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* Posts by MaXimaN

47 posts • joined 18 May 2007

Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH

MaXimaN
Go

Yay!

It's made it across the briny deep and is within striking distance of Penzance! the tracker is predicting a burst and landing not far from it's current position. I sincerely hope the tracker has miscalculated...

http://spacenear.us/tracker/?filter=B-64

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Giant pop can FOUND ON MOON

MaXimaN

"When the Lunar Project succeeds, Pocari Sweat becomes the first ever beverage to arrive at the surface of the moon."

By 'arrive at' I think they mean 'crash land and create a new crater".

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Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

MaXimaN

Re: Great, made it more accessible

LWRF (and the cheaper 433MHz variant) dimmer switches will not transmit anything - they only receive. So the Arduino code can only send a new value each time and hope the switch received it. If someone physically switches the light off then when the Arduino transmits a dimmer value it should switch on the light and dim it to that value.

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MaXimaN

LWRF vs Z-Wave

Like @Simulacra75, I have a Vera Lite and a plethora (or phalanx, or whatever the plural is for Z-Wave devices) of Z-Wave devices - all of which work flawlessly, except for a couple of Fibaro Dimmer modules in 2-wire mode. Those with a 3-wire configuration work well. A tip to anyone having connectivity/reliability problems with Z-Wave: do run a network "heal" whenever you add a new device, especially battery-powered devices like sensors.

I have the RfxTrx433 USB module that supports 433MHz protocols such as LWRF and currently use that to receive data from three Oregon Scientific temperature sensors and an OWL CM119 energy meter.

I also use it to randomly switch a neighbour's LWRF light on and off whenever I feel like it. Which is often.

And there's the rub with LWRF - no security. I can control *any* LWRF devices in range, including those that are not in my house. And although the LWRF protocol has two-way capability, many of the cheaper devices don't utilise this in order to keep costs down. So while you can switch something on and off, you can't tell what its current status is.

Despite being pricier (sometimes double the price of LWRF devices) I'd recommend going down the Z-Wave route, and getting an RfxTrx433 for cheap sensors and controlling non-critical features that don't require security. The range of devices for Z-Wave is on a par with that for LWRF including radiator valves, boiler control, etc. but with one exception: light switches and plug sockets. There are a few retrofit switches and dimmers but no retrofit UK plug sockets yet. You can still control these using Z-Wave switching modules, but these need to be put inside the pattress box behind the faceplate - which is a problem if you only have 15mm boxes (the most common depth in UK house builds). So breakout the hammer drill and Dremel, or fit the module in the attic for upstairs rooms.

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Blimey! ANOTHER Bitcoin bleed brouhaha

MaXimaN

Meanwhile, at bit121 (UK Bitcoin exchange):

"IMPORTANT NOTICE: It is with regret that our bank has indicated that they are no longer willing to accept sterling deposits. We are seeking new banking arrangements and hope to be able to accept sterling deposits again, once agreements are in place. We wish to reassure bit121 users that all sterling currency and bitcoins are safe and can be withdrawn at any time. At this time, our customers are still able to make sterling withdrawals, deposit and withdraw bitcoins and continue trading."

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Curiosity needs OS upgrade before getting down to science

MaXimaN
Happy

Re: OS

Sojourner didn't use VxWorks, but Pathfinder did. Sojourner was powered by a lowly 2 MHz Intel 80C85 with 512K of RAM and 176K of flash memory - a little underpowered to be running VxWorks. :-)

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Nokia loses $1.7bn in Q1, sales chief falls overboard

MaXimaN
Happy

Re: N900 upgrade path

The HTC Desire Z and the Sony Xperia X10 Mini Pro are both landscape slider qwerty Android devices that are officially available in the UK.

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Microsoft to bake Windows 8 in three flavours

MaXimaN
WTF?

Windows Media Center

I'm hoping the absence of Windows Media Center is just an accidental omission by Microsoft. It's one of the best pieces of software Redmond has ever turned out.

And as Dave Fox said - no Media Player on the Tablet edition? WTF?

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Nokia on 'brink of failure', warns analyst

MaXimaN
FAIL

Eggs? Basket?

While it's true Microsoft have entered and succeeded in a mature and competitive market previously (Xbox/Xbox360) and they are capable of bring innovative product to market (Kinect), mobile is a whole different ball game.

