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* Posts by Dave 126

4218 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Apple's first iPhone now COSTS MORE than golden mobe 5S

Dave 126
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>Im a fan of real buttons on my phones.

Yeah, even on an Android phone I prefer the three system buttons to be physical... its irritating to be kicked out of an app because my clumsy finger has slid over the virtual 'home' button. How Google think this serves game developers on their platform escapes me.

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RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Dave 126
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Re: Surprised they haven't already

>Surface looks so much thinner and slicker than other Windows tablets

Well, no 3rd party has put that much effort into Win RT Tabs, and as for full-fat Windows tablets 3rd parties have been concentrating on tablet/laptop hybrid styles that lean more towards the laptop side - i.e devices that can look like tablets but don't have detachable keyboards, such as the Lenovo Yoga, some Sony effort.

Windows without a keyboard is dependant on software that only requires a touchscreen, and most (but not all*) people will find their needs met in that regard met by a cheaper Android tablet.

*Windows tablets have been around for years; my mechanic uses one in the workshop for diagnosing vehicle systems, I've seen surveyors use them, and Wacom have just released a Win 8 tablet incorporating the best of their digitiser technology (want).

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ITU to Europe: One charger for all mobes good. One to rule them ALL? Better

Dave 126
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Re: The EU

AC, I was talking about the 13-pin connector, since it was contemporary with the mess the EU sought to fix. The Lightening connector came out afterwards.

But whatever...

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Dave 126
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Re: good

I've read somewhere that microUSB (unlike microUSB) is designed so that any mechanical failure will occur in the cable and not in your expensive gadget.

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Dave 126
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Re: Excellent news.

I like Panasonic cameras, but they don't charge over microUSB- and annoying use batteries of much the same size but with millimetre-scale differences so that different chargers are required.

So I bought a Hana universal LiOn charger- just align its pins with the battery contacts, and voltage and polarity are automatically set and charging begins. It will also charge a couple of AA or AAA cells, and has a female USB A socket too. Obviously it doesn't work for gadgets with built in batteries, but is a handy bit of kit to have around.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ dmartin - Only in the EU

Agreed, an old-style 'Nokia' plug is much quicker and easier to use than microUSB.

The only ray of light for the people with reduced dexterity is the promise of wireless charging mats (aside from various proprietary docking solutions such as used to be featured on old Nokias or some new Sonys)

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Dave 126
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Re: While I like the unified charger idea

Agreed, having a near-standard (if not perfect) connector is preferable to holding out for something perfect.

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Dave 126
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Re: 2 requests

C'mon, it was the likes of Sony-Ericsson and Samsung who had almost as many power connectors as they did models of phones. It is them that created the daft situation that the EU sought to rectify, not Apple.

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Dave 126
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Re: The EU

Yeah, but over same time period that Apple stuck with their old 13 pin connector, my assorted gadgets used around nine (?!) different power connectors:

2 different Nokia plugs

3 different Samsung plugs

A weird Sony-Ericsson thing

A fairly generic fat round 5v jobbie

MiniUSB

MicroUSB

...and some of the above gadgets even used their proprietary connectors for headphones, FFS!

It seems the EU's hand was forced by manufacturers like Sony-Ericsson and Samsung being so daft as to never twice use the same connector; I'm sorry, I just don't see Apple as being culpable in this instance. Forcing something on them for the sins of their competitors is just silly.

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Dave 126
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Re: USB: This side up

A connector that can be drastically improved by the user by adding a dab of Tippex wasn't properly designed in the first place.

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Dave 126
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Re: Good idea

>I can see a gap in the market for a double UK socket sized unit to replace a double socket with one 13A socket and a collection of USB charging sockets.

Maybe, but it would need to come with some 3' long microUSB cables to be left in semi-permanently, so you don't have to get down on all-fours to plug the cable in.

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Dave 126
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Re: Good news....

>A power socket can't really be improved, except by standardising.

Really? MicroUSB was an improvement over MiniUSB; not only is it slimmer, but also designed so that if there is a mechanical failure it will occur in the cheap cable and not the expensive device being charged.

