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* Posts by Dave 126

4210 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Little devil: Electric Imp is an Internet of Things Wi-Fi PC-ON-AN-SD-CARD

Dave 126
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Re: Looks fun...

You can get a used Android phone off eBay for £25... easier than removing this Imp from whatever light fixture you mounted it in.

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Dave 126
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Re: conflicting form factors

Adding a plastic 'wumph' (boss? flange?) would add significant cost, both in tooling a new mould for the 'sd card' case, and for the slot it fits into. Such a flange would also risk mechanical damage to a device not designed to accept it, should a dopey user attempt to force it in.

As it is, it won't damage anything it is wrongly inserted into, it just won't do anything. In this respect, it is no different to inserting an SDXC Card into an older, plain SD Card device.

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Xbox One FAILS to beat PS3 - yes, PS 3 - week one sales

Dave 126
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Wasn't the PS3 amongst the more affordable BluRay players on launch?

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Dave 126
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How so? Were either the XBONE or PS4 were to die on the vine, there would still be competition between software publishers.

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Confirmed: Apple gives nod to gobblement of Kinect-maker PrimeSense

Dave 126
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Re: R&D budget increased again

That's a big part part of design. We all do it... putting up some shelves? Let's see what brackets are available from the hardware store. Making an MP3 player? Let's see what HDDs Toshiba will sell us in six months time. Making a handheld device? Let's see if there are any small companies using novel human input methods we can buy (FingerWorks)

It's usually cheaper and easier to go shopping than it is to make everything yourself.

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Dave 126
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Re: Or...

Depends on the licensing deal MS signed with them. MS might not have been daft enough to bet their future products on technologies that could be suddenly whipped away from them if the originating company was bought by a rival.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple TV set or gaming?

Gaming and Apple: Discuss.

Really, it's a weird one. It seems Apple have never put that much effort into games. They have had the market position to release a reference design game controller add-on for iDevices (Nintendo's turf), but never have done. The only game I remember Steve Jobs presenting was Halo, back when it was a Real Time Strategy work in progress. The Pippin died with the rest of the Apple clones.

It's almost as if gaming is an area Apple are wary of, maybe because the market used to encourage perpetual hardware upgrading.

True, may games are released for iOS, (some even working between devices such as an iPhone and an iTV or iPad) but Apple don't seem to talk it up beyond updating their mobile graphics hardware (which has utility besides running games).

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'Best known female architect' angrily defends gigantic vagina

Dave 126
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Re: No idea

That would be a lamb sausage, then... pork isn't a popular meat in those parts.

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Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android'

Dave 126
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Re: The next step

A bit like Samsung's KNOX efforts, then?

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BRAGGIE-GASM: Rotund DOTCOM copies MILEY CYRUS on XBOX DAY!

Dave 126
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Well...

There is always Photoshop... Here's me taking tea with Cameron Diaz, and using a Playstation 5 as a place mat. On the moon.

And here's me and Kofi Annan on the piss, dancing atop a Steinway piano having just broken into the Royal Albert Hall for a giggle.

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Super-stealth FLYING CAR prototype seen outside GOOGLE HQ

Dave 126
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Re: Ever been close to a Heli?

I'm not sure that anyone expects it to take off vertically.

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Dave 126
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Not only that, but one tech billionaire is making himself a car that can convert into a submarine! (Or rather, has bought a submarine that looks like a car and wants to make it work as a car as well)

Isn't like being a kid again, and your friend has got a really cool RC car but won't let you have a go with it? (sorry pal, the batteries are flat and will take 3 hours to charge)

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Dave 126
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Re: hmm

>Re "Making the fans movable just adds weight and complexity when all you actually need is for them to be individually controllable." Ah, yes. Making ten different fans individually controllable will decrease the complexity of the control system. I stand in awe of your logic.

Moveable fans = *mechanical* complexity = more weight

Fan speed individually controllable = more control electronics = negligible increase in weight

The processing required to control multiple fans can be fitted into a very small quadcopter, to stunning results.... have a look at:

http://www.ted.com/talks/vijay_kumar_robots_that_fly_and_cooperate.html

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Star Wars exec: These ARE THE DROIDS I was LOOKING FOR

Dave 126
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Re: Smart PR move

I hope it's good, because of the cast - Gary Oldman, Michael K Williams, Samuel L Jackson - but it probably won't be. On the bright side, the bad press surrounding this (and the remake of Total Recall) appears to have killed the mooted remake of Starship Troopers, another Paul Verhoeven classic.

Oh, if you like the satire, and don't mind a limited effects budget, Starship Troopers 3 has the tongue in cheek attitude (and Johnny Rico) of the first film.

