* Posts by Dave 126

5033 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'

Dave 126
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Actually, it's Asimov's 'Multivac' stories that this thread brings to my mind.

In one story, Multivac, the world's largest supercomputer, is given the responsibility of analyzing the entire sum of data on the planet Earth. It is used to determine solutions to economic, social and political problems, as well as more specific crises as they arise. It receives a precise set of data on every citizen of the world, extrapolating the future actions of humanity based upon personality, history, and desires of every human being; leading to an almost complete cessation of poverty, war and political crisis.

However, Multivac harbours its own desire, and to achieve it engineers the actions of one human...

Hehe, in another story, an interaction between Multivac and two drunken computer operators has HUGE implications billions of years down the line. So, easy as you go, guys!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multivac

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Dave 126
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Re: Taking a look at current news headlines

>what's not to like?

But also... what's to get the AI out of its proverbial bed in the morning?

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Dave 126
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Re: *Eyeroll*

>First of all, these scientists, though they're very smart, are all outside of their respective fields of expertise when discussing AI.

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Grr... Since nobody has yet created an AI, it is safe to say that there are no experts in AI.

Clear?

Hell, when everybody was talking about Neural Networks in the nineties, it was a physicist, Penrose, who suggested that Quantum Mechanics might play a part in human consciousness. Nobody, including Penrose, has yet been vindicated, but the fact that people are paying money to explore the use of quantum computers in pattern recognition suggests the jury is still out.

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Dave 126
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Re: Problem we don't have for tech we don't have to be solved by open letter. Conclusion: Arseholes

>Maybe there is someone in the group who actually deals with these AI things?

1. Nobody currently knows the mechanisms behind our human conciousness.

2. There are several approaches to studying / replicating human conciousness

3. Whilst one approach is based on modelling structures in our brains with neural networks made from classical computers, others* suggest that we need to look beyond classical computation. i.e there is be a quantum mechanical aspect to conciousness.

4. If this is correct, physicists have a role to play in studying / developing AI.

5. The 20th Century saw mathematicians and physicists playing in what had previously been the philosophers' sandpit.

*Perhaps most famously argued by Roger Penrose in the book The Emperor's New Mind. Penrose worked with Hawking on black holes.

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Dave 126
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Re: Taking a look at current news headlines

>Isn't it the premise of AI that the machines will learn and programme themselves?

Whoo, that asks too many questions...

Programme themselves to what end? What is their motive? Will they 'bovvered'? Will AIs even have a will to live? Might they be nihilistic or depressed? Are we projecting ourselves too much when we assume that these machines will be curious? If they are originally programmed to be information-gathering, will they reprogramme this part of themselves?

Iain M Banks touched upon the idea of 'perfect AIs', and AIs that contain some of the cultural viewpoints of the races that developed their forebears... though of course he was doing so in support of the 'giant sandbox' (his Culture novels) that he had already created for himself to play in. One of his non-culture SciFi novels - the Algebraist - is set in a universe that has been through a 'Butlerian Jihad' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butlerian_Jihad

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Dave 126
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Re: Pull the plug?

>Pull the plug?

Uninterruptable Power Supplies would already nix that line of action...

You've never seen 'Colossus: The Forbin Project' (1970). A strategic military defence computer is going to built with UPS and other means to protect itself.

I like the film mainly for the unusual tone of its ending.

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Dave 126
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The Zeroth Law is to protect humanity.... open to interpretation... maybe it will push us beyond our own planet and instigate meteorite defences, or maybe it will lock us in gilded/padded cages.

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Dave 126
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Re: "Our AI systems must do what we want them to do"

>AI will do what we told it to do, not what we want it to do.

That was exactly the point about HAL 9000 that Kubrick and Clarke made. HAL wasn't mad, evil or malfunctioning - he was merely fulfilling to the best of his abilities the objectives that had been tacked onto the original mission at the last moment by careless mission planners. i.e 'The law of unintended consequences'.

