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* Posts by Stevecrox

68 posts • joined 29 Dec 2009

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

Stevecrox

Wait for the burn out

I know of several people (well 6) who have bought windows phones/laptops. With every one I made a point of telling them to try the interface first as people view it in a similar vein to marmite.

For the first month everyone of them was happy with their purchase, after that month the complaints about it started. Usually around 6 weeks I get a call to put the start menu back, by six months I usually get a diatribe about how much they hate some aspect of it.

I think MS messed up, they should have written the shell in a manner similar to KDE's plasma workspaces. Letting people choose TIFKAM or the standard desktop and have applications display an appropriate front end.

Playing with the Windows 8 Beta meant I didn't buy it when it came out (unlike Vista & 7), I've switched to Debian Wheezy (KDE).

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BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

Stevecrox

RIP Youview

Bit miffed, I got a YouView box through BT and it is a great platform. The UI outclasses Roku, Sky, Virgin, Play TV, etc...

The biggest issue is the on-demand section it doesn't support much and takes months before new things are added. Without Netflix, plex, etc... you end up needing a second device. I don't need yet anouther competing standard just everyone to seamlessly support the existing ones.

I bought a couple of Roku's. With a Plex server connected to a TV tuner (provided through a TVHeadend channel). I get it all in a £40 Roku 1, sure the UI isn't as pretty and the easy search features aren't there.

But I would have liked them to fill YouView out over the next few years and start embedding it in TV's. I figured it was the smart tv platform of the future.

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LG to bring Palm's webOS BACK FROM THE DEAD in TVs next week – report

Stevecrox

YouView

Why must every TV company come up with a new UI? Why not just put YouView on each TV I'd have far more faith in in Smart TV's lasting if they did.

That or Andriod.

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Haswell micro: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing desktop PC

Stevecrox

Power Usuage

Can we get some power usage statistics? What wattage is it drawing on idle/load?

I've been using an old atom board as a NAS and would love to replace it with something a bit more powerful but getting useful power usage metrics from specification documents is hard work. Similarly if I'm going to use this as a media player knowing it only draws 20 watts on idle is usefull, I'm not going to leave a machine on 24/7 that draws 500 watts.

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PC sales continue meteoric death plunge through 3rd quarter, drop another 8.6 per cent

Stevecrox

Re: The elephant in the room

The pc market stagnated and wasted it's time marketing itself more expensive.

I spent ~£300 in 2007 for a mid level PC, that included hard drives, sound card, DVD drives, etc... This year I'm looking to update it. Just the motherboard, CPU, RAM and GPU are looking to cost £300 and the components only seem to give a 50-75% increase on what I have. It seems alot for a small gain on existing hardware.

It is like ultrabooks, all I wanted was a Netbook with a 1080p screen. Rather than give me that at £200 manufacturer want to sell me a £600 ultrabook. So I bought an Asus Transformer for alot less.

5
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WD unveils new MyBook line: External drives now bigger... and CHEAP

Stevecrox

Hard Drive Price Drop?

Looking on Ebuyer the Cheapest Internal 2TB drive is £65, if WD are looking to sell a 2TB at £79 could we be looking at a price drop in drives coming soon?

I've been waiting for 4TB to reach the ~£100 mark.

1
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Blighty's great digital radio switchover targets missed AGAIN

Stevecrox

Is it a wonder

Just bought a mid-range Renault Captur, the DAB radio is a £500 extra which is part of R-Link (don't get me started on making R-Link an extra, yes I'm really going to pay £25 pcm extra so I can rent applications from you). We looked at Nissan, Pegeot and Ford's in all of them DAB was either an overly expensive extra or only in the top model.

My year Xperia T has an FM radio built in (as do all Sony's), but there is no option for a DAB in any phone I'm aware off.

I can't think of a single gadget which has DAB by default, if it isn't the default it won't get used.

0
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Revolting peasants force Wikipedia to cut'n'paste Visual Editor into the bin

Stevecrox

Wikipedia needs reform

Wikipedia edits are falling because the obvious topics are covered and editors who over-rule subject matter expects and classify everything as “not notable enough”.

I really hope someone (Google, BBC, etc..), tries to supplant Wikipedia but with a few rule changes. I can’t see the WMF implementing them and I think Wikipedia is becoming too much of a “damaged” brand. I think the following would make more difference than a visual editor:

Firstly allowing people to identify themselves and credentials, if someone is a professor of spintronics from an established university and they edit a article on spintronics they should be able to override an editor unless the editor is equally qualified (unless it is a structure or design issue and then I would let a group of editors win).

