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* Posts by Alan Edwards

318 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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Microsoft Australia slashes price of Surface Pro 128GB by $AUD400

Alan Edwards

Where would you put your money?

> Where would you put your money?

Not something with an A6 and a low-res 15-inch panel. It's only got a 4-cell battery too, my T410 kills a 6-cell in 2 hours.

What's your main usage going to be, do you need a touch-screen? Does it need to live forever, or get replaced 1-2 years down the line?

If tablet use is going to be the main usage, I'd look at a Lenovo Miix 2 10, or a Nokia 2520 if RT will get the job done, or the Surface Pro mentioned (it'll be heavier than the rest though). Anything bigger than 10-inch is going to be tricky to hold as a tablet.

If it's going to spend most of it's life hooked up to a monitor churning spreadsheets, go for a proper laptop. At least an i5, but not a cheap-as-possible entry-level job. A nearly-new T520/T540 will be much better built and last longer, or maybe a Dell XPS, Inspiron or Latitude?

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

Alan Edwards

Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

> OK the picture quality may fade but the TV itself would go on until the end of time.

It had to, once it's in place it's too damn heavy to move!

I could just about shift a 28-inch CRT widescreen myself, the 32-inch that replaced it was too much.

The 37-inch and 40-inch LCDs that have come after the 32-inch CRT I can easily move.

Oh, and neither widescreen CRT was as good as the 29-inch CRT Sony Trinitron 4:3 I had before, and the 32-inch was a flat-front CRT Sony. It had all sorts of picture-worsening digital processing that couldn't be disabled.

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Alan Edwards

Re: @ Truth4u

> I've not actually had to change a CCFL or LED due to failure as yet

I've got an uplighter that I bought when I first moved into my own place in about 1992. It's in my front room, is on whenever it's dark, and has always had a CFL bulb. They seem to last around 6 years.

Since I moved into my current place 2 years ago I've replaced 2 of the incandescent spot bulbs in the kitchen and bathroom. I was toying with replacing them with LEDs, but the fittings have 3 bulbs each and I found a box of spare bulbs in a cupboard when I moved in so it never happened.

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Tornado-chasing stealth Batmobile set to invade killer vortices

Alan Edwards

Re: Not nearly as exciting...

> Wouldn't some sort of RC camera/instrument drone be the thing to build today?

Something light enough to be lifted by a couple of electric motors is going to get ripped to shreds before getting in camera range of a tornado.

What might work is adapting the plan from Twister (which is where Dorothy got her name, BTW) - a shedload of GoPros in armoured balls in a dustbin left in the the path of the tornado. They get picked up by the tornado, and a few might survive long enough to record video of the inside of a tornado before being taken out by a flying combine harvester.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Alan Edwards

Re: Great headline!

I think I'm at about a 50/50 useless to useful ratio from Maplin.

I got a big mat of that sticky rubber stuff at least 10 years ago. I still have 90% left, and it's made mats for the oddments tray in 3 cars and a piece is stuck to the bottom of one of the remotes to stop it falling off the arm of an armchair.

Their label remover spray is seriously good stuff too. It shifted the remains of one of those security labels once.

However, I also have a box of 'ends' for a power supply that is still in the packet. They were bought for an enormous multi-voltage adapter (probably the only thing left on the planet that can charge a Nokia 2110) and never needed an 'end' that didn't come with it.

I did get a pair of £9 Sennheiser headphones from there once (they were much better than they had any right to be), and bought a box of CD-R discs from them and walked back to the car and wrote the disc I wanted on the laptop.

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Roku flashes $50 HDMI TV web dongle at anyone sick of Google's stick

Alan Edwards

Re: Local content?

> So can it stream content on any of my local machines

Yes.

If you are doing TV programs or films, you're probably best off with Plex. You run Plex Media Server on your PC, which analyses your media, works out what it is, downloads banners, posters etc and splits TV shows into seasons. You then put the Plex channel on your Roku and it will detect any Plex servers on the network. Plex server and the Roku client are free.

For streaming random videos you can use Plex too (set up a Videos section rather than TV or Movie), but you really just need a DLNA server e.g. Serviio, PS3 Media Server. There are several DLNA clients available for the Roku.

The advantage of Plex is that it knows what the Roku can do and transcodes stuff it can't play into a format it can.

As far as I know there isn't anything on the Roku that can look on a network share and play videos, you need a media server of some sort.

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HTML is a sexually transmitted disease, say many Americans

Alan Edwards

Re: HTML, USB and PCMCIA aren't acronyms

> How are they not acronyms?

Because you can't pronounce them as words. An acronym is a new word formed from the letters of an abbreviation, like BASIC, RAID and NASA.