I would say I'd like to see another satirical sci-fi Verhoeven film, but then recent efforts by fellow 1980 sci-fi directors J. Cameron and R. Scott have been disappointing / infuriating.

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Dave 126
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Excellent!

I've never heard of the R2D2 Makers Club either, though I did stumble on a YouTube video the other day of a man making his own Iron Man outfit. (I was making something completely different, but thought his technique of preparing polysterene with three coats of PVA before applying car body filler - otherwise it melts - might be useful)

The video links to his website http://xrobots.co.uk/ and it would seem there are worse places to go to if you want to build an R2-D2 - he shares his tips on techniques and materials, using foams, plastics, 3D printing, electronics etc. He is also a Raspberry Pi user, though it seems he hasn't had much of chance to play with yet.

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Bill Gates orders HITMAN to KILL right-hand man STEVE BALLMER

Dave 126
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"Simpsons done it"

Bill Gates: Your Internet ad was brought to my attention, but I can't figure out what, if

anything, Compuglobalhypermeganet does, so rather than risk competing with

you, I've decided simply to buy you out.

Homer: I reluctantly accept your proposal!

Bill Gates: Well everyone always does. Buy 'em out, boys!

[Gates' lackeys trash the room.]

Homer: Hey, what the hell's going on?!

Bill Gates: Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks! [insane

laughter]

Sadly, Bill Gates didn't guest star; instead he was portrayed by Hank Azaria (Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy)

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Dear-ly beloved: Apple’s costly iPad Mini with Retina Display

Dave 126
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I think AC may have been referring to some studies, reported here in the Reg, that a larger proportion of iOS users pay for their apps. He's correct.

July 2013 http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/18/iphone-users-pay-average-of-19-cents-per-app-android-users-pay-just-6-cents

July 2011 http://gigaom.com/2011/07/11/ios-users-buy-more-apps-and-pay-more-for-them/

July 2013 http://bgr.com/2013/05/31/android-ios-app-revenue-whatsapp/ "In April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%. "

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Dave 126
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Anandtech report 13.6 hours for a 720p H.264 video, though they make no mention of screen brightness or WiFi state. Reg got six-and-a-half hours for a 1080p when Wi-Fi was connected, and the screen brightness set at 50 per cent.

I don't know if the discrepancy is in the video codec, the higher bitrate, or the WiFi and screen.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7519/apple-ipad-mini-with-retina-display-reviewed/5

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Dave 126
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>The beauty of a small tablet is that it can fit in a suit or jacket pocket ..... the iPad fails in this respect. Also makes it poor for watching movies.

That's an inevitable consequence of the iPads screen's 4:3 aspect ratio - until such a time as a foldable display is available. I've used netbooks with 16:9 letterbox displays that I've found frustrating for general web-browsing.

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Dave 126
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>I honestly can’t see a reason for Joe Soap to favour one over, say, the Nexus 7

Software, software, and the odd bit of hardware. Most people will have their needs met by the range of apps available on Android, but there are some who will be better served by iOS - particularly in the area of music creation. More annoyingly for me (I'm an Android user) is the range of 3rd party hardware that is designed to work with iDevices (most commonly, the remote controls on wired headsets - and there is no one single Android system; even a single vendor like Sony have released Android devices with slightly different headset implementations), and hardware that works in conjunction with apps only available for iOS (some DSLRs, Adobe's upcoming Napoleon Ruler and Mighty Pen)

The converse is also true; there is no waterproof iDevice, none with built in IR, none that has NFC (though its a feature I've never used on my phone).

It's up to the individual user to asses their own wants. and decide if its worth the £100+ price difference.

(Though the Reg is not guilty of this, I'm getting bored of reading reviews of smartphone apps and games on tech-sites, and only reading at the end of the piece that it is available for iOS)

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HURRI-KANO: Raspberry Pi kit for kids STORMS past funding target

Dave 126
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Re: BUSI-ENGI-KANO

Get yourself down Lidl (or was it Aldi)... I was in one of them on Monday and they were selling 'radio solder' with real lead in it. The new lead-free stuff (which I thought had been banned from sale) can be trickier to use (less grace time between heating it with flux and applying it) and less reliable.

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Lumia 1520: Our man screams into ENORMO new Nokia phondleslab

Dave 126
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I used to get authentication errors when trying to connect to the internet on older Samsung feature phones when the time and date were wildly incorrect (usually following a battery removal).... again, it wouldn't have hurt to put a 'Is your device showing the correct time and date?" prompt alongside the error message.