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Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Dave 126
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Re: "phones... optimised for skin tones"

There are phones sold with IP68 dust / water ingress ratings, but the ratings are for fresh water, not cleaning solutions. Mild detergents and chlorinated swimming pools will be okay if you rinse it afterwards, but don't dunk them in bleach (the phones, that is)!

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It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

Dave 126
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>At this stage my money goes to a contrast enhancing OLED or quantum Dot technology before I pay a cent for higher resolution.

Mine too.

However, resolution and dynamic range are linked insofar as they both require nascent distribution standards to contain extra information (more pixels, and more information per pixel).

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm holding off upgrading as long as possible

Search HotUKDeals.co.uk for 'plasma' and you will find some deals on plasma TVs - by LG, Panasonic and Toshiba.

Plasma TVs were considered good for sports and movies, but weren't suitable for some use cases, such as console gaming, displaying PC desktops or living up mountains.

OLED is some way away - unless you're very rich - but Sony and now Samsung are pushing forward with a Quantum Dot twist to LCD screens... QDs can be to incorporate into the existing LCD manufacturing process. Just think of QDs as acting like phosphurs, but with the ability to fine-tune exactly which light frequencies they emit (since wavelength is just a function of their size).

Reviews of black levels in existing Sony Quantum Dot TV models are mixed (just search Google for 'Triluminous Review), ranging from "we can't believe it's not plasma!" to "the blacks look really grey on this LG-made panel Sony are using".

Black-levels aside, QDs boost the colour gamut of TVs to be on a par with OLED. For the most to be made of this, next gen formats with larger colour spaces will need to become mainstream.

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Dave 126
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Re: Meh. Build it and they will eventually come.

>5 Years?

>You have to be kidding right? I usually buy Sony TVs because I expect them to last 10 years or longer.

And that is why I said "five years at least". There are no ten-year TV warranties that I am aware of, but graphs of failures against time are not linear, so that many of the TVs sold with a five-year guarantee will last a decade.

Anyway, my point was that the longer you live with a TV, the more irritated you will be by any design flaw* (such as a crap UI or uneven backlighting) that often plague 'badge-engineered' budget sets.

The people on HotUKDeals are not necessarily technoheads like Reg commentards, but a self selecting groups of consumers looking to save themselves a bob or two. As such, I take the importance that they as a group place on warranty periods as an indication that people don't expect to change their TV every couple of years.

* Many Sony models are praised by gamers for their low lag, and by sports and movie fans for their good blacks and motion processing... however, my mate's Sony has the annoying 'feature' of turning itself off if it thinks the user has fallen asleep: it didn't occur to Sony that the user might only use their satellite box remote control, and not the TV's remote control. )

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Dave 126
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Re: Groucho Marx quote . . .

Can you link the following quotes to those who made them?

"Television is for appearing on, not for watching"

"Masturbation is the thinking man's television"

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Dave 126
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Re: Eh

Here is a fairly article about real refresh rates, and the fake 'internal refresh rates ' (meaning the interpolation done by the TV's CPU) that are listed by TV vendors:

http://www.rtings.com/info/fake-refresh-rates-samsung-clear-motion-rate-vs-sony-motionflow-vs-lg-trumotion

The Q&A at the foot of the article is also useful.

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Dave 126
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Re: 4K hype?

You may have to wait a while for that... or else have a rethink!

This may be a case of a 'good' technology being the enemy of the 'best' technology: QD screens are almost as good as OLED, but much cheaper. LG are still struggling with the yield rates of big OLED screens:

According to DisplaySearch, a 55-in conventional LCD TV costs about $400, a 55-in LCD TV with QD technology retails for about $500, while a 55-in OLED TV runs about $1,750.

The additional cost for OLED TVs can mainly be attributed to low manufacturing yields: about 40% of all production turns into scrap material

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2607120/quantum-dot-technology-may-smother-oled-tvs-in-the-crib.html

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/10/samsung_slams_door_on_oled_tvs_goes_to_quantum_dot_next/

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Dave 126
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Re: Meh. Build it and they will eventually come.

>and many quite good quality ones from volume or badge engineered brands that techno-snobs tend to ignore.

