* Posts by deshepherd

238 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

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Android users: More of them than fanbois, but they don't use the web

deshepherd

Re: Browser agents

I've not done it but it may be a factor ... I remember in the days when Netscape was trying to nibble away at the IE dominance that there was a belief that Netscape usage were a bit higher than reported due to people changing agent strings ... why, because then many website checked this and sent anything other than the latest IE version to a "we don't support your browser, update to the latest IE" page.

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Apple granted patent for ebook page-turning

deshepherd
Stop

Re: Lotus Organizer, 1995...

Still got Organiser on my PC (stlll holds the master address list used annually for Christmas cards!) and it does have an option for animating page turns .... only problem is over the past few years PCs have got so much faster that the animation seem to run in "the blink of an eye" ... I can just about see a vertical line at times where the page would be mid-turn ... but that said, seems pretty clear prior art ... unless Apple have added the magic words "on a mobile device" to turn something old in a brand new never before done idea

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It's time to burn the schedules and seize control of OUR TVs

deshepherd

Re: my friend's four-year-old

Ditto everyone else - been there done that. We got series 1 TiVo when our sons were 5 and 1 and both immediately made the association TV == TiVo and were very put out at other peoples hosues to find they couldn't pause TV etc and got used to idea that a collection of their favourite programs would be already recorded waiting for them to watch. Still the same today 11 years later ... only difference is the selection of programs has moved on from Telletubbies/Tweenies to Futurerama/Castle. Meanwhile, there is still a role for "live TV" ... its called endless reruns of TopGear or QI on Dave!

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It's Lego's 80th birthday party, but only the boys are invited

deshepherd
Thumb Up

Re: Unfortunately...

> Unfortunately, too many of today's LEGO sets for boys also "minimize... actual construction"

To some extent yes ... remember when I came back to Lego when my sons started to get lego sets (and inherited the small suitcase of my old lego that my parents still had in their loft!) that I'd get part way through a build wondering how they were going to manage to link two bits together as they appeared to need to join at a "non-standard" angle, turn the instruction page and discover "oh, they made a special piece to do that". From memories of what I'd had to do as a child it just seemed a bit like cheating to me!

However, in the bigger sets there is a serious amount of building still left (though they do still seem a little to keen in my mind to throw in a bag of specials bits to handle all the difficult sections)

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BBC gives itself a gold in 700Gbit-a-second Olympic vid sprint

deshepherd

Re: Good job

All the 24 OBS feed channels were on VirginMedia as well

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Devolo dLAN 500Mb/s powerline network adaptor review

deshepherd

Re: 500Mbps?

average UK broadband may still be under 10Mbs (but my VM has just jumped to 60Mbs!) but if you are using homeplugs then you probably have several PCs/devices around and then may well have a NAS or are sharing files/media from a PC. If so then higher speed may be beneficial - I've just added a couple of gigabit switches to my LAN setup so can get gigabit connections between main couple of PCs and a HP microserver that I am in process of setting up as replacement for current NAS ... quick comparison on transfer speed between PC and old NAS which has 100Mbs port and to microserver with 1Gbs port (and also better processor and newer disk etc) was stunning ... there definitely was a 10x speedup.

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Amazon Android App Store to invade Europe

deshepherd

Re: 70% of list price to the developer

But I thought one of the complaints of the Amazon app store was that developers found that their app had been chosed for a special "75% off" offer and as a result got 30% of 25% of what they'd priced the app at. So I think you'd still be at risk of Amazon deciding to discount you book-in-an-app idea.

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Why GM slammed the brakes on its $10m Facebook ads

deshepherd

"When was the last time you saw a Porsche or Ferrari advert?"

