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* Posts by johnnytruant

318 posts • joined 12 Aug 2008

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UK sight-loss charity sues BMI

johnnytruant

This is good

Because it means web agencies/devs with a clue can say "well, of course we can do [stupid flashy thing X] on your webpage, but it does risk you being sued by the RNIB like BMI did."

I've lost count of the number of times I've gently pointed out to a client that the inane animated nonsense their four-year-old daughter thought would be good on their corporate web page was shutting out users with access issues. To no effect whatsoever, most times.

A precedent for actual legal action is an effective hammer to use on even the most rabid marketing types.

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Billions of net-ready boxes in homes by 2016

johnnytruant

given the dross the commercial channels produce

I will happily pay my license fee regardless of how the content is delivered. That comment stands in relation to both TV and radio.

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Try a 'shroom before ruling on chill pills, boffin tells gov

johnnytruant

try some of this lovely mushroom tea

then read it again. all will become clear.

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A preview of SOPA: Web shut down before my eyes

johnnytruant

perhaps they are making a subtle point

That determined and knowledgeable people can still get the information. Just as determined and knowledgeable people will still be able to access copyright-infringing content after SOPA/PIPA.

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Xmas actually accelerates Dixons sales drop

johnnytruant

way back in the day, when I worked in retail

I worked in Richer Sounds. It was drilled hard into us to never, ever bullshit a customer about anything ever. Either they spot you at the time, then you don't get a sale; or they find out later on and are annoyed - either way that customer isn't coming back and will probably tell their friends not to either.

We were told that if you don't know something, politely say so, then find the hell out and get back to them sharpish. Offer the customer a cup of tea while they wait.

It's not rocket science. But it is probably why Richers are still making money and Dixons aren't.

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johnnytruant

this is very annoying

If PC Dixocurryworld closes, where will I go to eyeball my potential new tech purchases before I order them off Amazon?

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Experts: We're stuck with passwords – and maybe they're best

johnnytruant

Can't imagine I'm going to be first with this

But, http://xkcd.com/936/

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Phone maker punts AA-powered blower

johnnytruant

If I still went mountaineering/hillwalking

One of these would get stuffed into a waterproof bag and go straight onto my basic gear pile.

Those Energizer Ultimate batteries are pretty awesome - I got just over four years of daily use out of my super-bright torch before it needed fresh ones. Also they weigh about half what normal AAs do. For some applications - where weight, longevity or both matter - their rather generous price tag is definitely worth paying.

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HTC Sensation XL

johnnytruant

you could try

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray.

Slimline, lightweight and powerful enough (for me, ymmv). Also has a camera superior to almost anything on the market.

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E-book reader sales to boom as prices plunge

johnnytruant

not quite

$79 is the ad-supported version, which isn't available in the UK.

The UK-matching version is $109. So that's a 29% price difference at current rates, most of which can be explained by being VAT@20% the US version of which, sales tax, doesn't apply to online purchases (I think. USians please do correct me if I'm wrong.)

So it's not all that bad.

I still bought the Sony. It's much nicer, imo.

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2011's Best... Smartphones

johnnytruant
WTF?

So you review the Sony Ericsson Arc S at 95%

But somehow that doesn't make this list of 90% phones?

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Mythbusters cannonball ‘myth-fires’

johnnytruant

Explosions and Kari are plenty reason enough, though.

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2011's Best... E-book Readers

johnnytruant

My girlfriend is a library manager and Amazon UK are currently refusing to play nice with Overdrive, the library lending service that most (all?) UK e-lending systems use. Not the library's fault there's no Kindle support, they are trying!

The Kindle works with some US Overdrive-powered systems, so it's technically possible and therefore will probably be coming to the UK at some point. It seems foolish of Amazon not to get involved, but then I guess there's limited profit for them - although library lending does become a selling point which they can lever more customers in with, or a point which they lose sales to Sony/Kobo on.