Metro takes away everything that most users are long-familiar with: icons and windows. As a mobile UI this might make it easier to use in a stab-the-big-button kind of way, and having information laid out in tiles is (arguably) easier on the eye. But as a desktop UI with a mouse and keyboard in the mix, it makes no sense at all. Both iOS and Android have proven that users are more than happy with a wallpapered desktop to launch apps from, and Android widgets and screens make personalisation easy and accessible. Inflicting this on desktop users makes even less sense.

Nokia betting the farm entirely on Windows Phone and Microsoft betting the (mobile) farm on Nokia is about as terminal as it gets. Sure, other hardware manufacturers have produced WinPho handsets, but it's going to be a trickle from now on in comparison to the number of new Android handsets. As other commentards have suggested, Microsoft's plan B may well be to acquire Nokia if the going gets tough.

Despite the idiotic bureaucracy and infighting that existed (and, to an extent, still exists) in Nokia, they still have the capability to produce stellar handsets and innovative applications. We will just have to wait and see if WinPho can blossom into a truly usable and enjoyable platform (replete with a thriving developer-driven app market), or whether it will sink Nokia in the long run.

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Plastic that SELF-REPAIRS using light unleashed by prof

MaXimaN
Terminator

Just what the world needs

A fantastic plastic that will never biodegrade. Enough of this stuff in the swirling Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it will probably come sentinent...

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LOHAN's fantastical flying truss menaces kiddies

MaXimaN
Facepalm

It may well not maim or kill an unsuspecting child as it falls out of the sky, but did anyone stop to think about what it might do to a suspecting child?

No, I didn't think so. Murderers!

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Nuclear power will let NASA Mars rover beat 1970s Soviet record

MaXimaN
Go

Opportunity has already broken the 34km record

It reached 34.33 kilometers on November 16th. This is also the first winter Opportunity has really had to hibernate, not counting the "deep sleeps" it has had to do at night due to the stuck-on heater in the robotic arm.

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NASA releases stunning new moon-landing snaps

MaXimaN
Joke

MItchell & Webb summed the conspiracy up pretty well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw

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HTC Salsa Android smartphone

MaXimaN
FAIL

Uh-oh

"One push lets you make a quick post, but it offers different options depending on what function you’re in – from the camera it will instantly take a picture and offer to post it straight away"

...like that isn't a disaster waiting to happen.

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Fukushima on Thursday: Prospects starting to look good

MaXimaN
FAIL

Prospects starting to look good

...as Japan raises the accident level at Fukushima from four to five - as in "accident with wider consequences."

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Godson: China shuns US silicon with faux x86 superchip

MaXimaN
Heart

Sub for...

Name of that electric bike and the custom IC provider...

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Mobile spyware tool helps paranoid spouses prove themselves right

MaXimaN
FAIL

Say what?

"If you think your spouse is cheating, then statistics state you are probably correct," said Gerald Carvey, VP of Product Development.

...so you probably don't need this software at all.

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UK a 3D TV nation? Not half

MaXimaN
Thumb Up

Definitely give it time...

I have the top tier package and recently enabled Sky 3D. The content they are showing is fantastic - especially for sport where the perception of depth really does make a difference. I'd say that's the main hook for most of the subscribers to Sky 3D, as there very little content beside that. You can literally see all of the content they have within a 48 hour period, and they don't even broadcast 24 huors a day.

It will pick up, though. HD took a few years to really gather momentum. As a previous poster pointed out, it takes time for people to upgrade their TVs and many people only just upgraded to 2D 1080p sets.

Price is an important factor too - we've only started seeing sub-£1000 sets in the past nine months or so, so once the price becomes consistently around and below the £1000 mark for a decent spec with bundled pairs of glasses then we'll start to see a higher take-up IF there is content available to justify the purchase.

Once the amount of content increases I can see Sky farming off the sport onto something like Sky Sports 3D and splitting Movies from entertainment, much as they did with their HD channels.

Sky are undoubtedly committed to 3D, despite far from promising numbers, much in the same way as they were with HD. It's just going to take a few years for it to build up a decent head of steam.