Don't know about Porsche but Ferrari have managed to get Sky to devote an entire channel to their adverts ... SkySports F1 - Ferrari's entire marketing activity is effectively their F1 team

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Basic instinct: how we used to code

deshepherd

Re: The star trek game

We had a very early 6800 "system" in the electronics lab at school and I remember when we got the code for star trek (n.b. this was hex code that had to be typed in before we could save it to ?paper tape - may have been floppy) but there was a problem as it was too big to fit into the 1kB memory so there was a mad rush to put together a 4kB memory *expansion card* so that we could run it!

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Inside Turing: Computer boffinry to cuffing cups to radiators

deshepherd

When I did my maths degree at Oxford one of my third year lecturers was Professor Robin Gandy who'd worked with Turing during the war then, when he was able to go to University after the war had Turing as his PhD supervisor. He tauhgt a course on "Computational Complexity" which covered Turing machines and the theory around them and I remember that every so often during a lecture he'd mention some result and then add something along the lines of "I remember when we first worked this out and how Alan was very excited by what it showed us"!

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What kind of LOSER sits in front of a PC...

deshepherd

Re: I'm reading

I'm reading books mainly on a Kindle now (and confirming reports, I'm reading more books than before) but also really like the ability to pickup from the same point on the Kindle app on my phone. Best of both worlds!

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Soup up your home network

deshepherd

Re: Just a shame...

I believe that with the VM "SuperHub" you can set it into "dumb modem" mode via its webpage setup interface. Probably something I'll have to sort out in a couple of months when I get upgraded to the 60Mb/s service ... I'm currently on the original 20Mb/s "XL" speed as when they moved XL to 30Mb/s my "free upgrade" involved paying £50 for a "superhub" which at that time seemed to have a fairly dire reputation + could not be used as a pure modem. Since then I think things sound better + they introduced modem mode and from what I gather a superhub is now a free part of the upgrade as they want to shift everyone to the latest cable standard so they can free the bandwidth used by us 20Mb holdouts!

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Dijit

deshepherd

Re: Mystery solved re NTL Virgin Media box!

Think the issue is that the cable boxes used a different IR protocol to other AV devices (?IRDA vs IR) because the original idea was that the IR connection would be used for more than simple remote use and things like IR based keyboards etc would be used.

There was a similar problem in getting an original S1 TiVo to control one of these boxes as the TiVo was designed to output IR signals which the cable boxes didn't recognize so you had to buy an extra "dongle" which plugged into the IR extender port and "translated" the IR signals into IRDA

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Americans resort to padlocking their dumb meters

deshepherd

Re: Smart Meters

Sounds like an electricity monitor and not a smart meter - smart meter replaces your exisitng electricity meter and is intended to send meter reading automatically via a wireless/mobile connection to remove the need for meter readers to come and read your meter. N.b. in the US (well at least 10-15 years ago when I was there) meter reading must be a significant expenses as PGE read our meter *every* month (as did the water company) - compared to the UK where it seems to be about once every 18-24 months to check that your reading/their estimates are sufficiently accurate

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Free apps suck your power: researchers

deshepherd
Stop

Re: thanks El Reg

"Why does angry bird need to know where I am?"

So it can serve adverts that are more relevant to you. There was a time when Angry Birds on my android phone would constantly give me ads for things like car insurance in Texas which was of no interest to me and just plain irritating (think possibly linked to my having don't share location selected in system options) . Now it seems yo have worked out I'm in the UK so it now constantly gives me ads for things like Wonga ..... which is also of no interest to me and still just plain irritating!

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Pair of double-As give you cheap, quick charge

deshepherd

Plenty of "rechargeable battery chargers" around (i.e. a largish rechargable battery with a power out socket and normally a selection of "ends" to put on the cable ... though nowadays micro-usb may be all you need ... unless you have an iThingy). And, didn't one of "The Apprentice" teams last year try flogging emergency mobile chargers at a train station last year in one of the "sell cheap tat" tasks?

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Death Star SUCKS PLASMA FROM SUN in NASA riddle vid

deshepherd
Alien

Re: And if they do not pay, they will be clamped?

