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* Posts by A 20

42 posts • joined 13 Jun 2009

Oldest unreadable alphabet yields to 'tablet' computer

A 20
WTF?

Soft/blurred image

I can't help but wonder how much better it would be if the camera were in focus, or failing that, not attached to the neck of a rubber chicken. Whatever the problem, that sample image is >seriously< not sharp.

Repeat after me - tripod, remote release, mirror lockup.

The only other option I can think of is that they shot at something like f/256 to get it all in focus, and lost all their detail to diffraction as a result. In which case, it's time to google "z-stacking".

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Hasselblad H4D-200MS medium format multishot camera

A 20

Hmm.

OK; I've been doing a bit of pixel peeping. I know, it's a terrible habit, but anyway...

The original 50MP images look lovely at 100%, possibly a tiny hint of noise, but I'd be very happy with them.

The 4x images have occasional artifacts, but they do generally show more detail than the single shot files. Mostly not a problem.

The 6x files... At 100% they're not so nice in places. Lots of artifacts. Yes, you do get even more detail, but the artifacts just look odd in places. They do look better than the original when downsized to 50MP, but then it's not the promised 200MP image.

I wouldn't like to guess how bad they'd look if anything moved...

You're a good reviewer, but I would really would have liked a bit more of actual conclusion. I know it's difficult to find fault when you're under the gaze of the manufacturer's rep, but... In places your conclusion reads more like a finance advert than a critical conclusion and you don't really mention the image quality at all, which is truly bizarre for something costing over £35k.

Sorry if this seems harsh, it probably is, but I expected better from you!

,

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Amazon Kindle Fire

A 20

@BozNZ

Yes, but the $79 US Kindle is advert sponsored, whilst the £89 UK version doesn't have adverts.

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Hands on with Acer's Aspire S3 Ultrabook

A 20

see Title

"Acer is pricing aggressively - from €799 (£699) ... so the S3 looks set to undercut the Air significantly, though I'll bet you won't get a directly comparable spec, despite the discount."

Of course not. At the very least Acer supplied memory won't have the insane markup Apple apply to their RAM upgrades...

This looks like a nice little machine for the price, although I'd like to see the full specs and prices!

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Dell Alienware M18x 18.4in gaming notebook

A 20
Go

This really needs wheels...

Wouldn't it be handy if it had a handle and flip out wheels? As it stands I wouldn't want to carry it very far, but if it had wheels and a handle...

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Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note

A 20
Coat

Coat, done.

Take two smartphones/tablets into the office? Not me I just want to scribble on this and go!

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VW Scirocco BlueMotion Technology TDI 140

A 20

DSG is useful

DSG is very useful if you can't drive a conventional manual for whatever reason... I have to say that in my six months experience with the 7-speed DSG I find it's generally smoother than the conventional auto in the Mercedes, and it doesn't eat all the power from the engine as a conventional auto tends to.

In short, I think the DSG box is a very good thing™.

Personally I'm less convinced by the stop-start idea. It is a good idea from a fuel economy perspective, but I suspect in most cases it'll become a stop-stop system after a few years ;)

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How to stay out of big trouble from little devices

A 20
FAIL

It's always been the case.

"the NIST guidelines effectively advise minimising the functionality of the device ... they fly directly in the face of what mobile vendors and users really want. As we navigate the security landscape, that might be the ultimate challenge."

That's +always+ been the challenge. The only real question has ever been what balance between convenience and security you choose.

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Moderatrix kisses the Reg goodbye

A 20
Go

So long and thanks for all the fish!

You'll be missed; and with the eyesight of this lot that's not surprising ;)

Congratulations on your successful escape!

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Dell netbook-cum-tablet priced up

A 20
Thumb Up

Cool?

I think that's a cool convertible. It might be nice if it weighed a bit less, but you can't win 'em all ;)

Hope we don't get gouged on the £ = $ conversion...