As an extension of this, I would allow articles to be classified e.g. science, electronics, physics, m-theory, spintronics, radio-wave electronics, etc.. I would allow people to set a classification and if edited by someone with that classification it would be locked so only other qualified people could edit it (a system to remove false classifications would need to exist). This would hopefully encourage academics to get involved and improve the quality of the articles.

Pay an outside company to audit the actions of a % of editors, if an editor is found to guarding favourite articles, being offensive or just reverting everything. Revoke their position

Rather than have different Wiki’s for each language integrate a translate functionality. Allow for localisation edits which don’t change the article. E.g. store all articles in English and translate, allow searches to see if there are language specific modifications to sections and use those sections.

I would potentially hire a few linguists for the most common languages English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc… and have them cruise through articles making sure they are coherent.

Remove the “notable” exception, encourage articles from everywhere. Allow size constraints to be applied to subject area’s. E.g. if a local news reporter wanted to add themselves, give them a profile that allows for a picture and small biography but no more.

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EE still has fastest, fattest 4G pipe in London's M25 ring

Stevecrox

Facts required

I'm on all you can eat data for £13pcm on 3, they sent me an email to let me know if I have a phone which accepts 4G then I will get 4G all you can eat data at no extra cost.

I'm getting a Xperia Z1 and have been told the All you can eat data on the plan includes 4G when they role it out in my area.

Sure 3's telephone support is painfull in the extreme, but the shop staff are good and the website is better than Vodafone's and O2's (haven't touched EE for years).

1
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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Stevecrox
Stop

Review requests

When doing phone reviews can we get a standard set of images in similarish conditions? I'm after "this is a standard object" e.g. postbox, cafe front, etc.. at x ANSI lumens, this is the same object in low light at x ANSI lumens. Here is a vista shot, here is a movement shot, etc...

I'd settle for a standardised camera phone shown next to it, e.g. here is the Lumia 1020 image and next to it is the iPhone 4S taking the same image. As long as the standardised camera is used accross lots of different reviews.

It's like the battery test, knowing the phone will last x hours looping a video is quite helpfull.

Also with phone reviews, I would hope for a browser JS benchmarking test (using stock browser), something like the Antutu score. While I'm not sure if these are solved some information on quality the GPS*, bluetooth range**, etc... would be nice. For example the Z1/Z Ultra push wireless mirrorcast, but does it work well?

*Years ago I had an Xperia Play and encouraged family to go for smartphones and ditch the tomtoms. It turned out the Samsung Galaxy S and the Samsung Nexus S had truely terrible GPS reception. None of the Samsungs at the time could get a fix in any family members car. I saw nothing in reviews about this at the time.

**A friend has a HTC One X, recently he was talking about the poor bluetooth range of the device. Which seems to be less than 2 metres. Again he assumed it would work fine to 10m's.

4
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Apple beckons fanbois back into its golden era... of, er, 2010

Stevecrox

Re: Apple support versus an Android

Circa 2005/2006 when i broke my O2 XDA Mini S, I took it to O2 for replacement they offerred a replacement phone while it was being repaired at a cost of £25 (Nokia 6210 or something). The phone cost £35 so I bought it. I got a refurbished XDA Mini S phone 4 days laters from O2, through the post.

These days you can buy a low end Andriod phone for ~£30 running gingerbread (I have a Vodafone Smart 2, I'm modifiying that cost this much). So your going to be put out but you'll still have a smartphone with all of your settings, contacts and applications.

Applecare offers you nothing your not entitled to (within the EU), the only extra it gives is instant replacement. Your reasoning seems extremely risk adverse, have your broken your iPhone enough times that this seems is a likely scenario?

Regarding updates each manufacturer is different and it is something that is easy to find out, carriers are often the bigger problem. If your that fussed on having the latest, look at Nexus or Play Editions of the phones.

Unlike the Apple Store it doesn't matter if you fall behind, most developers use the features they need and that dictates the andriod version the application requires. Most applications tend to require 2.2 and up

To give a small example, I currently have a Sony Xperia T (Andriod 4.1.2), the missus has a Sony Xperia Z Ultra (Andriod 4.2.2). There are no applications she is running that I can't (excusing the lock screen widgets, functionality added in 4.2).

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Couchbase relaxes NoSQL derrière into mobile seats

Stevecrox

Re: Databse to solve intermittent connectivity problem?

What about Caching?

Things like Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.. feeds can be easily stored within a database. Decent polling technologies have their part, but look at Google Maps. Without an internet connection it is nearly useless, being able to cache properly gives functionality all the time, which is why most Map applications store the Maps locally.