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Famous 'Silhouette' Flash illusion unravelled by trick-cyclist

MaXimaN
Joke

An interesting illusion

When viewing this video from the start all three naked figures are rotating clockwise, but about five seconds in I find tha.... *fap fap fap fap fap*

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Jamie Oliver website offers graphic recipe for 'Pussy'

MaXimaN
Joke

Or, as Jamie would say:

"Puthy"

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Android flaw poses drive-by data slurp risk

MaXimaN
Troll

Obvious

Obvious Troll is obvious.

The time taken for Android updates by manufacturers is largely due to having to update the layers of custom UI bloat - such as HTC's Sense, which is actually not that bad - followed by testing time by the operator.

In the case of a fix for this there shouldn't be a great deal of work to do by the handset manufacturer and a limited amount of testing required by the operator. So if Google can come up with a fix for this then an update should be available within weeks, rather than months.

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Orange teases with cut-price iPad offer

MaXimaN
Stop

Question

Is the iPad bound by the same rules though? It's not a voice device, so is it still precluded from having an integrated SIM? TomTom Live and Amazon Kindle are examples of devices with SIM cards that are "not user accessible."

Also, integrated SIM != software SIM.

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Chinese ISP hijacked US military, gov web traffic

MaXimaN
Big Brother

Be realistic

It's not like they could do anything with such a massive amount of data if they collected any of it. I mean, they'd need to own the world's most power supercomputer to do pattern matc...

Oh. Hang on.

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HMV offers 80-quid colour e-book reader

MaXimaN
Joke

Rubber Style

They spelt "rubbish" wrong.

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Ten... budget Android smartphones

MaXimaN
Thumb Up

Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro

I'd also throw the SEX10MP into the mix, as it can be had for under 200 notes on T-Mobile Pay As Yo Go. Capacitive (but small) screen, hardware keyboard, Android 2.1. It's quick, responsive, and pretty nice to use overall.

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Amazon awards self slimmer slice of newspaper pie

MaXimaN
FAIL

So far...

Most newspaper subscriptions are, sadly, mostly teh suck on the Kindle where formatting and content is concerned. Calibre (www.calibre-ebook.com) does a very good job of creating those daily editions for you from web-based content and e-mailing it automatically to your device through your kindle.com e-mail address. In the case of USA Today, for example, the end result is virtually identical to the subscription product.

If more attention was paid to the content (i.e. better formatting, more images) then the 9 to 13 pound monthly subscription might actually be worth it.

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Phosphor World Time Curved E Ink watch

MaXimaN
FAIL

Previous Version

I have the previous version of this watch with a metal casing and metal strap. It displays much less informaiton, but what it displays it presents nicely. The metal strap and case make it look considerably less 'metrosexual' too, plus it can be had for fifty quid less than this one.

I was surprised to see some that some of the characters on the display are segmented. On an e-ink screen? Really? Aside from the display being curved in this case, if the technology still requires you to have segmented characters on the display then stick to LCD - even then, there are some decent LCD dot matrix watches to be had.

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Toshiba ships Folio Android tablet

MaXimaN
Stop

But then there's the Advent Vega

The PC World / Currys Advent-branded tablet that is the ostensibly the same specification (less internal storage) for 100 pounds less. There will be a 3G version early next year which will no doubt be a few extra notes, but I suspect still less than the Toshiba.

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PARIS HAS LANDED!!! Epic supra-atmos flight ends

MaXimaN
Paris Hilton

Chase car on the move again

...presumably having done all of the chasing and scooped up the payload (and PARIS, possibly).

http://aprs.fi/?call=G6UIM-11,G6UIM-9&mt=hybrid&z=10&timerange=3600

Did PARIS fall from the heavens? We must know!

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Windows Phone 7 leaves operators on the hook

MaXimaN
Welcome

A good thing, but...

I welcome this move by Microsoft but this isn't a new thing. Both Apple and Google pushed operator portals to the back of the revenue queue on their operating systems, restricting them to installing bloatware in the form of app suites that hark back to a pre-smartphone era.

But operators don't sell phones, they sell airtime, along with any other services they can that will generate revenue for them. Operators also want to make sure that customers identify with their brand and that the phone is "theirs" (e.g. T-Mobile's pointless renaming of HTC Android phones). Restricting operators to just being "dumb pipes" will likely just push line rental prices up and the monthly quota of minutes, texts, and data down. Arguably this is already happening with data with the new limits imposed by O2 et al.