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Hotmail still not working? Use Chrome to fix it, says MS

A 20

Chrome works

I've been unable to read any emails in my Hotmail inbox for the past day or so under the latest release of Firefox; but I'm happy to report that using Chrome *does* fix it here.

Oddly, the new Hotmail interface did work fine for me under FF initially; so something must have changed in the past day or two.

I suspect MS has been playing whack-a-bug™ and broken something. That said, the only thing I can remember that's definitely different is that I upgraded to FF 3.6.8 recently. I'd be curious to hear whether older versions of FF 3.6 work with the new Hotmail?

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Office 2010 retail sales shaken, not stirred

A 20

Boxed software not flying off shelves, says NPD analyst?

Boxed software overpriced, says potential customer.

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Apple MacBook mid-2010

A 20

Re: Gadget Show

> So you didn't see the episode of the Gadget Show where a high end Sony Vaio refused to play

> HD smoothly but the low end Macbook did it no problem?

Would that be the HD video encoded using an Apple codec? Would that also be the same Gadget Show that gets wet everytime the word Apple is mentioned? Nah, they couldn't be biased, surely?

Would this be the all singing media computer that *still* doesn't have Blu-ray support in 2010? Obsolete media computer ahoy!

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Mini Desktop PCs: Best Buys

A 20

More info please.

Good review, but I'd like to see actual power consumption figures; ideally in typical use, at idle and on standby.

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Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR bridge camera

A 20

@ Charles

It's worth looking at the EXIF on the telephoto shots; most of them appear to have been shot at ISO400, which never helps a small sensor. The light looked good though, so I'm not sure why it did that...

That telephoto lamppost shot is shaken too - there's a double edge on the highlights which gives it away.

If you want a simple way to find out the EXIF when browsing with Firefox, there's a neat AddOn called FxIF:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5673

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Lenovo ThinkPad X100e

A 20

Normal battery life?

I'd really like to know how the battery performs under normal usage, i.e. not video. How long does it go with the screen brightness full up, but just doing writing coding or (non-flash) browsing.

From the looks of the performance tables I suspect it's too slow for my needs anyway; which is a shame as I'd really love to have a decent TrackPoint based netbook. For whatever reasons the standard netbook touchpads (well any touch technologies really) tend to go crazy when I use them...

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Premium Compact Cameras: Best Buys

A 20

Suggestion and a question.

Can we have 100% crops of the set scenes please? Very hard to gauge ISO performance with nothing more than thumbnails available. Even then I suggest a reworked test scene, with some nice multicoloured fur in it somewhere - that'll show up most noise reduction gremlins.

Also, was the F200EXR in AutoEXR or manually set to the specialised DR priority or SN modes? If it didn't perform well at high ISO, I suspect it wasn't in the 6MP SN mode?

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Polaroid enthusiasts unveil new instant film

A 20

The main problem I have with the original Polaroid film is that...

... most of the photographs taken by my family during my childhood were taken on Polaroid; and most of them (in addition to having truly dismal resolution) have also faded significantly, even though they've been stored in a dark place for most of their life.

The same's true of a lot of the colour films from the 1970's, based on what I've seen Kodak Ektachrome was dismal too.

Some of the printing processes back then were also a little unstable, not sure whether the labs were trying to "economise" on the chemicals (like no stop bath), but based on the family archives I'd rate the whole 1970's photo experience as dismal with regard to longevity.

We actually have B&W from circa 1900 which have lasted far better than either than *any* of the stuff from the 1970's. That's not to say that some of the B&W stuff hasn't gone wrong either, but most of it's still significantly better than the Polaroid stuff.

As for digital, it very much depends on what you store your files on, and how you look after those backups. If they're on unbranded discs, and they're on your desk in bright sunlight, they've probably gone already. If they're on a reputable brand which actually says something about lifespan, and have been kept cool and dark you should have better luck. Multiple backups are still a good idea, as ever. Accidents do happen.