"Look out for big yellow triangular thingies (technical term) in space"

Why, are HMRC collecting taxes in Ningis now ... maybe if they get enough to start converting them into Triganic Pus then maybe we can clear the deficit!

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Android Market morphs into 'Google Play'

deshepherd

Re: Play.com?

Yes ... saw an item on hotukdeals today about a sale on "Android Market (Play)" and my immediate assumption was that play.com must now have an android market. It was only when I read another article like this one about the name change that I realized it was talking about the Google Android Market which is now called Play.

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Asteroid could SMASH INTO EARTH in 2040

deshepherd

Re: Damage

Just started reading Arthur C Clarkes "Rendez-vous with Rama" and as usual he's almost spot on with his predictions ... that has a catastrophic meteor strike in 2077 which wipes out most of North-Eastern Italy.

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Indiana Jones flicks out on Blu-ray this Fall

deshepherd
Facepalm

Re: "Paramount promises [...] a few new surprises."

No ... it will be the collector editon with the disks inside a model fridge.

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Sony to strike gold with PS Vita - if it cuts the price

deshepherd
Thumb Up

"It should not even be possible to pay £40 or more for a portable game, unless it's bundled with the PS3 copy as well."

Sounds like a great idea ... they could probably even charge a small premium for the "dual platform" version of the game in the same way that you can pay a little extra to get the dvd/bluray or triple-play versions of films etc.

Of course, the fly in the ointment will be that games manufacturers will probably decide that if the PS3 and Vita versions are sold together then that's a single game so they'll introduce some internet based licensing check to prevent you playing on the PS3 while some else is using your Vita version!

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Crap PINs give wallet thieves 1-in-11 jackpot shot

deshepherd

Re: Simple solution...

Problem is that 4 digit PINs are deeply entrenched into the system ... you'd need to make changes to terminals etc worldwide to cope with the change (for example virtually all UK ATMs wait for 4 key presses for PIN entry). I lived for a time in the US at end of 90s and there you could have a longer PIN number on cards .... but every so often you'd read a travel article that would warn readers that before travelling to Europe they should change their PIN to a 4 digit number as otherwise they could find they were unable to use their cards when European card readers assumed a 4 digit pin.

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Panasonic to take on LG with passive 3D TV

deshepherd
Thumb Up

Re: Is there an upside?

And if you already wear glasses then passive may have a big upside in that the passive glasses (being cheaper and thus being able to be larger) will probably fit over exisitng glasses much better than active ones + if 3D really does take off then I think you could even get a set of prescription passive glasses (i.e. lenses that correct your eyesight with the appropriate polarization for the 3D).

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Samsung shows third-gen Galaxy Tab

deshepherd

No innovation!

See that they are still slavishly copying the Apple rectangular screen concept!

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Shark versus shark in Barrier Reef DEATH MATCH

deshepherd

Reminds me of a story of a zoo where two snakes were in the same tank and keepers didn't notice that when they put a couple of dead rats in at feeding time that both snakes started at opposite ends of the same rat, met at the middle and the larger snake opened its jaws a bit further than the other and started to consume it as well.

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iPads seized from shelves by Chinese officials

deshepherd

But have you seen the design for Apple's new HQ?

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2011/06/07/applespaceship.png

Just wait till the internal covers are retracted revealing the underground fortress surrounding the iDeathRay ... then China will start to obey!

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Virgin Media finally turns an annual profit

deshepherd

TiVo users

Its actually 273,000 *new* TiVo users last quarter with total up at 432,000 (12% of all their TV subscribers) .... I checked this in the VM press release when I saw different figures from yours in the Guardian

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Doctors sick of anonymous-coward NHS feedback commentards

deshepherd

Item on the R5 business program last night was talking about "reputation management". One of the contributers said that businesses always had to treat negative comments more seriously than positive ones since the rule when he started 20-30 years ago was that a happy customer told 2 or 3 people about theie good experience while an unhappy customer told around 10 - but the change was now via the internet an unhappy customer now tells thousands.

