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* Posts by Alan Edwards

304 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

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Apple kills MacBook, soups up MacBook Air

Alan Edwards
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Bluetooth is crap?

Yep, I'd agree. It all depends how well behaved the device and the stack on the PC are. I use a Logitech V470 and Bluetooth MX700 mice all the time with no major issues. I also have an HP-branded Logitech I use with the PowerMac, which has aggressive power saving with a delay in waking up after being still for a few seconds that is just long enough to be annoying.

The Blue Soleil stack was (is?) an abomination. The stock Windows XP one just about works, the Windows 7 one is better but seems to go out of it's way to hide the file transfer stuff. There was one stack that was just about perfect, but I forget it's name now. The biggest pain was tying adapters to one particular stack, so you can't use your favourite stack with any adapter.

The Mac with a Bluetooth mouse is a laugh. OSX goes into panic mode when it starts because it can't see a mouse, until the Bluetooth starts and a mouse suddenly appears.

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Contour GPS Bluetooth camcorder

Alan Edwards
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Umm...

> And with a waterproof case at less than £30...

Why do you need a waterproof case for a waterproof camera?

I agree about the impressive stabilisation. It's up there with what I get out of SteadyHand, and that's slower than real-time on an i7.

About the resolution, if I read it right 1280x960 gives you the fish-eye effect, 1280x720 doesn't.

Tempting, but a bit expensive for me. Have a look at the Looxcie - same sort of thing, not ruggedised but allows full control over Bluetooth.

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Sony says no to YouView

Alan Edwards
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Boxee Box

> ... a fucking telly or STB with a browser in it!

You want a Boxee Box then. It has apps for YouTube, iPlayer etc., but there is also a WebKit-based browser that can do Flash video. £180 on Amazon these days.

The other alternative is a Mac Mini or net-top-type PC hooked up via HDMI. You can even run the Boxee software on it if you like, but there are other options like Front Row, XBMC or MythTV. I found driving a PC from across the living room a pain, hence the Boxee Box, but you might get on better.

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ALK CoPilot Live Premium HD

Alan Edwards
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I got it too

Mostly because it was £15 at the time.

A few things I've found, this is on a ZTE Blade on roads I mostly know - I've not taken it further afield yet. Overall I like it; I've got used to the TomTom way having had one for years, I'll get used to Copilot eventually.

It can tell you about turns way too early, but you can configure that. I don't think it has variable alert distances based on the road speed like TomTom does.

The routing seems OK. It sent me a slightly odd way to the office when I tested it, but it sent me to the front door so might have been the best way had I not been going to the car park out the back.

It doesn't use the lane guidance arrows enough. I've spotted a few places where it would be handy if you didn't know the road e.g. it's telling you to go straight on, but the inside lane becomes a left-turn lane, so you need to be in the middle lane.

It doesn't stack instructions up like the TomTom does if there are two close together e.g. 'take the first exit at the roundabout THEN turn left'. A few times, Copilot has completely missed the second instruction.

I can't believe Copilot only got automatic recalculation when you go wrong at v9. My TomTom is an ancient Go 500, and that does it.

Why is the UK expensive compared to the US? I also got the US version as I'm off to Boston in August, and that was £6.

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PopBox 3D set-top media player

Alan Edwards
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Boxee Box

The Boxee Box costs a bit more (£190 compared to £140) but it's a lot more stable, data scraping for the most part works, and you can build your own NFO files for stuff it doesn't know about.

It worked first time with my ReadyNAS, and has played everything I've thrown at it so far - XVID, DIVX, M4V. MKV and DVD ISO. Only issue is my power line ethernet kit being marginal for 720p/AC-3 5.1 MKVs.

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Brits told how much they'll pay for HP TouchPad

Alan Edwards
FAIL

Overcharged upgrades

They've also "borrowed" Apple's strategy of removing the Micro-SD slot and charging £80 for £5's worth of flash RAM.

