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* Posts by Nick L

120 posts • joined 16 Aug 2006

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

Nick L

Re: Have they got it working?

I think they're 5 generations away from a working prototype that'll run for a few seconds. They're aimng for a prototype every year... So that's "no".

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Nick L

Didn't Mr Gates do just that and start giving his billions away?

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Nick L

>"there's more to come. In the past SanDisk has said that the firm isn't even close to the limits of the form factor and it plans SD cards which will hold up to two terabytes"

It's close to the limits of SDXC, which is 2 terabytes - so two doublings of where they are now... If Moore's law* still holds true, and assuming 512GB is the highest density they can cram in now, they'll be at SDXC capacity in 3 years.

* - for pedants, the refinement from David House as 18 months seems to hold truer.

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Will Microsoft devices sit happily on a single platform?

Nick L

Rumours planning a... what?

"There are rumours that Microsoft, along with the whole world and its dog, is planning a smartphone"

Typo - I think you mean smart watch :) . Those Nokia things are quite popular.

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Massive news in the micro-world: a hexaquark particle

Nick L

I just knew the comments would be HHGTTG related, and you haven't let me down. Top job!

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Glassholes beware: This guy's got your number

Nick L

Re: They will have to switch to 3/4G manually

http://www.ex-parrot.com/~pete/upside-down-ternet.html

The possibilities are quite endless...

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Why two-player games > online gaming: See your pal's shock as you bag a last-second victory

Nick L

Re: My fondest gaming experiences have been two+ player:

Aaah, Worms. I still can hear the falsetto "I'll get you" and "you'll regret that" across the decades... Brilliant game, and I'm going to have to introduce my kids to it.

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ESA rejoices as comet-chasing Rosetta probe wakes from 3-year nap

Nick L

Update required...

"Your rosetta has been successfully updated, however a firmware update is needed. Please do not remove power. Press any key to reboot."

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Google is developing flight 'price comparison thing' with us, claims Ryanair boss O'Leary

Nick L

Google own itasoftware.com...

Google bought ITA Software, a flight search company, in April 2011. They have no need to develop anything in partnership in Ryanair, it's just that obnoxious windbag laying claim to someone else's work. Putting ITA's stuff in front of punters direct, under a google brand, would be new though I believe?

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ALERT! Fling that FIERY HP Chromebook 11 charger back at Google

Nick L

I have an HP Chromebook 11. I tried to fill out the form, and got the interesting error message "Yikes, we don't recognise that address. Please try a different shipping address". I suppose I could try a different one, but I'd quite like the replacement to be sent to me, not someone else... (Cue 20 minutes on phone spelling out UK place names to someone in the US who doesn't know the phonetic alphabet...)

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'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Nick L

Re: But... batteries are packed into the whole of the floor!

Ok, so the article has been updated quite a lot. Better explanation on the isolation; wonder why showroom staff didn't know that? If this didn't end up in a smoking crater and didn't end up releasing lots of toxic stuff then, perversely, i think it could be classed as a successful containment.

what caused the fire, and details on how spread it really was will still be interesting.

and i completely agree with the point that leccy cars will need a different approach to generation and distribution: micro reactors at recharge stations? (but if that's possible just give me my Mr Fusion!)

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Nick L
FAIL

But... batteries are packed into the whole of the floor!

I recently looked at a Tesla in a showroom that was in a mall in the US. They had a car in there, and a bare rolling chassis, along with samples of the batteries used. The whole of the floorpan is packed with small, almost 16550-size, batteries. Literally thousands of 'em.

Beautiful car. Brilliantly practical packaging, and if the supercharger network takes off the range becomes a non-issue if you can charge in 20 minutes. (Full charge on standard plug would take 3 days IIRC...). The interior is fantastic, and the centre console is a really good rethink. I would be seriously tempted by one, despite being a fully paid up petrolhead.

I asked what would happen with batteries in a fire, and was told that they're practically inert. I did think that was a little odd. I asked what happened if they needed to change a faulty battery unit, and was told they don't fail. As I've got an expoded Macbook pro battery on my desk next to me, I have doubts.

