* Posts by Martin Nelson

31 posts • joined 9 Nov 2008

Ten... outdoor gadgets

Martin Nelson

Map and Compass over GPS

Kudos to you for the comment.

I hate GPS systems...I've been hiking for near enough 10 years and I've yet to get lost using my map and compass...and given that my compass is around 7 years old and cost me only £3...and is more reliable that the sun coming up, I'm not inclined to change my system until the earth's magnetic field switches direction and N becomes S!

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CPS: We won't prosecute over BT/Phorm secret trials

Martin Nelson

The "Public Interest"

I just want to make a point here.

The key phrase used here is "Public Interest".

The CPS on a day-to-day basis make descisions about how cases are prosectued. If any of you have watched proceedings at even magistrates courts you'd see how underprepared the CPS solicitors often are. Their case loads are often huge and they have precious little prep time.

Often, it can occur that the CPS will alter a charge based on the likelihood of a successful outcome.

I'm not saying that it's right, but the CPS's resources are finite, and as such they must prioritise. In this case if it is true that the goverment at the time agreed that Phorm was legal, then the companies involved do have pretty strong defences. I'd take a guess that as that government no longer exists there's no-one left to prosecute other than the legal minds who provided parliament with the advice.

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Martin Nelson
Stop

Money, Money Money

It all comes down to money at the end of the day.

The CPS have to filter cases and make charges on lesser grounds to save money.

The CPS have long been under-staffed and poorly maintained.

The truth is that the cost of trying something with no definite win is a sketchy prospect. I can completely understand, if not condone the descision.

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Windows 8 squeezed to fit 2012 Dell fondleslab?

Martin Nelson
FAIL

Nope Vista did NOT

Vista did not actually take 6 years.

Back in 2002/3 they had an early candidate code-named Longhorn...it was a really poor testing version and anyone who did test it will tell you that it did NOT become Vista.

Longhorn's progress was actually pretty good, but it was scrapped as an consumer OS in 2004ish and development spun off into server territory...but based on new tech. Put simply it wasn't working...testers hated it.

In it's place came Vista...it was hastily built and poor quality at first. I seem to remember a test version being sent out in 2005? Personally I HATED it. The flaws were legion. the problem was, and I'm sure many of those who tested the product will attest, MS DIDN'T listen to us. They carried on with the system making no fixes.

Vista was built between early 2004 and late 2005...extra features and gloss were added up until RTM in 2006.

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Superphones: A security nightmare waiting to happen

Martin Nelson
Jobs Horns

I smell a Mac using rat!

Yep, with a sentance like:

"If you are using Windows then anti-malware software is an absolute necessity, as are good (non-image) backups. You’ll likely be reinstalling your PC at least once a year."

There's an Apple Fanboy.

Just for the stats, I've never had to re-install windows and I have hammered both my Dell PC and Laptop for the best part of 7 years...they still refuse to die. I'm a web designer, IT Consultant, writer and book publisher. If hammering the PC with all that lot entails, and adding the usual stuff on to doesn't kill them, I'd say the systems are doing very well!

As for "Smart Phones" and "Super Phones", quite honestly people should take responsibility....or if they won't they should be made to.

"You kept your bluetooth/wireless internet connection on all the time and now the phone has been cloned/accessed/scanned/attacked...well you should have read the documentation telling you that it should be turned off when not in use."

BOOTNOTE: The reason idiot sales assistants tell you smartphone batteries have short lives is because they don't realise turning the wireless stuff off when not in use improves performance...it's not about how big the screen is!

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UK a 3D TV nation? Not half

Martin Nelson
Stop

erm statistics

You might be surprised at the figures.

The truth is that every UK resident is able to get access to the internet (in one form or other...even if it's at a local library!).

Furthermore, the reason BT's Fibre Optic project is so crucial is because the amount of internet traffic is on an exponentially growing trend. Between 2000 and 2007 internet traffic tripled.

We might not make use of the net in as many ways as possible but the truth is that everyone CAN.

Unlike 3D and HD the internet is not restricted to those with the money for the premium technologies...everyone has access.

Also unlike 3D and HD that majority of the population DO make use of the technologies.

The problem is not the media. The problem is, and has been for some time, that the tech market is RESEARCH lead rather than CUSTOMER led. This is the wrong way round and results in millions being wasted on R&D and Marketing.