I hope for those using it, that this resurrected film is stable. Fingers crossed. I'm sticking with my EOS 5D2 though :D

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Tories go nuclear, promise to prop up carbon price

A 20
Alert

So, how will this turn out then?

My main problem with nuclear (other than the obvious, like what we're going to do with the toxic waste, and how can we rehabilitate land devastated by the acid leaching uranium extraction process) is that I have a fairly shrewd idea of how the reality is going to pan out.

First up, we'll have the wonders of "who bid lowest" for the construction phase. It's pretty much a certainty that the cheapest quote is the one that'll be used. How will they make that quote a reality? By cutting corners. So we have a potential disaster there already, even assuming it's a perfectly safe design - a design which I'll remind you comes from a combination of human and computer work - you should all be familiar with that side of things. So, are the build and design likely to be perfect? It could happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Second up, who's actually going to be operating this poorly built reactor? Is it, a) a team of highly trained physicists (expensive), or b) people on minimum wage with no training? Since this is the private sector you can bet it'll be the latter, shareholder value and all that... So that's another disaster in the making.

Thirdly. Who's going to pay for the decommisioning phase, after all the profits have been milked? That's going to be us, the taxpayer. Why? Well as soon as the profit making stage is over, I'd put money on the shell companies that are operating the reactors folding like cheap decks of cards. Of course that's also going to be the case if there's an accident. Will we see the people in charge being held accountable? Hardly. They will make an obscene amount of money though, which will be great when they're on their superyachts over in Australia listening to the reports of the UK being rendered a nuclear wasteland...

So, my guess is that we'll get a poorly built reactor, being run by hopelessly undertrained staff, operated by a company that is solely there to make money. That sounds perfect, I mean, what could possibly go wrong ;)

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Windows Phone 7 Series gets Timotei rinse

A 20
Coat

D'uh!

"... commercial that glosses over the operating system's limitations"

Meanwhile, in other news, animals of an Ursine persuasion have been known to defecate in forests. *sigh*

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Nikon D3s

A 20

A couple of things...

Nicely done on the whole!

First, page 6 with the ISO Tests sequence - the ISO200 shot looks to be slightly shaken. Even if you use a remote, a solid tripod and MLU this happens from time to time. If you can't re-shoot, just note it on the article.

Second, I feel it would be useful to note what conditions you took some of the shots under. Were they handheld or tripod?

The resolution doesn't seem particularly high (compared to my 5D2 at any rate); might be worth doing a DPReview style resolution test, and/or let us know which lenses you were using for each shot.

Interestingly, since the arrival of my 5D2 I find I do a lot more of my landscape work on a tripod using magnified live-view to focus. How well does the live view handle that? How well does live view work in a dark environment, i.e. night shots by starlight? For that matter how does it hold up for long exposures (1 min+).

Those of you of a camera geek disposition might also find the EXIF plug-in (FxIF) for Firefox useful:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5673

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Jobs: I'll decide what to do with Apple's $40bn cash pile

A 20

In his shoes I'd spend it on scientific research.

There's plenty of science that could be done, and probably should be done, that isn't getting done because the financial returns aren't large enough and/or immediate enough; or because there are financial dis-incentives for doing it. That's my suggestion for some of the money.

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Nexus One in trigger-happy 999-dialling bother

A 20

Re: How many times do you dial for the police?

Arguably, you could say that people are more likely to be stressed/confused when calling the emergency services, so you should make that process as easy as possible for them.

Of course there's always the option of making it *too* easy; which is what's happening here ;)

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$38m 'Fail Bounty' for Moto boss

A 20
FAIL

Of course they made a loss

Has anyone ever tried to buy a Motorola handset in the UK lately? Last time I tried no-one had any Motorola handsets in stock, and no-one knew when any might arrive either.

It's not surprising they make a loss on developing handsets that they never actually put on sale ;)

As for being paid to fail, I thought that was fairly normal in the CEO arena...