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johnnytruant

http://digitallibrary.norfolk.gov.uk/ has audiobooks for lending, but I haven't tried borrowing any. Other library services may vary.

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johnnytruant

Sony PRS-T1

I've just bought a PRS-T1 and it's bloody lovely. For me, the extra £40 over the Kindle so I could make use of my local library's digital lending system - directly through the reader itself (plus wifi) - was a no brainer. Might have merited a mention in the review, the library-lending capability, although not all library services offer it (yet).

Also, I think the Sony manages the eInk Pearl screen better than the Kindle does. The Sony does a blank on each page turn which the Kindle only does every five page turns. The text after the third or fourth refresh without blanking looks decidedly jaggy to my eyes.

Fits into Kindle cases as well, which is handy.

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Ubuntu team questions Distrowatch share slide figures

johnnytruant
WTF?

So much fuss

Over some pageviews on a relatively obscure website? I like distrowatch, but then I'm a linux geek. The vast majority of Ubuntu users haven't heard of it, and don't care either.

Ubuntu is easily the most popular linux distro and so what? Mint is good. Ubuntu is good. Debian is good. Fedora is good. Crunchbang is good. SUSE is good. Slackware is good. Sabayon is good. They're all good. (except KDE distros, obviously.. /troll) Choose the one you like and use it. Then be glad you've got the choice.

I know distro choice has always been a minor holy war, and one that is occasionally fun to get into, but this latest pissing contest escalation seems a lot more childish than before.

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Ubuntu penguins build Linux TV challenge

johnnytruant

There's a ppa currently hosting builds for lpia, amd64 and x86, but XMBC has built on ARM for a few years now.

You'd be pretty crazy to not base a TV project on it, to be honest. That'd be like trying to create an apt-based distro not based on Debian. Even if you ditch all the (rather nice) UI, you want the video and pvr handling - XMBC plays more video formats than almost anything I've seen.

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johnnytruant

A wheel not in need of reinvention

XMBC and it's derivatives - openELEC, Boxee et al are already well all over linux-on-the-telly. I can share painlessly to and from my XBMC-running media centre using existing protocols like UPnP and DLNA and so on - not just devices running Ubuntu. Remote control is achieved for me with a wiimote and bluetooth - but I could easily use my phone or a web browser or an iDevice. I'm sure someone could port OpenKinect's output to being XMBC friendly, it's hardly difficult as XBMC is so well put together.

Even the drooling fanboists at omgubuntu barely got excited over this latest Shuttleworth announcement.

Full disclosure: I've used Ubuntu on and off since it launched, and today 50% of my computers run Ubuntu - including the media centre - the rest are on Debian.

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Backyard astronomer snaps Beta Pictoris dust disk

johnnytruant

the TouCam Pro

is really an astonishing piece of kit. The SPC9x series even more so. Why Phillips made them with such incredibly sensitive CCDs in, nobody will ever know. But when you can pick one up for a tenner of fleabay and tape a film canister with an IR cut filter to the front, you can manage some rather impressive astrophotograpy. Mod it a bit further for long exposure and you can achieve truly stunning results on deepsky objects. It's one of the few aspects of home astronomy which doesn't have to cost a bleedin' fortune.

Celestron sell a reboxed Philips webcam for some £120 just 'cos it has a 1.5" tube and a Celestron logo on the case.

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Ten... top PlayStation Network game downloads

johnnytruant

Some of my favourites

Even though a bit long in the tooth now, PixelJunk Monsters is one of the best Tower Defence games on PS3, and co-op multiplayer is awesome. Not to mention having a rather good soundtrack.

Flower is by some definitions not a game, it's still well worth whatever few quid it costs these days.

Burnout Crash is unfailingly amusing to pick up for a few minutes here and there, and features the song Crash by the Primitives, which provides a great earworm for days afterwards.

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Fragged, fragged and thrice fragged! 20 years of id Software’s Doom

johnnytruant

I should add

That the frame rate when playing on a old greyscale iPod does leave something to be desired.

