* Posts by M Gale

3526 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

Red faces abound as boffins build gamma ray lens

M Gale
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Re: Next step...

Wouldn't that be a gaser cannon?

Has some hilarious comedy potential right there.

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Kiwi ISP offers geo-block workaround

M Gale
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Notes to block VPNs

What notes would they be? "Oh, there's the exit points, we'll block them"?

And within a week, new exit points spring up. Well done.

Maybe some people will see sense and just let Global Mode be. Of course, those interested in carving markets up into artificial geographic divisions will carry on trying to prevent it. All that stress and high blood pressure, and for some cheeky sod to work their way around your latest filter like it's not even there? I'd be pissed off too, but I don't imagine many people would be sympathetic.

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Apple's HTML5 bet against Android extermination

M Gale
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Re: There can only be one...?

The reason Apple still exist is because Microsoft gave them a rather large chunk of cash in return for shares. Whenever Apple make money now, Microsoft make money. Kinda makes me wonder why Ballmer is bothering with mobile at all.

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M Gale
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Re: " While Apple is crushing competitors in the relatively new tablet market,"

Real keyboard on a detachable dock, laptop-style mousepad for people who hate touch screens, 4.5 core Tegra 3, massive battery life, lovely screen, more points of multi-touch recognised than you have fingers, brushed aluminium case, USB port for mass storage and other devices, micro SD port, full size SD port, 32GB built-in storage, ICS for people who really want that sort of thing, a whole load of brilliant apps available and the computing power to make everything fly. It's the only fondle-toy I've seen yet that I would be comfortable typing more than 100 words on, and your choice of RDP or VNC clients from the app store (I go for Remote RDP, myself) means you have a desktop away from your desktop.

Just off the top of my head, like. As for why its marketshare is "in the pit", I dunno, is it? Just goes to show that following the crowd isn't always the best idea.

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LOHAN ideas..

M Gale
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Re: Thrust driven swing wing

WRT v-tail, I was on about losing the entire stabiliser. Given independant servos, you've a chance of bringing an aircraft in with half the stabiliser gone if it's a nice airframe. Lose half of a v-tail and you're pretty buggered.

Anyway, the glide ratio doesn't need to be massively brilliant at 100,000 feet. With the wings swept back you could go for a high-speed descent, tearing toward the landing site like some NASA black ops test vehicle until the atmosphere becomes thick enough to support a more gentle glide that won't tear the bottom of the aircraft off when it hits the floor.

Plus, you know, added awesome, and all.

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M Gale
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Re: Thrust driven swing wing

Well as I was suggesting, there isn't all that much extra complexity on a model scale. The transmission can basically be two fishing lines attached to a relatively strong servo toward the tail that's powerful enough to counteract a spring that'll keep the wings straight at 50, 60mph or whatever speed you're going to go to "fully extended". Having wings of a reasonable size would mean a much better glide ratio, even if you don't think drag during the rocket burn on smaller fixed wings will be a problem. I'm not sure how much wind resistance there is at 80,000 feet, but once the rocket has been burning for a couple of seconds I'm pretty sure LOHAN's velocity will be enough for even that rarified atmosphere to start tugging on any sticky-out bits with quite a force.

As for the aileron linkages, any decent model has a seperate servo for each control surface, usually with one for each aileron mounted inside the wing, forward of the aileron. These can be mixed either with a physical onboard mixer or in the transmitter (and presumably in the open source autopilot the SPB team are apparently using). It also allows ailerons to be flaperons (and elevators to be elevons) with a bit of clever mixing. At 9g or less for a decent micro-servo it's not going to be a bother on a craft of LOHAN's, erm, proportions.

Having ailerons would also mean you don't need a V tail, plus I've seen models land safely after losing one of their elevators completely. Little harder, especially for an autopilot, to do that after getting a whole wing torn off.