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3D printing: 'Third industrial revolution' or a load of old cobblers?

Dave 126
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Such software already exists, kind of. Midrange CAD packages often have a 'Scan to 3D' module, to allow the output of a laser scanner (a point cloud) to be turned into a mesh, or to be used a reference to create curves (which are then used as reference or to loft surfaces.

After that, there is a 'Start feature recognition?' dialogue, which attempts to convert the 'dumb geometry' into features, within a tolerance (i.e, this shape is an approximation of a cylinder, so let's call it an extruded circle. Now that it is a defined 'feature', the variables such as circle radius and extrusion length can be modified.

It's not perfect, but it would be easier to write software to recognise specific features (a simple gear cog, for example) and then perform fairly standard modifications (compensate for wear at the end of the teeth)

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes, a "solution looking for a problem"

Lasers are often used for cutting sheet metal (having no mechanical link between the workpeice and the tool is a good thing- you don't have to build your X-Y mechanism to withstand torque and vibration), and for etching serial numbers and the like. There is also a hard-wearing marking technique, where a chemical is sprayed onto a piece and activated by a laser, leaving text or a logo - the remaining chemical is then washed off.

Laser measuring and surveying is also very useful. '3D scanner'.

Lasers are also used to calibrate in real time the adjustable mirrors of ground-based telescopes to adjust for atmospheric interference.

Lasers can also be used for a form of 'additive manufacturing' nee 'rapid prototyping' called sterolithography (the process that gives .STL files their name) in which two laser beams activate a photo-cured resin at the point of their intersection.

They make your sent-from-the-future killer cyborg look cool (though in 1984 the laser sight on Arnie's handgun had to be powered by a hidden battery and cable running up his sleeve).

They might, maybe, one day, possibly, play a part in commercial fusion energy production.

Not sure if if mentioning Jean Micheal Jarre and the Ozric Tentacles helps my case here.

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Cocky Microsoft strokes soft tool in public for 3D printing on Windows 8.1

Dave 126
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Re: He who laughs last...

>Free and easy to use entry level CAD/CAM software.

I haven't used Sketch Up (now owned by Google) but I've been led to believe it satisfies these criteria.

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Dave 126
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Re: Any colour as long as it's white?

Coloured 3D printers do exist, but the assumption is that either the colour doesn't matter ( a prototype to assess the form and fit) or that you are going to have to sand, fill, sand, prime and paint anyway (an appearance model). Defects in lighter-coloured objects are easier spot, because shadows show up more.

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Dave 126
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Re: creating your own jewellry line of custom 3D-printed earrings.

I haven't got one, and I make things.

For making useful things, a CNC router is usually more suitable than a 3D printer. Lots of things can be assembled from 2D shapes: shelves, wine racks, stencils, cutting jigs, laptop stands, boxes, chairs, whatever...

After a CNC router, another useful machine is a metal lathe. You can make your own screw threads, which 3D printers often struggle with.

Sooner or later MS is going to link this 3D printing software to their Kinect tools, though there's every chance the open-source community already have done.

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Magnetic slurry could deliver heatsink-as-a-service

Dave 126
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Re: Neat.

Wasn't there a big American car that could, in the case of radiator damage, run on just a couple of its cylinders, and then switch to the others to avoid overheating? I seem to remember it on a Top Gear episode over ten years ago.

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Boffins ponder wireless 'hetnets' as home backhaul helpers

Dave 126
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Re: How do the propose to stop spy agencies and other criminals listening in?

Dunno. Maybe wait for that crowdsourced audit of TrueCrypt to be completed?

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Getting it right on the second attempt: Sony Xperia Z1

Dave 126
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Re: Between the lines

The Anandtech review of the LG G2, which share the same chipset according to this review, suggests the chipset is responsible for a good bit of the extended battery life.

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Dave 126
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Re: "Like all Xperias the battery is fixed in place."

The battery in the Xperia Go is replaceable, but the one in the Xperia P is not- that I know from first hand experience. Other models in the range I have to take someone else's word for.

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Dave 126
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Re: Making waterproof their own

The Samsung S4 Active is also waterproof, but apparently hard to find as part of a UK tariff.

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Dave 126
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I use the FM radio on my phone from time to time. I wish it had a sleep timer though, so that falling asleep with it on doesn't deplete the battery fully.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bigger not always better

@LarsG

Behave.

Sony do update phones. My 2012 Xperia has been updated to ICS, and then again to Jelly Bean, with a smaller update after that. Not only that, but XDA consider them the friendliest vendor for custom ROMs.

