* Posts by Alan Edwards

389 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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PINs easily pinched with iPhone-attached thermal imaging kit

Alan Edwards

Thermal sensor resolution

Anyone know which thermal imaging camera they used to do this?

Probably not one of the $200 FLIR iPhone dongles, as the thernal sensor in that has a 64x64 resolution. You'd have to be practically touching the keypad to get an image showing which keys were warm, and I doubt it has the thermal resolution to show such subtle temperature differences.

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Conference Wi-Fi biz fined $750k for jamming personal hotspots

Alan Edwards

Just ignore them?

Is there a valid reason why a wifi network would be sending out deauth frames? Why does an access point accept deauth frames from some random device anyway?

I was just thinking whether it would be possible to build a wifi-to-cellular router with firmware that has a 'conference mode' that ignores all deauth frames.

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Dell, Google dangle Chromebooks over IT bosses sick of Windows

Alan Edwards

$900 ??

Who in their right mind would pay $900 for a Chromebook? There's (pretty much) no local storage and you can't do real work on it because it doesn't run the software people use to do work.

You can get an i5 XPS 13 for $900, which runs Office, PhotoShop, Premiere, Visual Studio etc. Even AutoCAD should be usable.

Chromebooks are OK as very cheap machines that you're not too upset when you drop it off a cliff. They don't make any sense (to me) at real laptop money.

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TXT message leaves Corvette wrecked

Alan Edwards

The other way around?

I wonder if you can hack the telematics unit from something else on the CAN bus, say a phone connected over Bluetooth.

Something gets disabled when the car is moving? Tell the telematics unit the speed is zero, regardless of the actual speed.

Get fined/insurance goes up when certain limits are exceeded? Set max/min values on data sent to the telematics unit so the limits are never exceeded.

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Hack a garage and the car inside with a child's toy and a few chips

Alan Edwards

Wouldn't work in the real world

... unless there's no replay attack protection. Or the jammer whatsit is in the car somewhere, but if you've already got physical access why do you need it.

1) Car owner presses button, nothing happens, but code 1 has been recorded

2) Car owner presses button again, code 2 is recorded, code 1 is replayed, car unlocks

3) Car owner gets in, drives to shops, locks car with code 3

4) Car owner gets home, locks car with code 4

5) Thief attempts to unlock car with pre-recorded code 2, which is now invalid because code 3 and 4 have been used, nothing happens.

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Former GDS chief Mike Bracken joins Crystal Methodist's old firm

Alan Edwards

Had me going there, I thought you were going to say the Co-Op is being run by a former member of The Crystal Method. Oh well...

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Alan Edwards

Re: Networked stereo - Hmm interesting

Maplin have the Alto Stealth Wireless system that could do this. It has a single transmitter and two receivers.

It's not cheap (£200), intended for PA use so the connectors are all XLR, and you'd need an amplifier downstream of the receiver on each speaker, but it would work.

You could also frig it with a stereo-to-2-mono splitter and two Bluetooth audio transmitters and receivers. Again you need an amp for each speaker, but the Bluetooth boxes are cheap and most have batteries. You could build a box to use as a speaker stand that contains one of those cheap tiny stereo amps, the Bluetooth box and a USB mains charger to power it with, or even hide it all in the enclosure of a floorstander.

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Alan Edwards

Re: 5 minutes

Agreed, having to give a credit card for access to free stuff is not going to happen with me.

Maybe the credit card companies can give you a zero-value credit card, as an adjunct to a real card? It's a valid card with a validation code and everything, but any attempted transaction will be declined.

The one-time-use card numbers (that totally failed to take off here for some reason) would be ideal for this.

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More Apple Car mutterings: Cupertino slurps more autobiz brains

Alan Edwards

Re: Apple car?

"Has to be taken to see a genius to get the light bulbs changed"

That's not much different from the current stuff. I couldn't get the clip off that holds the headlight bulb in on my 307, annoying as that car ate through bulbs, and you have to get at the bulb on a Megane through the front wheel arch.

The Fiesta I have now makes you take the entire light assembly out to change a bulb.

I still don't get why Apple would make a car, it gets them into a whole new regulatory field they know nothing about. The regulations are all different around the world too, Apple can't even be bothered to fit a UK layout keyboard.

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An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one MEEELLION miles out

Alan Edwards

Re: British Summer Time

"spot the UFO bottom left "

It's way too far out to be the ISS, that orbits at 250 miles. Looks more like a dodgy pixel on the camera's CCD.

