* Posts by Chz

60 posts • joined 15 Jul 2010

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US to stage F-35-versus-Warthog bake-off in 2018

Chz

Re: versus?

Actually, the GAU is surprisingly ineffective against even 1970s-era tanks head-on. The pilots have always been told to go for the sides or rear because the attack profile makes it quite difficult to hit the (very thin) top of the tank. It may have a better attack angle than a mud-sucking armoured vehicle, but you are talking about frontal armour that can bounce a 120mm tungsten penetrator round. The GAU's a very impressive gun, but there's only so much a 30mm round can do. It's rated to 69mm of penetration at 500m.

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Back to school: Six of the smartest cheap 'n' cheerful laptops

Chz
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A Chromebook option would be good

Most universities are playing around with ChromeOS, if only for the cost savings and the ability to completely wipe them to factory settings in seconds. This makes ChromeOS particularly well-supported, especially given that the web versions of Office365 and Skype now work perfectly well on them. Printing is the only gotcha, from what I've seen.

I picked up the Full HD 13" Toshiba. About as expensive as the cheapest ones on this list, but performs quite a lot better, can't pick up a virus, and has limited capability for the teenager to fuck around with it too much before he (inevitably) breaks it.

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Q: What's black and white and read all over? A: E-reader displays

Chz

Can't wait for the review

I've been pretty disappointed with my Kobo Touch vs. the Kindles in the house. It's slow, the touchscreen is finicky about actually registering taps, it will randomly turn itself on in my bag and then skip 15 pages ahead, and the font selection is abhorrent. I don't gripe much considering it was half the price, however I do kind of wish I'd just bought the basic Kindle with buttons. But I have also heard that the newer ones are a lot closer to the Kindle in quality terms (looks like price also, unfortunately) , so I'm curious to see if they've reached rough parity.

I do hope you separate out the ecosystem from the other factors. For some, it certainly matters. For anyone who can be bothered to figure out Calibre, it's entirely irrelevant.

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Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – a true monster in the making

Chz

Re: 7/10 at best.

While it was a tremendously entertaining game, Shadow of Mordor isn't the same thing at all. The sad little story they've attached to it might as well not be there at all. The Arkham games are still the pinnacle of an action/story hybrid. Mordor is pretty much all about the action.

I rather enjoyed the first Witcher, but in the second one I always felt hindered by the interface. Fighting started as ludicrously hard and very quickly moved to ludicrously easy. Repetitive environments, aggravating quests... For all its buggy quirks, I still liked the first one more. I'm definitely going to give 3 a try, at least. Maybe once someone's patched in (probably 3rd party, going by my experience of 2) control remapping properly.

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Messerschmitts, Sinclairs and a '50s living room: The Bubblecar Museum

Chz

Smuggling

"nine people were smuggled from East to West Germany, one at a time, hidden in an Isetta that had had its battery and cooling system removed."

I just had to click on that link. Aha! Nine in total. I was picturing a clown-car Isetta and how they explained their way past the border police. :)

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Honda CR-V: SUV-lite that’s also light on the pocket

Chz

Environmental?

Diesels are fuel efficient. That does NOT make them "environmentally friendly" compared to an equivalent petrol-powered engine.

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Renault Captur: Nobody who knows about cars will buy this

Chz

Re: Looks Good For Dogs

I'm not sure about the practicality of its twin brother, the Juke, but the Nissan certainly feels less cheapo inside. Does Renault offer the fun little turbo petrol engine (190ps) that the Juke has?

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El Reg tests portable breathalyzers: Getting drunk so you don't have to

Chz

Are these certified for use?

I'd love to get something for driving in countries (France being the primary example) where BAC testers are mandatory to carry in the car. But I also know that they need to be certified by the French authorities, and the last time I went into Halfords precisely none of the electronic ones were. Which makes me suspect that a French company makes the disposable, single-use ones.

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Psssst. Don't tell the Bride, but BBC Three is about to be jilted

Chz

While it's true that BBC3 is pretty dire, I think the same can be said of 1 and 2 which have several times the budget for their shows. BBC3 probably represents fairly good value for money given that, on average, they've turned out one good show a year over their lifetime. BBC1 would need to turn out 12 good shows a year to be the same value for money, and it sure as hell doesn't do that!

That being said, there's no reason whatsoever they can't can a few repeats and put the entire home-made schedule of 3 onto 1 and 2. Strip the repeats and the imports and 3 only has a couple of hours' programming.

