusable. I know ClickPads suck a very large one compared to a touchpad with real buttons but at least it nearly works in Windows 8.

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EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

Zog The Undeniable

Re: It looks password lenght is limited...

Oh yes...remember Windows LanMan hashes and the 7 character problem? Despite this, many organisations insisted on 8 character passwords and left LanMan compatibility on, which made them much easier to break.

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EBay, you keep using the word 'SECURITY'. I do not think it means what you think it means

Zog The Undeniable

Won't happen

eBay is awful, incompetent and customer-hostile but I still use it reluctantly; it achieved critical mass many years ago so is the only significant marketplace for stuff you need to sell, or secondhand stuff you can't find anywhere else. They have a monopoly and they know it.

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Zog The Undeniable

The Lads from Lagos will be all over this like a rash

Dear valued eBay customer,

As you may have seen in the news, we have experienced a a minor security breach in which none of your credit card or other financial data were stolen. However, eBay recommends that you reset your password by clicking on this link and entering your social security number, PIN and bank card details to validate yourself:

eBay password reset

Yours in God,

Ologugu Ungobungo

Vice President Customer Services

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Star Wars movie to start shooting in UK this summer

Zog The Undeniable

You forgot the biggest Hollywood racial stereotype of all: the English as the antagonists.

In the original trilogy the whole Galactic Empire had English accents except for Darth Vader, and he was only dubbed because a Bristol accent isn't gert menacing, my lover.

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QUIDOCALYPSE: Blighty braces for £100 MILLION cost of new £1 coin

Zog The Undeniable

It's George Osborne (no "e"). As in Ozzy, who probably wouldn't do a worse job as Chancellor (OK, the economy is belatedly growing, mainly because we're not up the brown creek with the euro-using countries, but stuff like Help To Buy is completely bonkers freakonomics).

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TomTom GO 6000 satnav chews on smarties and tablets

Zog The Undeniable

It works...sometimes

Tom Tom's LIVE update (which costs about £60/year) is quite good at telling me about delays when I've already been stuck in them for a few minutes. I believe the raw data comes from other vehicles using Tom Tom kit that can dial out (so if they're moving at 5mph on a 60mph road, there is congestion) so it depends on Tom Tom market penetration and also on how many people have enabled the sharing feature.

There is also a spurious "no through road" in the database which tries to prevent me from getting to my house the most obvious way.

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Facebook tests sinister CURSOR-TRACKING in hunt for more ad bucks

Zog The Undeniable
Black Helicopters

Presumably they have an AdBlock Plus tracker, too? I'm not on FB but the wife is, and she says she never sees any adverts.

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Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Zog The Undeniable
Facepalm

Too soon

DAB (or a lot of low bitrate Internet radio - I'm looking at you, Classic FM) isn't worth running through a decent hi-fi amp and speakers, because it just sounds too bad. It's fine for speech on a small kitchen radio, which is where we use it. Except that my preferred music station, Jack FM, is, as its name suggests, not on DAB. So actually it's just my wife that uses DAB to listen to Radio 2.

If FM goes I will only listen to Radio 4 on DAB, occasionally kicking the set down the garden when The Bloody Archers, some chattering-classes feminist claptrap or a esoteric documentary about lesbian haddock comes on. So that's two thirds of it..

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THIS is the kind of clout a British Prime Minister has: Facebook pulls ONE beheading vid

Zog The Undeniable

FB said the videos need to be available so people can condemn them.

By that logic, FB needs to allow Gary Glitter's browsing material of choice too. Stupid argument.

FB is just trying to be provocative, like a rebellious teenager as a result (ironic, given that FB's main user base is now middle-aged, teens having decided that sexting each other on Snapchat is the latest thing).

Of course, there was a U-turn of the U-turn as soon as the advertisers pointed out that they didn't want their product promoted next to some poor woman being killed in a medieval fashion.

