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* Posts by Alan Edwards

272 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

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
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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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Review: Nokia Lumia 720

Alan Edwards
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Re: Almost perfect

I have an Exchange server sat behind it, but on Windows Phone 8 you can send emails, edit calendar entries and contacts, and those changes show up in Outlook. If you set yourself up a Microsoft account when setting the phone up (I already had one for MSDN) you have a Hotmail calendar to sync Outlook and the phone with.

You don't need Zune - not sure that even came with my Lumia 620. The phone mounts the internal storage and Micro-SD in Windows 7's Explorer and you drag-and-drop things.

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Orange is the new TalkTalk of the broadband complaints league

Alan Edwards
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Re: Bad and good

> For several years now I have been on Plusnet

Other thing with PlusNet is that their support call centre is in Sheffield, so they speak English.

Unlike Orange, who are in India and unintelligible most of the time.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: Is there a GOOD broadband provider?

> Can anyone actually recommend a broadband provider.

I've been with PlusNet since they were Force 9, never had a problem with them.

The Thomson router they give you is crap (my ThinkPad refuses to even talk to it) but you can use your own.

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Google stokes hype machine over Project Glass robospecs

Alan Edwards

Re: "No one really likes to wear glasses at the best of times"

> "No one really likes to wear glasses at the best of times"

I'll take my glasses over contact lenses I can't get out (I nearly lost one round the back of my eyeball) and someone firing a high-energy laser directly into my eye, thank you very much.

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Mobe networks bag UK 4G for a steal - £1bn shy of Osborne's £3.5bn

Alan Edwards

They've got the 1.8Ghz they bought off EE too.

Is it significant that Three have less bandwidth at 800Mhz than everyone else - 2x5Mhz? Will that cause them capacity problems?

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Meet the stealthiest UK startup's app Swiftkey - and its psychic* keyboard

Alan Edwards
Megaphone

Re: INteresting that something so *apparently* simple is still capable of improvement.

The very reason I'll never use any voice recognition system. My car has it, as do my Android phone and tablet - never used it on either.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: It is very good.

Give TouchPal a go, there's a prediction on/off switch on the space bar, just swipe left or right on it.

I tried Curve (TouchPal's equivalent of Flow), couldn't get into it...

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Tesla's Elon Musk v The New York Times, Round 2

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: The Balance Of Evidence

> used cruise control in order to preserve battery life

I once drove an A-Class that would drop down a gear in cruise control where it would stay in top on the same bit of road when not in cruise control. CC tends to be more aggressive with the throttle to maintain speed.

> the vehicle speed is just a series of irregular spikes, even when on a sustained run. Point 1 to Tesla...

Not necessarily. On a motorway in traffic you will always be dropping in and out of cruise as you come up on something slower and have to wait to pull out and pass. Also, if you're using GPS to get the speed it will be all over place because of the inaccuracy of GPS. Should be within about 5mph though, maybe with bigger spikes if the GPS loses and regains lock.

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Alan Edwards
FAIL

Re: Facebook on wheels?

> they knew that when the car shut's down, the parking brake cannot be disabled!

Seriously?! So if it runs out of electricity you can't tow it, you have to put it on a trailer?

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Cache 'n' carry: What's the best config for your SSD?

Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: No need for any cache - just go pure SSD

Nah, OSs aren't that big. I've got a 60Gb SSD (OCZ Vertex 2, if anyone cares...) as the boot drive in my PC, and there's still 25Gb left on it. There's also a 250Gb conventional drive for random junk, most of my data is on a 6Tb NAS.

512Gb probably isn't enough if that's absolutely all you have, but it depends what you do with it. My mum survives on a 120Gb netbook.

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UPnP scan shows 50 million network devices open to packet attack

Alan Edwards
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Re: A security scanner that requires Java ! WTF?

Run the scanner in a virtual machine. That way you don't need to put Java on the main machine, just the VM.

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Apple confirms 128GB iPad. A hundred bucks for an extra 64GB

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: "without needing their old PCs"

Probably got more grunt than the crusty 3.2Ghz P4s some of the design people here were using until very recently. I'm sure I've seen some 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duos around still, albeit with Quadro graphics cards.