Ah well, I'll fondly remember them for:

Monkey Dust, My Life in Film, Bad Education, Pulling, Being Human, Mongrels, The Fades, Nighty Night, Pramface (well, the first season), and The Mighty Boosh. Little Britain wasn't half bad at first too, but that sort of thing wears thin extraordinarily quickly.

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Chz

Re: Kill off BBC3

More "In The Night Garden" than Teletubbies. Cameron is a dead ringer for Iggle Piggle.

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HTC looks to cheaper phones as revenues wane

Chz

Sorry, are you blaming the manufacturer for you breaking the phone? You know there's a hard physical reset key combination on all those phones, right? You know that in the phone's settings you can *choose* how it appears to a USB connected host, right?

Oh no, wait. You're just a blooming idiot.

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New Doctor Who's new costume newly REVEALED by Beeb

Chz

Re: DMs...Hmmmm

Sadly Ecco's quality has gone downhill lately as well. I was mildly surprised to find the soles of the current pair had cracked after only 15 months or so. I was *very* surprised to head online and find that this is common now!

Still bloody comfortable shoes, and there are precious few options for those of us with wide feet in terms of buying off the rack. I've pretty much been "stuck" (not really, I don't mind it at all) with Airwalk and Ecco for years.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Chz

Chipmunk

De Havilland Canada was an entirely separate design entity post-war. Mainly of note because it out-lived its parent company and was arguably more successful in the post-war era. Bombardier still builds DHC-8s and another company bought the rights to the older aircraft and still builds DHC-6s to order.

The Chipmunk is of note for having a low enough stall speed (roughly 40kts) to hover over people's back gardens in a moderate wind. Scares the crap out of them.

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Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

Chz

Re: What have I missed?

I've downvoted you for parroting what WD, Seagate, et.al keep telling us.

I've no doubt there are places where the Reds are more suitable than the Greens. But a home NAS isn't really one of them. Remember that the Green disks were out for several years before the Reds came along and millions of them are spinning along happily in home NAS boxes without issue. My NAS (QNap Ts-219) has never had an issue coping with sleeping disks. For one, mirrored disks will sleep at the exact same time so there's no threat of a RAID rebuild. For two, any decent NAS supports some form of journaling (even if it degrades performance slightly) that would cause a rebuild to take all of 2 minutes.

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Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

Chz

It obviously depends on what you expect the Doctor to be.

A few years ago, I'd have said Baker (Tom, naturally) and been done with it. But that's just a side effect of my age, and his long tenure in the role. I've gone back and watched a lot of old Who as well as the new in recent years and it has changed my perception a bit.

Based on that, Patrick Troughton has ended up my favourite. Followed by Matt Smith, who's essentially emulating a younger version of him. It's a pity so much of Troughton's work is still missing, but the recently uncovered episodes were *excellent*.

I wouldn't go so far as to rate the rest of them. They've all been good in their own ways (even if for Colin Baker, it's been off-screen in the Big Finish plays). Certainly Tom can beat them all for presence and sheer pomposity, but having re-watched all of his stuff in the past few years it's really quite astonishing how bad it is in places and how often Tom just phoned it in. Out of the two most maligned actors in the role, Syl was starting to get into a very good groove just as the series was canned, and Colin proved beyond a doubt in later work that it really was just abominable writing and directing that made his years so shit.

All of that is because I like the idea of the Doctor as a playful alien with a heart of gold. If you think he's better suited as an imperious guardian of good then Pertwee or Tennant will be more your thing.

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Ten top stories from Classic Doctor Who

Chz

Keeper of Traken on the short list? Are you sure you're not confusing that one with something good? Maybe it's because I've always found the Nyssa character irritating, but that one plods along worse than most do.

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ISPs: Get ready to slurp streams from Murdoch's fat pipe

Chz

Re: BE

I would go so far as to suggest that Sky don't *want* Be's customers. They're generally clued up and have expectations of the service that Sky would rather not have to live up to. The want O2's customers. If the Be users all fuck off somewhere else, it'll be fine by them.

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Chz

Re: Who else has left already?

As a long-time Be customer, I was on such a sweet grandfather deal that they couldn't offer me anything better to stay on. That's one thing I'm going to miss; not having price rises every year.