Simple really!

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W3C tackles HTML5 confusion with, um, more confusion

Martin Nelson
Thumb Up

Graphic Designers are the problem

I heartily agree with you.

I'm self-employed as a web-designer and one thing I've always ensured is that whatever the look of the site, the code behind it MUST be spot on. Not only that but I've always found that sensible URL paths make for ease of use too (BBC's old iPlayer site was a great example bbc.co.uk/iplayer/d/tv too you to tv programmes beginning with D, what could be simpler?).

What has driven me round the bend is the huge array of idiot photoshop users whose coding and web design just isn't up to scratch. I mean to the point I've had people ask me why they think their website can't be viewed by some people properly (a "graphic web designer" had coded incorrectly and only Firefox and Opera displayed correctly).

I like HTML 4 why they didn't just add functionality to use a computer's default video codec for playing video and neatened up some of the HTML4 edges I don't know!

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Apple refuses frozen iPhone repair

Martin Nelson
Stop

You forgot to add...

which you can't change for another 14 months because of the stupidity of 12-month contracts!

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Dell flashes Streak 10, launches Streak 7

Martin Nelson
Stop

Continuos Android updates...

are a gigantic pain in the rear-end.

Quite honestly 2.1 was only marginally different to 1.6

2.2, has nothing new that I can see of benefit to me.

Why should I want or even require an upgrade that again has nothing to offer me?

It's all very well creating new little bits and pieces here, but the cold hard fact is that the majority of users just won't bother to update their versions of Android and the phone companies know it.

I'm sure for us techies there are features to get (unecessarily) excited about, but really is there anything good about a company making new updates every 6 months?

If Google had any sense they'd limit updates to Android to once every 18months (which is the average contract length). That way, when someone upgrades their contract phone the latest model will have some slightly different software features in addition to hardware...making the upgrade worth it.

Personally, I'm disappointed with myself for falling into the Android trap. I'm able to do everything I need to with my SE C905 (phone, text, e-mail, even messaging), and the camera (stills) is far better than any of the latest "smart phones" due to it's optical zoom. The only benefit that android has really offered is a nice large screen to view e-mail, internet and videos on.

Truth be told when it gets to my upgrade date I won't care what version of android is on the phone, I'd rather get something that is an actual upgrade and will do something far (and I do mean FAR) better than either my C905 does it (camera) or my Android Smart Phone does it.

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UN defends human right to WikiLeaked info

Martin Nelson
WTF?

Is it really a HUMAN RIGHT?

Leaving aside the wikileaks crap for a moment....should this really be a human RIGHT?

It seems to me that it's impossible to be a basic human right because a country without a government would make this "right" inapplicable. Even so a level of secrecy is necessary in a great number of operations.

Can anyone shed light on this?

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World+Dog says 'no thanks' to 3D TV

Martin Nelson
Thumb Up

I agree CRT works great...

in fact so much so that when I do anything that requires colours to be accurate, I MUST use the CRT.

Video editing, website/graphic design and book/cover designs all work far better (for better read accurately) on CRT than LCD.

One caveat. It is possible to colour correct your LCD....it's just a very long nightmare to do.

Also the back-light makes the job that much harder to do.

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E-book reader demand boom near

Martin Nelson
FAIL

Absolute Rubbish

I've been interested to see the results of a study done by UKGOV with a multitude of focus groups and book-clubs. The results show that there is no great interest in eBooks or eBook readers. A mere 7% of those asked said that they had or planned to buy an eBook reader.

I've also been visiting library readers groups over the last 2 months and have not yet met one single person interested in eBooks.

As with all new techs there is an initial interest, but the real tell tale sign will be Christmas sales figures. My instinct is that eBook readers will not sell as well as predicted.

If they do it would be a huge shame. Creators of eBook readers miss the point entirely. There is something about the bound pages that give a multi-sensory experience that CANNOT be replicated by eBooks. The smell of the book, the feel of the pages are the main ones, but there are other factors.

Kindle should die and stay buried. As should all eBook readers

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Judge puts Assange behind bars ahead of extradition hearing

This post has been deleted by a moderator

WTF is... up with e-book pricing?

Martin Nelson
Stop

Not everyone is a seller

Perhaps what you are fogetting is that not everyone has the ability to make sales. Not everyone can afford to publish a book.