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Schiller: 'Almost everyone' at Apple works on iPhones - not Macs or anything

Dave 126
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Re: yeah right.

I guess the iPod Touch is the 'budget iPhone' - it does most of the things the iPhone does, but since you're not paying full-whack then you are limited to only using it to its full in WiFi hotspots (for teenagers that means at home, round at their mate's house, on school and college campuses, coffee shops and burger joints... i.e: most places for the urban teenager)

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Dr Wolfram touts coding language to revolutionise mankind ... just like Wolfram Alpha did

Dave 126
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Re: I don't hold out much hope if WolframAlpha is a guide

It got there in the end for me... I had to click on the suggested link 'closest star to earth', and then it stalled for a minute, then gave me the answer 'The Sun'. However, a chart of the six closest stars was presented at the bottom of the page.

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Dave 126
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>most of the problems I see in our software relates to requirements that have not been adequately communicated.

That was one of the points of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL wasn't 'evil', and 'he' hadn't malfunctioned (like many prior sci-fi computers and robots); 'he' had merely been given poorly communicated instructions by humans who hadn't fully simulated the scenario (because of very human political considerations).

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Dave 126
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I just tried Wolfram Alpha on "Which city is farthest North?", and variations such as "most northerly city" and "northern city" etc... I liked the way it showed its 'thinking' (e.g it tells me that it assumes 'Northern' to be the name of a band), but it didn't give me the answer I was looking for.

I now know there is a city called North, South Carolina.

Oh well.

However, if there was a consistent and widely used synatx or language for phrasing search terms, I might be inclined to learn a bit of it.

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The right time to drink coffee

Dave 126
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Re: Only DECAF for me.

The other thing that can mess with your sleep is light of the wrong intensity and colour ('colour temperature', or 'white balance'). You can lie in bed and snooze off whilst reading a dead-tree book by the warm light of a incandescant bulb (or alternative of the right colour), but the typically cool light of a TV, laptop or tablet is the enemy of sleep because it messes with our circadian rhythms.

I use a freeware application called F.Lux on my computer, that changes the colour temperature depending on the time of day and the date (and one's location on the Earth). It basically means that the 'white' on my monitor more closely resembles a sheet of white paper in the room, since by day the room is lit by sunlight and at night by a 'warm' LED.

F.Lux can be disabled for an hour for 'colour accurate work', but it makes you think how the room's ambient light can affect your perception of colours on screen.

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Samsung prepping smartphone with curvy three-sided display

Dave 126
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Re: Saw a great demo

>I loved the form factor of the old clamshell phones that gave you a huge (for the time) screen combined with a good keypad

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7-57606712-251/new-samsung-android-flip-phone-bubbles-up-with-quad-core-cpu/

http://www.sony.co.uk/product/sony-tablet-p/tab/overview

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Apple, for one, welcomes its ROBOT factory OVERLORDS

Dave 126
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Re: How much?

> I guess your our own ideological view will give us a individual view as to the iong-term ethics of the plan [ to automate and remove the labour.]

Trouble is, we need more than an individual view about this subject, since the implications have been effecting us since the industrial revolution. Many might feel (most famously, Bertrand Russell) that with all the automation, no citizen should have to work more than twenty hours a week in order to feed and house themselves and their dependants. The resulting leisure time would allow us to be more sociable, spend more time with our children, learn new skills, take longer (i.e cycle or walk if we choose) to travel work.

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LG’s G2: The phondleslab that wants you to TOUCH ITS BEHIND

Dave 126
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Re: "Now it's all possible"

>Does sapphire stop the lens from getting mucky?

No it doesn't. However, you can clean the lens by wiping it on your shirt without fear of scrathing it - something that is not recommended for conventional lenses. For those there is a handy thing called a Lens Pen, which has a retractable brush at one end and a carbon cleaning pad at the other. Only complaint is that the lids tend to fall off them.

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Dave 126
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Re: 400mAh

>That's about three hours' worth, then?

Only if all things are equal, and the G2 is younger than its rivals from Samsung, Sony and HTC.