Also, try and make the autopilot aim straight up half a second second after leaving the platform. Use some kind of umbilical jack lead, or maybe a powerful magnet stuck to two contacts on the aircraft as an easy way to detect a launch. You also get to keep the aircraft's lightweight batteries topped up with something more heavy duty in the launch system that way. Yes, it probably won't give us much additional altitude and yes, there isn't much air up there but it's going to have some effect and it'd still look cool on a camera. Plus it might limit the damage of an odd launch angle.

Last thing, uhm, have you considered apogee detection? I'm sure you'd like to go from burn mode to glide mode in the most efficient way you can.

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M Gale
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Re: Thrust driven swing wing

On a model scale I'm not sure if a swing wing would really be that complex. You need a thick enough peg-like spring to bear the wing (or one length of metal coiled in the right places to mount both wings to), and some fishing line attached to a servo somewhere via a couple of pullys off a model yacht or whatever. Shape the body with the first couple of inches of wing built-in so that the sprung parts are supported and won't wobble about on the single spring holding them on. Obviously the mounting points for the springs will need reinforcement, but the wing struts should be pretty reinforced for a rocket plane anyway shouldn't they? This also means that you can tuck the wings right back against the body for the launch, and then use airspeed and altitude to decide when to start slowly loosening the wire.

Now if only I had money, a laser sintering thingummybobsit and some time I'd test it myself!

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M Gale
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Re: wild rotation?

I'm kind of with others in wondering why the big solid backplate too. The rocket is probably going to provide a hell of a thump to that plate when it goes off, and I can't see how it'll do anything but push the whole platform back, especially if there's a halfway-reasonable rocket engine providing the punch.

Now you could possibly re-use exhaust gas pressure, but that would involve swing wing designs or some way of slotting the whole thing inside a launch tube. Engine goes off, provides pressure in the tube which should fire the rocketplane out of the end like a bullet from a gun. Wings can flip out and sabots can fall off as the aircraft leaves the barrel. Methinks the SPB team are going for something with less moving parts though, as lovely as the idea sounds, and as epic as the launch footage would be.

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M Gale
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Tracking by telescope.

Didn't go so well for PARIS. What about here? Any way of using a radio beacon or something to do auto-tracking?

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M Gale
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Re: LOHAN ideas..

How about after burst? Can the parachute be made big enough that the loss in altitude will be less than having to chop the lifting stage short? If it drops 500 feet before the rocket fires, you're still in the money compared with just saying "okay, 60,000 feet" or whatever. Plus you still get to launch if there's a balloon failure before any kind of preset altitude.

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M Gale
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Two rails/rods perhaps?

See title. That should contain any rolling quite nicely.

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M Gale
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Freezing to the launch rail...

...or rod, or whatever you're sliding along, just to avoid arguments.

I've just suggested this in the last SPB article, but now there's a proper forum for dissecting ideas:

What about using chemical heat pack powder inside a hollow launch guide? The powder will get "up to" 45C according to most heat pack instructions, though the instructions also tend to state "do not disassemble". The ingredients are rust, activated charcoal and water anyway though, so hardly a major risk.

How much thermal expansion the rig will go through can be tested on the ground with a frozen sleeve and heated launch guide. The heat packs are good for anything between 8 and 24 hours when used as sold, depending on what pack you buy. I've noticed the 24 hour ones will take maybe an hour to get to full temperature though.

I did also suggest using resistive wire to make heat, but the various modes of failure plus a honking great battery to melt ice over a 5 or 10 minute period would probably make the chemical powder idea better.

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Crytek: Schemes to strike second-hand games biz 'awesome'

M Gale
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second hand software not allowed in any other industry?

I call shenanigans, to put it politely.

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Oracle v Google could clear way for copyright on languages, APIs

M Gale
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Re: Andrew

What pisses me off isn't copyright. If somebody wants to try and sell their new sparkly word processor at £500 a pop, I honestly couldn't give a damn. I might point and laugh at them a bit unless it really is worth every penny of that huge price, but it's hardly worth posting Angry Bloke comments on a web forum about.