There are likely still some ThinkPad T43s around with 1.6Ghz Pentium-Ms, slower that the Atom Z2460 in my phone.

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Google: Gov demands for YOUR web data up 70% in just 3 years

Alan Edwards

Re: Not so great Britain

Germany has data protection and privacy laws that weren't written by Facebook and actually mean something.

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UK malls use Google in desperate stab at luring shoppers off the web

Alan Edwards
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Re: Free WiFi?

> You also need to do this every time you visit. [The Cloud signup]

You shouldn't need to sign-up every time, once you've created the account you just need the email address and password to log on. An Android device will remember this for you too, can't remember whether iOS does.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: A state of equilibrium will be reached...

> How long did the actual ordering stage take though?

I've only used Tesco so I can't comment on the others, but I'm usually through the entire process in 15m. These are big monthly-shop type orders, I don't waste the delivery charge on 5-10 items.

If you always order the same things (same type of loaf, butter, cheese etc) all the things you ordered last time will be in your Favourites. 99% of what I get is from Favourites. It also hooks into your Clubcard, so anything you got in-store on the same clubcard will also be in your favourites - a regular job for me is clearing out sandwiches etc. from my Favourites.

Tesco also has a shopping list function, where you put the list of what you want in (e.g. bleach, toothpaste, butter) and it returns a filtered list of products that match the list.

> In fact as it turned out I could drive to the supermarket, make my purchases and return home in a little

> over half the time it was taking just to _place_ the order online, never mind the wait for delivery

Really? Not even close for me. Even at 07:30 on a Saturday with no traffic it takes me 10m to drive to Tesco, maybe 10m wandering round, 5m for the self-checkout and 10m back home again.

If you're losing your slot (Tesco reserves them for 2 hours) there's something wrong somewhere.

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Review: Infiniti M35h hybrid sports saloon

Alan Edwards
Mushroom

Re: Small car please

> And why does one need a car that does 155MPH

Because it's nowhere near it's limits at 70, unlike something that tops out at 90.

It's has brakes and tyres that can stop it from 155mph.

It doesn't get completely foxed by a corner that tightens unexpectedly and spit you off into a field, because it was designed to corner at twice the speed..

You don't need the length of the M1 to wind it up and can actually overtake things on a single-carriageway road. Would you rather spend 20 seconds on the wrong side overtaking an artic or 2 minutes?

Just because you can doesn't mean you have to.

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Review: HP ENVY x2 Windows 8 convertible

Alan Edwards

Re: Atom for £800? Seriously?!

They're better now. I have an Atom D2700 in a Lenovo Q180 I use as a media player - never struggles for CPU. I suspect the Radeon graphics is doing the heavy lifting, but the CPU never gets over 5% playing 720p in Plex.

I've used Windows 7 on a VIA C7 (HP 2133), it's OK once it gets going, but that takes a while and it's never what you'd call snappy. Win 7 on a VIA Nano (Samsung NC-20) was surprisingly good though. On the Z2760 it should be OK, but an entry-level i3 would kick it's arse.

2Gb RAM is barely enough for XP these days...

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Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Linux?

> Are they really 32-bit CPUs?

http://ark.intel.com/products/70105/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z2760-1MB-Cache-1_80-GHz

Yes! How odd. Explains the rubbish 2Gb RAM though, the most you could ever have is 3Gb. No VT-x virtualisation tech either.

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Alan Edwards
Unhappy

Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

> Oh shut up, have you even used it on a touchscreen device?

No, but I reckon it would be good. But that's the only place it is any good.

I needed to reinstall Windows on my (non-touch) desktop, so I thought I might as well give Win 8 a try. It lasted 2 days before I put Win 7 on again.

The tile start screen is pointless - unless you're using a built-in app it just throws you back to the desktop, you end up wanging the mouse from corner to corner, you can't get to the 'minimise all' button in the bottom right without displaying the charms whatsit, Shutdown is buried in the menus, they've ripped the Aero Glass stuff out, and you have to buy a $5 piece of software (Stardock Start8) to put the menu back where it should never have been taken out.