HTML and USB are abbreviations - you have to say the letters H-T-M-L or U-S-B. They can't be said as words.

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Break out the scatter cushions: Google rents out NASA blimp hangar

Alan Edwards

I looked up Hangar 1 on Google Images, and got this: http://funraniumlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/IMG_9532.jpg

NASA have a weird 4-engined Antonov 72-type-thing and a Stargate stored in there...

The page that picture came from is a good read too: http://www.funraniumlabs.com/2010/09/a-field-trip-to-nasa-amesmoffett-field

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BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

Alan Edwards

Re: Virgin "Super" hub

> Maybe I'm unlucky but I've yet to find a home router that just works and keeps working.

Cue a million posts from people saying theirs is the best router ever...

I've got a Netgear DGND3700. It can do either ADSL or cable/fibre over Ethernet, it's never given me any trouble. Been bounced once in 6 months, and that was when the power went, and pulls 7.5 MB/sec off Usenet all night.

> No one should be allowed to mention the word B3lk1n

Yep, I had one of those too, mine was also a piece of crap...

> I am curious ... why is it so difficult to make one of these things just work?!

I don't think it is, but making one that works and is cheap enough that people will buy and/or ISPs give away perhaps is. A lot of people swear by Drayteks, but I can't justify spending £300 on a router - the Netgear cost me £50 second hand, and I thought that was a lot.

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Lenovo reveals convertible Chromebook

Alan Edwards

Re: Laptop, tablet, tent and stand

> If I understand correctly, in stand mode, the keyboard is facing the table?

Correct. The screen on the Yoga folds right around, so in stand mode the screen is facing you and the base sits on it's keyboard. Keep folding the screen (so the back of the screen is touching the base) and it's a tablet.

You can also open it like a conventional laptop and turn it upside down, so it balances on the front edge of the base and the top of the screen - tent mode.

This page: http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/landingpage/yoga/ is for the Yoga 2 Pro, but all the Yoga machines have the 360-degree screen hinge and it shows the different modes it can do.

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Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

Alan Edwards

The public

I think he's probably right, the average bod in the pub probably doesn't care about domestic spying. They think it doesn't apply to them, and can't get their heads around what the capabilities are.

It will take someone being locked up following a wrong number call from Abdul The Terrorist and searching for Menwith Hill on Google 2 years ago to focus their minds.

Until something happens that actually applies to them or their peer group, they are happy to be told by The Sun that it's stopping them dying horribly and move on to the next drunk celebrity.

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UK internet filtering shouldn't rely on knee tappers, says Tory MP

Alan Edwards

Kneejerk reaction

I'm guessing Claire Perry doesn't know that the medical reflex test is where the term 'kneejerk reaction' came from.

"We must be seen to be doing something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this."

You end up with ill thought-out garbage that achieves nothing.

> Perry claimed reports of overblocking were “fanciful”

She's lying. It was documented last week that filters blocked an update to a game because it had letters S-E-X in the file name.

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Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!

Alan Edwards

Re: What the...

> This make no sense as the ZX Spectrum's keyboard was the worst part of the computer

Compared to the onscreen keyboard on an iPhone or Nexus 7 though, it's a brilliant keyboard.

As a compact keyboard for a media centre PC it's probably not all that bad either, but I would want a pointing device on-board too for that use.

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WORLDWIDE SELFIE: Cosmonauts finally get ISS cameras working

Alan Edwards

Worldwide?

Worldwide?? Half the world (at most) shirley?

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Plusnet is working on a network-level filter to block pirate sites

Alan Edwards

Re: RE: 1Rafayal

> Yes, but since it's just DNS blocking

Whatever PlusNet are doing it's not DNS-based, TPB is blocked for me even though I don't use their DNS. I don't think they are redirecting DNS queries, OpenDNS are still returning their error pages to me.

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UK smut filter may have sent game patch to sin-bin

Alan Edwards

> Riot Games could shoulder some small amount of the blame

No, it rests entirely with the numpties that set the filter up. It is insane to block anything that has a specific sequence of letters in the name with no reference to the context. What are they supposed to do, name their patches 'FluffyKittens1', 'FluffyKittens2' etc?

Anything which has 'extended' (or 'experience', 'expert', you get the idea...) after a plural will be blocked. As someone else has said, anything referencing the town of Scunthorpe will be blocked.

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LogMeIn: We're stopping our free offering from, errrm, NOW

Alan Edwards

Re: Shock, horror

> I would guess that the majority of free users fall into the should be paying category

Going by the comments on the LogMeIn forum (which I've lost the link to now) a lot of free users only want the remote access, they don't use all the extras like file transfer. I'm one of them.