What pisses me off is using copyright or, lately, the even more broad patent concept to control just about everything you can about how people use their products that they bought from you. What pisses me off is after shelling out a shitload already on a decent computer, there's a tax to be paid to Microsoft if you want to use any kind of widely-available software. The continuous attempts to destroy rather than encourage interoperability by shackling every possible means to do so behind patent taxes and threats is a disease, and Oracle's behaviour towards Java on Android is yet another example of this. They didn't invent the language, they bought the business and then started trolling everyone.

So remind me, just how well is this working out for us, Andrew?

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Google finally secures gmail.de domain

M Gale
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We live in a society where greed is encouraged...

...and you blame the guy?

He wasn't a domain squatter. He was using the domain since before Google decided to buy Gmail. That he tried to get the highest possible price he could from an entity that is hardly strapped for cash is not reprehensible under the circumstances: It is commendable.

I hope the courts at least forced him to sell it, not give it away. Not that that's much better, mind.

What, don't you have any domain names yourself? I wonder what happens if in a few years a new "Google E" service comes out and they want your domain name for themselves? You going to just hand it over, or are you going to grab every penny you can, assuming you even want to sell?

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M Gale
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FAIL

Oh lovely.

"Your honour, they may have bought it first, it may be theirs and they may have paid for it, but we're more well known and we have money."

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Global chocolate crisis looms

M Gale
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Well damn, we have to sort this right away!

After all, I don't think "Cadbury's Carob" has quite the same ring to it!

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UK.gov: Firms can't fondle your smart meter privates...

M Gale
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Re: TV Detector Van

Easily defeated with a capacitor or a UPS in the right place?

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EA confirms Crysis 3 release

M Gale
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Re: Pass

Oh that's okay. I believe the 'bay will probably be able to help you before long. They'll happily give you the option of not installing crapware. Or paying for it.

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M Gale
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Re: Proper PC version please!!!

You did play the game with the extra 2GB or so of high-res assets you can download, right?

They made the ultra-high bit a download, presumably to stop people complaining that they couldn't run the game at the highest detail level.

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Sweden: talk, text and drive? OK

M Gale
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Re: 1992 called. They want their network back.

"Yeah mate, just getting in the back now. Driver, airport please. Look I'd like to continue chatting about this billion-dollar business deal but the stupid phone compan....BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP..."

Or perhaps some kind of more humanitarian scenario if money's not your bag. You going to begrudge someone a call to their significant other in the hospital while their mate's blasting down the motorway trying to get there on time? "Calm down love, I'm not sure if I can hold him in but he'll be here when you get here" might be the words that save two people's lives there.

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M Gale
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Re: Drop speed limits in Sweden, too.

Now that you mention it, dropping speed limits on some roads is an astoundingly good idea. Some countries already work like that, and I don't see them about to descend into a pit of anarchy.

Really, "we won't follow the headless chickens wibbling about mobile phones" equates with "let's turn the whole country into Barter Town"?

Two men enter, one man leave!

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M Gale
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Wow, really?

"Chuck us your phone mate, I need to call someone. Hang on a minute while I turn the radio down."

Not saying it's right, but it's a lot easier to borrow a phone than a car. Anyway, I've often said that if you're going to ban phones in the car then you also need to ban radios, MP3 players, children and other passengers.

Well at least it'll make cars smaller and cheaper.

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Student's Linux daemon 0-day triggers InfoSec Institute outcry

M Gale
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A problem if it's installed I guess.

Though, isn't Backtrack designed to be run straight from the CD/DVD, usually as root anyway?

Congratulations, you just pwned a RAMdrive.

But yes, ironic and all that.

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Intel discloses sub-10-watt 'Centerton' Atom chip

M Gale
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I shouldn't have said "Smartphone".