I'm more interested in the 7-inch than this, but that'll probably be over-priced too.

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Peugeot 508 Active e-HDI micro-hybrid

Alan Edwards
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Not bad

That's got the same CO2 emissions as my 1.4 TDCi Fiesta. My old 307 had effectively the same engine and emissions of 129.

On cold-starts - last winter, the Fiesta was sat outside covered in snow for two weeks. The temperature had crept up to -8 in the afternoon after being -12 the previous night when I thought I'd better see if it still worked. I was amazed, it started first time.

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Hackers jailbreak iOS 5 in under 24 hours

Alan Edwards
Happy

Unlock for iPad 1?

Is there an unlock solution for the iPad 1 yet? Mine is locked to Three, it would be handy to put a local SIM in when I take it abroad.

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Belkin eBook Light

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Agreed, ouch.

I paid about £3 for my clip-on light off eBay. It uses a couple of button cells rather than triple-As, but £22 gets you a lot of button cells!

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Kingston readies wireless portable storage

Alan Edwards
FAIL

One thing...

You're using wifi to connect to it, so you'll lose your internet connection.

What someone needs to do is combine this with a mobile router. Huawei went half way with the E585's micro-SD slot, but you can't get at that from an iOS device.

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Apple proposes even tinier SIMs for future iPhones, iPads

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Apple lock-down

> I'd have thought just selecting the SIM on your phone rather than having to physically carry

> all those SIMs around would be easier for you.

Yes it would. Until Apple decides to pull your carrier for some obscure nonsense reason, most likely that the required kick-backs weren't paid. Or decides that they aren't making enough money off a cheap pre-paid plan, and pulls it. Then you're screwed.

My iPad spends 95% of it's life on wifi, so has a pre-pay SIM that costs me 50p a day when I need it, and the SIM that came with the iPad lives in a mobile router. That wouldn't be allowed with software SIMs.

Apple just wants to dictate what you do with your hardware.

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Dixons to flog off old 'brands' Miranda and Saisho

Alan Edwards
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Not all bad...

I had a Matsui microwave for over 20 years, and it took a hammering in that time too. Power supply finally popped earlier this year, got replaced by one a lot smaller and you have to set the timer by twiddling a knob for ages. That one may not see this year out, I want one with a proper keypad again.

I've got a Miranda video light too. Other than awkwardly taking 5xAA batteries, it works fine. I got it used off eBay for a few quid.

Warranties, heh. Argos tried to flog me a warranty for £6 on a £15 desk fan.

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Swiss jetwing backpack-birdman flies the Grand Canyon

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Toy Story

"That wasn't flying! That was falling... with style!" - Woody.

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Carrier-sold iPad 2 Sim locks snag unwary buyers

Alan Edwards
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Re: Why bother with 3G iPads anyway?

Came in handy last night.

The power failed, so the wireless router went down. Turn the mobile data on the iPad on, and carry on regardless.

Admittedly it does spend 99% of it's life on wifi of some sort, though.

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iPad 2 3G price-plans compared

Alan Edwards
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Re: What happened to all you can eat on Three?

The iPad is classed as mobile broadband - 'cos it can't make phone calls, I presume. The all-you-can-eat data plans are voice plans.

They (at least used to) put specfic code on the iPhone SIMs to stop you using them in iPads. My Three iPad 1 seems happy with a 3Pay SIM, but there's no credit on it so I can't do anything with it.

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Humax adds BBC iPlayer to Freeview HD DVR

Alan Edwards
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As good as FreeView for me

I've got BBC iPlayer on a Sony Blu-Ray deck, and use it a lot.

My broadband isn't up to the HD version, but iPlayer SD is as good as FreeView on my telly. I forget I'm watching streaming iPlayer a lot of the time.

I'm also using Powerline Ethernet to connect to the broadband router, and it's only the ancient 85Mb/s version. That's still forty times faster than my broadband, so is easily good enough for an internet connection,.