I'm surprised iOS and Andriod don't already offer a way to do this, something like a mini MongoDB or HSQLDB instance which has a user generated for each application so applications can see each others data. Without it every application must have it's own way of persisting data which must be placing hard work on the developer.

Than again I'm surprised there isn't a standard google supplied theming approach in andriod. so what do I know

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Apple returns to courtroom once again to contest ebook shafting

This post has been deleted by a moderator

HP sacks English employees to bag Scots gov jobs cash

Stevecrox
Megaphone

Re: English Taxpayers

I agree London gets the most heavily subsidised. Personally I think we end devolution because it causes more division (The "Scottish Police" force instead of Scottish regional police is a great example of this) and costs a lot of money.

Some of the devolved powers could then be passed onto LGA's (tuition fees, prescription medicine, etc..), so people would get more say on how certain things are spent, this would make Local Councillors more important.

We should then force parliament to sit in a different country each year, i.e. Year 1 Belfast, Year 2 Cardiff, Year 3 Edinburgh, Year 4 Westminster.

The issues which caused Scotland to want to devolve are the intense London centric view of our government, perhaps if we forced them to see the rest of the UK they would start spreading government investment. Secondly since we are already paying for them to stay in London, the cost of 1 year paying for a 12 month contract in Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, etc... should cancel out the relocation costs (since they are cheaper to live in).

*Just my own opinion

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Review: Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

Stevecrox
FAIL

?

Firstly converting a drive to eSATA isn't hard see below for an example:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/IT-735-Enclosure-External-Tool-free-Assembling/dp/B000V8KQE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371219669&sr=8-1&keywords=external+drive+enclosure

Secondly Here is a card which will give your PC eSATA support:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Startech-com-Express-eSATA-Controller-Card/dp/B0018RSD4O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1371219713&sr=8-4&keywords=esata+pci+card

Hrmm ~£30 on a PC is the same as the £280 you would have to spend on the new Mac Pro

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YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

Stevecrox
Stop

PS3 Store Games

Excluding Singstar you can have your account on upto 5 PS3's and download all of the PS3 games onto those consoles. So how is this new?

1
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IT staff clamouring to pay for their own BYOD kit, says survey

Stevecrox

Re: 70 per cent of US mobile workers now pay for their own kit

I can see some advantages, for example we saw a VMWave solution that supplied a link/client to an Andriod phone image. You logged into that and you could see work email/corporate network in a manor similar to your phone's style. But everything remained on the corporate network.

That has great appeal and if you coupled that with a dual sim, it would make life a lot easier. An alternative would be a standard corporate VOIP client the phone registers to, that forwards office calls on to it.

Both these solutions have a cost but from an employee standpoint they would be big improvements. For a while when I had a work mobile I simply chucked the phone in a draw and put the sim in my personnal mobile phone when I needed the work number. Carrying two phones (when a man with limited pocket space) is hard work.

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Raspberry Pi DUMBS DOWN to target world+dog

Stevecrox

Re: SD Cards, @DJ 2

I think they are aimed at different things, I own two Raspberry Pi's (sadly both sitting on a shelf atm). The Raspberry PI provides cheap reasonably powerfull computing, a large support base and makes it easy to do many things Java, Scratch, Web Server, embedded control.

Arduino's seem to have a much steeper learning curve and are more aimed at the embedded market. For example I've just bought an Arduino Mini so I can interface a 433.7Mhz transciever to my NAS.

I think with teaching it depends on what you are trying to do, for software/logic learning The Pi is the clear winner it is simple and provides the best range of languages (python, java, c, etc..) and applications. There are a number of extensions (camera, GPIO board, digital control board) that can help create simple fun projects (e.g. create motion detector, robot arm control, coloured coin sorter, etc..).

If your looking to teach electronics then the power of the raspberry Pi gets in it's way and an Arduino is probably a better shout. Things like the Arduino mini can help with more complex projects for a low cost.

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Jobs' 'incredibly stupid' prattlings prove ebook price-fix plot, claim Feds

Stevecrox

Re: Talking of e-book prices...

While all true, don't you think it is a good idea to support such petitions? While I am sceptical they can really enforce change, they can provide a barometer of public opinion. If 100,000 people signed that petition perhaps the UK would change it's position on the matter. Politicians are always after votes and this is something minor which would look good.

Then again I still think the best option is for publishers to have a "Double Read" (think double/tripple play on DVD's) feature involving the book and the ebook.

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Cameron eyes 'non legislative options' for more spook snoop powers

Stevecrox
Stop

Re: A few words

I believe the current systems let them do just that, I know a police analyst and she can pull all sorts of data on a suspect. One of my favourite (she told me after it went to trial) was when she proved someone of fraud when the phone that made "threats" was only infrequently turned on and when it was it was always within a 100 metre area of his phone. Since some of those locations were motorways it made pretty powerful evidence.