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BT's Openreach plots G.fast end-user trials

Alan Edwards

Re: fibre

"so their latest & greatest FTTP is 300Mbps DL + 30Mbps UL (less contention). Not sure what "long twisted-pair runs" have to do with measured speed across a fibre link"

The article has combined two different products.

g.fast, the 330/30 Mb/s one, is a souped-up VDSL FTTC service, hence the bit about long cable runs. It's fibre to the local cabinet, then copper wire to you.

It then starts talking about fibre-on-demand, which is FTTP with the high install costs because you have to run a fibre cable to your house. If I've read Google right, fibre-on-demand extends the fibre cable from the nearest FTTC cabinet to your house.

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You Musk be joking: Tesla's zero to 60MPH in 2.8 SECONDS is literally 'ludicrous'

Alan Edwards

Re: 90kWh

"Double the size of the battery and you double the power of the car"

Double the power *capacity*. There's a limit to how much current the motor and cabling can pull before the magic smoke escapes.

"So the quickest 0-60 time will always be the from the car with the biggest battery"

Not necessarily. That's true if the power delivery capacity of the battery is the limiting factor. The lower capacity but lighter car may accelerate faster if the motor or tyre traction is the limit.

"Same is true for charging - the bigger the battery, the higher the power you can pump into it to charge"

Probably not. You can't push current into a battery faster than the charger or cabling can cope with, so the bigger battery at the max current of the charger will take longer to charge from empty than a smaller one.

"electric car once you're up to 60mph you can use regenerative braking to recover about 50% of the energy back into the battery"

Only if you're slowing down, regen braking uses the car's momentum to use the motor as a generator. A petrol engine's management system will turn the fuel off when coasting, effectively the same thing. Once stopped (unless you have auto-start-stop on the engine) it will use some fuel idling the engine where the electric uses none.

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iPod dead? Nope, says Apple: New Touch has iPhone 6 brains

Alan Edwards

No Touch ID and no NFC, so no Apple Pay.

It's got the A8, which it doesn't need, and no more storage than the current one. Why did they bother?

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

Alan Edwards

Re: Specs, schmecs....

Currently working in a Windows 8.1 VM, running 2Gb RAM on one core of a Pentium G2120, no problems at all. Firefox and Thunderbird are running, 57% memory used, CPU not being touched.

My sister has one of those Linx Windows 8.1 tablets with only 1Gb RAM. I set it up for her, that gets down to half a gig of RAM in use on boot.

My 1Gb RAM Dell Android tablet - about 150Mb free on boot, constantly freezing as it runs out of RAM. A known problem with the Android port to the Atom CPU apparently, I wish I'd researched it better before I bought it.

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Alan Edwards

Not bad on crap hardware

My main machine is a Dell XPS-8100, must be about 6 years old now. Still plenty fast enough for Windows 10, only things I'm missing are USB-3 and SATA-3. A clean install of Windows 8 killed the Bluetooth module, I'm hoping in-place upgrading from 7 to 10 will keep it going.

I've put the Windows 10 tech preview on a Lenovo Q180 - Atom D2700, 2Gb RAM, 160Gb hard drive. Everything works, and it's quick enough. 4Gb RAM and an SSD would make it very usable I reckon.

I'm going to dig the Samsung NC-20 (1.2Ghz VIA Nano) out of storage, stick one of the spare SSDs in it and give it a go, because why not? It might make a nice light laptop for when I don't need the i5 in the T410.

The 1.6Ghz Pentium-M Compaq might be pushing it though :-). That one's about ready for the dump I think.

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LOGITECH - TECH = 'LOGI' ... that's non-Logitech tech, is it?

Alan Edwards

Re: Now more people will get to feel the pain

I'd have a Logitech mouse over anyone else's. The MX Revolution is the best I've used, I have a VX470, M705 and MX Anywhere I use regularly too.

The software is the best part. SetPoint knows about all the mice, so one install lets you set up whichever device you happen to be using.

I will admit I've never had to contact them for support, all the kit I've had "just works", to borrow from Apple.

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Samsung to launch a Snapdragon 808-based clamshell smartphone

Alan Edwards

It's a 4.6" screen, so the top half is roughly the size of my Z1 Compact, then you have the keyboard half too. And people say the iPhone 6 Plus is too big...

OK it folds up, but each half must be about as thick as the Z1.

I'd still buy one though, if it came here. I must dig my V3x out of the storage box, I miss having a keypad that doesn't take 3 stabs to hit the button you want.