Even then if you are a writer and go along to a writing group/workshop and ask people to download your eBook, chances are they won't. I've tried...a few times.

Go to an event and promote yourself with even a cheap and cheerful staple-bound book and you'll make some sales...even if it's people who want to support you.

It's easier to promote a physical product that something ephemeral that a lot of people have no interest in. If you don't have to finances or don't have the sales ability a publisher can help.

Not only that but if a publisher takes on the cost of producing a book you can be reasonably sure that they think your work is saleable. It doesn't matter how many friends or family you show a book to, if a publisher will pay for production the likelihood is that they believe it will sell. Either because it's good or populist...one way or another...it will sell!

Publishers are not always freeloaders. Yes there are a lot of vultures in the shadows waiting to fleece unsuspecting and inexperienced writers, but the good ones aren't!

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Martin Nelson
Alert

Think again!

The views are not personal, rather based on market research. In the North West of England, which is the market I operate in, there just isn't an eBook market.

Like I have mentioned elsewhere, assuming I have 1% of the market share of paper books (which is very generous) I might realistically expect the same market share on eBooks.

Given that there were just 60,000 kindle sales last year...no knowing how many were regional, but the North West is slightly behind in tech literacy so let's assume 5% of those sales were North West England. That's 3000 sales. I could therefore expect 30 sales.

Is it really worth me paying out extra money to get back maybe £60, maybe £70?

Also unlike traditional publishing the costs are a flat rate. Now for mass sales this is good. But for smaller market shares it's devastating.

Until the market matures and people are buying ebooks in their droves can it really make sense for publishers to use this medium?

As for reading eBooks on a device that does not use e-ink, so what? It does the job. To be quite frank I have tested an e-ink device and wasn't that impressed. If I wanted a book that I could read in the sun...or any of the other places and circumstances in which e-ink is supposedly advantageous, I'd....well sounds wacky but I'd buy/rent/borrow a paperback book!

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Martin Nelson
Stop

@Peter Kay

Your figures are all very well but they mean nothing.

Let's look at Amazon who DEMAND damn near 60% as standard off anything they sell. That includes eBooks, which in some cases they demand a higher price for. Oh and then don't forget to tack on the cost of converting/creating an eBook professionally. Your figures are simplistic at best!

Disregarding that you have your maths completely wrong:

If my costs, advertising and margin add up to £1.80 and we take it as 60% of cover price that actually means the cover price of the book is £3. Not only that but there is no way that a small publisher would sell 250 books first time out. I'd have to alter my marketing strategy completely and I'd also require market research on the number of eBook readers in the local area, and interest area. I could go on about extra costs and research.

The other thing is that most of us commenting here on el Reg are fairly tech literate. I can tell you from bitter experience that the North West of England is a tech black spot. Ordinary people don't primarily think..."that looks like a good book, I'll buy it on my kindle".

In fact sales of eBook readers are so depressingly low that even a generous 1% of market share is so little as to reap little if any reward.

To create a competitive pricing there has to be good reason. For most publishers there just isn't a good reason to price better on eBooks!

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Martin Nelson
WTF?

@robin1 Complete Rot

Sorry but you are 100% wrong here.

There are many more independent publishers and smaller houses that do not have loads of interns or staff. In fact even the bigger houses are now shedding workers.

(Good) Marketing will generally be budgeted at around 10-15% of the cover price. Doing it for less will not sell books plain and simple. 5% is about right only when you are talking about books costing around £10 and being sold in their 100,000s.

As for spelling and grammar, even with a good in-house person (because software cannot and will never be able to do the job as accurately), it can often cost quite a bit to keep them on payroll. Consider that I spend £50 on a proof-reader for a 70-page book that was relatively low budget!

Proof copies also come out of the marketing budget and do cost money. Granted they don't cost a lot but one certainly wouldn't hand them to friends and family. Reviewers yes, but never friends and family...a waste of time and money I'm afraid.

I could go on and on but it is clear you've not got a clue.

Let me give you a real break-down of the cost of a 100-page paperback at least:

ISBN (Necessary to sell in stores and only available in quantities of 10, 100 or 1,000 so this is what it cost per book): £23

1st Proof-Reading: £50

Cover Design: £25-£250

Copy Writer (for back-cover blurb): £25-75

4 Proof Copies: £12

2nd Proof Reading: £50

Print Run (250 copies): £750

Total Cost: £935 or £3.74 per book

Each bookstore demands a different margin but let's say they a 40% margin as average the cost of the book to the customer would have to be: £8 per book.