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Apple cops to defective MacBook drives

A 20
Gates Horns

Thermal issues?

I wonder whether the drive issue is thermal?

It seems odd that so many drives of different capacities have failed, but only on one particular chassis design.

That suggests to me that the problem isn't necessarily with the drives themselves, but perhaps with something more systemic. Poor drive ventilation could do it. If that's the case, then replacing the drive will fix the instantly visible fault, but not cure the underlying cause of the problem...

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Archos 9

A 20

Ctrl-Alt-Del

Why? Because that's the shortcut to lock/logoff/shutdown a Windows box.

If you're trying to operate a secure system, easy locking is the best way to ensure it actually gets locked. The best security feature in the world is worthless in the real world if the user has to jump through a thousand hoops to make it happen.

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Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W1

A 20
Go

One more 3D viewing option

Fujifilm recently announced a 3D dyesub:

http://fujifilm.co.uk/presscentre/news/index.php?id=1411

Remember, the built-in screen can display the images in 3D without the need for glasses or going cross-eyed. As does the picture frame, and the 3D prints - which you can send off to Fuji directly online (albiet at staggering cost).

As for the camera; the built-in 3D display works well, and the camera itself is easy to use. The ability to shoot 3D video easily is probably the most fun aspect!

Viewed at pixel level the image quality isn't perfect; those 10MP sensors are a bit noisy, and the consequent noise reduction can be a little overzealous at times. Shouldn't be a problem at small print sizes though or when viewed on the picture-frame.

Speaking of the 3D picture frame, it's also very nice, it uses a slightly different display technology to the camera, but it's also a "no special glasses" display. The picture frame is optimised for different people to stand around it and look at the images, whereas the camera screen is optimised for viewing by the photographer only.

The main problem for me is that it's simply far too expensive. At £199 I would have bought one, but at £499 it's hard to see it gaining any major market share, which is a shame as it's a really cool and genuinely innovative product IMO.

I just hope that Fujifilm stick with it long enough to make a cheaper and better version. It's possible now, but whether they'll do it is another question entirely... Fingers crossed!

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Apple offers hush money for dodgy iMacs

A 20
WTF?

Sorry Tony, I respectfully disagree.

If anyone's ever been smug arrogant or plain annoying, it's Apple users; and I say that from a position of knowledge - as an ex-Amiga zealot ;)

I'm surprised that there are stil screen problems though, sounds like the same sort of problem they had with the old Performa 5200/5300 all-in-one. A problem that they never seemed able to get a handle on.

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Sky 3D soccer fails to score

A 20

I'm wondering...

Would widening the separation between the two halves of the stereo cameras strengthen the 3D effect of the wide shots?

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6

A 20

AF speed

Actually your findings on the AF speed aren't totally unexpected. Most compact cameras use their image processing chip to calculate the focus, so a slower/older processor could well have a detrimental impact on AF speed/performance.

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Google says Apple silenced its Voice

A 20
Coat

A Schiller in marketing?!?

"Cupertino's SVP of marketing ... Phil Schiller"

Seriously? A Schiller in marketing? Doesn't anyone else find that amusing?

OK, it's just me then, nevermind ;)

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Brown says the 'C' word

A 20
Joke

Actually

"He promised £5bn in spending on jobs."

Actually that's supposed to be a capital J, it turns out he's just buying iPods for all his cronies ;)

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Warning: Showers can seriously damage your health

A 20

I'd check the taps whilst you're at it.

Our bathroom cold water tap always develops a film of greyish slime underneath the nozzle if you forget to wash that area for a month or so.

Doesn't happen with the hot tap, so I guess whatever's growing is heat sensitive.

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Samsung YP-Q2 v. Sony E-series deathmatch

A 20

Newsflash: Sony to expect call from Dibney™ lawyers

That does look rather similar to a certain murine; of a "taking the piss" kind.