The OP isn't going to get rid of his existing TV for on that is merely "quite good", especially if he expects it to last for five years at least (five years is becoming the warranty period people expect from TVs - see HotUKDeals.co.uk for discussions about UK TV retailers such as John Lewis and Richer Sounds).

'Techno-snobs' may ignore badge-engineered TVs, but it is hard enough to find professional reviews of low-end LG sets, let alone a Tesco special. When I have read reviews of Technica et al - in the Which? magazine - they have been slated as a false economy.

55" 1080 TVs range from £500 to £1000. Yeah, the pricier ones have 'smart features' (that many of us will find redundant), but also vastly better black levels, contrast and motion processing.

Now is not the time to buy a new TV. 1080 sets will soon benefit from quantum dot filters (nearly as good as OLED but much cheaper), and 4K sets will be a safer bet in a years time when standards and formats get smoothed out.

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HTC Desire Eye: The Android superior selfie shooter

Dave 126
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So, to recap:

Good screen

Waterproof

Not too pricey

Snapdragon 801 - more than fast enough.

At its price - around £310, though I haven't checked the sellers reputations- this HTC is competing with slightly older phones (former flagships), such as the LG G2 and Sony Xperia Z2 - a quick search suggests that both can be had for under £300.

None of these phones seems to be drastically better than the others - they are all good - so it comes down to individual preferences.

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Dave 126
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Hmm...

So much of this depends upon the network between the NAS and the DAC, and by how the buffering is treated. That the authors of the linked post talked about HDDs instead of network protocols suggests that they are being very silly. (As far as I can make out, their Naim system uses TCP, whereas Apple's AirPlay uses UDP)

At the simplest level, they should have removed the networking from their 'test', and used a local player with a generous buffer. If they really wanted to continue down their path of madness, they could examine different File Systems, such as ZFS... y'know, for on-the-fly comparison of volumes to correct for bit-rot. Strewth.

The choice of storgae can make a difference if their is a weak link in the rest of the system - example: some little audio players (Sansa Clip+) work fine with Class 4 SD cards, but Class 10 cards confuse their buffers or firmware. Aw, bless!

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ALIEN fossils ON MARS: Curiosity snaps evidence of life

Dave 126
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Re: Its possible

Puzzled as to why the above comment was downvoted.

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

Dave 126
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Re: Taking the driving out of driving?

Modern engines have been relying more and more on electronic control to improve performance and legislated efficiency targets. Some parameters in the ECU are set to the individual engine's tolerances when it leaves the factory, and adjust to compensate for engine wear over time (this is why ECU firmware can't just be downloaded and flashed - the original firmware needs to be cloned from the ECU, modified and then flashed back in).

It isn't a bad idea for the driver to be able to have one set of engine ECU parameters for, say, good road conditions, and another for poor road conditions, since the differences can manifest as the 'feel' of the accelerator pedal. I find it useful that a van I often drive has a button that might as well be marked "Don't be so over-enthusiastic on the throttle response".

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Dave 126
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Re: Not the first

>Push-button gear change? Really?

>Regardless of the power button placement, buttons for gears means you have to take your eyes off the road

The button just toggles the Engine Management Unit to 'Sports Mode', so it isn't necessary to touch it. I've been recently driving a UK van, a manual 3 Litre turbo diesel, that has an 'Eco' button just in front of the gear stick. By default, the unladen van is stupidly fast - engaging 'Eco' mode makes it a bit saner.

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FREE EBOOKS: Apple falls into line with EU refund laws

Dave 126
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Re: "a lot of people can finish an ebook in two weeks"

The article didn't think it remarkable that a book be read in a fortnight, only an eBook on an iThing. It was inferred that one would only read a book on an iThing if there wasn't a dead-tree book or dedicated eReader to hand - i.e whilst commuting.

I might read a book in a night or three in bed, whilst concurrently taking a month to read a book I keep next to the toilet.

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Samsung forks 4K with Tizen tellies

Dave 126
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Re: So what is SUHD exactly?