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johnnytruant

Most ported game ever?

Could be. I've run it on my 4G iPod, and I've seen it running on devices as diverse as digital cameras and internet-enabled fridges.

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Cracked emails again deployed against climate researchers

johnnytruant

Academia is no way to riches full stop

I really don't get this whole "they're only making it up to get money" thing.

Academic research scientists, at least in the UK, don't make money. If anyone were in academic research purely to get rich, then they're too stupid to get rich anyway. If you want to get rich, you go and work in commercial science, or do consultancy or something.

I have relatives who work in the UEA CRU, are on the IPCC, Nobel Laureates the both of them - about as high-level as climate science gets and they don't bank anything approaching serious money. They do alright, but nothing on even a fairly crappy middle manager at a moderately successful business. Most of the money they do make is from teaching rather than research anyway.

On the other hand, I know a couple of people who are commercial researchers and they take home serious wad. Anyone from CRU could walk into the commercial sector tomorrow and easily double their pay packet, yet they choose not to.

You can, if you wish, dispute the science. But please don't doubt the motivation of the scientists.

I welcome your downvotes.

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Lapse It Pro

johnnytruant
Headmaster

a note from pedant's corner

MP4, MOV and FLV are container formats, not encoder formats. You can put any kind of video into them. I made some DNxHD .MOV files just yesterday, for example, which I very much doubt most media players on any OS would play back.

While it doesn't surprise me that the lay person gets these kind of things mixed up, I would hope that the author of an app which actually encodes video would know the difference.

That aside, this is actually a rather good app.

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Coder creates Siri proxy

johnnytruant

I wonder

if there's any reason not to do this with google's voice servers instead?

Google's systems recognise English (not American English which is a different thing), including regional accents, not to mention actual other languages. Much more useful than Apple's rather limited system.

It's available to android apps already, so there's an API interface in existence, it just needs a widdle tiny bit of reverse engineering. And, of course, no iPhone unique ID.

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Ice Cream Sandwich phone a no-show on Vodafone

johnnytruant

odd thing

Every unbranded handset I've had on VF has worked fine.

Every branded one I've had has been ridden with problems, including buggy software and bloaty crapware.

Perhaps I've just been unlucky.

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My home is bugged ... with temp sensors to save me cash

johnnytruant
Trollface

LED lighting ftw.

I moved house just as my local $supermarket had Philips Econic bulbs at 75% off, so as the previous owners had taken all the bulbs with them, I took the opportunity to install LED lighting throughout.

Even given that I have 22 GU10 spots in the house, the entire house tops out at 110W total for all lights, and it cost less than fitting CFLs. Modern LED bulbs are bright and warm enough to light any room - I have whiter "sunlight" TP24 bulbs in the kitchen and bathroom and warmer Econic ones in the front and bedrooms.

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The Beeb is broken

johnnytruant
Joke

I haven't been to bbc.co.uk for some time

But loading it today I couldn't help but notice it appears to be styled after Adwaita, the default style for GNOME 3.x.

Co-incidence, or something more sinister?

I think we should be told.

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It's time to end the Windows Wait

johnnytruant

£40?

You'll be lucky right now. eBuyer currently has 1TB spinning magnetic media at £100 and up.

But still, yes.

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Farewell then, Sony Ericsson

johnnytruant

I had a T10

Back before Sony even got in on the act. Since then I've had one non-SE phone (which I hated).

I had a P900 and it was excellent. I could text and email using the handwriting recognition from inside my pocket - no phone I've used since has been able to do that. Then I had an S700 and it rewrote the rules about how good a camera in a phone could be - something SE keep doing with each generation, it seems: I've printed photos from my C905 at 18*12" and people haven't believed they've come from a phone. I have a friend who had a t610 from launch until *last year*

I think my favourite was the T38. It was so incredibly teeny, and the little flippy thing was so much fun. Answering the phone was like being in a sci-fi film.