...as I was thinking of things like the 42U rack unit with hundreds of ARMs in it that was featured here once.

Although a literal cluster made from Smartphone PCBs would be amusing, practical or not. I'm just thinking along the lines that something like web serving can potentially be quite massively parallelised. Given that some SoC or SoB arrangements can end up taking just a couple of watts each or less, that's matching or beating the performance per thread of the T3-2 machine, even assuming the boards are only capable of maintaining one session each. Then you can dial the thing right down so only one board is operational, so 2W (potentially) to keep an entire cluster ticking over in an idle state. Good, no?

Okay, not suitable for all loads, but I can see why the drive toward tiny servers with lots of cores is happening.

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LOHAN lifts lid on revised mission summary

M Gale
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Re: Oh, yeah.

Thermal expansion? The hottest the metal will get using heat packs is about 45C. So you do tests first, using worst possible case scenarios (ground level during a boiling Summer with a sleeve that's been resting in dry ice for instance), to see how loosely the sleeve needs to be fitted to the rod.

It's not like you're going to be needing micron accuracy just to make sure the Vulture 2 slides off the pole without sticking. Personally I'm hoping the rod, rail or whatever you want to use goes through the plane fuselage somehow, rather than through some non-aerodynamic externally-attached clamps. Use spring loaded flaps to close the entrance/exit holes afterwards.

And it'll still likely benefit from some kind of heating. A rod filled with chemical heat pack powder is just probably the easiest - and lightest - option. Remember that the original PARIS used low temperature grease, and that still stuck due to bits icing up.

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M Gale
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Re: Oh, yeah.

...that or a chemical reaction. Activated charcoal, rust and water are what's in heat packs. Fill the launch rod with it? Should be good for hours. Just needs to be hot enough to make the outside > 0C.

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M Gale
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Oh, yeah.

About that launch rod. If it's hollow, try wrapping some resistive wire around something and stuffing it inside the rod. Approximately five minutes before launch, you have an alarm battery, or some kind of high-capacity LiPo start dumping current into the resistive wire. This heats it up, and removes any problem you might have about freezing the aircraft to the rail.

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M Gale
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Re: Why two elevons?

Two elevons because then they can control the aircraft properly. Rudder-only control is iffy at best. Sure it works, for a "you might end up ploughing into the floor at the slightest hint of a gust" definition of "works". Two properly positioned elevons give you pitch and roll, which is all you need. Yaw control would be nice, but hardly necessary when you're going to be landing in a field rather than on some narrow strip.

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M Gale
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Moar Cameras.

Will we be having another attempt at trying to track it by telescope? Maybe some kind of auto-tracking tech following a radio beacon on the launch platform, if nobody can be bothered trying to move a scope around manually.

Also, I know you won't get a 3G signal all the way up there, but it might be worth having some kind of data feedback via mobile anyway, for when it gets low enough? Live webcam/telemetry feed from 10,000 feet and falling could be fun. Plus, it could help you locate the various parts a lot quicker than wandering around with a big antenna, signal meter and a map.

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Nokia drops Lumia 900 price to $0 in response to bug outrage

M Gale
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Re: Ooops

Dammit, they disabled comments.

Wonder why?

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HTC One X Android smartphone

M Gale
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Re: When contemplating the latest generation of high-end smart phones I feel myself..........

It's fit for purpose so long as every single node is running Windows. I wouldn't say it's gotten the job done for decades though, when the earlier incarnations of Windows used to do silly things like turning your entire filesystem and all attached printers into the Internet's playpen.

FAT has "gotten the job done" for a while too. A long while ago, as a bit of a mental exercise, I decided to try and come up with the most simple, godawful, would-lead-to-a-system-fragmented-as-hell-but-it-would-work filesystem that I could think of. Explained it to a more learned person and they responded with "uhm, have you ever read up on how FAT works?"