Of that the bookstore receives: £3.20 per book

The Publisher's profit is: £1.06 per book

However, the publisher then has to look at paying the author so based on an extremely generous 50/50 profit share on a run of 250 book the publisher would only make: £132.5

For a project that could have spent months in the making (and they really can) the margin is remarkably slim. It also assumes that the publisher sub-contracts out rather than hires people.

Given then that there is more outlay to produce an eBook and that the market is so incredably small and has no universal format what is our incentive to publish eBooks?

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Martin Nelson
Megaphone

Publishers dislike eBooks

It's as simple as not liking eBooks for me. I HATE them with a vengence.

Don't get me wrong, if I'm caught out waiting without a book it's nice to know that I have some eBooks on my Xperia X10 phone.

As a publisher though there just is no incentive to publish eBooks other than for me to send to reviewers. Even then reviewers will often turn eBooks away.

Having now been the publisher for 4 books I can tell you that at no point would I consider Kindle...or Amazon at all for that matter. They do not pay for around 2 months which means that you can be stuck without the funds to print or comission more books.

If I ever did publish an eBook pricing would be simple. £1 below physical cover price. It triples my income per unit sold and brings the price down.

The disadvantage though is attaching ISBNs. I have to attach a DIFFERENT ISBN to an eBook thereby costing me a tidy sum for the "benefit".

The final blow is that people en masse do not LIKE eBooks. A book is more than just paper and ink. It is a multi-sensory experience and our consumers recognise that. eBook readers just aren't going to take off in a large way any time soon.

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O2 outs liars and philanderers with live status feed

Martin Nelson
Grenade

Reception issue NOT Tower Coverage (Transmission) issue

Actually those who say the map is inaccurate may have one thing to blame. Their phones.

I think sometimes people forget that the receiver in their phone is responsible for a lack of reception a lot of the time.

All my Sony Ericssons have worked in remote locations (hills, mountainsides in wales and scotland). That said the nokia I had failed to maintain any kind of signal, and many of my hiking partners have gone with Sony Ericsson now because of the crappyness of reception in their previous makes of phones.

I'm sure other people will be very defensive now but seriously if you look at the specs of the transmitters and receivers some makes will only maintian good signal in great battery life, others will rely on older tech and if you've got the iPhone, well you're just asking for rubbish signal in sub-urban/rural areas.

Don't blame the network, blame the handset, or even blame your choice of handset!

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XP? Thanks for the memories

Martin Nelson

Multi Core has been around for a lot longer than we remember.

The first mass-produced multi-core device was in fact the Sega Saturn....with a quad core (or close approximation) it's taken almost 15 years to get to that point again.

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Panasonic preps camera-branded blower

Martin Nelson
Megaphone

It's not the MP that count

Or rather it's not ONLY the MP that count.

For all we know the lens and sensor make-up could be enough to push a 3MP to something quite a bit better.

I don't know how many people would contest that the SE did for a long time hold the best sensor/lens combos in their phones. I could actually quite happily use my C905 alongside my Panasonic G1 and get some comparable results. Okay the photos from the phone were smaller (print quality) in size but resolution was/is great.

The winner for me won't be the flashy carrot of MegaPixels that hook in the many idiots who really don't know better but the tech wizardry that turns a point-and-click into a useful tool. Even if the phone that comes out has only 3MP my bet is it'd still be better (print quality) that the rubbish that Nokia, Samsung and LG have tried to punt as Camera Phones.

***Side Note***

Any SE followers looking for an upgrade to the C905....there isn't one it's still the best combo that SE produced that holds a (admitedly puny) optical zoom and decent print quality!

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ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces

Martin Nelson

Officious Police Officers

I think the big problem isn't actually the law itself.

Much like the traditional Stop and Search (Section 44 Terrorism Act is no longer enforceable under EU law and constitutes a breach of Human Rights Law in UK and EU) when an officer is polite and gives a genuine reason I have no issues sumbitting to the seach.