Maybe Sony should do a full-on Dibney™ licenced version, I'm sure it'd sell by the bucketload in Japan!

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Office 2010 to come loaded with WGA's bastard child

A 20
FAIL

FAIL

I generally buy my software, so if I buy this I'll be stuck with (yet another) fractious, draconian and probably brain damaged DRM mechanism, whilst those who pirate it will inevitably have the cracked version without any of those annoyances.

In the pre-internet days that cracked version would be hard to find, but now anyone can find warez in a matter of seconds by using any internet search engine.

By adding DRM I can guarantee you're losing at least three sales in this extended household. You may be thinking that's an insignificant speck of users, and you're right, but when many others make the same decision the numbers can quickly mount up.

So, by adding DRM what you're actually doing is adding a significant disincentive to purchase the software. DRM is not only customer hostile, but it's >sales< hostile too.

Many other people ask me for my input as part of their buying decision, and if this comes to pass I'll be steering them away from MSoffice.

The only people you ever stop with DRM protection are a few simple minded home users, most of whom would never buy the software anyway IMO; which means they're a non-market to begin with.

All of this would be irrelevant if MSoffice were the only option, but OpenOffice is free of copy protection, as well as cost, so I'll go there instead. Sure, it doesn't do a few of the useful things from MSoffice, but it does everything I need it to without the DRM.

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Electric motorcycle world championships planned

A 20

I suspect ...

... the reason they've suddenly become popular is the relatively poor performance/reliability shown by many of those TTxGP machines.

I know that if I'd had slightly more mechanical aptitude I'd probably have had a go at building one myself!

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Kind soul donates Claymore mine to charity

A 20
WTF?

That reminds me...

...of the time I was offered some surplus books at work.

It was a heavy box, so I borrowed a trolley. Unfortunately the staff car park was up a flight of stairs, so moved the car around front to the visitor parking. Told the receptionist about the box and drove around front, I guess I was away a minute or so.

I return to find a huddle of receptionists with a long wooden rod poking at it. So I asked them what they were doing...

Apparently they thought it might be a bomb, so they were poking it with a stick to find out.

*sigh*

Had they called the police? No. Had they set off the alarm? No. They just stood around and prodded it with sticks.

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Fujifilm confirms 'world's first' 3D stills and films compact

A 20

Viewing

They also announced an 8" 3D digital picture frame, and they've also announced a minilab that produces 3D prints too.

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A 20
FAIL

Price fail: £570?!? They're mad!

I thought this would be the product that finally cracked the 3D nut, as they also have both 3D digital picture frames and 3D prints sorted, but £570 is nothing short of insane.

Discussing this last night, my friends and I decided that £199 would be ideal, £299 might work, but I don't think they'll sell more than a handful at £570. I could strap two cameras together for much less, OK I wouldn't get the 3D screen, but if that saves me £200 I can live with that!

>"When shooting in bog-standard 2D mode, the camera’s dual lenses allow two slightly different shots to be taken with a single shutter button depression. For example, you could take a close-up view of your friend at a party and simultaneously snap a second image with a wider span that takes in the surroundings."

Can you really use different zoom levels on each half of the camera? That sounds very unlikely to me.

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TTxGP: world's first e-bike grand prix race report

A 20

A lot of motor failures

What I'd love to see is a breakdown* of the make/model of the parts that failed.

There were a lot of motor failures, but was that due to a specifically unreliable motor, or poor motor design in general? Or was it lack of ventilation, or...?

* ba-da-bing

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Microsoft takes hatchet to YouTube clone

A 20

They had a YouTube clone?!

They kept that one rather quiet, I hadn't heard of it before reading this article!

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Video game sales hit three-year low in US

A 20

Another no news shocker

No decent games released = no decent games sales figures.

I haven't bought anything in months, because there's nothing I can see that I want.

For some reason "rehashed EA franchise #409" still isn't appealing.

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