I think the issue is some internet data is lost if there isn't a warrant in place, but all a crook would have to do is use a service with no residence in the UK to get around that fact.

Since MI5 knew of the Woolwhich murders, I’m not certain how this bill would have helped.

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Former Microsoft Windows chief: I was right to kill the Start button

Stevecrox

Forced Change

If MS had provided different Windows Shells which start based on use I don't think people woud have a problem. But they forced Metro on desktop users in order to gain marketshare, large touch screen buttons are irratating.

Making things worse is the Metro/Desktop shell integration makes it harder to find anything, 7 helped improved the consistency and logic of the menu options (Vista was more of a mix of XP style and Vista). It makes the whole operating system seem half baked, KDE 4.10 now seems more polished than Windows.

KDE demonstrates how a desktop environment should work, different devices have different "Plasma Workspaces". There are Desktop, Laptop, Netbook and I believe a Mobile workspace and these try to reshape to suit your needs. This approach by MS would have been incredible, as it stands I've put on openSuse on a couple of Windows 8 (non touch) laptops because people prefer the "windows 7" style and the charm bar keeps getting in the way for them.

I would have rather had MS go through all applications and apply the ribbon, sort out all applications/options so they work the same and are organised. Than any other change they did.

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Review: Pure Jongo S3 multiroom speakers

Stevecrox

Re: Or...

Forgot to add for battery backup, you could use a Muvo Pebble or some other USB battery pack and have the old external plug charge that

0
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Stevecrox
Happy

Re: Or...

You could get a Creative 5.1 USB X-F box for £40 and a set of reasonable speakers for £40 (more/less depending on your hearing). With the USB Powered hub and Bluetooth\WiFi dongles your looking at a £100.

The solution would not be as portable, but has the advantage that you could stand up a DNLA, uPNP, SAMBA, pulseAudio setup linking it to a NAS/Media Server easily and I don't think it would be to hard to setup the Pi as a Blueooth headset so you could link and stream as well.

Although if you looked at something like an old iPod docking speaker set you could probably hide it all within a single unit. The hardest part would be linking the buttons of the speaker set to command the PI. This could all be controlled by a SSH/VNC server and for brownie points you could use XBMC/Home made web server.

Yes I am considering this as a project.

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Boffins find world's oldest virgin water trapped in Earth's crust

Stevecrox
FAIL

Re: The perfect gift . . .

Worked in woolies when Coke Cola released Dasini water, it was tap water with a few additives one of which was bromide. The concentrations were similar to those we gave to WW2 soldiers to reduce their libidos and at that level were found to cause bowel cancer.*

*This was the explanations we were given from Woolies HQ when they asked us to pour it down the drain. Woolies HQ were not well regarded since they seemed actually clueless on how to layout a store and how people actually bought stuff. I remember 3 years before their demise being asking in a staff questionnaire if I could see Woolworths existing in 5 years. Apparently so many people answered no, they thought it best to reissue the questionnaire without the question, so take the story with a pinch of salt.

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New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for

Stevecrox
Thumb Down

Re: beyond a joke

Windows Phone 8, has the same issue as Windows Phone 7 for me. Microsoft seem to like causing clipping atefacts. For example:

The screensaving clock can appear partially off screen and to indicate there is a scroll page to the left they show you the first character/part of the right hand page (but not the left). This drives me nuts, I love the different approach and every windows phone is as slick as butter but the fact puts me right off.

I have noticed a certain attitude which is good for Nokia/Microsoft, my little sisters has had problems with the wireless charging, bluetooth and the wifi (two replacement units). So far all her rage has been at O2 rather than the poorly working units. Where as the slightest problem on her Nexus S was always Googles fault. I've seen this was the 3 people I know with WP8 phones.

Another problem with Windows 8 phones is how identical they all are, MS need to let manufacturers have a little more flexibility with the form factor. I've seen people get disapointed that their new andriod phone still has the same user interface. Windows Phone 7/8 phones are really quite close in appearence which I think will put people off upgrading.

2
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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

Stevecrox
FAIL

Who cares about flexible?

Phones with 4.5" - 5" screens can make good reading devices. The largest battery drain is the screen, colour e-ink has been available (at prototype stage) for years.

Why all this effort on flexible displays (which has limited real use), and start giving us phones with colour e-ink screens!

I get how flexible displays improve durability, but the "advantages" of being able to curl it up etc.. I have always thought as disadvantages. It makes it hard to get a paper in a bag. It is hard to hold a broadsheet without it bending, the wind blows it around.