Unfortunately, anyone who has taken photos in an urban environment will have come across the officious PC with something to prove. In this case it is very simple: Follow the Letter of the Law. Often I find that the more officious officers very rarely know which power they are using when they try to confiscate equipment or stop and search etc.

If a police officer cannot name the Act and Section under which they are carrying out a search, seizure or other such action, then the end result is simple. They cannot use that power. Likewise if they give an inaccurate reason for an action.

Recently a Police officer in my local area stopped me under Section 44 of the terrorism act and was, perhaps, the most rude and arrogant woman I'd ever met. With no smile, no Sir, and a face like thunder I politely informed her that should she continue I would be filing a private prosecution for breach of the Human Rights Act and EU convention of Human rights. Of course the officer tried the usual convincer of telling me that I was in the wrong. So I then asked for a written record of her name, warrant number and to see her warrant card before the search.

What's interesting is that upon making a complaint later at the police station from which she came, her superior officer had nothing but apologies and she's now been given a formal warning and has had to go and be 're-trained'.

The point of all this?

You can't count on the police to know the law....but if you do it gives you an advantage.

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Wikileaks publishes encrypted 'insurance' file

Martin Nelson
Black Helicopters

70 years ago.....

WikiLeaks and it's top bods would have faced firing squad for their actions.

The big problem though is the pathetic nature of the US DoD. They have, for too long, failed to keep any meaningful information secret and what's even more embarassing for them is the fact that they fail to achieve sucessful prosecutions when they catch the people responsible.

If this insurance file really does contain information the best people to crack it would be Russian intellegence or IT security organisations!

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Phorm gets £15m lifeline

Martin Nelson
Alert

Phorm - Brown Link?

I can't help wondering if Phorm and Gordon Brown are like some kind of evil experiment gone wrong. No matter how wounded they are they just seem to keep coming. It;s like some terrible B movie where the evil enemy keeps coming and coming and coming.

Will either of them ever just admit defeat and stay down?

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BCS writes data Highway Code

Martin Nelson
IT Angle

@David England

I'm living in Merseyside at the moment and I can tell you that, working as a web desginer/developer (albeit freelance) and knowing several other developers, designers, coders, IT expert etc, etc, the BCS is still out of date and what's worse very few people in Merseyside actually recognise them. Add that to the fact that Merseyside is not exactly cutting edge all you have is a moot point. Sorry.

Have done some consultancy work a while back I drafted up a document that was just 5 pages of text. Most of that was bullet points and short paragraphs in plain english. Put simply I told them, to read the document or in leiu of the 'Don't be Stupid'. The fact is that a USB thumb disk/drive is easy to lose, add to that there is often a misconception that just because you can use Microsoft Office you are computer literate means that often those who are meant to implement security plans don't know how to. Hell even the ECDL doesn't go into preventative/security measures and that's a manditory requirement for many Gov depts.

The simplest thing is that there needs to be greater levels of education and CPD that instructs both business owners and employees in the basics. Virus scans, password protection of removeable media, correct deletion proceedures.....you know the simple, yet 'oft overlooked things!

IT because at one point it stood for INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, now it's IDIOTIOTIC TRIUMPHS

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Wikimedia becomes latest to ban Phorm

Martin Nelson
Thumb Up

Web Designer Power!

I have just sent removal requests and advised all of my customers to do the same. After checking, I've managed to get 50....yes FIVE OH, removal requests sent.

I'm doing my part....are you?

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Sony-Ericsson calls time on another 2,000 jobs

Martin Nelson
Unhappy

Great Shame

SE phones are (or at least were up to the K900i) the industry leaders when it comes to Battery Life and Cameras (for mobile phones).

No single maker can claim more reliable or long lasting bettery power than SE.

Whilst the current generation of cybershot phones (C705-C902-C905) have been the source of many complains about unreliability I can state categorically that mine joins the ranks of reliable SE's everywhere (there are more than the dissenters would have you believe).

What I'm getting at here is that it is not a drop in quality that is responsible for these problems. The financial problems have been caused by the operators. Contract terms have increase, meaning that instead of once a year, we can only upgrade every 18 months-2 years. This means fewer sales. Furthermore the US operators do not offer as many SE's because they think it costs too much.

SE phones are the best. Unfortunately, it is ultimately the price that phone operaters (O2, vodaphone, orange, T-Mobile etc) must pay to subsidise the handsets that is the problem. They are expensive but also the most advanced.