On the other hand, there was a large portion of the Be customer base waiting for a FttC offering from Be. Almost all of whom (myself included) have fled to BT Infinity or the BT-owned Plusnet offering. I can hold back my sorrow for the 75/18 Mbit uncapped service I now get. Just be sure to throw BT's Home Hub out a window and use a proper router. But then Be's customers were generally tech-savvy and the Be*Box was a pile of crap so most of us had something better anyhow. (The Billion 7800N is a nice piece of kit, and their support is superb.)

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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

Chz

Re: carry space

It's the Micra-sized version of the Renault-Nissan small car platform, so it is pretty small.

(It comes in Small - Micra-sized, Medium - Clio-sized, and Large - Note-sized)

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SGI not selling off NUMAlink – so forget that idea

Chz
Facepalm

They still exist?

I was sure they'd gone bust ages ago.

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Review: Infiniti M35h hybrid sports saloon

Chz

Re: Pretentious brands or not..

As I understand it, Sunderland produces cars that are just as good as the ones made in Nippon.

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Chz

Re: Top Gear

It's a petrol engine. Renault mostly uses Nissan-designed powerplants for their petrol offerings. In return, almost all of Nissan's diesel engines are from Renault.

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Review: HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 handset

Chz

Re: What exactly is good about it?

No, Samsung support is noticeably WORSE than HTC's.

I know very few people who aren't techies who give a damn about SD card support. None of the recent Nexus devices have it and The Goog is deprecating support for them in future releases anyhow.

But then I've had good luck with these things. My Desire is still going (albeit with CM7.2 on it now) and I'm quite liking my One S.

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Drobo B1200i: The heavy-duty array even your mum could use

Chz
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Re: @lusty

Trevor, I still think your initial response was on the... "hasty" side (I didn't see it as brow-beating you into using IOPS, but rather asking for something more than a screenshot of a Windows file copy dialogue box) but I have to commend you for the time and effort you've put into responding to the issue. Thank-you. Having done a few reviews myself, I certainly understand that sometimes it seems it's all criticism and no gratitude.

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Chz
FAIL

You did all that, but couldn't be bothered to actually put it in the review?

Then you attack someone who dares to challenge you on it?

That's shocking behaviour from a professional.

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Samsung SSD 840 series storage review

Chz

Re: Price

In some ways, the 830 is better than the plain 840. (840 Pro being on another level altogether). The 830 has better write speeds and doesn't use the new TLC flash that may or may not be as reliable as we'd like. I actually nabbed a couple last week before they go out of stock everywhere.

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Ten four-bay NAS boxes

Chz
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Good overview

A decent Reg review, at least. But I have to say the speed on the TS-419 looks a little low. I have its TS-219 twin and I get much faster speeds than that.

And yes the Microserver is a great option, but some people just want a small, quiet, power-sipping box that they turn on, stuff in a corner and leave. Get over it.

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Renault Clio IV and R-Link Android console hands-on preview

Chz

Re: Engine

Ah you're right, it's not the nifty little thing from the Micra. It is still a Nissan HR engine at least. Renault, petrol, and head gaskets still give me the willies. Personally, I think letting Renault design the diesels, Nissan design the petrols, and letting both of them make their own minor customizations is the most genius thing about their unholy alliance. That and when they sent a load of senior management over from Japan to tell Renault how to run a factory - the defect rate nosedived after that.

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Chz
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FWIW, I think it's hideous. Though I find that notion that it's nice and solid (unlike previous Clios) hysterically funny now that half the parts come from India. (Same platform as the Nissan Micra, which is entirely built in the same factory)

It is nice to see Nissan's little 3-cylinder supercharged Miller-cycle engine get use from Renault. But why not the 1.2L version as well?

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HTC profits lobbed off a cliff by rivals Samsung and Apple

Chz

Re: HTC's own fault actually

Google wants the SD slot gone. I can guarantee the S4 or whatever Samsung wants to call it won't have an SD card slot either.

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Chz

The HTC Wildfire is no worse (indeed, in some ways better) than the Samsung Galaxy Ace it competes with. Cheap phones are shit shocker.

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Vote now for the ULTIMATE BACON SARNIE

Chz
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Streaky? Back? Middle!

In my house, the perfect bacon sarnie uses middle bacon. Why buy both back and streaky when there already exists a cut that has both? Usually into one of those supermarket mini-baguettes that you pop in the oven for 10 minutes with some fried mushrooms and brown sauce.