I would much rather have a phone that lasts for a week with usage. Heck if you are that worried about colour wash-out give me an option to choose the screen, place an LCD panel above, the e-ink screen below and let me switch when I want. My e-reader is getting less used because every company wants me to use their book store application.

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Movie review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Stevecrox
FAIL

Not Watching

If they want to do Star Trek, fine do Star Trek and accept all of the history and storyline. There is a lot of the orignal series that is untold. I can cope with new actors covering it, heck even keeping the same universe but a decent re-imaging would have been good (think Battlestar, a Kirk who cared that the red security guard got killed would have been cool).

The "we are in an alternate universe" thing and can do whatever we want just annoyed the heck out of me. It smacked of them having a plot and just re-using the Star Trek brand to ensure people watched it.

I have no problem with a reboot, new characters etc.. but Star Trek developed numerous rules over the years, federation ships have two warp neceles, transporters only work to around 10,000kms, Warp 9.9 is about 1000 light years a year, etc... Any federation planet was governed by a single government, police, medical, military are folded into federation forces. None of these things would greatly affect the plot but would have constrained the story telling. The films/tv series did occasionally break it's own rules, but overt he 20 or so years did develop a rather well thought out universe. Instead of taking advantage of that we got a film that wasn't even consistent to it's own rules.

I won't be watching/supporting Into Darkness, with Enders Gate, Iron Man, etc.. I can get my Sci-Fi fix elsewhere and I wonder if the other fans they burned will bother watching it?

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Can't beat the Nexus 7? Join it: Nook tablet gets Google Play store

Stevecrox
Thumb Up

Re: Why won't someone sell me..

I'd love this as well. A 7" e-ink screen with andriod. I know they have been holding back colour e-ink screens due to colour wash out but consider what I want from a tablet this is fine.

1
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Seagate's bottom line smacked as users bin desktops for tablets

Stevecrox
FAIL

Too Expensive

I bought a Maxtor 400GB external drive (had a Seagate Drive inside) 7 years ago, it cost £65 in Maplins. If you were to buy a 500GB external drive today you would spend £70. So after 7 years of development storage technology doesn't seem to have moved.

I've built a Home NAS, it currently has a number of older drives, I would love to buy a couple of low energy 2/3TB drives. But at the cost of the drives, it isn't worth it it would take years to recoup the energy saving costs. At £45 for a 2TB drive I would impulse buy at £70 I can make do without.

Considering the number of people buying Raspberry PI's and the number of posts about building a NAS Seagate etc.. would realise there is some serious money to be made if they can hit the right price points.*

*Still waiting on a low power ARM board that supports SATA Raid, it doesn't need to be much more powerfull than a Raspberry PI. But it does need to be cheaper than buying a dedicated NAS unit.

0
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Apple: You thought Google dodged taxes? Get a load of THIS

Stevecrox
FAIL

Re: What will they do with the overseas assets?

Trickle down effect is nonsense, back when I did an econmics A Level they taught about the "Velocity of money".

The basic premise is if you give 1 person £1 billion, they can only spend so much on cars, women, houses, yachts, etc.. say £600 million of it is returned into the economy.

If you were to give a million people £1 million, most people would spend all of it so say £900 million is returned the to economy.

While those numbers are plucked out of thin air the basic theory goes as you concentrate wealth within a system the rate at which money within the system moves around slows down. At a certain point the econmy will stall. The wealth gap is important for this reason if you want a healthy economy you want hundreds of millionaires rather than a few billionaires

3
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British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

Stevecrox

The eBook Problem

Do I buy an eBook for £17.99 or the hardback from waterstones for £17.99?

If I have spent £17.99 for a hardback am I likely to spend anouther £17.99 to have the book conviently on my e-reader?

When will a book retailer sell me the hardback/paperback with the ebook? I wouldn't mind paying a little extra (say £21 for both). But splashing out full price again is insance and means I don't buy any major authors ebooks.

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Have Brits fallen for Netflix, or do they still LoveFilm?

Stevecrox
Stop

Re: Netflix Great/LoveFilm Not so good

Please point me at the Andriod and iPhone application, all I kind find is an order by post application. I think LoveFilm has been limited to the Fire when it comes to small devices.

The Wii update only appeared in the last few weeks and I haven't had time to try it yet. But if it is like the PS3 LoveFilm application I don't have much hope, even 4oD player is better than LoveFilm on the PS3.

The web expearences are quite different from a UI perspective as well, the search facility is painfull and the web design looks like play.com from 5 years ago.