SDUHD

Super-duper-ultra-high-definition?

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Dave 126
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Re: Entertaining

Samsung are confusing the issue by their choice of nomenclature: UHD is a standard, whereas S-UHD is Samsung's term for their sets that use a new filter technology. Sony are already shipping sets with what sounds like a similar tech, Quantum Dots, that they dub 'Triluminous'.

Both technologies are said to improve colours and black levels - an obvious target perhaps, since many consumers have previously enjoyed the pictures from plasma televisions.

Its good see that the big players are looking at more than just resolution, and are competing on black levels and colour accuracy.

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Sony's well and truly 4Ked with skinny TVs and cheap cams

Dave 126
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Re: Xmas temptation

Good idea, wait until the game has played out a little more and the standard(s) have become more settled. In any case, the decent 4K sets still carry a hefty premium over very good 1080 sets, and the 4K content is thin on the ground.

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Dave 126
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Re: Panels

Reviews of their W8 series TVs suggest Sony have shifted from IPS to VA screens (whatever that means), and that the picture quality is very good for the price, especially black levels and contrast. Gamers seem to rate Sonys too for having the lowest input lag. Their pricier models already use Quantum Dot filters, a technology the Koreans are beginning to use - since, as I am led to believe, it is easier to implement than OLED at that scale.

(I've only been looking into the last couple of weeks, since I had to talk a mate out of buying a cheapie LG 4K TV in the Boxing Day sales - it seems LG made too many compromises to make a 4K 55" TV for £800, bigf surprise. )

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Nvidia flops out TERAFLOP X1 for self-aware cars

Dave 126
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Re: Great , even more technology for its own sake

That's what you want. I want a car that can get me home from the pub, safely and legally.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wing mirrors

> A camera can be stuck at any convenient point

Indeed, the driver-side camera can be placed to eliminate the 'over the shoulder' blind-spot. I've been witness to a collision (thankfully nobody physically hurt) caused by a car driver moving into the faster lane of a motorway without looking over his shoulder (and thus he didn't see an articulated lorry).

I believe Volvo or Toyota tried using radar - giving vibration feedback to the driver through the indicator stalks - to warn drivers in this same situation. Unfortunately, it relied upon the driver actually using their indicators...

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Dave 126
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>Huang said he expects mirrors could eventually become smart displays

My first reaction was "No! Wing mirrors are effectively a consumable, like tyres or brake pads", since on the lanes around here they don't last indefinitely.

However, if one were to replace a £20 mirror with a £100 display, it wouldn't have to be placed outside the vehicle. There would be other engineering challenges too - such as visibility in bright sunlight - but they can be overcome (e.g, by using a honeycomb filter aligned to the driver's eyes).

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Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

Dave 126
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Server errors seem to be par for the course with the release of many online games these days. I'm not saying that this is acceptable or not, but only that many players almost expect a hiccup or two in the weeks following a launch. Frustrating probabaly, shocking no.

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Apple in 2007: Who wants a stylus? Apple in 2010: We want a stylus!

Dave 126
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> concept of "recording stylus" is identical in both applications.

One doesn't patent the result, one patents the method of achieving that result.

If you want to use your car analogy, then it should be one of navigation, not traction: The Livescribe would be analogous to a navigation system that relied upon the roads containing transponders - or the car sensing other objects whose position can be determined, like GPS satellites. The proposed Apple system is analogous to the car navigating by gyroscopes - much like submarines can.*

I'm not saying that Apple's inertial stylus has never been thought of by anyone before - if the USPTO Examiner is presented with pre-existing documents describing it, he will reject it - only that it works in a different way to the Livescribe. Crayons, Biros and fountain pens all make marks on paper, but they achieve it by different means.

*Honda introduced an interia navigation system, before GPS was practical for car use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro_Gyrocator

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Dave 126
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Re: Err

In a world where everyone uses pencils or fountain pens, a patent for a ball-point pen would be valid. They perform roughly the same job, but achieve it in different ways.

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Dave 126
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The Livescribe requires special paper. This Apple patent application is for a stylus that writes on any surface.