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Facebook in goldmine potential deficit

Martin Nelson
Thumb Up

From a website owner

Okay, so I own a small website that is not quite web 2.0 (I hate web 2.0). However, the site is based around writers publishing their work for free on the site as a form of publicity. I can actually afford to run it out of my own pocket for a while as costs are less than £50 per year. However, I can see that if I were to expand beyond my current finances that the site would go tits-up. Now, if I want to expand I put an ad or two on the site and hope to see some revenue. Based on any said revenue I expand the site accordingly. That is a sustainable (or as sustainable as possible) model. The problem with FB et al is that they have expanded beyond their means. If they had stayed as a 18+ site only instead of allowing 13+ to join, there would be fewer numbers and more managble, as those are the targets of the adverts. Add to this the recent and unpopular redevelopment and redesign of the site and you have a big loss of money.

In short...these people haven't a clue. If they did the sites wouldn't grow too large for them to handle.

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Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot C905 eight-megapixel cameraphone

Martin Nelson
Stop

Poor review of the most superior phone on the market.

I'm sorry this review, whilst highlighting some of the features of the SE C905 does fail to show just how good it is. SE's sensors and camera pedegree has been well established now for some time and SE will always have the better Camera capabilities, that's not in doubt at all. I have a Nikon DSLR and a Panasonic FZ-8 as a backup and let me just say that side by side the C905 not only equal's the FZ-8 but rival's my (admittedly old) Nikon in basic shooting modes. (If you want to see pictures taken with it I'd be glad to post a link to some if asked)

As for the GPS, there are 3rd party mapping softwares that mean you don't pay a penny for usage of the GPS (Trekbuddy for one). Using this software side by side with a standard GPS unit it is obvious that the phone is not as sensitive but this is because it never seems to pick up all the available satellite signals...not sure why. Either way the SE is good enough for hikers as a backup.

As for touch screen....anyone who owned, as I did the K850 will have seen that the touch area was not brilliant. Personally I think SE did the right thing by pulling out of the idiotic touch screen market with this phone. I was one of those who complained because I don't want touch screen on my phone. Quite frankly after toying with the iPhone I can't see why anyone would want it either.

My only real problem with the C905 is the slider. I HATE slidy phones and would have preferred a K900 candybar style myself. The other thing I worry about is that on other SE phones I've got (I've had K 700, 750, 800, 850 and have used for a good portion of time Z530) where they have tried something new there it does take a couple of batches to get everything prefect. My advice with ALL new SE phones is to ensure you wait about 3 months and get a later batch...you'll save yourself the repair later down the line. In the above case it has been the K700 (mouse/nav button), K850 (Touch area), and Z530 (Microphone failure).

In any case SE's tend to be the better phones by a mile. K700, K750, K800 and K850's all lasted about a year as the best camera phones on the market. I have no doubt it'll be that long before the C905 is superceeded, and my prediction is it'll SE who superceed it.

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How Warcraft reigned supreme in 2008

Martin Nelson
Thumb Down

Warcraft Sucks!

It is without doubt the most annoying and godawful game EVER created. There is no overall story or motivation for the world, it's far less social than other MMOPGs.

However, for all it's faults there's one thing that gets me more than anything else. It made the pay once and pay again each month MMOPG model popular! Grrrrrr! Stargate: Alliance (a standard FPS/Strategy) was cancelled because MGM saw more money in an MMOPG, which is also going under. You don't get anything better than the free/no subscription games so who are the MORONS, who keep paying for a game they've already spent £40 on to buy in the first instance? The fact that WoW is so popular makes be believe that the world is truely populated with idiots and morons (the roman definition that is)

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Preventive policing? Don't even think about it

Martin Nelson
Thumb Up

Complain, complain....

and complain some more. Did you know that the effectiveness of sniffer dogs is only 11%. That is 11% of positives are actual positives. You have the right not to give your details as long as you are not being arrested or charged. If you are stopped and the police do not tell you what powers they are using (and yes this includes the rediculous section 44) you have grounds for a complaint.

The police rely on social compliance. Complain and make things difficult, the legal way. Regain civil liberties! I was stopped and subjected to a search that was conducted improperly....I am now in the process of complaining to ALL authorities and oversight.

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