Oh, and the Bluetooth doesn't work on a Dell XPS-8100, the driver install crashes.

It's probably slightly quicker because of the lack of Aero Glass, but I like a little bit of prettiness. I might turn the fade transitions off though.

As an iPad-on-steroids, just using the built-in IE, mail, messaging etc., it would be brilliant. As a machine to do work on, even with touch, I'm not sure it would work unless you ignore the Start screen Without touch it's a dead loss, IMO.

Roll on Windows 9...

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5,000 UK pubs get free Wi-Fi... and they're not even all in London

Alan Edwards
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The Cloud

The Cloud is usually pretty good in Wetherspoons pubs, apart from one place that has put the wifi box in one corner and the comfy chairs in the other so it's too weak to connect any more, and the Fayre-something one near the office.

O2 wifi in McDonalds wants my mobile number, which they're not getting. One day I'll remember to take a throw-away SIM with me to sign up with.

I think it's BT that does Starbucks free wifi - that worked OK the one time I tried it.

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Build a BONKERS test lab: Everything you need before you deploy

Alan Edwards
Happy

> Certainly the microservers are appealing from a cost perspective...

They are, but remember the N40L is the quickest, and that is only a dual core 1.5Ghz Turion.

I've got two MicroServers, one running FreeNAS, one running ESXi. I'm finding the ESXi machine a bit slow sometimes, Plex Server runs like a 3 legged donkey and can't keep up with transcoding video, so I'm looking at building an i5 based machine to replace it.

The MicroServer is brilliant if you don't need a lot of CPU power.

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Review: Kingston Hyper-X 3K 240GB SSD

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Great Screwdriver!

The screwdriver looks a lot like a WorkZone branded one I got from Aldi a few months back. I think they might be back in, I think I remember seeing it in an email a little while ago. Cost about £5 I think, definitely less than £10. I've seen a very similar one at Maplin too.

Mine came with about 8 ends (including some Torx ones) which can be fiddly to get back into the storage compartment, but it works well.

And I've got a 64Gb OCZ Vertex 2 as my boot drive. 2 years old, and SSDLife still reckons it has 100% of it's life left, good until mid-2018.

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Google puts Nexus 4 back on sale, sells out pronto

Alan Edwards
Happy

If you associate it with your account it'll set Gmail up for you, and drag in wifi passwords, email accounts etc. from any other Android device you've got (maybe only Android 4 or higher).

It also installs apps you've put on the other devices. It may be only ones you've still got, I can;t remember.

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Register readers mostly too ashamed to cop to hideous hoard horrors

Alan Edwards

I resemble that remark...

In the last two house moves I've taken van loads of collected crap to the tip. Including random power supplies that I had no idea what they powered, an ISDN router - I've never had an ISDN line, at least 6 dead or semi-dead PCs, and ancient graphics and other cards.

I'm down to one crate of random junk now, but I do have a box full of old mobile phones. I keep telling myself they are classics and will be worth money one day...

I have only needed one thing (can't remember what it was now) that I kept "just in case" for years and binned, and I could now do with the KVM switch I threw out. I am finally using the media centre remote control I bought on a whim about 5 years go though.

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Leveson tells media to set up independent regulator or bow to Ofcom

Alan Edwards
FAIL

Nothing changes, then

Replace the PCC with the same thing but with a different name, run by the same bunch of cronies. An appropriate back-hander pushes any infractions under a suitable carpet unless they do something monumentally stupid and get caught.

Add a threat that if they don't play ball regulation will be handed over to the toothless wonder, AKA OFCOM.

> Leveson insisted, however, that his recommendations did not amount to "statutory regulation of the press."

No shit, Sherlock. It's the complete opposite.

All in all, a waste of 16 months. We had the opportunity to set up a truly accountable press that isn't free to use whatever illegal tactics it deems necessary to sell its rags. Oh well.

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Alan Edwards
IT Angle

Re: This one change would be a good deterrant

> Red top headline covering all front page "john smith is a paedo"

> john smith is found not to be a paedo

> Red top print apology covering all front page "Sorry, we were wrong" and explain why

At the very minimum...