As for saying "My doctor was wonderful, listened to me, and was very helpful" - that's what I said a few years ago to someone I know who's a GP when I was impressed that having gone in to get a prescription of hay fever treatement the doctor I'd seen had had a short chat with me about my general health, what exercise I did and then checked my blook pressure ... however this positive illusion was quickly dispersed when the GP I knew explained "that's just because he would have needed to do that to meet a target for the practice bonus"

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Update Facebook by thrusting your hips to, er ... 'Like' things

deshepherd
Coat

"is that an NFC buckle on your belt ... our do you just like me?"

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IPTV UK: what's on tonight?

deshepherd

Re: IPTV, the downside

Yes ... advertisers guessing what you are interested in from past history can be very irritating ... after buying a birthday present for a friends young daught I had months of emails from Amazon telling me "as someone who's bought Sylvanian Families in the past you may be interested in ..." - eventually I investigated and found out how you can click on a link to tell Amazon to ignore the history that is leading to this.

Then recently having upgraded my phone to something that can display flash adverts and not having AdBlockPlus available in default browser (hmm maybe time to switch!) I'm seeing ads ... was quite interesting to realize after researching electric guitars for son's Christmas present that I was suddenly getting ads for the shop I'd bought it from all over the place .... but now, as a result of looking for info on how to fix a leaking toilet, I'm being bombarded with ads for flush mechanisms!

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Formula 1 revs engines through Virgin Media

deshepherd
FAIL

No deal

Just had a look and from what I can see on the VM website then to get SkySportsF1 I'll need to buy the SkySports1+2+3+4 package @ £22.50/month ... or £29.50/month if I want the HD version. So that will be a no then!

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Virgin Media takes itself in hand after punter-package tickle whoopsie

deshepherd

30MB is the same price level as 20Mb ... in fact 20Mb is "obsolete" and only exists for people (like me) who were at the 20Mb and declined to have a "free" update to 30Mb which (still) requires "buying" a superhub (originally for £75 but now, I think, just £30 "activation"). As you were upgrading from 10Mb then you jump direct to the 30Mb level and get a free superhub as part of the upgrade. Its the usual Telewest/VM story of new/upgrade users getting something that long standing existing users cannot get. At least it appears with the 20/30Mbs->60Mbs I'll get a free superhub as I assume they are wanting to free up all the bandwidth allocated to DOCSIS2.

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deshepherd

I got it twice as well ... but check the email "To:" addresses ... one set was direct to my "blueyonder.co.uk" address and the second to the email contact address I set up on my account which use my own domain name but is forwarded into my "blueyonder.co.uk" address. Hence they sent it to two distinct addresses which happen to end up in the same mail box.

N.b. like someone else I spotted the "as you are already on the fastest package" line in the erroneous mailing I too immediately assumed they'd made a simple error. I also got at almost the same time another email saying that my current 20Mbs service would be increasing to 60Mbs.

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deshepherd

"So the upgrade to 60Mbs will apply when, 1) they've upgraded your line and 2) you've upgraded to the DOCSIS 3 superhub."

From what I read of the offer then they'll upgrade you to the superhub for free as part of this change. I've never moved up to 30Mb from 20Mbs as initially, I think, you needed to pay something like £75 for the superhub .... I think that's come down to £30 "activation" fee now. Plus, the initial reports of the Superhub were not particularily positive and it originally could not be used purely as a modem so I gave it a pass as I've already got my router/firewall etc set up and just want a modem feed into it. Since then I gather you can now configure the superhub to act just as a modem so that will suit me fine when they come to upgrade me.