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Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

Alan Edwards

Re: Auckland to Heathrow

"Pretty well any US airport for incoming International travellers is shit"

Las Vegas isn't bad, IMO, just don't try it at the weekend. A Saturday flight I was on was held on the aircraft for about 45 mins as they were queueing out of the doors of the arrival hall. The next time was a Thursday, I think I was on the way to the hire car in about an hour.

The only other one I've been to in the US is Boston, that was a bit dingy to be fair.

Dublin does immigration for the New York flights in the transfer lounge, so you skip the immigration queues at the far end. Unfortunately, I was going to Boston...

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Wanna go all Gandalf – YOU SHALL NOT PASS – on Windows 10?

Alan Edwards

What would be good...

What would be good is the icon disappearing once you've reserved the upgrade. It's not like you can use it to change your mind afterwards.

Also, stop overriding the setting to hide the thing. It gets reset to 'Show icon and notification' every time the machine starts.

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

Alan Edwards

Re: Depends...

"So you say "Did you call Fred? That absolute (&(£*"&$ of a man, what a moron, why doesn't he grow a pair?" etc. with your iPhone in your pocket and Fred gets to hear it all."

No he wouldn't. You would need to preface that with 'Hey Siri' before she would do anything. If you did you would hear the double-bong as Siri activates, and she would say something like 'OK, calling Fred' before connecting.

I've had zero success with Siri on my iPad. I tried to use it to find out about a foreign city I had no clue how to spell - nothing. It kept mis-interpreting 'Paul' as 'Call' and got huffy about not being able to do voice calls on an iPad. Useless.

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Pint-sized PCIe powerhouse: Intel NUC5i5RYK

Alan Edwards

"The only reason I'd want that is to hook it to my big screen and do some gaming"

You can if you have a gaming PC as well. Put that in another room and use NVidia GameStream (AMD probably has an equivalent) to stream the game to the NUC hooked up to the TV.

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FBI says in secret that secret spy Cessnas aren't secret

Alan Edwards

Re: Works 4 me

" I've got nothing to hide, how about you?"

You almost certainly do. You may not know it, but you do. An innocuous example - I just bought a bunch of those foam things that go on doors to stop rugrats trapping their fingers when the door shuts. I don't have kids, they are to stop the doors slamming when the windows are open, but Amazon now think I do.

At the moment it means I get adverts for baby car seats and stuff. It could in the future be connected to other non-rugrat-appropriate things and attract unwanted attention.

It's not now you need to worry about, it's the future.

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Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

Alan Edwards

Re: The investigation should center on...

" I'm don't recall a single simple hardware failure leading to a crash of an Airbus plane"

Kind of a combination of both, but a frozen up attitude vane (measures the angle of the plane relative to the airflow) led to the anti-stall system not noticing the plane had stalled and doing nothing about it.

Daft thing is they were testing the anti-stall and had deliberately stalled it. I can't remember why they couldn't recover it - possibly just ran out of altitude trying to make the anti-stall do it's thing.

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What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

Alan Edwards

Re: Good idea

"Can't you even swap out the spinning disks for an SSD?"

Yes, but you have to take the glass front cover and LCD out to do it. All the gubbins is behind the LCD, the only thing you can get at from the back is the RAM - https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+SSD+Replacement/30537.

It takes a special tool and a fair bit of force to unglue the glass, so it's probably best to get a specialist to do it for you. It may be cheaper to pay for Apple's SSD upgrade when you buy the machine.

There was a problem with TRIM being disabled by OSX on non-Apple SSDs. I think that's been sorted now.

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Stranded Brussels airport passengers told to check Facebook

Alan Edwards

Re: Arrrrrgh! Zuck has bought the rights to Belgium?

> Not having a facebook (or twitter) account makes me unable to find out about flights now?

No, it's just that the Belgian air traffic control system's communications division is now down to an intern's iPhone after the power was killed to the rest of it.

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Carry On Computing: Ten stylish laptop bags for him

Alan Edwards

Some of those cost nearly as much as my laptop, a 2nd hand Lenovo T410.

The first one is *really* similar to the case I got from Aldi for £15, except mine is fake leather and has more zips and compartments. It may not last as long, but I can trash 5 of them and still come out ahead.

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Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Alan Edwards

Re: Am I the only person...

"Personally I would like to option to take my £150 and spend it elsewhere."

You can, you just can't watch broadcast TV if you do.

Can the TV licence, use iPlayer/4OD etc, and sign up for Netflix (Amazon, whatever) if you need to. Job done.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Am I the only person...