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Icecrypt T2400 Freeview HD DVR

Alan Edwards
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twin tuners, a HDD AND a DVD burner?

> can't we have a box that contains twin tuners, a HDD AND a DVD burner?

You can, it's the Panasonic XW-380, or BW-780 if you want a Blu-ray burner rather than DVD. The XW-380 costs about the same as this box, but only has a 250Gb drive. It's got VieraCast as well, so does YouTube etc.

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Alan Edwards
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Re: The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

> SD recordings can be copied to a USB drive

OK, but can you re-code HD stuff to SD and copy it to a USB drive?

> What do you use your DVDs for?

Personally I use it for video capturing bits of programs on the PC. Music videos that end up on my iPod for example. I drop the entire programme onto DVD, then grab the bits I want in Video ReDo on the PC.

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Hitachi GST brings out massive DVR units

Alan Edwards
WTF?

2.3 Bels ?!

> The company says they are quiet, outputting 2.3 bels when idling

I think you mean 2.3 decibels, 2.3 Bels would definitely make your ears bleed.

Alan.

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US woman @theashes stumped by cricketing tweets

Alan Edwards
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TheAshes

Her name is Ashley something, for some reason she's been known as The Ashes for years.

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What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Alan Edwards
WTF?

WTF?

Some of those were pure guesses for me, as I don't know what some of them are.

What is that thing that looks like a coil in a glass tube? The thing with two buttons that looks like it's plugged into a TV?

I've just noticed the Vodafone logo on that white router-thing, so I'm guessing that's a femto-cell not a WiFi router.

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Three pledges cut-price iPads for Crimble

Alan Edwards
Happy

Not £430

£430 is for the entry-level WiFi-only version. They might subsidise that and bundle it with a MiFi, but most likely they'll give you a WiFi+3G version which starts at £530.

If it is £200+£15/month I might be tempted - cancel my current contract, and put the new SIM in my MiFi - but like the others I doubt it. They want £35/month plus £40 up front for a 15 gig contract with a Samsung RV510 laptop, roughly the same subsidy as on a £530 iPad down to £200.

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Nokia X3 Touch and Type

Alan Edwards
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I've got a C3-01

which is the same thing in a different body.

All the antennas are at the bottom of the phone, and I've found it affects the signal of both wifi and cellular if I hold it in one hand and stab at the screen with the other.

Camera button - on the C3-01 the camera button is near the bottom on the right-hand side. There is a button level with the # on the X3 - is that not a camera button?

Haptic feedback is a tiny vibration when you click something on the touch screen.

Keyboard - there is an on-screen keyboard in Opera - Settings / Advanced / Opera keyboard -> Always. You need a stylus though, it's too inaccurate with a finger and there's no auto-correct, and it's only available in Opera.

Personally, I'd say it's nowhere near a smartphone. You can't even minimise Opera and do something else, you have to close it. For the money, it's a good phone though.

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Buffy to slay her way back into cinemas

Alan Edwards
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Casting

If they go back to the beginning, both Lindsay Lohan and Hayden Panettiere are probably too old. Buffy was in high school in the film and when the series started - not the last year either - which would make her about 15.

Taylor Momsen - (not so) Little Jenny in Gossip Girl - is about the right age. Or how about Chloe Moretz?

I don't hold out much hope without Joss Whedon's involvement, but I'll give it a watch.

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Giffgaff says some subscribers yakked for 9 days a month

Alan Edwards
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2 gig a month?

Easily. Put the SIM in a Dell Streak, iPhone or similar (so it's not tethered), start streaming internet radio when I start work and listen to it all day, plus occasional hammering of email and Google Reader. It's about 100 meg an hour, so it'd burn through 2 gig in a couple of days.

A tempting idea, actually...

Alan.