If Tesla is trying to say this happened at the front where the battery is located, something doesn't add up. The batteries are packed into the floor, front to back, on the Tesla S. The batteries are *everywhere*.

I suppose the fact the fire was somewhat contained means they have managed to isolate things, but this is icky nasty stuff that's burning. Mind you, so are fossil fuels, but we're better at managing fires involving those after years of experience...

I'll definitely be watching to see how TEsla handle this. Honesty is paramount, and the 'where the batteries are' line doesn't sit at all well with what Tesla say, and what I saw.

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HALF of air passengers leave phones on ... yet STILL no DEATH PLUNGE

Nick L

Re: Safety; what safety?

Someone tried that (getting up, sorting out luggage) on a flight to copenhagen I was on, after the pilot announced "crew, seats for landing" and the whole crew was seated.. Stewards informed the chap to sit down. He didn't. Pilot came on the intercom telling them to sit down otherwise there would be serious consequences. He still didn't sit down.

The pilot aborted the landing as a result, and armed police were waiting to escort the person off the flight upon landing. He did get off the plane first, so perhaps a small victory, however he was also automatically banned from flying with that airline for life and the staff believed he would be prosecuted too. The pilot was rather keen to explain exactly how much an aborted landing costs, and I daresay the airline would be pushing to recover those.

So not a good idea. Relevance to mobile discussion? Not a lot, other than to say there's some things pilots care about, and it would seem from the cacophony of SMS alerts and mail alerts upon landing that turning phones off is not one of them.

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Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Nick L
Go

Re: Rapid release

http://preview.windows.com

There - not too difficult, was it?

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Ultra-hackable Google Glass could be a security nightmare

Nick L
FAIL

No battery development on horizon? Try Aluminium Air batteries...

Battery life will improve: there's huge R&D funds being thrown at it, and it seems a breakthrough is just about ready. Aluminium air batteries have recently been demonstrated, and if the small issue of them being highly dangerous can be solved then all is good.

Storage? Well, it seems that for glass to be useful it needs to be connected, so...

And whilst this is a developer device, it gives a clear indication on what the consumer device will be - if it comes at all.

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Apple to end support for original iPhone: report

Nick L

obsoleted: no parts available from apple...

It's been unsupported for years. Apple has advised that they will no longer supply parts at any price... As for are some working? Yes, mine is my 'personal' phone. For the past few years it has been effectively banned from the app store but it works, does everything that it did when i used it daily and has fair battery life.

the only thing that made me change was the Nokia lumia 800.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 520

Nick L

same way as all other GPS devices without compass work... i guess they plot the delta from now and the last GPS coordinate and work out direction of travel from there. Of course this won't give you a direction when you're stationary, but that's not exactly an issue.

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If Google got a haircut, a tie and a suit, would it be Microsoft?

Nick L

According to Secunia...?

I don't like Chrome. I don't like the idea that Google - an advertising company - should also be in the browser business. They also don't seem to be very good at developing secure software: Secunia's vulnerability list had Chrome at the top of the table for number of vulnerabilities last year...

I don't understand why Adobe feel the need to install Chrome by default when installing flash player, either, but I am not party to any agreement that's happened between the two companies.

Firefox? Sure. Chrome? Too many ulterior motives for Google I'm afraid.

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BT engineers - missed appointments

Nick L
FAIL

Creative uses for streetview...

Our broadband was failing badly when it rained. Engineer booked after persuading BT I did know what a cable looked like and, really, honestly, there's nothing else connected to the master socket apart from the router, and the damn thing keeps dropping when the front of the house gets wet.

I work from home, and have developed a finely tuned ear for a transit van. I can open the house door before they get out of the van, normally. No show at all on the day of the visit. I was in all day, and watching for them. I even recently changed the doorbell and there's 3 sounders in the house now. Even toilet stops were conducted with extreme expedience. They simply never called.

upon phoning at 5pm, BT had the temerity to tell me that they put a card through the letter box of a "brown wooden door". Yes, we have a brown wooden door. no, we have no card. Neither does my neighbour who also has a brown wooden door. The engineer simply never turned up.