I don't usually do brand loyalty, but SE have consistently made the best - for my requirements - handsets around. I'd jump ship in a moment if someone else made something I liked more, but that hasn't happened yet. I hope Sony can keep up the standard.

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WHSmith Kobo Touch wireless e-book reader

johnnytruant

touching eink?

Given how fastidious I am about cleaning my screens, perhaps on my ereader most of all, I'm not entirely sure I want to be swiping my greasy fingers over the reading surface all the time.

Sometimes buttons are the right answer. Make 'em capacitative buttons or a swipe pad or whatever, but keep my mucky hands away from the display!

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray Android smartphone

johnnytruant

Well, they have a big screen, big powered phone. It's called the Arc S and it recently picked up a 90% score on here.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, Android 2.3.4 is optimised for single-core cpus, so having a dual-core makes little sense - in most cases it'll have little benefit on performance and it definitely kicks battery life down a notch or two.

So, given Sony have met this year's apparent "needs" with the Arc, maybe the Ray isn't aimed at people for whom bigger is always better - perhaps it's for people who don't want to fill their pockets with gigantic slabs of glass?

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johnnytruant
Thumb Up

Sir, you have a woman's hands

and so do I. Which is why the little screen isn't a problem. I like having a phone small enough that I often don't even notice it's in my pocket. Some of my bigger-pawed friends have found it a bit fiddly to use. But that's OK, it's not their phone.

As for video playback, if you have a DLNA-compliant device plugged in to your TV, simply select "Play on Device" on the phone and the video appears. No messy wires needed. I always thought that having a whole port just for HDMI was somewhat overkill on a phone.

The biggest draw though is the fact that this handset is half the price of the Arc S. Combine that with a sim card from giffgaff and I've just more-than-halved my phone running costs for the next 18 months. Also screw you Vodafone with your stupid price hikes.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S Android smartphone

johnnytruant

didn't quite get one

I nearly bought an Arc S but in the end plumped for the incredibly tiny (and much cheaper) Ray. But it was a close call, they're both very nice devices.

I agree that the Arc S is probably the nicest looking phone on the market right now. Good to see SE back in the game.

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WHSmith launches e-book reader rivals to Amazon Kindle

johnnytruant

A4 readers

Kindle DX, Boox M90, Pocketbook Pro 902, Irex DR1000.

All A4 (or near as dammit) and some of them have been around quite a few years. The Boox M90 is a particularly nice specimen, and what will probably replace my creaky-but-still-serviceable iRex iLiad when it finally dies.

Also, tablet != ereader. One is LCD/xLED, the other is eInk. There is no comparison, even with the latest high ppi transmissive screens (and yes, I've read on both technologies.)

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Dark Souls

johnnytruant

Demon's Souls was great

and Dark Souls is even better. A very welcome respite from brown worlds full of waist-high walls to "cover" behind and regenerating health.

Difficult is a good thing, sometimes, and boy this game is hard and unforgiving. It's genuinely scary in parts, frustrating in others, beautiful in some, yet the sense of satisfaction when you finally trounce that giant, unspeakably dangerous boss is something I haven't felt since the days of Doom (Demon's Souls notwithstanding.) The feeling from finally ringing the bell in the Upper Gargoyle Church, looking out over the glorious landscape with soft light from the permanently-setting sun above, was a mixture of intense relief at having made it, and immense foreboding at having to fight my way back down again, and then on into The Depths where things were no doubt orders of magnitude more horrific and dangerous. Utterly brilliant. Moments like that are so rare in gaming these days.

The lack of pause button or save/load - the game saves constantly, so you can never use the "save here, try X, reload if it doesn't work" tactic - just adds to the already massive tension.

I'm going to call it - even before I've played Skyrim which I'm looking forward to hugely - Dark Souls is my "Game of the Year 2011"

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Kapsalon v quesadillas

johnnytruant
Headmaster

Ahem.

