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* Posts by Alan Edwards

307 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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

Alan Edwards
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Alan Edwards
WTF?

> It's like taking my car-keys and saying "You can't have them back" in front of all my friends and co-workers

No it isn't, it's like your car coming to me and saying "You've got to help me, they are going to paint me pink and put giant eye-lashes over my headlights". I can either help (by taking the keys) or not. You can threaten to beat the snot out of me and take your keys back, but there's the danger I'll ask my friends with baseball bats to take you to a dark alley and have a quiet word if you do.

The Ecuadorians didn't kidnap Assange, he went to them for help. He asked for political asylum - if they didn't believe him when he said the extradition was politically motivated, they could have told him to go away.

> It makes NO SENSE if you think about it for the US to extradite him.

They want to make an example of him, teach people not to annoy the US by making them look stupid.

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Sony Xperia Go waterproof Android phone review

Alan Edwards
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Re: Quite tempted...

> the screen resolution sounds a bit rubbish

Yep, I couldn't go back to 480x320 after using 1024x600 on the Orange San Diego.

There is a bigger brother to the Xperia Go, the Xperia Acro S. It's basically a waterproof Xperia S, with a 4.3" 1280x720 screen, but it also has the Micro-SD slot that the Xperia S doesn't have.

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Ofcom saves piece of 4G spectrum pie for '4th operator'

Alan Edwards
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Re: stuff 4g

> I reckon if someone decided to forgo 4G and focused instead on getting 100% (or as close as is

> plausible) reliable 2 and 3g cover, i reckon they could clean up.

They need to sort the backhaul out too, so it doesn't slow to a crawl as soon as 3 people check their email, but I agree. When it's working properly, 3G HSPA is plenty fast enough for what I do with it.

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Backups? Use disk. Archives? Disk. Particle accelerators? Fine, tape

Alan Edwards

Re: Tape this !

> LTO5 (1.5TB worst case) = $70 or $46/TB

Plus $1500 for the drive to read/write it. Admittedly one drive will work with an infinite number of cartridges, but still...

All you need for the hard disc is a SATA port.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: I remember a time...

> Light/radio/waves (in space)

I see where you're going, but radio and light in space are far too easy to destroy. A fraction of a degree off on one of the antennas and you're not pointing at the same planet let alone another tiny antenna.

Light is even worse, a stray rock drifts into the beam and your data is toast.

> Whatever the dreamers can come up with

How about storing data at the molecular level in a man-made lump of granite? It's been done with organic cells already.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: I remember a time...

> You would need a base reflective layer (a la CD/DVD etc ) (on write-once optical tape)

Not necessarily, you could put the read sensor on the other side of the tape and shine the laser through it. The tape is linear so the heads won't be moving, there won't be any alignment issues.

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Orange San Diego Intel-based Android phone

Alan Edwards

Re: ..never buy on a promise

> why? What does ICS do that 2.3 doesnt?

GPU acceleration of browser rendering, IIRC.

> I can only think of NFC and face unlock.

The San Diego has got an NFC reader under Gingerbread. I've got no tags to test it with, so I have to trust them that it works.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: Curious...

About app compatibility - I've got an Orange San Diego, and so far I've found a total of two apps that don't work.

One is KeePassDroid, which loops back to the password entry screen all the time. I'm using AstonSoft Password Manager at the moment.

The other is WinAmp. It used to work but the latest update seems to have broken it, so it'll probably get fixed soon. I went back to the stock music player.

Everything else works - Opera, TuneIn Radio, 3G Watchdog, CoPilot navigation, eBay, IMDb, QuickOffice, DropBox all work perfectly. Even one-man-band type stuff like Open Intents File Manager works. I don't play games, so a lot of the 25% that doesn't work could be games.

Anyone else want to list what doesn't work?

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Ten... active camcorders

Alan Edwards
Go

Re: AVCHD

Sony Vegas? I use it on a Core i7, and it copes well with 720p MOVs. Vegas Studio Platinum can be had for around £30 off Amazon or eBay.

AVCHD is the native format for Sony camcorders IIRC, and Vegas can directly import from Sony cameras.

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Alan Edwards
Black Helicopters

Re: Riot gear

Sounds like a job for a smartphone app, with the phone in something like an OtterBox securely tied to you.

Start with something with a decent camera, like a Sony Experia S. You'd need to lock the exposure, or have it adjust slowly, if the camera API on Android allows that. Buffer the writes to SD via the internal storage with random file names, and/or dump the video to DropBox.

If you already using a big case, you could duct-tape a big LED bike light to it for more light, and choose one with a flashing mode for a bit of "get-your-own-back"...

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Alan Edwards
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Re: No GoPro?

Provided it's got a tripod socket you can mount any camera on a bike, handlebar mounts are dirt-cheap on eBay.

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Ten... celeb headphones

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Re: Am I the only one..

Yep, another Sennheiser fan here. I'm still using some MX500s that must be getting on for 10 years old now. I've got some MX660 and MX880s too - all brilliant, but I don't like the sticky rubber cable on the new ones. I hope the 500s never die!

I've even got some MX 2-somethings (MX-260?) for £10 that are surprisingly non-rubbish for so little money.

CX300 Mark 2s are worth a look if you want noise-isolating cans, but I'd give the original CX300s a miss. Very sensitive to where you put them in your ear, and a bit bass-light even when you put them in right.

I was hoping the article would try and work out how much the endorsements added to the cost, and would compare them to non-endorsed kit for the same sort of money.

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Three touts 'unlimited' Euro data roaming for a fiver a day

Alan Edwards
Happy

Re: Bit poor if...

If it's the same as the 50p-a-day data on pre-pay, it's actually midnight on the day after. If you time it right, you can get 2 days use out of it.

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Linux Mint joins mini-PC hardware business

Alan Edwards
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Re: IPcop and NAS

You could run the firewall in a VM on the server. That's what I do - Astaro runs in a VM on a VMWare ESXi server. You'd need two network cards in the server, one for the local network, one that just connects to the DSL modem/cable box/whatever. For the server, I use an HP MicroServer - low power, and the fan is barely audible.

I'm toying with using a low power PC like this one to use as a print server, running XP or maybe Server 2003. ESXi doesn't get on with USB printer/scanners, it barely does USB storage.

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Watchdog tells Greenpeace to stop 'encouraging anti-social behaviour'

Alan Edwards
FAIL

Re: Historical Cost of Nukes

> Square miles of land, worldwide, rendered uninhabitable or unusable by renewable

> power?

Quite a lot, I would think - have you seen the size of solar collector power stations?

This one: http://tinyurl.com/yw8jbd claims to be the first, and is from 2005 so I'd imagine they are bigger by now, and has 624 120 square metre mirrors.

Plus, you flood valleys when you build dams for hydro-electric power.

> Casualties arising from renewable power?

Loads of birds get clouted by wind turbine blades.

Incidentally, a total of 70 people have been killed directly by nuclear power station incidents - http://tinyurl.com/yunmz7. 112 people were killed building the Hoover Dam alone - http://tinyurl.com/2dudhca

> Requirement for expensive monitoring equipment, regulatory oversight or highly

> trained maintenance staff? None, slight and slim, respectively.

I'd rather hope solar collectors have trained staff and monitoring kit - they work at temperatures high enough to melt salt.

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