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

Zog The Undeniable

car widths have increased 16 per cent in the last decade and parking sizes haven't got any bigger

This is a big problem. Most garage doors are exactly seven feet wide, meaning you can't actually drive a new VW Golf or Honda Civic into the garage without either folding the mirrors or risking a scrape (the clearance on each side is only an inch or two - good luck with that when you do it 365 days a year). So everyone clutters up the street with their second or third cars and fills the garage with broken barbecues and other crap. Many cars are banned from the Rotherhithe Tunnel for the same reason - they won't fit through the new entrance bollards.

I know the world's people are getting fatter and fatter but there really ought to be a limit on car width. No-one is going to go and widen all the roads by 16%.

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Germans brew up a right Sh*tstorm

Zog The Undeniable

What's wrong with "Scheissesturm"?

It's also more alliterative and the extra syllable gives it a nice rhythm

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Unemployed? Ugly? Ugh, no thanks, says fitties-only job website

Zog The Undeniable
Paris Hilton

Re: At least with this site...

My wife and I tested this scientifically by putting ourselves on hotornot. 7.6 and 8.3. I was the 8.3 and she's never lived it down ;-)

Paris, because she's not shallow or anything.

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Charity chief: Get with it, gov - kids shouldn't have to write by hand

Zog The Undeniable
Devil

We're all going to hell in a handcart

Give them leaky Osmiroid fountain pens and tell them to MTFU. You can't make ink pellets with an iPad.

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ANCIENT CURSED RING known to TOLKIEN goes on display

Zog The Undeniable
Mushroom

Coincidentally, we took the kids there last week

The ring display was a bit "meh" (it's next to the secondhand bookshop and not exactly pride of place) but the curse seems to have worked on nearby Tadley, which has some of the most depressing housing outside the former USSR and a nuclear warhead factory.

My daughter bought a rubber dragon from the gift shop, which I suppose might have been Smaug.

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Android's US market share continues to slip

Zog The Undeniable
Facepalm

It's the iPhone 5, stupid

Apple put a new phone on sale in Q4 2012. Samsung didn't.

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Zog The Undeniable
Boffin

But this analysis is about HBOS

The wider banking crisis occurred because 'merkin banks made lots of doubtful loans to trailer trash and then securitised these loans, selling them on to a succession of other gullible banks (including British ones) who didn't realise or care what they were buying - they just looked at the predicted cash flows. Predictably, the trailer trash defaulted and there was a massive loss of confidence in the whole system which caused the credit crunch and thus the recession (or is it a depression by now?).

So it's the same root cause, but through an amplification mechanism that is more akin to the casino banking which the OP dismisses.

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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

Zog The Undeniable
Thumb Up

This would almost work as a proposition for us. My wife mainly does short trips to and from work 3 miles away, I rarely drive to work (I cycle, to keep the flab at bay) and we have a petrol-powered estate car for longer trips. It's vanishingly rare that we need to independently take long journeys.

Battery cost is still high, though - add on the electricity cost and we'd only just be breaking even on "fuel" costs, I reckon. Lower servicing costs and a longer-lasting vehicle, though.

Main disadvantage is that the house would really need rewiring, as plugging in the Zoe and the tumble drier together would almost certainly fry the substandard radial connection to the garage.

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Samsung: We're doing smart watches too

Zog The Undeniable
Coat

Re: ...

That reminds me of the old joke about the three golfers; the Englishman with the implanted mobile phone in his finger and thumb, the American with the videoconference facility built into his corneas, and the Japanese guy who suddenly has to run into the bushes, because he's receiving a fax.

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Crack Bombe squad dismantles Reg encryption in an hour

Zog The Undeniable

Re: Private Pirate Operations

Is it purely a coincidence that the last cipher group is an anagram of wankr?