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Pure One Mi portable DAB/FM radio

Alan Edwards
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FM Radios

> wondered if anyone knew of a reasonable sounding portable battery powered radio that could replace it

Yep, Argos has loads of them: http://tinyurl.com/35qtm3l

There's even a waterproof one designed to be used in a shower hung from the curtain rail. Doubt the sound is up to much, though.

I'm pretty sure my parents have the beige-coloured Bush, sounds pretty good for a single-speaker radio.

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The 99p mobile phone: What's the catch?

Alan Edwards
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My favourite handsets

The 6310i is a great handset, but mine doesn't play nicely with the Bluetooth kit in the car.

My favourite is still the Ericsson R520m. I'd still be using mine if it wasn't so old it won't even connect to the car kit.

The T39m is basically an R520 in tiny flip form, and I also have a soft spot for the Motorola StarTac 85.

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Apple bolts chastity belt on super svelte MacBook Air

Alan Edwards
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Not vivisection

> at iFixit, who bagged one of the svelte ultra-portable notebooks and promptly vivisected it.

No they didn't, unless they took it apart whilst it was still on. Vivisection is cutting stuff up whilst the subject is still alive. You mean dissected.

Which makes me wonder, does the stuff iFixIt takes apart still work once they put it back together again?

> The screw you pictured looks like a non-security torx

Maybe, secure Torx heads usually have a lump in the middle to stop you getting anything apart from a secure Torx driver in there. These don't have that, but they aren't standard six-thingy Torx screws.

Alan.

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Dell takes aim at Apple with upmarket pledge

Alan Edwards
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Leaping to Dell's defence

Just for a bit of balance, I'm pretty impressed with the Dell XPS 8100 I got. Design looks thought-out, does everything I need, doesn't sound like it's turbo-jet powered, and the hibernation works, which is more than it did on my last PC.

I toyed with getting a MacBook Pro just to put Windows on, but it was way overpriced for what it was. I am going to get an 11-inch MacBook Air though.

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Digital Stream DHR8203U Freeview HD DVR

Alan Edwards
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You want an XW-380

> Why don't they include a DVD drive?

That would be a Panasonic DMR-XW380. Which is what I'll probably end up getting..

I'm not spending £280 on something I've never heard of, and looks like it was built in a shed in China.

£150 maybe, but for £280 you can get something you've heard of.

On the price differential - the Panasonic DMR-BW780 and BW880 are the same apart from the hard disc - 250Gb rather than 500. The 880 is £130 more expensive.

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3 bigs self up as biggest 3G network

Alan Edwards
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Three coverage

I've also got a Three MiFi. I've been bouncing round the country a bit recently, and not had any problems with Three coverage anywhere I've been. It even worked (just about) in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in South Wales where I expected to have nothing, and also now works in my flat in Altrincham where it never used to.

I happily live off the MiFi when I'm travelling for work now, I don't even try the hotel WiFi any more.

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No takers on digital Olympic radio station

Alan Edwards
FAIL

@Paul_Murphy

I gave up on a DAB clock radio for the same reason.

On the Sony FM job it was to replace, one button press gets me a 90 minute sleep on the last FM station.

The stupid DAB wants me to turn it on, select the right source, then press a bunch of buttons to get sleep going.

The only reason I wanted to replace the Sony was I was getting interference which I thought was the tuner chip dying. Turned out the interference was from a dying DECT phone base station sat next to it, the clock radio lives on.

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Las Vegas death ray roasts hotel guests

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Possible fixes?

a) Alter the angle of the individual window panels so that they point up, or outwards. Or, you could get really clever and make them steerable, see b)

b) Put a solar collector above the affected area, either photo-voltaic or simple water heater. If you go with steerable window panels in a), it needn't be enormous. Not cheap, but it'll pay for itself eventually and you'd probably get a grant off the government.

c) Put a non-reflective coating on the affected windows. Cheap-ish, but the heat has to go somewhere so it'll pummel the air con, and the rooms will be darker.