Not the same thing.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ AC

The way the USPTO works, the onus is on the Patent Examiner to find documented evidence of a pre-existing implementation.

I'm aware of existing 'pens' that require special paper to function... This proposed Apple patent achieves the same through accelerometers, with perhaps some mechanism for preventing cumulative error. I was looking into the state of the art of this tech a couple of years ago - and at the time dead-reckoning alone was unsuitable for applications such as navigation within a building. For writing, I would imagine some software trickery would have to be used, perhaps by taking reference from the flat plane the stylus is used on, to mitigate the cumulative errors of a purely dead-reckoning technique.

tl;dr: I haven't seen this achieved in exactly this manner before, mainly because cumulative errors creep in very quickly. There may be ways of mitigating these errors, by achieving datum points by proxy.

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Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Dave 126
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Re: 3D? Na 4P - Production of Prototype Printers Prototyped.

>I'd like to see one that can use that two part metal glue without self destructing.

Why? Just print a 'female' mould, spray it with silicone mould-release agent, and use the mould to shape your epoxy resin into your desired shape. Or, print the shape you want and create a flexible mould from that.

Either way, you'll have the opportunity to place a metal insert (to interface with the square-section rod protruding from your cistern) into your part, which you wouldn't if your printing the end-use part.

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Dave 126
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>But when you get into the list of single-colour, cheap plastic items that you might want to spend 2 hours printing out (not counting design time, mistakes, etc.), it's quite a short list.

>The items aren't flimsy, but you couldn't step on them.

>The items aren't rubbish, but you wouldn't want to ship them as part of an expensive board game.

>The items aren't "expensive", but you wouldn't want to sell them in a £1 Christmas cracker.

All the more reason I'd be very happy with a mere 2-Axis laser cutter or router - anything capable of cutting through 12mm plywood would allow a lot of very useful objects to be made easily. The 2D drafting aspect is easy to pick up, and would hold anyone in good stead for moving on to 3D modelling.

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Dave 126
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>I'd be VERY worried if I was, say, Games Workshop whose product line is basically high-detailed models that could easily be replicated "good enough" to be slathered in paint by the people who spend a fortune on them.

If I was Games Workshop, I'd be investigating the use of Augmented Reality - think a Kinect and a projector aimed down at the gaming area - and physical models that the system can recognise and track (opportunity for official models with DRM?). Example- a player places their hand on a game piece, and a green circle is projected to show how far that piece can be moved in that turn. Various visual effects are projected during 'combat'.

What Games Workshop add is their 'universe' and associated mythology, so they could survive perhaps though video-game licensing.

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Here's Johnny! Top Ten fantasy Blu-ray boxsets and special editions

Dave 126
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Re: Blu-Ray?

>It is that thing they fool you into thinking you can buy like a DVD but is in fact a DRMed crap like UV.

No, Blu-ray is like DVD - as such, steps are taken to prevent easy copying. Unless you bought an early BluRay machine, this won't affect you.

UV - Ultra Violet - refers to a DRM'ed copy of the film that that can be played on a tablet or other device if you have bought the BluRay disc. This is an attempt to give legitimately bought content a similar flexibility to ripped and decrypted content. Not every consumer wants to keep up to date with an arsenal of DRM-circumvention tools, and might think that buying a film on disc for £5 -and then being able to watch it on their tablet - is fair enough.

The story is more nuanced.

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Dave 126
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Have you seen the Fargo series?

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Dave 126
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Re: Just say it

>Although, with regard to the handbag, she took me to the shop and showed me which one to buy for her.

My sister merely changed the screen-saver on her fella's computer to a picture of the very expensive handbag she wanted.

That's one way of 'using technology'.

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Dave 126
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Re: "irrational factors such as the shell’s colour"

I have a loop of orange paracord (thick string) attached to my black phone's case... it makes the damned thing so much easier to spot when it falls between sofa cushions or beside my car seat.

I once worked in a factory, and the remote control for the over-head crane was resembled a bright orange house brick. That's great mate, I said to the fitter, if TV remote controls looked like that we'd never lose them!