Callout booked for saturday. Never turns up. This time the excuse was that the agent hadn't booked it correctly.

Two weeks later, an engineer turns up, does a professional job and leaves. Two weeks later...

I shall be happy to see the back of them, and as soon as my contract is up then I'm off.

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Tesla vs Media AGAIN as Model S craps out on journo - on the highway

Nick L

Re: Writer was intent on high risk of failure

I guess this might have somewhat of an impact on the interstellar equivalent MPG figures, too...

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Apple engineers 'pay no attention to anyone's patents', court told

Nick L

Re: Apple needs new legal talent

I think that's sort of the point... Picasso/Banksy...

http://beinglorious.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/artists-jpg.gif?w=500&h=449

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

Nick L

Have you tried the touch cover, or is it simply that you don't like the look of it? Most reviews seem to suggest it works better than it looks. I'll let you know tomorrow ;)

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Bluetooth 4 pulls on pair of profiles, hits the track

Nick L
Alert

Send Corrections == /dev/null

There does seem to be a send corrections link, but they don't seem to be acted on...

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Tech fault at RBS and Natwest freezes millions of UK bank balances

Nick L
Joke

Re: Welcome to the modern world

Air travel and banking systems? Reminds me of Dilbert... http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1996-01-31/

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Colorfly Pocket Hi-Fi C4

Nick L

OK, forget empirical measurements then and try to take the psychoacoustics out of it? Don't get me wrong, I like my audio toys, but I'm a little jaded with the whole cable thing: my brain sees shiny, my brain hears shiny, my brain feels something heavy, my brain hears something heavy...

That's possibly why I've gone back to using Kef speakers that are nearly 20 years old and selling on my monitor audio setup...

What about comparing a flac played on this thing against a flac played on an iPod with RockBox using a double blind test? Too much to ask? Not even difficult with the size of the things involved!

At the moment the review is just one person's opinion after sitting down and listening to something that claims to be the best audiophile portable player, leagues above anything else out there. That's a big claim, and it needs big evidence, and deserves a bigger test.

I daresay anyone dropping £550 on this will be extremely keen to state the same as the review, as I doubt you'll get someone saying "actually, I preferred my setup that was one fifth of the price of this thing".

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Nick L
FAIL

Aha - some empirical measurements!

Forgive me, but I am unconvinced. I'd like to be convinced, though!

"the Colorfly undoubtedly delivers a fuller and more complete sound than the same tracks played on cheaper PMPs"

That's something measurable in the signal then. How about some proper facts and figures to back it up? Or even a single graph of response? Or should we just accept that the heavy, weighty MP3 player, with a natural wood finish, that's costing 550 quid, really did just sound 'fuller'.

Or are you just describing how you felt listening to an expensive player?

Well done on not using the words 'richer', or 'deeper' or 'heavier' or even 'more natural' or 'harking back to analogue days', given that's what the whole packaging is aiming for with the wood, sliders, etc.... You lose points for 'glorious' and 'intimate' though after noting that the wood gives an 'air of reliability and class'.

after being fooled myself by psychoacoustics (heavier cables give deeper bass, silver cables give a brighter sound), I'd like to see some proper testing.

You know what you're doing reviewing other stuff, so it's not an unreasonable expectation for you to do a proper job. How about a proper double blind test with something running rockbox with some interested readers?

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Most EU states sign away internet rights, ratify ACTA treaty

Nick L

Clarifying: one good French guy, not France as a whole...

A little bit of confusion to which "French" Pierre is referring to. Not France at large, but the French EU Parliament Member that resigned in protest...

From TFA:

In an unprecedented move, the French European Parliament member assigned to monitor the treaty proceedings, Kader Arif, resigned in protest at the signings

Hope that helps resolve ambiguity.

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Second Nokia Lumia update inbound

Nick L

1 word for you...

ebay?

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Nick L

nope...

Unfortunately, it appears that Nokia has decided to disable this feature. I bought my Lumia SIM free, and it's not there... (Network is Vodafone)

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Nick L

Good.

Biggest complaint with my 800 is the battery life, so I hope this helps.