Talk to the Spaniards, they just built a power station that does this deliberately. I think there's a couple in the US, too.

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Playboy centrefold freaks out at 10,000 feet

Alan Edwards

Doors won't open

I always wonder why people care when some berk tries to open an airliner door in flight.

1) it's locked

2) You have to pull the door inwards, swing it, then push it back through the hole to open it. The airliner is pressurised, so there's a few tons of air pushing the door against it's frame. Unless you simultaneously de-pressurise the plane, you've no chance (same concept as opening a car door under water).

Much better to sit there laughing at them while they tire themselves out heaving on the handle. Worst they'll do is bend the handle.

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True Utility Scarab and KeyTool micro multi-tools

Alan Edwards
Alert

I'd avoid cheap tools

I don't have experience of these particular tools, but I'd not get one that only costs £7.

I had a £10 no-name one before my Leatherman Wave that lasted about 3 months. I've had my Wave the best part of 10 years.

If I had to have a tiny tool, I'd have a Leatherman Micra. More expensive, but worth it in my opinion.

Oh, and I'd also recommend getting one with locking blades, I had a Swiss Army-type one (not Victorinox) that closed on my fingers no end of times. Luckily that one was so blunt it didn't do any damage, the Leatherman would've had my fingers off.

Alan.

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UK bans Nintendo DS homebrew code installer

Alan Edwards
Thumb Down

Includes other cards

I read a story about this elsewhere, BBC I think, that lists about 6 other cards that are also included.

I don't remember them all but the M3, that I've got for my DS Lite, was definitely on the list.

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Amazon takes Kindle to the UK

Alan Edwards
Alert

Calibre support

I'd hang on a bit if you're planning to use Calibre to manage the new Kindle.

Chances are it'll work fine once the support's been added, but they've not confirmed that the new Kindle doesn't have extra lock-downs yet.

Here's the note on the Calibre forum: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92546

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Sagemcom RTI90-320 Freeview+ HD recorder

Alan Edwards
WTF?

£50??

They want £50 to upgrade from a 320Gb to a 500Gb drive?? You can buy a 500Gb drive outright for not much more than that.

I suppose there's DRM of some sort on there to stop you upgrading the drive yourself.

Alan.

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Amazon Kindle DX drops price, improves display

Alan Edwards
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Use Calibre

You can use a piece of software called Calibre to transfer books to the Kindle over USB. I use it with Stanza on the iPod Touch, and it's very nice, even downloads cover art once you give it the ISBN of the book.

It copes with most incoming text file formats and handles the conversion to the native format of the reader.

calibre-ebook.com is the site.

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Apple iOS4 upgrade adds multitasking, folders... and pain

Alan Edwards

Stuffed up car integration

It looks like the iTunes database format has changed, as now I've put iOS 4 on my Touch the car thinks it's got no tracks on it.

Oh well, back to iOS 3.

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Apple revamps Mac Mini as skinny HDMI box

Alan Edwards
FAIL

£650??

£650?? For a Core 2 with 2Gb and 320Gb disc? They're having a laugh!!

For £450 it would be "maybe", but £650? Absolutely no effing way!

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Three intros second-gen MiFi

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

They've pulled an Apple

This is what the original MiFi (Huawei E5830) should have been. I'm definitely upgrading mine.

To the person asking about an unlock, have a look here: http://tinyurl.com/32r39vp. I've not got around to unlocking mine yet, but I couldn't find any reports of it breaking things. That's for the original one, no idea whether it will work for this new one - I suspect not.

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Hulu scraps UK plans

Alan Edwards
Coat

We don't need no aggregation

Shouldn't that be 'We don' need no steenkin' aggregation'?

It's OK. I've already got my coat, and it hasn't got a map of the Sierra Madre in the pocket.

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Asus Home Server TS Mini

Alan Edwards
WTF?

External Stroages ??

Is that name in the Windows Home Server Console screen-grab user-defined, or does Asus or Microsoft not have spell checkers?