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LinkedIn password hack sueball kicked to the kerb by judge

Zog The Undeniable
Thumb Down

Unsalted hashes

are easily broken en-masse with a rainbow attack, unless you used a really strong password that the creator of the rainbow table didn't include, like "j67-*^%fg".

This is a pretty epic fail, although I accept the judge's assertion that no harm can be proven in these specific cases (I'm assuming the users changed their passwords promptly so the stolen hashes can no longer be used).

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Throttled customers rage over Virgin Mobile UK's tight cap

Zog The Undeniable

I'm an EE customer

and I don't recall them telling me about the 4MB cap. Maybe they buried it in the weekly spam e-mail, in white text on a white background, or used steganography to hide it in their horrid new logo.

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Reg readers brew up the ultimate cuppa

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

Nooooo!

The only way to get the creamier taste of "milk first", and still brew the tea with boiling water, is to use a teapot.

Sorry, the research just shows what a bunch of philistines the sample was.

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It's the Peer 2.0: Martha Lane Fox now a crossbench baroness

Zog The Undeniable

Selling remaindered goods and services to less affluent people* is her biggest achievement, and therefore an excellent metaphor for Britain.

*I have bought a couple of holidays off lastminute.com, no complaints

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Happy birthday, LP: Can you believe it's only 65?

Zog The Undeniable

Actually, vinyl sucked. Yes, it's analogue (good) and it has a wide dynamic range (good) but add the slightest dust contamination, and it all goes to hell. And it wears out. And lots of them were very poorly pressed, so they would never sound good even on a £100,000 system.

Laser turntables (which predate the CD) are interesting because you can play LPs without wearing them out and also get error correction for scratches and dust. This isn't a pure analogue system, of course, but it's pretty good.

Personally I find CDs just fine. When I first got a CD player I took it round a friend's house and we played some of the same albums (The Stone Roses was one of them) on his Linn turntable and on my Philips CD610 (still going strong 23 years later), through the same high quality amp and speakers. They sounded different; the CD player gave a warmer sound, possibly because of the absence of any mechanical stylus noise, but we agreed that neither was "better" than the other. I would have been 21 at the time, with more high-frequency hearing range than now.

128k MP3 though, I can't cope with. When it gets to 256k, it's fine.

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Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

Re: Why not just build a solar panel that covers half the world....

Because you are receiving an artificial subsidy (paid for by me and most other electricity consumers) out of all proportion to the true value of the power generated.

And I'm not even on Lewis' side in this debate.

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Dish boss on ad-skipping service: 'I don’t want to kill ads'

Zog The Undeniable
Unhappy

Sky - paying for adverts

I confess to being surprised when I subscribed to $ky and paid handsomely for the privilege of seeing even more adverts than on ITV. VH1 was unwatchable because they crammed all their adverts into peak hours (with none at late night) to get round the 10 mins per hour limit, meaning it was about 20-30% adverts if you just wanted some music videos.

Only the movie channels avoided adverts (at least during films) but they cost a shedload, the pricing structure being geared towards making you pay for the full monty rather than just selecting what you want (if you add either movies or sport, having everything costs very little more, and I definitely didn't want sport).

Eventually I unsubscribed because satellite TV turned out to be a prime example of Sturgeon's Law.

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Oracle 'fesses up: Java security flaws more than storm in teacup

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

It's getting worse

The irony was that Microsoft's unofficial version of Java, once bundled with Windows, was generally OK. Then Sun sued Microsoft and the result is that we have to use the bloated, insecure, crapware-laden official version (anything that adds itself to the system tray and creates pop-up reminders is a fail in my eyes). I never install it when building a machine, and if a website requires it, I decide that I don't require that website.

The current irritation is that the latest release of Firefox prompts me to install an updated version of Java whenever I start it (on Windows, anyway - it's OK on Linux Mint). One day the wife or kids are going to do what FF asks and I'll have a crapware-infested system. Hopefully them being "limited users" will prevent this.