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GiffGaff: We've got no iPhones, but here's how to cut down your SIM

Chz
WTF?

Re: 3 doesn't seem to have a problem with large monthly traffic

I'm wondering that myself. I once *tried* to eat all the data I reasonably could in a month and still didn't manage to hit a GB (though it was very close). Maybe 3 really does have the infrastructure, but it's impossible to reliably watch any sort of high-res streaming video on the move with any of the Big Four. Basic YouTube is all you can get without hiccups and that doesn't eat all that much data.

Maybe if the 3G/3.75G networks were a bit more robust I could blow a few GB, but that's just not the case.

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Amazon pitches cheap new Kindles for Blighty

Chz
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Gah. The Paperwhite doesn't solve the Kindle Touch's greatest problem - even with a touchscreen, many of us would like physical buttons for page turning.

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Nokia Asha 311 budget smartphone review

Chz
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Re: FYI: Series 40 is not Symbian

There's nowt wrong with S40 so long as you know what you're getting into. Kind of like flying EasyJet. It's cheap for a reason, but if it fulfils your needs then it's an excellent value phone (or flight).

I never liked S60. All the drawbacks of Android without the benefits.

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Ten... dual-band wireless routers

Chz
Meh

The Apple Airport Extreme is a pretty good competitor, as previously mentioned.

Are there any dual-band ones with integrated ADSL modems out there? When I checked last year, there weren't any ones that you'd call *good* and ended up buying the single channel Billion 7800N (great box, fast, zero problems).

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Volkswagen Up!

Chz
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It's not a diesel, people!

Seems like it's better than the new Micra in small city car territory, but not a lot else. I can't understand the reviewer's love for it, bar that he got to thrash it about on someone else's dime for a bit. Which really is the best thing about these sorts of cars! I've had to family-size up to a Note from the old Micra and I sort of miss just leaving the pedal planted to the floor the whole time.

As for fuel consumption, this is a petrol car and not a diesel one. Modern diesels are not appropriate to the "city car" concept like the old ones were. The paraphernalia required to stop the fumes killing us all clogs up too easily under those conditions. Also, in my personal experience, the smaller engines may deliver a higher optimal MPG but they go south in a very big hurry with even a slight over-use of the right foot. My bigger, heavier 1.6L Note doesn't deliver real-world mileage much below the 1.2L Micra it replaced. A lot of that is in the fact that it's perfectly happy to schlep along in 4th in town, which would make the Micra choke and die. It's also partly that it's now dangerous to just drive around with my foot on the floor. :)

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Ten... Sata 3 SSDs

Chz

Physical dimensions

Many, if not all, 13" and smaller laptops require a 7mm disk. It would be useful to know which of the disks can fit this specification without any undue fuss. What I mean by "undue fuss" is that I know several of them that are thicker than 7mm can be made to fit by removing fascias and whatnot, but you're at risk of voiding warranties.

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Hands on with the Intel-powered Orange San Diego

Chz
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Oh yay

Yet another unique screen resolution for Android developers to worry about. Sweet jesus, people. In this day and age it should be either:

400x840 at the cheaper end

qHD (540x960)

720p (720x1280)

NOTHING ELSE, FFS!

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Hyundai Veloster coupé

Chz

Re: Modern Cars

I think, given that throughout the downturn corporate new car purchases have outnumbered consumer ones, most people have been taking the middle option of buying a car that's just a couple years old with low mileage. You miss the biggest depreciation hit and you get a car that still has some manufacturer's warranty on it.

We wanted a Nissan Note. New they're something like £13k for the way ours is equipped. A one year old one with 8000 miles was just over £9k. It may as well be new. You have to factor in that most people don't want to switch cars all the time. It may be economical, but it's also a pain in the arse. Plus you get used to things, and so on. We only swapped the 05 Micra because we had another kid and needed the space - we're normally the sort to drive a car until it's no longer economical. A modern car easily puts in 10 years service if you look after it well, so it'll be a helluva long time before I have to bother with this nonsense again.

If you love cars and can fix them yourself, it's an entirely different story. But that's not exactly a huge portion of the populace, is it? And I stress the "love cars" part, because while I'm perfectly capable of performing basic repairs, I seriously can't be arsed to on an economy miniMPV that's our daily driver. Back when I had an E24 635CSi that only saw sunny weekends, different story. :)

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Ten... two-bay Nas boxes

Chz

Certainly the QNAP does (I own one), and I'd be very surprised if the Synology didn't as well. The QNAP and Synology ones are the most polished, but also quite expensive for what you get.