It should be accompanied by an automatic fine equivalent to the sales (not profit, including online and print advertising sales) for any day the slanderous article appeared, and judicial oversight of everything for the following week.

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Ten four-bay NAS boxes

Alan Edwards

Re: not enough bays

> Putting an array together is 5 minutes of work.

And then the thick end of a day for it to actually build the array :-)

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Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: HP Proliant Micrpserver

It might not be that much lower on power than a NAS box, my N36L pulled about 35w when I tested it.

Upgrading the drives will be an issue - UnRAID claims to be able to (I've not used it personally), FreeNAS can't.

I found FreeNAS pretty simple to set up, but I played with it in a VM first to get it right. It's been running nigh-on 24x7 for over a year now.

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Alan Edwards

And another

Another vote for the MicroServer. I've got two of them, a N36L running VMWare ESXi and an N40L with FreeNAS 7 and 4x2Tb drives.

I'd be interested in seeing a comparison of a dedicated box against a MicroServer/FreeNAS combi, or if there is better software than FreeNAS.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

Pretty sure they've already rolled it out, Calibre offers KF8 (AZW3) as one of the formats to convert stuff to for my Kindle 3.

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Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

It isn't a faff if you think of Calibre as the management software for the Kindle.

You just tell it "I want that book on that device". You don't need to think about whether the book format is supported by the reader, Calibre knows what formats are supported by the attached device and converts it on the fly if needed. It will also set the metadata up for you, automatically (including the cover art) if you give it the ISBN number.

Calibre really should be in the box with the Kindle.

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Bond fans: Test your 007 trivia, now!

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Good grief...

I thought I knew the Bond series pretty well, but I ended up with 26. Some inspired guesses, I think I actually knew less than 10.

I second guessed myself on a few - I knew Bell made jet packs, but I had it in my mind somewhere that the Bond one was made by Boeing.

Bloody hard, but some interesting trivia in there.

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Samsung states sales date for Galaxy S III Mini

Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: apart from the fact....

> that this one has a screen size suitable for those of us without hands like gibbons.

I thought the same thing, till I looked at the sizes. It's physically only a little bit bigger than my Orange San Diego, which is a 4-inch screen. 10mm taller, 5mm wider and if anything slightly thinner.

I think the Nexus 4 could upset a lot of phone makers plans, but I'm waiting for some reviews to see how they can make it so cheap.

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EE 4G LTE review

Alan Edwards

Re: Error in article??

> From the article "Data connections made during a call will likewise only run at HSPA+ speeds"

> Is this actually correct?

Apparently, yes. To do voice and LTE data at the same time you need Voice over LTE, or VoLTE support.

As far as I can tell VoLTE needs to be in the handset and the network. The iPhone 5 doesn't have it, but the One XL does - maybe the EE network doesn't?

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Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Virgin Media Let Down By Tardy Staff

> you seriously decide where you are going to live based on the path of a piece of fibre cable

Internet connection speed is certainly a factor for me, I can't work from home without a decent connection. Having suffered less than 2Mb/sec ADSL at my last place before it finally got FTTC, I looked up what the likely ADSL speed was before I even looked at the new place. It would have been a non-starter if the connection was crap.

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No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise

Alan Edwards
Happy

It's in the chipset

GPS is built-in to the cellular data chipset in the models that have cellular data. Non-cellular models don't have the cellular data chips, so no GPS.

I wonder why Apple didn't put the cellular chips in them all, then charge £50 to over-the-air enable hardware you've already paid for? Same with flash memory - put 64Gb in them all, then charge to enable anything over 16Gb. They'd save because they are only building one model, they just need to be set up with whatever's been paid for on the way out of the door, and can be reconfigured on the fly.

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XBMC coders acquire TVonics brand

Alan Edwards

Re: Anything that's got XBox in it's title, I will avoid like the plague.

Yep, nothing to do with the Xbox any more. It started out as a media player for the Mark 1 Xbox, but the later versions don't run on the old Xbox and it's never run on the 360.

It's worth a look if you're after media centre software for a TV-connected PC. Better than Windows Media Center IMO, and it doesn't take the entire machine over like OpenELEC.