Anandtech's benchmarks for battery life for web-browsing are 8.5 and 10.7 hours on 3G/4G and WiFi. Talktime is 23.5 hours. It would seem that battery life is the main reason that someone would consider this phone over the much cheaper Nexus 5

"The LG G2 battery life is shockingly good through our tests, and in subjective use... ...The G2 also charges very fast for its battery size... ... LG's battery size is large, and the battery life tests back up the subjectively long longevity that I've noticed. Obviously the process improvements from 28nm HPM and power saving features in the G2 like GRAM/PSR make an improvement here. It seems like with Snapdragon 800 we may be ushering in a new generation of battery performance, despite the lack of a traditional process node shrink. It just goes to show you that there can be benefits other than more performance from using a high-end phone. The G2 is the first device we've seen with 28nm HPM silicon inside, which Qualcomm will be on for while.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7251/lg-g2-and-msm8974-snapdragon-800-a-quick-look/3

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Dave 126
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Re: Rear mounted controls

My mate's G2 came with a slim 'wallet' case, has a cut-out over the screen so that time, date and notifications can be read when it is closed. Most phone cases are tailored to individual models, no? There's no belt-clip, but you can always use a blob of SikaFlex to attach your own.

He doesn't find the back buttons tricky, but often just taps the screen to wake it up and uses the notification bar to change volume.

The IR blaster is pretty handy, since five remote controls (TV, Freeview, BluRay, AV Receiver, WD Media Streamer) is just getting silly. This should be a feature, like Sony's waterproofing, that every phone should have as standard.

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First the Yanks, now us: In-flight mobe use WON'T kill us all, say Eurocrats

Dave 126
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Danger!

You still get notices on fuel station forecourts telling you to turn off your phone. At a garage near me, the woman behind the counter thinks phones can cause an explosion, despite this myth being debunked a decade ago. (hell, I occasionally get a spark of static electricity from my vehicle's door when I get out; I have yet to blow up a petrol station)

My mechanic suggested that the policy might have come about years ago, when some CB radios interfered with the fuel measuring system on the pumps.

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APPLE EATS ITSELF: iPad Mini set to wolf Air's market share

Dave 126
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Re: Interesting

Also, any tablet can be considered a 'luxury' (i.e not essential) item. There is little difference between someone who can afford to spend £200 on a tablet and someone who can spend £350 on a tablet, when you consider that there are people who can't afford a tablet at all. Any tablet buyer is trading cash for convenience.

(I won't call a conventional computer a 'luxury item' because internet access has become the de facto method of interacting with some government services, let alone companies who only make their cheapest prices available to online customers. )

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Dave 126
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Re: Interesting

>The world has moved on from overpriced status symbols

Really? Evidence please. Last I saw, makers of luxury goods are doing very well.

http://brand-e.biz/global-sales-of-personal-luxury-goods-set-to-rise-6-in-2013_30788.html

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/10/british-luxury-car-brands-record-sales

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23894955

Status symbols are things like watches that cost a few thousand, or cars that cost tens of thousands more than 'really more than good enough' models. People like that don't really care about an extra couple of hundred of quid for a device they use a dozen times a day, if the experience suits them better.

>nobody I know buys iPads anymore

Nor me, but that is because a fair few of my acquaintances already own an iPad (roughly in keeping with the circa 5% of the UK population who do*), and find it still fit for their purposes, and the new iPads haven't been on sale for that long.

* http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/4496619e-db03-11e0-bbf4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1XjOXZrJr

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Dave 126
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Re: Mini replacing the Air

The 'iPad Pro' - I'm assuming that means an Intel / OSX iPad? The original iPad rumours (or rather some users' wishlists) included being able to use the iPad for productivity applications (especially ones suited to a stylus, such as Photoshop and the like), or even just use it with a Mac as an extra display and input device. How big a market this is I don't know, existing products are very pricey. Wacom make expensive Android/ Win 8 tablets, and Modbook will turn your Macbook Pro into one, whilst Adobe are bringing drafting and sketching to the iPad with hardware/software solutions. If more developers like Adobe produce productivity software for the iOS iPad, that might negate the need for an OSX version.

http://cintiqcompanion.wacom.com/CintiqCompanion/en/

http://www.modbook.com/modbookpro

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/news/creative-hardware/hands-on-adobe-projects-mighty-napoleon-drawing-hardware-for-ipad/

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Look at how many ways we ruin your life, Redmond boasts

Dave 126
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Re: Blame the cell phone

>Blame the cell phone

I actually know someone who found the advent of mobile phones gave them a little more freedom from the office... before being issued a phone, his pager meant he could be contacted damn near anywhere; when he was given a phone, he found there was no signal at the pub in the next village.

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MIT boffins show off spooky human action at a distance

Dave 126
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Re: innovation or invention

I'm guessing that those rods are as light as possible. I would have guessed that they were actuated by compressed air, but after looking through the images on the linked MIT page, I'm not so sure. The actuators take up a area roughly a third bigger than the actual rods, to which they are attached by linkages.

Another film that uses this concept is After Earth... (a much slated film, not too bad if you go in with reduced expectations, and I did like the design of the spaceship interior)

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