And so in turn, it is easy to imagine improvements to microUSB. For starters, take the rough edges off so it can't scratch things, make it omni-directional and make it more amenable to using in docks. There is also the situation that a microUSB 3 cable can't be used to charge a microUSB 2 device...

That said, the shortcomings of microUSB are more than made up for by its current ubiquity.

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What the CUFF? Nokia shows how a smartwatch really OUGHT to work

Dave 126
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Re: Is the iWatch a bluff?

>Of course, it's possible that Apple isn't planning on making a smart watch at all.

If Apple have decided that it isn't worth their while developing a 'smartwatch', they still would have done 'due process' to reach that conclusion. That 'due process' would be in part be research into the 'smartwatch' concept.

Take that little iPod Nano, for example: There would have been a considered reason, perhaps commercial or technical, why they didn't include Bluetooth and thus allow it to work with iPhones.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bad taste

You do realise it is just a test rig for exploring potential UI concepts?

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Dave 126
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Re: Unimaginitive

>Anything less is barely an improvement on a 500 year-old fob watch.

It would be churlish of me to suggest that John Harrison made a bit of an improvement when your comment brought this to my attention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhYoh3_JqnE

The 'Pomander' timepiece from 1505.

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Dave 126
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Re: Great potential

Yeah, I was wondering why they needed six screens too, even as a 'test rig'. It's good to see people are testing some future concepts though.

Apple are sitting on a patent that can allow a 'smartwatch' to look more like jewellery; the micro-perforated aluminium (like that used for the power LED on their wireless keyboards) combined with a capacitive sensor to detect deflections in the aluminium surface when touched. Obviously the patent made no mention of smartwatches, but it would allow an 'invisible' (when not in use) touch screen.

In memory of Iain M. Banks: from The Player of Games, the bracelet modelled on an Orbital habitat.

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iPhone 5S autopsy shows WHY it can't tell which end is up – dev

Dave 126
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Well done INSparticus! I'm kicking myself for not making a connection with that failed Russian satellite launch earlier.

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Dave 126
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Regarding its use in driving games, a 5º discrepancy would bring some extra realism... it'd be just like the steering wheel in my works Transit van!

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Alarming tales: What goes on INSIDE Reg hack's hi-tech bedroom

Dave 126
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Re: modern life is rubbish

The more technology one throws at the morning alarm the more points of failure there are, alas. Android has a few annoyances, one of which is that they don't tend to be able to turn themselves on for an alarm - strange, cos every dumb- and feature-phone I've had from a 3310i onwards has been able to do so.

And wasn't there a (now corrected) iOS bug from a few years back that stopped the alarm from working? (Albeit on a specific date)

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Dave 126
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>Gadgets that light up the room are no good either since they are no less likely to disturb the wife.

Aw come on Mr D, you write for a technology website: Surely some sort of facial recognition system and head-tracking narrow-beam spotlight contraption bolted to your bedroom ceiling is the answer?

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Man+iPhone versus artificial intelligence: Anki robot racer slot cars

Dave 126
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Re: Anki Panki

>Right, because only Apple's iThings could possibly run RC apps, right?

Homer, I didn't say that Android can't do RC, merely that it is plausible for a company to target one platform before another for sound business reasons. Please don't give us the impression that your English comprehension is in need of a pit-stop, because you're probably better than that.

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Dave 126
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Re: I want one @Ted Treen

>Just give them the box and tell them to use their imagination.

I was brought up in public houses* before Gameboys or iPhones were used to distract nippers**, and my imagination told me that the piece of card inside fag*** packets resembled the shuttle from Star trek.

*bars

**children

***cigarettes

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Dave 126
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Re: Anki Panki

There are some fair reasons why lots of hardware and software vendors go with iOS. If you take take a step back from your 'politics' conclusion, you'll have a better chance of understanding the business reasons behind this decision.

Device consistency, Bluetooth LE support, low system latency, limited supply capabilities and market research all play a part.