I did look at paying for their service, as I thought it was good - they wanted £50 a year for Pro on 2 computers, much more for 10 machines. I used LogMeIn to remote onto at least 4 machines, but never used the Pro features I got as a trial.

I would have paid a bit for just remote access on up to (say) 10 machines, but not what they wanted for the occasional remote session on one of 4-5 machines.

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Alan Edwards

Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

> the all important off switch

I'd want an off-switch too. You don't know how far you can throw it when you touch two wires you shouldn't during construction. It should be taken out (or disabled) at deploy-time though, or direct-connected to the detonator. "Ah, there's the Off swi..[BOOM!!].

> bomb that is detonated by remote control but which curiously still had a 2 minute red LED countdown

A timer backup in case a dead receiver battery/signal blocker etc kills the remote trigger is a sensible design choice IMO. An LED display is a bit showy though.

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I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Alan Edwards

Re: Use a cable to connect your samrtphone?

> Use a cable to connect your samrtphone?

> Errr whatever happened to Bluetooth?

If you've got the phone plugged in you don't have a dead phone battery by the time you get to work.

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Facebook bots grope our 'privates', and every wronged user should get $10,000 – lawsuit claims

Alan Edwards

Re: Re Big_D

> check information for a vendor who had no other online presence

If a vendor only exists on Facebook, doesn't that automatically add them to the "not even if *they* paid *me*" list?

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Alan Edwards

Re: Meh

> the last two Nokia phones I had (around 2006 & 2008) had different chargers from each other

Nokia are one of the better ones. They've had a total of 3 different power connectors, since at least the 2110 in the early 90s - 3.5mm, 2.5mm and micro USB. It took a simple straight-through adapter to go from the 3.5mm to 2.5mm and vice-versa - I was charging a 6230i (via adapter) from a car charger for a 2110.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Alan Edwards

Re: FM radio will not be killed...

> They will still be able to be used, but only to listen to local stations which will still broadcast on FM.

Local stations that are all commercial, so have a 50/50 mix of adverts and crap "music" they have been paid to play. That'd be a good way to kill FM off once and for all.

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Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

Alan Edwards

Re: 3 are great...

> except they have shit coverage.

Possibly true once, but not now. You're going to get dead spots on all the networks.

I get Three coverage on a ferry in the middle of the Solent all the way from Southampton to Cowes on the Isle Of Wight. I suspect it's talking to Portsmouth, but I also get Three on the top of Culver Down, IOW, and Brading Down.

Once place it doesn't work is in the Days Inn at Cobham services on the M25. I think it's down to the building, but they have free wifi so it's not a huge problem. It does work in the basement meeting rooms at the office in Leatherhead though.

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Google, Microsoft to drop child sex abuse from basic web search

Alan Edwards

I give it about a month

I give it about a month before the RIAA/MPAA and their sock puppets start campaigning for piracy terms to be added to the "return nothing" list.

"If you can use it to block child porn you can use it to prop up our business model".

Followed shortly by terrorism, then legal porn, and all the companies using it to block their competitors. In a year or so's time, once all the lobbying is paid for, disney.com will be the only site returned by Google.

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Brit ISPs ordered to add more movie-streaming websites to block list

Alan Edwards

Re: A start

> You do know that people have had less for rape and murder, right?

Well yes, but they aren't really important are they? That only affects the little people, no-one that actually matters.

Piracy is the more important crime to the government, as that affects where the money for coke and yachts (and the next election) comes from.

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Pwn2Own crackers leave iOS and Samsung mobe security IN RUINS

Alan Edwards

Re: Fixes?

Cool, still waiting for it on my 3G Nexus 7.

Are your devices unlocked, or carrier-locked and loaded up with their crapware? If it came from the carrier, the software update will come from them too (and may never arrive).

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Brit spymasters: Cheers, Snowden. Terrorists are overhauling their comms

Alan Edwards

Re: An oldie, but a goodie

> Compared to a longbow - which is, when all is said and done, a stick

No, there's engineering in a decent bow. It has to be flexible enough that a human can draw it but give the arrow serious acceleration. It also has to twang back to it's previous shape evenly so the arrow goes straight.

> And any cretin can use one (a crossbow)

What a crossbow does is automate the drawing and release. It doesn't negate the skill needed to get the arrow to go where you want it to. It's also slower to "reload" than a longbow. Miss with your crossbow shot and the archer you were trying to hit will put 3 arrows in your arse before you can reload..

> I am unwilling to read this pdf any further because Chuck Hammill is clearly an idiot.