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Stevecrox
Thumb Up

Netflix Great/LoveFilm Not so good

I signed up to Netflix and Love Film before christmas, during that time I use Netflix heavily. Either on my (andriod) phone, PS3, Wii, PC, the missus uses her iPhone as well. The applications always run smoothly, work fine over HSPDA/EDGE. There is the problem where is can forget what you last watched, but it is easy to find the content.

LoveFilm is limited to my PS3 or a PC and has a terrible search mechanisim. I have a LoveFilm instant account. When I perform a search I don't want to see things available on DVD. Whenever we have tried to use it, we search/browse and then find out it is only available by post. The search feature and the fact it is limited to my PS3 is why I am cancelling this month.

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Apple shares take biggest one-day hammering in 4 years

Stevecrox
Stop

Re: Whoodathunkdit??

@JDX

The Computer Nerd/Tech/Geek can be thought off as market multipliers when it comes to electronics/software. Their opinions shape the market.

When my non-geek family and friends look to buy a phone they come to me and ask for advice, when I was in HMV recently people cottoned on to the fact I knew about tablets people started pestering me for advice.

If you go back through places like the register/slashdot/etc... you will see in 2004 - 2007 a lot of people were talking about how good Apple Macbooks were, Apple were very well thought of within the community and promoted by us to the general public.

Around 2009 we started seeing anti-Apple feeling and now the majority of forums seem to be filled with Apple hate. You can start seeing that attitude amongst the general public, I suspect by the middle of the decade most people won't like Apple or buy Apple.

I don't think this effect is specific to the technology industries either (see fashion, cars, films, books, etc..)

1
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Why did Comet fail? Hint: It wasn't just the credit insurers

Stevecrox
FAIL

Interesting analysis

Everyone has said it although I would suggest making the stores identical is part of their downfall.

For example when I grew up in Plymouth, there were 3 games within 300 metres of each other. One speacialised in Sega, one predominatly had Nintendo and one did Playstation. Now when I go into Plymouth city centre there are 4 Games and 1 Gamestation. They sell exactly the same stuff (same shelf sapce for Wii, PS3, xBox 360, Vita, etc..), there is no reason to go in one over the other and if it isn't in the chart don't bother.

Over the weekend i wanted a PS3 AV To VGA cable we tried 2 comets, 3 curry's 2 maplins, 1 PC World, 1 game, 1 gamestation, 2 Argos's, B&Q & 2 HMV's. All of them had exactly the same accessories at the same price point. That was accross Gloucester & Cheltenham. The only place that understood what I was after was in a Maplins in Gloucester and the guy in there said they had ran out 2 weeks ago and hadn't had any in since.

Firstly having more than one store within 5 miles seems wastefull, secondly if you are going to have multiple make sure they aim at different markets.

2
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Cashless Comet to close 41 stores, axe 500 jobs

Stevecrox
FAIL

Re: Not much of a sale

Yet to see someone in Comet, PC World or Dixons sell something and have a clue what they are talking about and then not try to push extended warrenty's.

I was in Comet on Saturday and watched as a staffer suggested a £110 HDMI cable (discounted from £130) with the cut price TV. I know they re going out of business, but I had to point out that Gold plated ends create input/output impedence problems, HDMI is digital with bit error correction and HDMI was designed to operate over a few metres with a 10/50 metres (couldn't remember which) maximum range. I then asked her if her TV and source have gold connectors and will the TV and source only be a couple of metres apart? I then suggested she could find the right cable on Amazon for ~£3 although £10 was average for shops. Comet man did not look happy.

Saw a similar thing in PC World related to Anti-virus that day and (a few months earlier) when I asked a PC World staffer what the difference between the PC World Exclusive Asus Transformer and the Asus TF301 was he waffled on about it being better (It was slightly more). I got my phone out goggled the serial number and found out the exclusive was the TF101, I showed him the spec sheet and left.

Amusingly that day I managed to sell 4/5 tablets in HMV once someone picked up I knew what I was looking at. I had a queue of people asking me questions.

A good electronics retailer, would have staff who know what they are talking about, offer good value loans, provide support/workshops to show you how to operate your purchase and wouldn't be trying to push expensive cables or bolt on packages. Basically be more like Maplins (although Maplins isn't brilliant).

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Office to propel Windows tablets past Android in 2015

Stevecrox
Thumb Up

Re: You do realize...

Things like the Asus Transformer Prime can replace a netbook/laptop. Modern tablets have a high resolution screen (like an ultrabook), the battery life of a Netbook (15 hours in the Primes case), exchange/IMAP/POP3 support through applications you can support every available file format and turns on instantly (well from standby).

The only thing missing is a well developed office suite (Polaris Office and Quick Office are ok), sure you can't install visual studio or Matlab on them. But in all other respects I would have killed for something like that during university (instead I made do with an XDA Mini S & a bluetooth keyboard).