It was then that I fully understood the ire directed at that filesystem. It is truly awful, a travesty of design that belongs in the twisted imagination of geeks who like to torture their computers. Lately it's become a useful means for Microsoft to turn companies who don't use WIndows upside down and shake them to see what comes out.

It does the job though. Has done for years.

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M Gale
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Re: Profit?

Gateway basically sold shite that nobody wanted.

IBM got out of the PC market that they inadvertently created because they were basically selling under-specced shite in ugly boxes for a huge premium because of the "IBM" tag. Big surprise nobody bought them.

If nobody is making money from Android, howcomes there are still a ton of new Android phones coming out?

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M Gale
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Headmaster

Re: When contemplating the latest generation of high-end smart phones I feel myself..........

Samba isn't a protocol. Samba is the open source implementation of SMB, also known as NetBIOS, also known as "Windows File and Printer Sharing", also known as "a godawful travesty that people nonetheless have to support because it's popular".

Well this is The Register. If I can't be pedantic here, where else is there?

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Apple has 7.85in 'iPad Mini' in its labs

M Gale
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Re: Antiquated aspect ratio?

Aspect ratio closer to that of a book?

You ever held a Galaxy Tab 7? It's an airport-size book tablet. Absolutely perfect size and aspect for a paperback, why is it so awful in a tablet?

On what planet is a paperback page closer to 4:3 than 16:9, or do all your books come with wooden pages and pop-up animals inside?

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Home Sec: Web snoop law will snare PAEDOS, TERRORISTS

M Gale
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Well.

More cynical types might suggest that WW1 was actually about Iraqi oil (how things change eh?)

For more information from one of said cynical types, I recommend Robert Newman's Apocalypso Now, on audio CD or, well, Youtube. Also see Caliban to Taliban and his other various works.

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M Gale
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Re: I'm thinking this means...

It is not only easy, but pathetically easy to crack a certificate-based encryption mechanism, when you control the certificates.

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Twitter slams top five spammers with legal suit

M Gale
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Upvoted for an awesome display of apoplexy.

Now I'm going to bed and sleep.

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Facebook: 'Outrageous, wanton, reckless, callous, disgraceful, wilful'

M Gale
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Re: "It just hurts my eyes," huh?

Human eyeballs are more attuned to green than any other wavelength of light. This means we can detect more different shades of green than any other colour.

I have to say green on black looks nicer to me than white on black, but then that's probably more contrast than colour, since amber works too.

I do like the monitors with the "white/amber/green" toggle switch.

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Apple flooded with iPad 3 wireless connection complaints

M Gale
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Unfortunately...

..."smart" phones are basically games consoles with 3G chipsets, and follow a similar pattern: All locked up, and you void the warranty and potentially ban yourself from online services for modding it up.

It's the same all over. Good luck with the search. If you find any halfway decent smartphone with a manufacturer that won't bugger you sideways for using Cyanogenmod, don't forget to tell us all.

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M Gale
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Every single iPhone that I hold like a phone...

...exhibits the Deathgrip problem.

Also annoying when you're playing games in landscape mode and the "Network Error" popup happens.

Every. Single. iPhone.

It's not a limited problem. It's a problem that lots of people couldn't be bothered to do anything about. Apparently dropped calls is a minor issue on a device that you can play Angry Birds on.

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AT&T to allow unlocking of out-of-contract iPhones

M Gale
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How generous.

AT&T are allowing you to dispose of your own property how you see fit.

They surely must be models of generosity for the rest of the world.

Joke icon neither displayed nor needed. If you don't get it, I don't care.

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550,000-strong army of Mac zombies spreads across world

M Gale
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Re: Old school FTW

I was hunting around looking for Draqgon 32 viruses, just to amusingly prove you wrong. I can't find any though, and I feel like I have to print something vaguely amusing, so instead you can all have this:

"The Motorola 6809, used in the UK's "Dragon 32" personal

computer, actually had an official "SEX" instruction; the

6502 in the Apple II with which it competed did not.