I think you'll find that what you've made there is not a quesadilla, but instead a sincronizada. A quesadilla (lit: "little cheese thing") is one tortilla with cheese (and goodies) then folded in half. Outside Mexico, this confusion is very common.

I claim my five pounds, etc.

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Blighty's Android fans get British English voice control

johnnytruant

They don't do Scottish accents

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FFRoYhTJQQ

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No pain, some gain: Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot examined

johnnytruant

I'm not Unity's biggest fan

But I don't dislike it enough to bother logging in under Gnome 2.x instead.

It's OK. It works enough that I can do the things I need to do (ie, load a terminal and a web browser.) If I really cared, I'd install something else, but I don't. It's really not a big deal. My laptop has Linux Mint Debian + Gnome Classic on it these days, but that's more to do with a network driver regression that arrived in Natty than anything else.

Lots of my non-techie friends I've upgraded from Windows absolutely love Unity though, and I'm sure a more polished version will go down even better. The ungeek is who Ubuntu are aiming at, and that's a good thing - there's a lot more of those people than there are of "us."

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10-year old hacker finds flaw in mobile games

johnnytruant

ah, but

Us 'ere Limeys also say "ten past five" for a time, but we don't write it as "10:17"

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Microsoft man saves drowning woman

johnnytruant

drowning doesn't look like drowning

http://gcaptain.com/drowning/

I've been on loads of first-aid courses and this has never once been mentioned.

Take five minutes to read the above page, you might save someone's life as a result.

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Scotland Yard probes News of the World computer hacking claims

johnnytruant

I wonder where they get their codenames from

Weeting is a tiny village in Norfolk, Tuleta is an even tinier place in Texas.

Presumably there is some sort of system, or maybe someone just spins a globe and jabs a finger..

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Apple patent: 'Pour' your data from iPhone to iPad

johnnytruant

it's not just Bump

Also Hoccer. Hoccer lets you throw, slide and flick data between devices. Gesture or accelerometer controlled.

But Apple have never been one to let anything so boring as prior art get in the way of a patent application.

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ALK CoPilot Live Premium HD

johnnytruant

no offline as far as I know

Although the caching seems pretty intelligent and since they went to vector map files, even the most puny connection can squeeze enough data for a tile or two in a sane time - I've never not got map from Google, even when in rural Norfolk or the Scottish Highlands. Somewhere with no signal at all might well have problems though.

That the maps are offline could easily have been mentioned in the article - for people that matters to, it might well be worth the cost of the app.

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johnnytruant

£25 quid

Is quite a lot for an app which doesn't appear to be all that much more clever than the already-installed Google Navigation.

I guess if you drive a lot, it might be worth it, but I would have liked to hear why this is better than the free alternative.

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Sony quietly tests PlayStation Network revamp

johnnytruant

"text heavy" isn't a complaint I have

"incredibly slow" is though. PSN Store usually feels like I'm living in the bad old days of dial-up.

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Google field tests (yet another) Facebook rival

johnnytruant

circles eh?

Almost exactly like the system of "aspects" that Diaspora uses, even down to the drag-and-drop interface and the little puff of smoke when you de-aspect someone.

Which was, actually, the best thing about Diaspora. If Google+ can hook into Facebook so I don't have to manage both sites at once (Diaspora did this fairly well) then I might be interested. I dislike almost everything about Facebook except the fact that all my friends are there, which is why I still use it. Google I dislike slightly less, and trust slightly more. Slightly.

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Sony to slim PlayStation 3 price

johnnytruant

paying RRP is silly

I bought a 160GB PS3 complete with two games for £239 from Toysaurus a week ago. Game still have the 160GB listed at £199 (online only) although are currently showing as out of stock.

If the RRP drops to £200, it's possible some retailers could be selling at £150 or so.

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Firing back at LulzSec

johnnytruant

I tried that once

Turns out you catch loads more flies with vinegar.

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