I'm hoping Libre Office and Eclipse can be ported to Android, it would be the final push for me to get a Transformer.

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Archos pushes out 7-inch GamePad, slaps on dual thumbsticks

Stevecrox
Happy

Phone version

I love the look of this tablet, but would avoid since Archos support is terrible.

I have an Xperia Play which I love but it is started to get long in the tooth (wear and tear and low memory issues). I'd love to get a phone like this, heck even a bluetooth case like this would do.

Any idea's?

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Windows Phone 8: What Nokia and Microsoft MUST do

Stevecrox
Stop

Re: Tombstoning

I had a Nokia 5800, I loved Nokia Maps (perferred v2 over v3). With a family of Garmin/TomTom users I frequently found it got a lock quicker and gave better directions.

I've been on Andriod for a while now and discovered Co-Pilot, sure the UK edition costs £25 and the European maps cost anouther £25, but like Nokia Maps v2 it has active traffic (v3 took this out and went "free"). CoPilot is better than current Garmin but only equal to TomTom, it cost me £60 and will port between different andriod phones.

The only downside is battery life, my Nokia 5800 could spend a month in standby (actually think it lasted 6 weeks recently, left on in a drawer) and would last 4 hours while using Nokia Maps. My Xperia Play lasts 2 days on standby and ~ 3 hours using Co-Pilot.

I'm sure WP7 phones are great but the poor cropping on text and partial views of the next slide screen drive me bonkers.

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Ten netbooks

Stevecrox
FAIL

Screen size Fail

Only 2 netbooks in that list had decent screens, I own a Samsung NC10 it is a great little device but the screen resolution is appaling (1024*768). I have been quietly waiting for a netbook with a 720p or 1080p screen. My little sister did have a Sony Viao which had a fantastic screen but the fact you can't change the hard drive or the ram put me off.

Any suggestions? Something comparable to a Intel Atom N270, accepts 2GB of ram, replacable hard drive (I have a spare SSD I would use) and a 720/1080p screen.

I'm ignoring ultrabooks due to price and the fact they are overkill for what I need.

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Ten... all-in-one inkjet photo printers

Stevecrox
Meh

Epson Stylus SX435W

I read the review and can't see why anyone would spend the extra, I did own a HP Enterprise wireless printer (£50 on sale in Tesco last year). But couldn't find any print cartitridges for it, during the mad search I came accross the Epson Stylus SX435W for £45 in Sainsbury's.

It uses WIFI to connect to your router and sets up a print server, so any machine can connect in your house network without needing complicated drivers (HP and your 100mb windows driver!).

The scanner detects multiple images and will scan them separately (since I am scanning in my photo collection this is invaluable). The scanner maxes out at 500 dpi and windows 7 finds the driver automatically.

It has a little LCD screen allowing you to perform setup, maintain, photocopy, scan & print operations. There is also a SD card slot for those inclined.

The ink cartridges are separate and a full pack costs £27 in Tesco and the form factor is tiny (smallest all in one I have ever seen) and it does only take between 50 - 100 pages at a time. I'm also not certain about the photo printing quality because I have only printed documents.

All that for £45, why would you spend £300? If your working in an office you won't be looking at simple inkjets unless your a small business and frankly if your worried about queues forming due to slow printing times, you could by 6 of these for the cost of one of the reviewed ones.

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Ten Android games

Stevecrox
Thumb Up

Radiant Defense

I regularly play Radiant Defense, it is very distracting and because how the saves work something you can pick up and drop. The only annoying thing is it tries to push add'ons if you fail a level alot. The humour is pretty good and does wrap some semblance of a plot around the game. The tricky part of the game can be learning a level, a combination that was good for a previous level may be terrible for a later one. I still haven't worked out the point of the science centre (with the added weapons that brings).

I bought Radiant HD, think space invaders on steriods, like defence the humour is good and I was playing that game in and out for a year without getting bored (GTA3 & Sonic4 didn't get a look in). It also has DPAD support which works very well on the Xperia Play so I don't know how good it is on a normal phone.

Hexage haven't done many games but they seem to be a developer to watch, not astro-turfing only game programmer I know works for One Touch and they do iPhone football games (not my thing),

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What happens when Facebook follows MySpace?

Stevecrox
Happy

Picasa/Picasa Web Albums/Google+

I started a similar project of taking all the photo's from my family and archiving them.

Picasa is a local application that stores all sorts of photo meta data within the JPG using the appropriate standards (GPS, Albums, dates, comments, etc..). The face tagging feature is linked to a people profile it creates (people are linked to email addresses) and works remarkable well (requires little training).