"Do Tesco charge more for coffee and bread if you earn over £40k?"

Yes, in a way, but it's optional.

You can buy the Value stuff if that all you can afford, or you can get the expensive branded stuff if you have the money.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Am I the only person...

Did you fill the form in on the TVL web site saying you don't need a licence, or just stop paying it?

I filled the form in when I moved in a year ago and I've heard nothing from them since.

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Mildly successful flying car crashes - in mildly successful test flight

Alan Edwards

"Would it be possible to fit this one or more of this ballistic parachute system into say a 747?"

One of the engines on a 747 weighs more than that entire car/plane thingy. You could probably do it, but there wouldn't be much room for passengers afterwards.

I wonder if you could use these as escape pods for a 747? Strap a load of them under the fuselage, ram the people in and drop 'em, and hope the smoking remains of your airliner doesn't land on you afterwards.

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Keurig to drop coffee DRM after boss admits 'we were wrong'

Alan Edwards

Re: Honestly, what is wrong with an ordinary coffee pot?

"Just make a whole pot of coffee for cripes sake"

Fine if you drink gallons of the stuff, or have an office full of people. I'd end up with stale overheated sludge before I finished the pot.

I'd rather use the Senseo machine to make myself one at a time. No DRM on that either, works out at about 10p a shot when you bulk-buy the pods off Amazon.

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Google wants Marvin the Paranoid Android's personality in the cloud

Alan Edwards

"And, just as Zaphod Beeblebrox did with the annoying spaceship personality in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

You mean go to it's main memory bank with a fire axe and give it a re-programming it will never forget? Sounds like a plan...

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Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Alan Edwards

Re: Meh

> Alienware but I've never been a fan of them in a corporate environment.

> Anyone know of any alternatives out there?

Razer Blade?

Depending what you're after, a Scan 3XS could be worth a look. They go up to a GTX980M, and desktop quad-code CPUs, and there are workstation graphics options too.

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Summer bust-up expected with new Apple TV and Roku coming onstream

Alan Edwards

Re: Apple TV

> And even when I was in GB, I would never have subscribed to Sky

You don't need to, the NowTV box is basically a Roku 2LT running custom software, there's no requirement to subscribe. It has the UK catchup services pre-loaded, and you can side-load Plex. It'd be no use in the US though, the channel store is severely restricted.

There's a new NowTV box due out soon too, already out on the equivalent in Germany.

The Roku 1 is down to £30 too.

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PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY

Alan Edwards

Upgrade process?

Has the process for upgrading/re-installing been worked out yet?

I've got a machine with an OEM Windows 7 licence. When the time comes to 'nuke and reload', will I be able to (re)-install Windows 10 using the 7 licence, or will I have to install 7 again first?

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Hackable media box based on the Raspberry Pi compute module: Five Ninjas Slice

Alan Edwards

Fire TV/Plex

Plex on a Fire TV only does stereo audio out, multi-channel audio doesn't work. It's a limitation of the way third-party apps can use the Fire's media player software, it's not fixable by Plex.

Unless you need the internal storage I'd still go for a Roku, the 1 is down to £30 now.

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Data centre dangers: Killing a tree and exploding a UPS

Alan Edwards

A/C Fails

I had a couple of -- "interesting" -- AC failures at our old office.

Some bright spark decided that the ideal place to put the wall-mounted AC in the server cupboard was above the Meridian phone system's main box. The heat exchanger in the AC froze solid, which killed the AC. The heat from the servers rapidly melted the ice, which dripped water into the Meridian and killed that too.

Shortly after that we got a proper lock on the server cupboard door, so none of us office plebs could get in any more. The first we knew of the next AC failure was when the partition wall that separated the server room from the office kitchen was hot to the touch.

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An uncomplicated Buffalo in SOHO: The LinkStation 441D 4-bay NAS box

Alan Edwards

Re: yes but

> FreeNAS would run like crap on this, AFAIK it needs a reasonable CPU

> and lots of ram (4gb+++)

Only if you're using ZFS. I'm running it on an HP MicroServer with an Athlon Neo and 3Gb RAM and it's happy with bog-standard RAID-5.

> Bring back WHS

There is Windows Storage Server 2012. I've downloaded the DVD image but not played with it yet.

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Filthy – but sadly frothy – five door fun: Ford Focus 1.5 Zetec

Alan Edwards

Re: Urgh, how I loathe rain sensing wipers.