It's rather annoying that there's no way to update your own device through your own choosing, it really is.

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Lumia sales fail to set world alight

Nick L
Thumb Up

I'm posting from mine

I've had my Lumia (a word not in the phone's dictionary!) for 3 weeks now. It has replaced my original iPhone.

Good points? The os is great. Really. The hub approach is really very smart, and the level of integration of social stuff throughout the phone is great. So far everyone who has seen and played with my phone has been impressed, particularly with people hub, pictures, grouping etc

But not enough to want one instead of an iPhone 4s...

The phone never feels less than responsive. It zips

The soft keyboard is good: better than iPhone. This post was typed on the Lumia...

The hardware is good too. Mostly.

Bad points

no vpn. Inexcusable for the demographic aimed at.

Battery... Charge every day.

That flap covering the micro usb port is not long for this world

camera white balance is, bluntly, exceptionally poor

Quality of pictures is only just acceptable

It's a great bit of kit that I am evangelising, but it needs some polishing.

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Nissan Leaf battery powered electric car

Nick L

agreed

I think this idea of microgeneration is the way to go: optimise the snot out of an engine for a particular load, and use it to charge the batteries or provide a boost. Jag's prototype C-X75 suggested using gas microturbines for just this purpose.

Batteries are a crap way to store and transport energy compared to fuels, and simply don't charge fast enough... But they are useful as a way to smooth demand needs, hence the appeal of microgeneration.

Hydrogen is not the answer to fuel either in my view because of the poor comparative volumetric energy density.

I realise I'm not solving the fuel crisis with this post, but the leaf doesn't meet people's needs or expectations of a 30k car.

Until Mr Fusion arrives to process beer and banana peel, we'll need something else to carry energy and if we can get the very most bang out of whatever fuel that is, so much so the better.

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Nick L
Alert

Benchmarks, please?

"at low and medium speeds the Leaf is one of the most comfortable cars you can buy."

Go on, I'll nibble on that. What are you comparing it to? Superminis for between a third and half its price? Very well spec'd family cars? Second hand luxobarges? For £25k (or 30k if you exclude the rebate) then you've got a good pick of cars to select from. Is this really one of the most comfortable?

Fair play if it is, but it'd be useful to know what background the reviewer has to be able to give quite such a hugely marketable quote. If you're going on years of car reviewing experience, please say so.

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Nick L

Good point...

In 5 years, I can only assume the batteries will be a little bit beyond their prime... If you're getting 70 miles now, what will you be getting in 5 years when the things have given up their capacity?

Bloody expensive white elephant: consider me unconverted.

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2011's Best... HD TVs

Nick L

Thanks!

Thanks, I'll take a look at that... Picture quality is most important to me, not features, so if that's go the right screen and decent enough upscaling it'll do.

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Nick L

Will you stop it, please?

I'm trying to buy one of these Panasonic units, and everyone giving them awards is really starting to get on my nerves: I want a bargain and if you keep on irresponsibly saying they're great, you're not helping them come down in price! They're not perfect, but they're absolutely in the sweet spot of picture, features and price.

As for 'VT30s are much better". After struggling to see a difference side by side at a specialist, I disagree. The G30 vs GT30 is a big difference - I wanted a G30 until I saw the difference the infinite black pro (aka Kuro) screen makes. The GT30 vs the VT30? Not a lot. Yes, I could plump for the VT if I wanted to, but I can't justify the difference.

Actually, the AC is right. The panasonic is useless and these are just mid range sets. Cheapo, if you will. You're a loser if you don't stump up for the top of the range. Please, no-one buy one so there's a plethora of them for sale in January at a decent price!

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Mario decorations drive gamers up the wall

Nick L
FAIL

News?

I presume firebox are somehow sponsoring this news?

I ask because my son has had the new Super Mario Bros stickers on his wall for over a year now, thanks to the lovely people at Supernice.co.uk. (No affiliation, just happy with the service they provided).

Other son is wanting the Donkey Kong set on his wall. Top lad!

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Swiss insist file-sharers don't hurt copyright holders

Nick L

sorry for you, but...