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Sky faces competition probe over film rights

MaXimaN
FAIL

Fancy That!

Virgin Media - the only company with a respectable VOD offering - presses Ofcom to against against Sky's plans for, er, a respectable VOD offering.

I'm sure that serves the consumer very well.

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Is iFlorist the greatest website in the universe, ever?

MaXimaN
FAIL

Flowers Direct

Back in 2007 I received a mail from Flowers Direct (who are actually very good) that contained the following message:

"Have you received any newsletters from iFlorist? It has come to our attention that one of our competitors may have been sending unsolicited emails to our client database."

Which begs the question as to how iFlorist got hold of the client database in the first place...

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Cheerleaders in danger from cheerleading

MaXimaN
Coat

Surely....

...only Peter Petrelli can save the cheerleader? Do those injuries include having your head cut open to have your brain directly examined?

Mine's the red and white one with pom-poms.

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Cowon D2+ DAB

MaXimaN
Thumb Up

Own the original DAB version

I have the original D2 DAB which I recently "replaced" with an S9. The S9 is a much better player overall, but has no external card slot. The ability to expand the memory of the D2 is undoubtedly it's killer feature along with a ridiculously good battery life... which is why I haven't wanted to part with it.

Don't expect to use this device for video, though. Video support is basic at best and you have to ensure that video is formatted correctly although it can cope with high bitrates. The screen is also just a bit too small to make watching video bearable. The S9 beats this hands down with it's gorgeous OLED screen and better codec/resolution support.

Overall the D2 is a solid, dependable, high quality audio player that is well worth the price tag.

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Intel tears up CPU branding scheme

MaXimaN
Paris Hilton

Changing number of stars over time then?

So an i7 will have 5 stars now, but will the number of stars in the i7 product logo change over time? Maybe they could produce packaging with inks that biodegrade at different rates, or embed an LCD screen into each box...

Paris because she won't do less than 5 stars.

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Doro PhoneEasy 338gsm

MaXimaN
Joke

This phone will be perfect...

...for the elderly to dial the emergency services on 0118 999 881 999 119 725... 3

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Man gets life for killing game-obsessed partner

MaXimaN
Coat

Poor tactics

I'm surprised he called the police. All he needed to do was get in his car, then drive outside of the flashing red/blue detection zone and he would have got away with it.

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World's 'smallest, lightest' laptop launches

MaXimaN
Thumb Up

Compatible with...

"...a strong selection of communication technologies, including HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0 and WiBro."

Compatible, as in, you have to plug devices in to the mini-USB 2.0 port to get them to work? Or are *all* of those radios built-in?

The size of this device combined with the spec makes it very tempting indeed. It's more like a "pocketbook" than a "netbook".

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HTC Touch Pro smartphone

MaXimaN
Thumb Up

@ Dave

The USB port will take a standard mini-USB cable. The extra connections inside are just for the audio and peripheral pass-through on the HTC-specific cable. It charges just fine off standard USB current too.

I've only really found one quirk with Opera which seems to be dependent on the network you are connected to. I switched from O2 to T-Mobile in order to get *actual* HSDPA speeds instead of the 128k I was getting with O2. Since then, I've found that many web sites that require you to login, e.g. Facebook, will often crash the browser right out. No error message. Nothing... just back to TouchFlo. With O2, I had no such problems. A proxy issue perhaps?

Aside from that, the Touch Pro is a fantastic phone. The Assisted GPS feature works like a charm, especially with Google Maps, even without a satellite lock. My only gripe is battery life. With regular e-mail checking over 3G you'll be lucky to get more than a days usage out of the standard battery, but with limited usage I've found I can get two or three days no problem.

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Asus quietly demos Eee Box

MaXimaN

Re: Pricing

...or even higher. That said, they can only go so high before they start to get into the Intel-based Mac Mini price range.

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NASA chief: Europe should have own astronaut ship

MaXimaN
Alien

But...

"During those five years, no Western nation will have technology able to carry people into space."