Alan.

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Street View plays spot the army numberplate

Alan Edwards
FAIL

Blurring doesn't work...

... with vintage-style white-on-black plates.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=Marlborough,+Wiltshire,+United+Kingdom&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=12.218001,28.256836&ie=UTF8&cd=1&geocode=FZSfEAMdI5nl_w&split=0&hq=&hnear=Marlborough,+Wiltshire,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.417971,-1.714339&spn=0.012579,0.027595&z=15&layer=c&cbll=51.418114,-1.714164&panoid=n3Id6aqz-s36r3tFSfL6Og&cbp=12,75.8,,0,5

That's my grandad's old place, before he died.

Blurring doesn't always work on modern plates, either.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=Marlborough,+Wiltshire,+United+Kingdom&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=12.218001,28.256836&ie=UTF8&cd=1&geocode=FZSfEAMdI5nl_w&split=0&hq=&hnear=Marlborough,+Wiltshire,+United+Kingdom&layer=c&cbll=51.417288,-1.717871&panoid=AQJ1t6j3NyAsthea-YL0vA&cbp=11,314.83,,1,29.16&ll=51.417275,-1.717858&spn=0.005701,0.027595&z=15

Alan.

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Mobile-phone wallet stymied by lack of understanding

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Problem for me is...

I don't use the same handset every day. Presumably the RFID chip is integrated into the handset body, so is not transferrable to a different handset.

I normally use a Nokia 6230i but if I need GPS I take my Garmin NavTalk, for example.

There's also the issue of lost handsets. If I drop my phone in the canal, it's no great loss - get the SIM replaced (if it's not a PAYG), dig another ancient brick out of the box, sorted. With this, I'd have to cancel the credit card account the chip was registered against, get (buy, most likely) a new handset with the RFID chip, and get it configured against the right account.

Alan.

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Huawei E5 Wi-Fi/3G modem

Alan Edwards
Boffin

Differences with the Three version

I've also got a Three-branded E5830, and there are a couple differences between the unbranded version and the Three version.

Unless I'm missing something, the Three version doesn't have the web-based setup system.

You also don't have the auto-connect option, unless it's in the management software that refuses point-blank to work on my netbook. Which is a pain, as I have to leave about 20 seconds between switch on and enabling wifi, and enabling wifi and starting the data connection.

I've used mine with a Nokia N800 and 5530, an iPod Touch and a couple of netbooks. It works very well sat still, but seems to get confused easily if you're moving.

Alan.

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iPad forces operators to shave their SIMs

Alan Edwards
WTF?

Anyone tried it?

Has anyone tried using a cut-down mini-SIM in the micro-SIM slot in an iPad? I wouldn't put it past Apple to put something in there to detect that and disable the 3G.

Like the reverse of what Three did to stop their SIMs being used in 2G phones - they put an application on the SIM that detects the lack of a 3G radio and turns the SIM off. The iPad could detect the lack of (something) on the SIM and disable cellular data.

Alan.

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Casio goes superfast with compact megazoom

Alan Edwards
Boffin

Can't do 1280x720 at 1000fps

One slight correction - the resolution drops as the frame rate increases. You're down to 120fps at 640x480, so it's going to be a hundred or so pixels at 1000fps, like the previous high-speed Casios.

You almost had me interested there, 1000fps at 1280x720. Ah, well.

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Google eyeballs to track Tivo watchers

Alan Edwards
Thumb Up

Preset time skip

You want a Sony DVD Recorder/HD-DVR. It's only got 1 tuner and the software's not brilliant, but it does have a button that skips forward in 30s chunks and back in 5s chunks. If you keep hitting it, the amount it skips with each press increases.

Takes me about 5s to skip 4 mins-worth of ads.

TiVo's originally had this too, but I think it got pulled from later boxes.

Mine's a something-890, but they're all the same apart from the hard disc size.

Alan.

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