I'm sorry that your business is not doing well, but how much of your downturn can you place on the shoulders of copyright infringement, or have people simply stopped renting DVDs because... well... there's better options, many of which are legal?

I don't download films, but I haven't rented in 5 years now. Yes, I used to...

Lovefilm or similar subscription based postal rental? iTunes or other immediate download sites? Supermarkets selling new release DVDs for £9?

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Swearing doesn’t help pain if you do it too much

Nick L
Thumb Up

Indeed!

For once Mr Fry was awesomely entertaining and awesomely educational - whilst being right, too. Unfortunately, thanks to the programme, every time someone mentions Brian Blessed, the image of him shouting Gordon's Alive has been replaced with him shouting... inappropriate words.

I am smiling as a write this. It is impossible not to smile at a mental image of the Blessed Swearing.

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IKEA cuts ribbon on 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

Nick L
FAIL

34,700m^2?

I think you mean 1670 nanoWales, or slightly over eight and a half football pitches.

For shame, El Reg. For shame. I may cancel my subscription.

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Google flings Bing into search engine bin

Nick L

I've tried to bing, I really have...

I've tried to give bing a fair chance, I really have. I keep using it for searches particularly at work, but...

it just doesn't work remotely as well as google. Even, and this is what galls me most, when searching for stuff related to Microsoft. For example, search for the upcoming version of SharePoint, SharePoint 15, on bing and you get precisely nothing about SP15. Do so on google and you get useful results.

Try 'microsoft portal gold competency' (no quotes)... Bing returns 'value of earning a competency' and 'microsoft virtualisation' in the top 2 slots. Google gives you 'Earn the microsoft gold portals and collaboration competency', and in second place 'microsoft portals and collaboration competency' information page.

Google knows you're probably interested in either earning it, or finding out what it's about. Bing tells you why you might want to earn one - which you already know if you're seaching for it, and I cannot think of who that is useful for - and tells you all about virtualisation.

Sorry Bing. I've tried to love you, I really have, but it's just not working. Perhaps it's me, not you...

But really, i think it's you.

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Fusion boffins crack shreddy eddy plasma puzzle

Nick L
Joke

Eddies in the space time continuum?

Where's his sofa?

(My only excuse is that it is Friday afternoon)

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Where are all the decent handheld scribbling tools?

Nick L

suggest reading the first post?

You mean a microwriter? The very thing mentioned in the very first post...

Still available for purchase as a PC addon from the original designer... http://www.cykey.co.uk (no affiliation, I just happen to own an Agenda Microwriter PDA).

My chemistry teacher was using one in 1991 still... He loved the thing.

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Nick L
Thumb Up

Handheld PCs...

You're looking for something useful as a decent business tool primarily, rather than a shiny gadget. Unfortunately, the last pieces of kit that focused on the particular sort of work loads you're wanting rather than looking pretty are about a decade old in my view. What did for these things was the insistence that colour screens were a necessity: they're not.

I've got, and still use, a Psion 3mx, 5mx and HP 200LX. Yes, I actually still take notes on these things because they work, they run on 2 AA batteries, and they are usable and will exchange data with my PC. I am still slightly amazed that the 200lx does what it does so well, and that they keyboard - which should be useless - is to my fingers better than the 5mx! The Psion 5mx is just brilliant: the OS allows embedding of word processor documents in calendar entries, meaning it's simple to take meeting notes and know what meeting they relate to. The keyboard isn't great, but it's not half bad.

I actually took notes last week on my 200lx in a meeting in Sweden. People were amused, bemused and slightly pitying as they stabbed ineffectually at their fondleslabs, but it just works.

The other device I use is a Sigmarion 3, which is great but suffers from battery life issues. And a Japanese OS. And it has just died. But other than that it's not bad. Speaking of Japanese OS, I also tried the Zaurus range - twice - but ended up going away from them as the damn things kept crashing. (But we know linux never crashes...)

The Viliv n5 will be on my christmas list. The battery life somewhat worries me, but it's worth a try.