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BBC Watchdog crew sink teeth into dodgy PC repair shops

Alan Edwards

Yep, I'd agree. If the report was "it was working, now it's dead" I wouldn't suspect the jumpers. In trying the drive in a different machine I might spot it, but my first thought would be a drive failure (aka good excuse for an SSD upgrade...).

If they came clean and said "I installed this and it doesn't work", drive jumpers would be on the list.

I'm with the rest, I'd have made a cable half-off or CPU fan failure.

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Argos flyer confirms incoming 32GB Nexus 7

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Thats all good but...

> People really want a 3G version?

Yep, I do. Saves a lot of faffing about when you go somewhere that claims to have wifi and it doesn't work or there's a horribly convoluted sign-up that wants your inside leg measurement. You just flick the wifi off and let it use 3G.

I've got a Mifi router, but that takes 30s to start and sort itself out, switching to 3G on the tablet is near-enough instant.

> two sim cards and all that nonsense

A Three SIM with a year's use (or 12 gig, whichever comes first) is around £50 on eBay.

> just use your phones tethering....

And have no battery left? Tethering can kill the (not exactly tiny) battery in my ZTE V9A in about 4 hours. That's just sat there serving data, no screen use.

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Pints all round as Register Special Projects hacks hack off feet

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Re: four by two?

> "three metres of four-by-two"

> Oh God! We are doomed!

That's nothing. Years back I did some work for a company that imported rock, by container, to make headstones and like out of.

It was rated in something like "kilograms per square inch" for the container, thoroughly mixing imperial and metric...

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Vote NOW for the vilest Bond villain

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Hugo Drax needs more love

Got to be a candidate for the best line of the series...

At least Drax thought big - kill everyone on the planet and replace them will your own super humans. No small-time suffl like cornering the gold market.

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Crazed Microsoft robot accuses BBC kids' channel of Win8 piracy

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Windows 8 piracy?

> And what's wrong with that? The IBM Model-M is one solid hardware.

Absolutely right. I dropped a laser printer on mine (shelf supports broke), it knocked the caps off a couple of keys and broke the switch in one. The printer came off worse.

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New I-hate-my-neighbour stickers to protect Brits' packages

Alan Edwards

Re: Can I have a ...

> Er No. I have a cheap Tesco value phone; no batteries, no off switch. The only way to turn it off is by

> unplugging it.

So unplug it...

> My doorbell is battery operated but again no switch; I'd have to remore the batteries

Put a toggle switch in the wire between the button and the bell box. A 2-pole switch is pennies from Maplins, cut the cable and connect the ends of the wire to the connectors on the switch. Turning the switch off effectively breaks the cable, so the push-button does nothing.

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Build a bonkers home cinema

Alan Edwards
WTF?

How much better?

An idea for a future article - how much better is this stupid-expensive kit than high-ish end standard stuff?

Put that audio processor and amps up against a top-end Denon AV amp, for instance. Compare that projector with the 4K-resolution Sony, or a top-end Panasonic.

I reckon there has to be a point where you're spending money for the sake of it, and not getting *that* much higher performance.

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Ten 15in notebooks for under 400 quid

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Actually since there are refurbished notebooks...

> You can also go a step further and get an IBM X40 or something

One thing to watch with older X-series machines is that they used 1.8-inch hard drives, meant for iPods really., We had a bunch of X32s and X60s at work - fhe discs were very slow and tended to die quickly.

The X200s-onwards have normal 2.5-inch discs IIRC. I don't remember the X220s we're getting now generating the complaints the older X-series did.

The T-series, especially of the T61-era, are great machines though. I've got a T510 now which isn't as good, but I did have a T60, the last of the non-widescreen T-series, which was brilliant.

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Assange granted asylum by Ecuador after US refused to rule out charges

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Re: Best outcome. @Doug10

> Why all the effort by him to not face this in Sweden if he's so innocent as you want to claim?

Because he believes the extradition to Sweden is just a cover to get him extradited to the US from Sweden.

But if that's the case, why didn't the US just ask the UK to extradite? Going by the O'Dwyer case, we would have bent over backwards to help...

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