N.b. another reason not to upgrade originally was it seemed obvious at some point VM would want to turn off the DOCSIS2 and switch everyone to DOCSIS3 so looked inevitable that at somepoint they'd have to do free upgrades and, to be honest, 20Mb seems perfectly adequate for our needs so allure of 30Mbs wasn't great

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Amazon welcomes Microsoft files into Kindle cloud

deshepherd

Why to the cloud ... because (unless you tell Amazon otherwise via the "manage my kindle" web pages) all PDFs that you email to your kindle are now stored by Amazon in your account. Perhaps useful if you want to be able to access the files from a Kindle app on your phone as well as on your kindle but also, I'd assume, a reason that corporate IT depts will be rapidly working out how to roll out a path to disable this feature on all their PCs. N.b. going via "the cloud" rather than via USB does have definite advantages that you don't need to have the device connected directly to the PC to send the data (or even turned on at the right moment)

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Top techs preview CES 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017...

deshepherd

"Jet Packs, Hover Boards, Skyways, and robot butlers of course! (for the consumer, not just proof of concepts)"

But this conference was only predicting out to CES 2018 ... as anyone from the "Tommow's World" generation knows the items mentioned above will all be available in "about 10 yeas time"

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Neighbours not Liking Facebook's new campus

deshepherd

I knew someone who used to work for Sun and was based there .... and the best thing he said was when he was allowed to "hot desk" at another Sun office closer to his home instead of having to go into his "proper" office (after all, the network is the computer, or was that vice versa).

I assume it a case of wanting a big building on the bay shore line so that they can be just like Google.

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E-book reader sales to boom as prices plunge

deshepherd
Stop

Re: $79 / £89 for the Kindle?

The $79/£89 comparison is not really valid since the $79 US version is the version that displays ads and special offers on the screen savers etc ... the version which doesn't (and thus is equivalent to the UK version) is $109 - which is £70 at todays exchange rate ... add on 20% VAT and you get £84 so then its pretty close to the UK price.

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Regulator reckons telly advert caps are just peachy

deshepherd

Re: That little? Seems like more

Probably does seem like more since the 15-30secs at either end of the ad break where there's a "sponsors message" (e.g. sport on ITV brought to you by KIA, Home and garden brought to you by B&Q etc) don't count towards the advert quota. That said ... the new VM TIVo has a "skip forward 30secs" and you can keep pressing to increase the skip in 30sec increments - I find that Ch4 breaks are invariably 4 mins (8 skip button presses) long and with 4 breaks per hout that seems like 16mins to me!

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2011's Best... DVRs and Media Streamers

deshepherd

TiVo catchup services

VM have just rolled out a software update to the TiVo and one of the changes is that there is a better integration between iPlayer and the backwards EPG ... you can now select a BBC program from the backwards EPG and it takes you direct to that programs iPlayer page and with another button press you can start playing it. I think they couldn't do the more intuitive method of starting to play when you select from the backwards EPG since the BBC insist that everything is (seen to be) done through iPlayer thus effectively offering a link direct to the releavant iPlayer "page" is the best they can do.

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Huge PDP-11 in a lorry: How I drove computers into schools

deshepherd
Happy

Re: Oh wow, nostalgia ...

Well, I remember around that time (late 70s) as a sixth former being able to bootstrap a Data General Nova from front panel switches then install its OS to disk (a single platter 12 or 15" solid disk that probably had capacity measured in kBs) from dozens of trays of fanfold paper tape!

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Voyager 2 finally agrees to a long hard thrust

deshepherd

Wow indeed

Almost 30 years ago I did a course on Error Correcting Codes as part of my Maths degree and sure I recall the lecturer talking about communications with the Voyager probes (which were then in between Saturn and Uranus) as being an example of how communications were being pushed to their limits - a tranmission of less power than a dim light bulb from millions of miles away.... and to think they are still in contact when Voyage is ~4x further away is amazing!