I'm inclined to agree there.

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BBC's Clangers returns in £5m 'New Age' remake

Alan Edwards

Re: So, the BBC CAN still sink lower

> As I remember the myth/truth, it was "The bloody thing's stuck again" when a door failed to open,

> and it was cut from the original broadcast despite being whistled...

Possibly apocryphal, but I did get it from an interview with Oliver Postgate on the radio. The line was "Oh damn it, the bloody thing's stuck again", which the BBC forced them to change even though it was just done with whistles. The whistles were exactly the same, they just changed the words in the "script".

That was also the sample that was used in a toy.

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Alan Edwards

Re: Why can't they write some new programmes?

> Pingu's baby sister is a PUFFIN!!!!!

According to Wikipedia (I'm SO not the target audience for Pingu...) Pinga is supposed to be a baby Emperor penguin.

A puffin and a penguin would have to go some to "get it on", given they are at pretty much different ends of the planet.

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Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

Alan Edwards

Re: Remote control

The BBC and Electron had the tape remote too, but it was a 2.5mm jack on those.

I don't remember having the remote as part of the 5-pin DIN, but most of my tape decks had 3.5mm audio in and out, and 2.5mm remote.

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UK mulls ban on tiny mobiles to block prison smugglers

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Key fobs??

No sure if the people asking this question are serious, but here goes anyway...

The phone has to be smuggled into the prison somehow, most likely by visitors. I'm guessing there are mobile phone bans in the visitors rooms, but no-one is going to look twice at a BMW remote on a keyring, even if you turn up in a '96 Corsa - could be for the wife's company 320d.

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Alan Edwards

Me, for a start. On a smartphone, 4-inch is about right, the 5-inch plus ones are definitely too big.

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Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Where do I get one?

eBay. I just put "world's smallest mobile" (or whatever the text was in the BBC article) into the search.

They all seem to have Bluetooth, FM radio and a Micro-SD slot, probably because they are all based on the same chipset. Sorely tempted by the flip one based on the BMW key.

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US court rules IP address cloaks may break law

Alan Edwards
Stop

Re: Poor article

> No the US court did NOT rule that "IP address cloaks may break law".

Effectively, they did. What they ruled was that using "technical means" to access a service the "authority" has denied you access to is an offence under the CFAA.

This sets a precedent. Ignore the 3Taps/Craigslist stuff, they were dicks and got what they deserved. Think wider - as soon as you use any method to get around a block, you're a criminal.

e.g. a network-level block imposed by the court on The Pirate Bay means the "authority" has denied you access. If you then use a proxy/VPN/whatever to access it, you have committed a crime under the CFAA (or the British equivalent, which was probably written in 1873 and refers to 'tabulating engines').

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MYRA HINDLEY found working in Capita's benefits & revenues unit

Alan Edwards

So, not even someone with the name Myra Hindley working for Capita, which would be mildly interesting.

There must be other part-time actresses working for Capita whilst between jobs, how about giving them some free publicity too?

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ISPs: Relax. Blocking smut online WON'T really work

Alan Edwards
Big Brother

Re: Prohibition and human behaviour

> prohibition has worked pretty well on modifying human behaviour regarding the slave trade

I'm not sure it did. Was it "stop it, or we'll throw you in jail" that stopped it, or public opinion turning against it?

Public support was pretty widespread at the beginning of alcohol prohibition, because there was a problem with alcohol abuse at the time. It was the abuses and corruption it spawned that turned the public against it. If you don't have public support, you're hosed.

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Alan Edwards
Big Brother

Re: Just get the filters installed and everyone shut up.

> Look , you can disable it - so what's the problem.

Today you can. That may not be the case in the future, especially once the web sites that don't agree with the government position get added to the censor list.

Once filtering is at the network level it is totally out of your control. It can be turned on without telling you, and returns a 404 for a site on the list so it just looks like it's dead. The list of censored sites is not published, and there is no review process.

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Five bods wrongly cuffed thanks to bungled comms snooping in UK

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: none of the mistakes

> How can you 'accidently' request someones texts, voicemails or emails?

Easy, you put, as an example, 01234 567890 into the 'phone number' field on the online form instead of 01234 576890. You may not notice the cock-up until there's no sign of an incoming call matching an outgoing one to the number from another suspect.

I've talked to my own voicemail several times because someone at work has a mobile number that is the same as mine except that the last two digits are reversed.

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CONFIRMED: Driverless cars to hit actual British roads by end of year

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: All at once or none at all

> would an automated car be able to react well to a low-to-ground obstacle suddenly falling off the back of a truck

No worse than a human. The sensors will react quicker than a human, and it might be more accurate in predicting which way it's going to bounce.