Picasa Web Albums allow you to upload your photo albums online, there is a major bug with the "people" aspect in Picasa Web Albums where it seems to create a person for each album (so you can get hundreds of identical people). Luckily the Picasa local application merges these people, google have been moving towards Google+ which fixes this (online viewing) problem if the person has a Google+ profile.

I went for this solution as online storage is cheap (I get 20gb for £5 a year, although if you sign up now it is ~£1 pcm). It uses standards so I can move the data around and the local application makes doing all this a pleasure.

I had a look at Flicker and others but Picasa/Google+ seemed to be the only complete package.

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Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today

Stevecrox
Go

Re: Out-sourcing is bad

I like writing code comments, ensuring system/unit test coverage and getting basic things like Interface Communication Documents put together.

Sure I will avoid writing a user guide, but the first thing I do when I join a project is find out about their build process. I then work to automate that process (projects rarely do until you point out the wasted time).

Then Once I have Jenkins/Cruise Control up and running I get tools like Cobertura (Unit Coverage), JavaNCSS (Code commenting), Checkstyle, JSLint, PMD, FXCop, StyleCop, Lint, etc... (build scripts tend to be written in ANT or Maven and I have done it so many times I add this over a lunch).

Then all you have to do is show the system to your team /technical lead and wait. I've yet to see one who can resist all of those lovely build metrics. Once you have their buy in most of the rest of the documentation comes as a matter of course.

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Samsung Galaxy S III

Stevecrox

Re: Quad Core?

I too have a play, the slow downs are due to Sony bloatware, I'm running CM9 RC0 (Ice Cream Sandwhich FXP 121 kernel). It runs smoothly and I have around 60-70 applications installed, Hotmail push email, SMS Backup & Restore, 3G Watchdog, Facebook, Google+, Llama, BTFon, BeWeather, CoPilot, etc...

The Sony based roms out there tend to suffer from lag and with that many applications you are always fighting for memory (Sony's beta ICS build was horrific for it).

I've also found the phone works a lot better when you have 100mb's free in application storage, if you get below that lag starts appearing so moving applications accross to the SD card helps alot.

Considering Sony have cancelled the ICS release for the Play I was toying with getting an S3 next year

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Windows XP support ends two years from now

Stevecrox
FAIL

Re: Migrate before ...

I'm running Windows 7 on several Intel Atom boards quite happily, The only real difference I find it Windows 7 needs 2GB of ram instead of 1GB (XP) to run well. My media centre pc (an N330 on an ION chipset) uses around 50 watts playing 1080p video. Windows XP requires the same energy usage but takes longer to boot up.

I have a copy of Windows 7 Pro and Windows XP mode seems to work well so it is possible to keep those legacy applications going (along with Dos-box).

Windows 7 does require more RAM (2GB instead of 1GB) and Storage space (10GB instead of 4GB) but if it does use more power I haven't been able to detect it. It also runs as smoothly as Windows XP on the same hardware in my experience (obviously your mileage may vary).

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Windows 8: Sugar coating on Microsoft's hard-to-swallow tablet

Stevecrox
WTF?

Re: Microsoft's Response

I would have had it be two separate shells, either you boot in to the desktop or your boot in Metro. Unlike Windows Media Centre which was an application on top of the desktop I would have both be a complete GUI layer. I would also place an option so the user can choose the interface they want. The default would have been Metro to help push Metro.

I would have had both GUI's use common code base but not depend on each other, I haven't used Windows 8 yet but trying to merge a desktop and touch interface sounds stupid. I will try to get this consumer preview to see if I should bother getting Windows 8

I have been using KDE recently (to learn more about Linux) and KDE has a Touch, Netbook and Desktop interface, each one is designed slightly differently and so it works well on all of them. Since you are using the same tools just on a different layout it's easyish to find your way around on all of them as well.

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Stevecrox
FAIL

Re: Use of screen space

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem. The few WP7 phones I have played with I really like except for the weird running off of the page "feature" you mention. It really annoys me, I can't figure it out either.

My plan is to avoid Windows 8, I figure I will like Metro (aside from the half cut off next page thing) but I'd rather it allow for a complete Windows 7 desktop and Metro. Combining them will mostly likely annoy me to death. I really like Windows 7 UI, while I know it can be improved from what I have heard Metro seems to causing issues. My only thought is this is like the UAC in Vista where they are trying to force people on to Metro, but it seems a bit of a blunder to me.

Why do all the companies (Canical, Gnome, MS, Apple) seem to think we want touch screen UI's everywhere? I think KDE have gotten it right with a different desktop depending on the environment it is running on.

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