> AND YOU CAN'T TURN IT OFF

Yes you can, on a Ford anyway. The automatic setting is where Intermittent is on the lever if you haven't got auto wipers. You've still got 'Off' below and the two continuous settings above it.

Also, there is a sensitivity roller in the middle of the wiper lever. It always runs the wipers once when you turn the sensitivity up, so you can flick it up a notch and back down to get the wipers to run once.

The auto-lights means you can't leave the lights on and kill the battery, and it ties in to the auto wipers and puts the lights on when it's raining.

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SpaceX lofts two all-electric ion-drive comsats to Clarke orbit

Alan Edwards

> I'm confused how one geo-stationary object could be deployed over

> "Latin America, Canada and Alaska", without also including USA etc.?.

Alaska is roughly level with the top of Canada, so you could have one satellite in geosync orbit with two beams. One covering Alaska and Canada and one covering the middle of South America, neither would cover (much of) the mainland US.

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German music moguls slammed for 'wurst ever DMCA takedown spam'

Alan Edwards

Re: Hang on

>Doesn't the DCMA declaration they're required to provide state that false declaration

> is perjury?

It does, but it doesn't mean what you think it means.

The declaration says we believe we own the copyright to whatever we are trying to pull down. It doesn't say they actually do hold the copyright, or that what they're pulling down is what they say it is.

Provided they believed it at the time, it's all good. Good luck proving they didn't, given it was all automatically generated.

There is no penalty for filing false claims, so no incentive to get it right. That has to change, IMO.

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

Alan Edwards

Not on a tablet

If you're running a Windows 8.1 tablet (especially a 1Gb RAM one), your choice is IE or nothing unless you want to squint at a 7-inch desktop.

Firefox doesn't work in Metro at all, Chrome fakes it by turning the tablet into a ChromeTab. You then hit the 'no extensions in Metro IE' rule so AdBlock is out, so in my case the choice was a Kindle Fire HDX.

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Oi, Aussie sports fans! Take that selfie stick and stick it

Alan Edwards

Re: I don't watch much TV.

> What is a 'selfie stick'?

When combined with the wifi viewfinder function on a Go Pro, a handy way of getting your head 3 feet above everyone else at the sporting event of your choice.

The next evolution should have a motorised pan/tilt head that integrates with the motion sensors on an Oculus Rift.

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World's largest ship swallows 900 MEGATINS of baked beans

Alan Edwards

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQk1u_kvQSA

Animation of a 2-stroke diesel.

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

Alan Edwards

Re: Push-button gear change? Really?

> a button activated handbrake on manual which will work only if you put your foot on the

> footbrake so you can no longer "start off handbrake uphill".

Unless they've changed it, it will automatically release the parking brake when you pull away.

If you want worse, try a 2013 Mercedes E-class. The "hand" brake is a foot pedal, released with a lever next to the steering wheel. Mine was an auto, so maybe the manual is different.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Alan Edwards

I'd give the Z3 Compact a miss

The Z3 Compact is basically the same as the Z1 Compact, which is going for £270 on Expansys.

The Z3 Compact is 4.6" rather than 4.3" (but still 720p) and is 300Mhz faster. The rest is the same.

The Z4 Compact is due out soon too, which ups it to a 4.7" 1080p and 64-bit Snapdragon 810.

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Brit GUN NUT builds WORKING SNIPER RIFLE at home out of scrap metal!

Alan Edwards

Brings back memories...

I was taught to shoot on Lee-Enfields back in my air cadet days, .22 and .303. We were lucky, our unit had an indoor range on site so I got quite a lot of time on the .22s.

I got pretty good, but that was 30 years ago.

The SLR was introduced in 1955? I got to fire those too, and I thought they were bang up-to-date in the '80s. Heh.

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The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Alan Edwards

Re: What happens to the grid ...

> What happens to the grid when a large percentage of the population plugs their cars in?

If Robert Llewelyn is to be believed, it will be happier.

People charge their electric cars overnight, when they are asleep (i.e. not using the car) and power is cheaper because no-one is using it.

More use overnight will even out the peaks and troughs of demand and avoid having to start and stop generating stations.

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Technology quiz reveals that nobody including quiz drafters knows anything about IT

Alan Edwards

12 out of 12

I got them all right, given my job it would be a bit embarrassing if I didn't.

I did cheat slightly because the article mentioned Cheryl Sandberg - I knew it wasn't Marissa Meyer, it would have been between Sandberg and Huffington.

The privacy policy one was tricky, the policy can say 'we put all your information out in public', so long as it's the policy it counts.

Seriously, 1% of respondents got none right?

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