Yes, I know I need to get out more, but I collect these things... From the Psion 1 and Agenda Microwriter (kudos to first post!) to the Libretto u100 so far. Tried an OQO, sold it.

Keep the handheld faith!

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Nokia Lumia 800

Nick L
Thumb Up

Why the hate on the forum?

I know this article is a positive review for a Microsoft product, which will be seen as heresy by many techies just on basic principles, but... Those who are wading in, have you actually tried WP7?

My next phone will be running it, and not iOS which my current phone uses. Why? It takes Apple's approach of getting things done and refines it, and also allows better business integration. It has been designed based on what situations people actually want to use a mobile device for.

I like how Andrew has come in for flak by saying what non-techies want: people want stuff that works without an instruction manual, without messing around, and something that occasionally surprises and delights. WP7 Mango does that in spades, without dumbing down.

I'd wholeheartedly agree that WP7 offers a better proposition and experience to average punters than Android. MS fanboi? No.

Does it have the flexibility of Android? No. Does the populous in general need the flexibility of android? I'd argue no...

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Nick L
WTF?

Same internals?

710 has 8GB, 800 has 16GB. Is that not an internal?

Camera is quite different on the 710 - 5mp vs 8mb, no dual LED flash...

Different screen.

But other than that, I suppose same processor = same internals?

It also seems that lots of manufacturers are dropping MicroSD support for mango. Anecdotally, it seems to have caused quite a lot of trouble as the MicroSD card needs to run at the same speed as internal memory to work without issues. Rather than explain that to the mass market, it seems manufacturers have removed the facility. HTC Radar, HTC titan are missing them... Shame.

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Seagate flings twirling terabyte platters at world

Nick L

Puns, jokes, gags and plays on words.

A new high water mark? oh, very droll: I see what you did there...

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Ten... small screen HD TVs

Nick L

Cheapo 26" option: Sharp LC26SH330E

Bought one of these 3 months ago for the kids' playroom use on the Wii and for occasional media centre viewing duties. It's cheap at 180 quid from Richer Sounds, has good input options - including a full RGB Scart for those who want retr0 goodness from an Amiga or similar - and the picture seems acceptably good. Hardly the last word in viewing experience, but it's small and neat and does the job.

I couldn't find a review on the web anywhere, so it would have been nice to see it included in the El Reg roundup.

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LaCie LaPlug

Nick L
FAIL

Brand loyalty? Try another brand

I'll never buy LaCie again, after the saga of them refusing to replace a faulty power supply on one of their external disks. The PSU has a design fault, meaning when the PSU is unloaded the 12v rail floats at 19v, which rather fries the capacitors that are only rated for 16v IIRC. Opening up the PSU shows that the caps have vented and are useless, which is a better option than exploding...

See http://www.fixya.com/support/t1782491-power_cord_buzzes_macpro_not_recognize and many youtube videos of hissing lacie power supplies.

LaCie refuse to replace this out of warranty, despite the fact it has been designed incorrectly, and despite the fact I have 2 other LaCie drives and a rather nice LaCie monitor.

So... Balls to 'em. Fixed it myself and vowed never to give them another penny for their overpriced, beautifully designed but badly engineered and atrociously supported junk.

My logitech harmony one developed a clump of bad pixels a few days after, and logitech couriered me a replacement after I emailed them a photo of the problem.

Guess who wins my loyalty?

Incidentally, you can buy Belkin Home Base wireless USB and print servers from ebay for under 30 quid delivered...

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Ten... earphones for mobiles

Nick L

Horses for courses...

Somewhat informative, but it would be good to know what criteria the reviewer was using to score.

I have 2 wildly different use cases for earphones...

1-sat on a plane, or train, or in the office, where I want as much noise isolation as you can give me. I have Etymotic ER-6is, but they need replacing.

2-jogging, or wanting to be able to hear a little bit of what's going on around me. Currently use some cheap and nasty things.

The etymotics would be brilliant in scenario 1, but are a liability in scenario 2. Also, are you looking for tonal accuracy, or just a pleasant sound? Or MONSTER BASS?

Recommendations for replacing the ER6is would be appreciated.

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