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A pint a day keeps the doctor away - scientific FACT

deshepherd
Pint

English pint

An "English Pint" is a weird hybrid measure as it is 20 US fl oz's ... thus is marginally larger than a Imperial Pint! (as 1 US fl oz is marginally bigger than 1 Imperial fl oz)

At least its not as bad as the "ye olde englishe pubbe" style of American drinking establishment that maintain that the true english measure for ale is the yard!

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UK.gov threatens to 'pull plug' on smart meter rollout

deshepherd

@Herby

But assuming PG&E have not changed in the 12 years since I was in California then before "smart meters" you would have had accurate bills because they come round to read your meter *EVERY* month (seemed to be no concept of an "estimated" bill) .... side effect of this was in the house we rent was that we had to leave the side gate to the house unlocked at all times to ensure PG&E had access to the meters ... fortunately this didn't matter as in Cupertino crime seemed non-existant (well, apart from one armed robbery at the bank at the end of our road!)

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Amazon Kindle 4

deshepherd

Re: Poor product design?

Haven't used the K4 so can't tell how different the page turn buttons are ... on the K3 they are very easy to use ... but this also means I quite frequently press them by mistake!

Loss of keyboard is no big deal for me - I think I'd see it as an improvement. The number of times I use the keyboard on my K3 is minimal - and if I am using it I tend to need the symbols as well which is a on screen select by arrow keys affair and in any case the keyboard isn't suitable for any serious typing.

Not getting an AC adapter - hmm, my Kindle charger is now my micro-USB charger of choice as its (a) very small (basically a 13amp plug with a USB socket) and (b) is a different colour (white) from all the other chargers I need to take anywhere so its easy to find in the "charger bag"!

That said, there's no need to "upgrade" from my K3 to a K4 ... but if the Kfire arrives, that might be different.

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Orange and T-Mobile join hands with 3G coverage

deshepherd

Data as well?

Lets hope that they fix the current "glitch" in 2G sharing where if you roam onto an Orange signal from TMobile (probably vice versa as well I'd assume) then everything is ok for voice and text but to use the signal for data then in Android you have to enable "international data roaming" (there is a "national data roaming" option as well but you have to enable the international one for it to work).

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Android malware under blog control says Trend Micro

deshepherd

Problem is that some seemingly "safe" apps ask for the same wide permissions ... I'm fairly sure that Google Tracks or Maps asks for similar - I was certainly surprised that one of the Google apps was asking for permission to make calls but its possible that that may be to enable you to find a location (e.g. a restaurant) on a map and phone it directly. As a result its sometimes difficult to work out why an app is requesting certain permissions.

Possibly a solution would be to require apps to state the reasons why they need each of the permissions which you could browse before deciding to accept/decline the install ... clearly this is not 100% foolproof but migh give some guidance.

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Amazon to whup Apple rivals when Kindle Fire hits UK

deshepherd

What I think the implication is that the "tipping" point in the UK for people to buy a tablet is £250, however if Amazon maintain the same price point for the Fire relative to the iPad then that yields a UK price of around £130 ... also using price ratio from e-ink kindles to fire in the US yields price of around £150/160. I.e looks likely that Kindle Fire will launch at well below the price people seriously consider buying a tablet so sales could be huge.

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Amazon intros $199 movie Kindle

deshepherd

Of course, Amazon may be ruling out Oxford students and graduates from their customer base since to get a Bodlean library card we have to swear an oath in which we undertake not "kindle flame or fire"!

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deshepherd

Entry level

Never mind if £89 = $79 or $109, I like the look of the new entry level Kindle as a pure ebook. I've got the current v3 Kindle and the keyboard is just an annoyance ... takes up space that you use perhaps once every week or two ... and even when you do since it has no numbers or symbols you still end up using arrow keys to find the symbol you need on a pop-up menu. That said, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the Fire arrive in the UK, hopefully at a "sensible" price ... given $->£ conversion on the current 3G Kindle then I'd assume something around £150-160 seems to be what to expect.

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