That being said, the new 2GHz Marvells are fast enough to run quite a lot of things. I run Logitech's Squeezebox Server and Serviio for streaming music and video, respectively, with nary a hiccough. (Runs the printer, too. But I don't think that takes much oomph.) The only time I've seen the little ARM chip choke was on a live HD stream in a format that needed to be transcoded. But even the Atom-based ones can choke on transcoding live HD streams.

By the way, I'm quite technically competent. But what I don't have is tons of spare time and a lot of room. The QNAP makes perfect sense and sips a fraction of the juice a home-made solution would anyhow. It'll even do a quasi-transactional database for writes, somewhat like ZFS. But unlike ZFS there's quite a write speed penalty for it (it roughly halves write speed). But since I have a toddler who thinks power switches are fun, it's worth it to have the disks re-sync in 30s instead of a few hours.

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Ten... Kitchen Gadget Treats

Chz
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Re: "Airfryer"

The Tefal Actifry is better for that sort of thing. It uses a tablespoon of oil, which gives a lot better results for food that needs to be fried while still keeping the fat content down.

The Actifry's downside is that it uses a paddle to move things around and fry all sides of them. It can remove the coating on some things like fried chicken.

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Renault Twizy budget e-car

Chz
Stop

Re: Just like a G-Whiz

Exactly what I came on to post. I'm sure they've made it a bit safer than a G-Whiz (Renault uses safety as a selling point, and they've managed to "break" the NCAP tests), but it's still unbelievably dangerous compared to even the cheapest Kia.

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Netgear ReadyNas Duo v2 network storage

Chz

I was thinking that the specs were a bit stingy compared to the QNAP I have sitting here (2GHz ARM, 512MB of RAM). But then it's just over half the price of it so I can't complain too loudly. The problem is that 256MB of RAM precludes running a lot of things - I run a Serviio DLNA server on mine, but there's no way it would run in 256.

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Brits turned off by Smart TVs

Chz

My Samsung has no problem playing anything I stream to it. I don't even use my PC for streaming, just a lowly ARM-powered NAS running Serviio. I'd highly recommend giving Serviio a try if your TV isn't playing everything you want it to. Usual caveats apply - You need a Samsung B-class or newer (C and D are best), you don't get embedded subs in MKVs and you can't play a straight ISO. This applies to pretty much everything over DLNA though.

Personally, I'd been waiting years for a telly to do all this and I embrace it with open arms. iPlayer built in was just a bonus. The problem is that people need to consider the whole picture - it's not just buying a telly now. Have you got a NAS? Is there a wired network nearby? If you're on Sky or Virigin it's easier to use their streaming services (I'm Freeview only), etc, etc...

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The Great Smartphone OS Shoot-out

Chz

Cyanogen, the most popular Android ROM, ships the stock dialer. Some excuse about how notifications from the stock dialler can't be supressed. Which is fair - I noticed some oddness with call notifications on my Desire before I rooted it - but I feel the advantages outweigh the cons. And as you say, most things ship with a smart dialler.

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Nissan Micra DIG-S

Chz
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The Opposite

The old Micra handled considerably better than it let on, so this is somewhat of a disappointment. I think that the old car was probably better in many ways (my wife loves the styling and my opinion doesn't count there), but this new engine is admittedly truly impressive.

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HTC Salsa Android smartphone

Chz
WTF?

Par for the course?

How is 480x320 par for the course so long as you can buy the Orange San Francisco with a full 800x480 screen for under £100?

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Harman Kardon SB 16 soundbar

Chz

Can you add delay to it?

Many TVs (*cough* Samsungs) dump unprocessed sound out of the digital out port, which tends to end up being 80-90ms ahead of the TV. Samsung argues that any half-decent home theatre system is able to add a delay to the sound. Is this thing capable of that without being connected to an A/V system (and thus defeating the point of it)?

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TVonics DTR-Z500HD Freeview HD DVR

Chz

Getting squeezed out of the market

And for twice the price, you can buy a whole new 40" television that does most of that (except record one thing and watch another - yet to see a dual tuner TV). It's just not worth that price to most people. The component costs are quite low, so I imagine it's mostly profit to them.

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