What's the betting that the Shuttle fleet gets a reprieve for a couple of extra years, just to plug the gap a little? Otherwise, the Chinese will send up a craft, take over the ISS and turn into an orbital weapons platform. **

** Extremely unlikely, but not impossible.

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HTC applies for multi-keypad sliderphone patent

MaXimaN
Go

@Ian Gumby

The N810 is memory-expandable via miniSD cards (up to 8GB at the moment). It can also use any Bluetooth phone as a modem for GSM, GPRS, or 3G access.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33

MaXimaN
Stop

Image Noise

I tried one of these and, although colur reproduction was good, I was appauled at the amount of noise in images taken in anything less than bright light. I compared it to shots taken with a very old Canon IXUS and a very new Pentax and both were considerably better and sharper, even in low light. Needless to say it went back to the shop pretty sharpish.

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Nokia N810 internet tablet

MaXimaN
Linux

More Grunt == Less Battrey Life

Garry Byrne: The OQO 01+, although a nice device, is nearly twice as thick as the N810 and weighs nerly twice as much. The only thing the OQO has over the N810 is more storage out of the box and more poke in the CPU department - both coming at the cost of greatly decreased battery life. I'd only recommend a Windows UMPC is you *really* must run Windows apps.

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MaXimaN
Jobs Horns

Horses For Courses

I have a N800 and, for most N800 owners, the N810 doesn't offer a great deal more than the N800, except for a built-in keyboard - something that was on the feature wishlist since the N770. That's because the N800 is a very nice bit of kit to start with.

I have to chuckle at comments bemoaning the fact that the device isn't a phone, doesn't have a built-in SIM slot, is too "clunky" for a phone, has less features than a notebook, and doesn't have a multi-touch screen. These are all correct statements and why the N800/810 nicely fills a niche that the iPhone, iPod Touch, EEE, N95, and other devices can't cover entirely.

The N810 has the same screen resoution as the EEE, but on a pocket-sized device (it'll fit in a jeans pocket without much of a bulge, not something that can be said of the EEE). The screen is widescreen (unlike iPhone or Touch), and is of a size where full-screen viewing of content - web or video - is comfortable.

It can connect to any bluetooth-enabled phone to communicate over GPRS or 3G. This means I can carry around a tiny phone that isn't shaped like a brick, much less hold the aforementioned brick up to my ear. It also means I don't have to ditch my existing phone or have a separate SIM/modem setup. How often do you not have your phone with you anyway?

The review neglects to mention that the N810 has a built-in kickstand. Sat on a train and plane and want your hands free? No problem. Also, the slide-out keyboard is handy and non-instrusive. Ever tried typing anything of length into an iPhone?

The killer feature for me is the fact it runs Linux (most similar to Debian) and I can install, run, and even write applications with minimal fuss, or even my own Perl or Python-based scripts.

Ultimately, I wouldn't slate this device just because it doesn't have one or more features that another device does have. It fits well into the niche of being a truly pocket-sized UMPC with excellent Internet usability. It doesn't try to be a phone or a notebook, which is why it does what it does very well with minimal compromise.

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Toshiba Portégé R500 slimline laptop

MaXimaN
Thumb Down

VAIO TZ-11 anyone?

I took delivery of a R500 not so long ago, and was mortified by the poor build quality. The plastic is extremely thin and the machine gets VERY hot under load, especially under the left palm rest. The keyboard felt especially weak and the mouse buttons were ridiculously unresponsive. It also has by far the worst screen on a notebook in a long time. The backlighting was very uneven with highly noticeable bleed-through along the left and bottom edges, which made full-screen video viewing pretty nasty. Needless to say I sent it right back. How this machine achieved 85% in a review is anyone's guess, especially considering the price tag.

I got a Sony VAIO TZ-11 straight after that and never looked back. It may be a 100g or so "heavier" but at the same price (for the MN model) it's substantially better made and is much much nicer to use - not to mention sturdier!

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Fujitsu LifeBook FMV-U8240 ultra-mobile PC

MaXimaN

Zaurus anyone?

This is very reminiscent of the (now discontinued) Sharp Zaurus, with it's twistable screen, CF/SD ports, and diminutive keyboard, although with a bigger footprint. Although I love my Zaurus, this is definitely a tastier bit of kit - especially as this has wifi, a wider screen, and isn't restricted to running Linux, NetBSD, or OpenBSD.

I wonder how long it'll be before it appears on these shores...

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