British hackers thought this made perfect mythic sense; after

all, it was commonly observed, you could (on some theoretical

level) have sex with a dragon, but you can't have sex with an

apple."

Icon for comical reasons.

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M Gale
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Re: Actually...

Reminds me of something, that does.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vxEimC3HME

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M Gale
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Actually...

...depends on how you define "thousands". I did once end up cleaning a computer that had well over 100,000 running copies of the same worm, each with its own executable in c:\windows\system. "Slow" doesn't begin to describe it.

And yes, trolling troll is trollicious.

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Viacom's anti-Google copyright case rises from the dead

M Gale
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Re: Think you got the wrong icon there.

Yes. Someone decides to create a Youtube account and upload a video of Tom Cruise going Tom Cruise Crazy. This is Youtube's fault how? For existing?

They have a takedown procedure, and it seems to work, by the amount of "video was taken down by a copyright complaint" links I've been directed to. Your problem is that you have a sizeable proportion of the entire planet uploading videos. Believe it or not, that's what Youtube is there for. And your solution is what? Delete Youtube?

Viacom and the rest can go fish, frankly. And that's exactly what they are doing: Fishing for money, because Google has a shitload of it. Who's next, the ISPs? For allowing people access to this magical Internet thingummybobsit that is probably being used to download pirate porn? Maybe we should just shut it all down and go back to BBS links and mailing hour. That'll show 'em.

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Munich's mayor claims €4m savings from Linux switch

M Gale
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Re: If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

Better late than never I guess...

Thing is, I wouldn't dislike Microsoft quite so much if they were just another company. If they didn't have the Windows monopoly any more then they might be bastards, but they would be bastards I can walk away from and buy elsewhere.

Even better is the various attempts to keep it that way, bending an already abused patent system to some truly absurd extremes because they can, and nobody appears to be doing anything about it.

Now I could take a Microsoftian approach here about the employees of Microsoft and say "tough shit, you backed the wrong horse", and I really want to, but I won't. I just want Microsoft's role as the troll under the bridge to be negated, and for Microsoft to stop blowing other people's bridges up!

Especially them free open source ones. MS really does seem to be a bit pathological there.

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Google planning to brand and sell Android tablets

M Gale
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Re: Well...

Just gone and bought one this Sunday, the quad core wifi variety since my phone can act as the access point. Stuffed it in the backpack with an external battery plugged into it and did the upgrade to ICS while biking home.

Damn this thing's speedy. T'ain't crashed yet though, or had any kind of glitchy moment that's any worse than an iSomething. Even a friend who really loves to play his iThings up and tell me how his ePeen is bigger than mine (or words to that effect) seems to be grudgingly impressed. "Bloody should be good for £500" is high praise indeed!

It really, really needs to not automatically put icons for installed apps on the home screens though. I did a sync and it started downloading every single app, paid or free, that I have ever downloaded on that account, even apps that I took a look at and uninstalled ages ago. Opening the thing to see boatloads of crap all over the previously pristine home screens and the system plaintively complaining that there is "no more room on the home screen" for the incoming apps was a bit annoying. There's a big list of apps already available, why do I need shortcuts to all of them?

Relatedly, Google need to sort out a way of telling the Market "I don't want this app, and I don't want it automatically reinstalling itself!"

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UK government says no to turbo e-bike

M Gale
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Re: Actually its the riders that are the problem and not the speed or DoT

See I think the govt here should just declare that riding a bicycle on the pavement is perfectly legal but pedestrians have right of way at all times. That means get off and walk or get on the road if they're in your way.

It would be more of a match for the current reality, where putting bike lanes everywhere would be stupidly expensive and, in the case of a white line on the road, not do a whole lot for safety. Bicycles are the only genuinely free form of transport that exists in this part of the world, can go practically anywhere, and can go for miles on a few cups of water. I'd hate to see that go because some people think that anything useful has to be taxed and regulated somehow.

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