> What about a child suddenly running out in front from between two cars (thus practically invisible beforehand)?

Again, it should be able to react to the human-shaped infra-red/laser imaging signature appearing quicker than a human can. It would also be able to work out quickly whether it can go around them without causing a serious collision.

> Can the car detect small but significant patches of black ice?

Yes, the infra-red signature would be different. It also might be able to detect itself losing control quicker, with accurate accelerometers comparing actual movement to control inputs.

The other thing is that, with software updates, all the "drivers" learn from the mistakes made by other automated cars.

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Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: "most likely be configured to perform boring, tricky tasks like parking"

> How the driver finds or summons his car back to take him home was not revealed.

Send it an SMS, or an email? A big "come here, car" button at the entrance that uses RFID/NFC to work out who you are and which car to summon?

The other thing it will be able to do is drop you off at the office door, then go home and park on your drive, thus avoiding parking charges. It will then monitor the traffic conditions to know when to set off to be at the office door to pick you up at the end of the day.

Imagine a big gaggle of people outside the office at 17:01 waiting for their car, all jumping on every silver Mondeo that appears...

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Sleek Nokia Lumia details EXPOSED ahead of Thursday's disrobing

Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Get a grip on your massive storage requirements

A phone's different to a camera. I did a week in Nevada and Arizona and didn't fill the 8Gb card in the camera, but the 32Gb card in my phone is a bit tight with MP3s and navigation maps on it.

It will be interesting to see a comparison between this and a Galaxy Zoom 41 megapixels and clever software vs. a smaller sensor and proper optical zoom (and a card slot :-) ).

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Radar gremlins GROUND FLIGHTS across southern Blighty

Alan Edwards
Coat

Own up, who put petrol in a diesel 737?

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Vulcan? Not on our tiny balls. Pluto moons named Kerberos, Styx

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Happy doggies

Just be happy they didn't name the other moon Fluffy...

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Google donates £1m to child abuse charity ahead of Whitehall meeting

Alan Edwards
WTF?

> £1m. Peanuts!

Still a million too much. By giving the IWF money, Google have just announced that they are perfectly OK with silent censorship of the internet by an unaccountable non-governmental organisation. So much for 'Do No Evil'.

> Think how much money goes through the interwebs for porn, of every kind.

And how much is for baked beans? Equally relevant to the IWF's remit, which is (supposed to be) purely about child abuse.

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Barnes & Noble bungs Raspberry Pi-priced Nook on shelves

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: £29 e-reader dodgy marketing?

nook.co.uk have them. I ordered a GlowLight and a Simple Touch (for my mum) yesterday, and just ordered another Simple Touch for myself to turn into an outdoor-readable simple tablet. For £30 I won't be massively upset if I brick it in the process...

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Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Not radioactive

> As caesium atomic clocks use the stable isotope caesium-133, it is not radioactive, and there is no danger

> of being accused of moving nuclear material while travelling.

Doesn't stop the idiots seeing the word 'atomic' and thinking it could wipe out the city if you dropped it.

The makers might want to learn from NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. People saw 'nuclear' and got scared, so it was rebranded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Same thing, less scary name.

How about 'laser-excited chromometer'?

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Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Screw the iWatch

The Quantum SA45s, the timekeeping gubbins of the watch, costs $1,500, so the display mechanicals are costing $48,500

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Guess who PC-slaying tablets are killing next? Keyboard biz Logitech

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Logitech's crap products are hurting sales

I agree Logitech's kit can be hit and miss, but I would still choose a Logitech over any else's mouse.

The original MX Revolution mouse is brilliant (IMO). Used daily for more than 5 years, still on the original battery, and it was a refurb when I got it. I also have a little Bluetooth V470 that lives in a laptop backpack and still survives.

Their keyboards I'm not so keen on. An expensive Bluetooth one with an LCD screen, and one that came in a pack with a mouse and media remote control, got ditched - horrible to type on and non-standard key layouts.

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High-rollers’ shop pitches wallet-pounding, wall-pummelling MONSTER TV

Alan Edwards
FAIL

Re: The frame comes off

... or suspension bridges, which weigh considerably more than that.

Those do tend to be put together by people who know what they're doing though, not hung off a drawing pin banged into some plaster board by some moron with the wrong end of a screw driver.

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Ofcom to UK: Really - you're using the same password for everything?

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: True but misleading

Another ditto. Having a unique password for every single website is overkill.

Anything that matters gets a strong password, the login for some website forum I posted to once gets the same password as every other website forum...

I'm more concerned that only 62% have a password on their wifi router.

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