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Star Trek saviour JJ Abrams joins the dark side: Star Wars VII

Zog The Undeniable

Re: Star Wars originally planned to have 9 parts?

As any fule no, the "IV" was added in the 1981 re-release.

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Hydrogen on demand from silicon nanospheres - just add water

Zog The Undeniable

A car starting battery is a very poor example, because it is built to supply high current above all other considerations, and is hardly discharged at all in proper use. Try using one as a deep cycle battery and you'll be lucky to get ten decent charges from it as the plates fall apart and buckle.

A better example would be a deep cycle lead-acid "leisure battery". I don't know how long these last, but it isn't 2000 cycles and 10 years. On the other hand, lead-acid batteries nearly all get recycled, so it's not all bad.

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First Google wants to know all about you, now it wants a RING on your finger

Zog The Undeniable
Mushroom

Not good enough

I want a ring like that of Ming The Merciless, that generates earthquakes, tidal waves and - er - hot hail on obscure planets in the SK system. Or just Dunstable, I'm easy.

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Germany's RTL pulls free-to-air channels off terrestrial TV

Zog The Undeniable
Boffin

Small problem with satellite

Freesat, as opposed to Freeview, has some channels missing (e.g. Dave). This is apparently because half of western Europe can receive Freesat but only the UK and a bit of Belgium can receive Freeview, hence there are international licensing and royalty issues at stake.

There was the odd thing on the "free to air" channels over Christmas that we couldn't see because we're on satellite (old Sky digiboxes, no subscription).

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This week's BBC MELTDOWN: Savile puppet haunts kids' TV

Zog The Undeniable
Childcatcher

Re: Innocent until proving guilty?

Oh for the good old days when you could convict them, dig them up and hang them (Google Oliver Cromwell).

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Zog The Undeniable
Mushroom

I've also seen Wile E. Coyote setting up a roadside IED to try and "take out" Road Runner. Do these 1950s cartoon makers and modern-day DVD pimps have no sense of decency towards our brave boys in Helmand province?

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Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

Zog The Undeniable

Trevor Moore

Must have the inverse Midas touch; everything he touches turns to something brown and squishy. I bet he got paid well, thobuts.

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Apple 'slashes iPhone 5 screen orders', tight-fisted fanbois blamed

Zog The Undeniable
Thumb Down

Hang on...

1. Not many people outside a few big cities can get 4G, so what's the point in buying the iPhone 5?

2. A 3% drop in share price is noise.

(I don't own anything by Apple but this seems to be a non story).

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White House rejects Death Star petition: '$850qn too pricey'

Zog The Undeniable

The name's a bit of a problem

Call it a Freedom Star and they'd have gone for it.

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Reuters rubbishes report rubbishing cheap iPhone rumor

Zog The Undeniable

Probably just a third world model. Since the first world, however young or poverty-stricken, will already beg and steal to get a full-price iPhone; there's no point in offering them a cheaper one. It's not like BMWs (another product where the badge adds 50% to the price) where the 1 series sells to people who could never have afforded a new 3 series.

The iPod nano is as much about form factor as low price, so I'm not sure it's a valid analogy.

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Facebook testing $100 fee to mail Mark Zuckerberg

Zog The Undeniable
Devil

Facebook. It's free and always will be.

Apart from this bit. And this. And this.

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Time has already run out for smart watches

Zog The Undeniable
Holmes

Everyone said the iPad would fail

but it had an Apple logo on it, so it sold like hot cakes. Normal laws do not apply.

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Making apps for touchscreen mobes? YAWN. Try a car instead

Zog The Undeniable
FAIL

Or they could actually fit the Focus with something useful

Like a head-up speed display reflected in the windscreen. Why don't all cars have one? It's old tech.

Frankly, touch-screen stereos frighten me; they are totally distracting as you have to use your eyes. There was a good reason that Motorola car radios in the 1970s had push button memory, rather than having to turn the tuning knob and look at a scale.

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