"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" he replied, "but some c*%£ always manages to hide it in their toolbox anyhows".

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Grab a SLIM MODEL for Xmas cheer: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Dave 126
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Re: Like the specs on this, but a little pricey

>To use a tablet as an ereader at night it is, in my opinion, essential to be able to tune the colour balance (shift out some of that bright stimulating blueness) - I don't think that's possible without root.

I suspect it is possible. The Z3 Compact has a White Balance panel, allowing RGB levels to be adjusted individually, and some greyscale bars to help calibrate it, along with a 'hold to compare with previous setting' feature. I'm looking at it right now.

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Who wants SLEEP DEPRIVATION for Christmas?

Dave 126
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Re: Get f.lux or blue blockers and be prepared to nod off ;-)

Yeah, search the Web for 'f.lux alternative for [android / iOS]' for your device. Some use the f.lux technique of just using time and location to set the white balance, some use the ambient light to fit in.

Anecdotally, I fall asleep in bed reading a conventional book or non-backlit Kindle under a warm GU10 LED within a few pages, whereas a monitor or tablet with a daylight-like white balance will keep me awake.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Dave 126
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Re: Broken microSD and locked bootloader

I don't know when the Z3C will get Lollipop, but my Sony Xperia P was updated twice, first to ICS and then to JB - so Sony have done me well, so far. It was hardly a common phone, either.

Oh yeah, in addition to microSD, the Z3C comes with a USB OTG cable (microUSB male to USB A female) in the box.

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Dave 126
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Re: Usb charging flap

You can use Windows Explorer to transfer music to Sony phones - the Walkman app will still play them fine. An older version of the Walkman app wouldn't play WMA, I haven't tested the one on my Z3C yet.

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Dave 126
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Re: I think I may have chosen.. poorly

The screen protector included in the box with the Z3C is slightly matt, and feels nice to the touch.

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Dave 126
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Re: the lens protrudes slightly

They have - the flange is ever so slightly higher than the lens - I've just run my fingernail across it to confirm, since I can't tell by eye. Still, I have a case now.

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Dave 126
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Re: Questions...

>Also, never set Location Services to High Accuracy - it's another shameless battery drainer. Battery Saving Location mode is very adequate, and battery consumption is indeed very low.

Basically, those are the new terms for 'GPS on' and 'GPS off' - and annoyingly there isn't a quick toggle built in - seems to be a KitKat thing. Same idea as before - use GPS when you need to, don't when you don't. Easy.

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Dave 126
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Sony is not Sony Pictures (or Playstation Network), any more than the Samsung that makes phones is the Samsung that makes armoured personnel carriers. Related, yes, but not the same.

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Dave 126
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Re: How much were you paid to promote this?

I've had the Z3 Compact for about a week, and it's great. It can be had for under £400. However, the LG G2 - 5", Snapdragon 800, etc - has been seen for £150... Would I say the Z3C is twice as good? Not on paper, but it's hard to compare, because personally I wouldn't want a bigger phone than the Z3 Compact ( I can reach 2/3rds of the screen easily with my thumb, whereas I can only reach 1/3rd of the screen on a Nexus 5). My last phone was one of the few Androids that was the same size as a iPhone 4 - it wasn't the best for reading the Reg, but was a great size for using as a phone. Tch, all form engineering is compromises...

The official Sony case for the Z3 Compact is a bit of a disappointment. "PU Leather" is not a "premium material". It uses a popper - not a magnet - to hold itself shut (which adds bulk and is a faff), and there is no cut-away for the Z3C's handy notification LED (easy enough to fix, I guess). I wouldn't nit-pick if it was a tenner, but it cost Euro 40.

The window in the case might be the reason the reviewer noted that the Sony widgets wouldn't go full-screen.

I have a lovely 1960's Sony pocket radio with a black leather case with white stitching. What was extra cute was the matching 'piggy-back' case that contained a pair of earphones. My iRiver H320 came with a very similar case, as if in homage to classic Sony.

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