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Dave 126
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Re: I want one

Richard 120, you have taken me back to a Christmas Day in my childhood, when I couldn't get close to my new Lego Technic set because my dad was playing with it.

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Dave 126
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Re: 6 Years? WTH?

The cars drive themselves around the track, but the player controls the speed of the cars and where on the track they go (e.g take opponent on the inside, or just race down the middle) in addition to when to use weapons to slow rivals down. Do bear in mind that this is only one of many possible game-types, and that modes such as 'capture the flag' can be implemented in future via software updates, or possibly developed by the players themselves.

More details here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/16/4841798/are-anki-cars-the-start-of-a-robot-revolution

There are lots of software developers and hardware vendors who only target iOS devices, so Anki are hardly unusual in this respect. There is zero point generating more interest than you can currently supply, so you might as well develop for one platform first and then move on to a second or third. The choice of going with iOS might be influenced by the low latency of the platform, and Apple's inclusion of Bluetooth Low Energy - the latter of which only some newer Android devices support.

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Dave 126
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Re: I want one

Only some of the more recent Android handsets support Bluetooth LE, so give it time. It's much the same reason that smart-watches from Casio and Citizen only support iOS at the moment.

If the intention is to leave children alone with this, it is better they use a cheap 'n cheerful Android tablet rather than a pricey iPad.

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Dave 126
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Looks like good fun.... wonder if people will create DIY equivalents using Arduino boards. It'd be good if the racing mat had a different texture on both sides- a grippy side simulating tarmac, and slippery side for drifting 'rally' fun.

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Behold, the MONSTER-CLAWED critter and its terrifying SPIDER BRAIN

Dave 126
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Re: The most important question

Who said that land-based creepy-crawlies taste bad? In many countries they are considered a tasty snack- it's just our social conditioning that makes us go 'Urgh!'. Being rational about it, locusts live in nice clean air, shrimps in sewage-contaminated water.

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Give it a wrist, fellas: Sony's back with $200 Android Smartwatch 2

Dave 126
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Re: This looks to be a better idea:

@D@v3

"Upon the fleas were other fleas and so on ad infinitum" - we get it. I was just making the point that whilst a wristwatch is easy to check visually for notifications, it isn't suitable for headphones.

The precedent for this is the Sony Wireless Walkman... this was a 'proper' Walkman in that it played cassette tapes, but it was paired to a matchbox sized receiver into which the headphones were plugged. The receiver had transport controls that were relayed to the main Walkman unit.

This was in the mid-nineties, and it was available in Japan. My assumption is that the UK's transmission regulations prohibited its sale here.

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Dave 126
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Re: This looks to be a better idea:

Er, how does it make you look like dick when it resembles a small MP3 player clipped to your shirt, or when held to your ear a small phone?

I'm sure it can tell you the time, but then if you have it in your breast pocket for smart-phone-companion duties, your wrist is free for a normal watch. Get a mechanical model ('automatic') and you'll be able to tell the time even after an EMP strike.

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Dave 126
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This looks to be a better idea:

http://www.slashgear.com/sony-sbh52-mini-handset-reduces-xperia-z-ultra-phablet-size-shame-25287821/

Basically, it's a small Bluetooth headset that includes an FM radio. It also has a speaker and mike, so can be used to take/make calls as if it were just a small phone.

Unlike a watch it is suitable for listening to music streamed rom your phone, as well as displaying notifications on its screen.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Once, twice, three times - a Very Large Phone™

Dave 126
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Re: Why?

I've never been a flip phone fan either - though psychophysically the placement of the phone next to the mouth and ear is reassuring (though sidestepped by multi-microphone trickery these days), and the possibility for large buttons and a screen protected from scratches makes good sense .

Personally, I have a soft spot for the slider-phones Samsung used to make- a very tactile way of taking a call, and then ending it. When I first used Android, I would tap a hard-button thinking it would end the call, but it didn't work that way...

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Dave 126
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Re: Elegant..

Yeah, but the whole point of good design is to make life easier for us humans (a little more good thought at the design stage gets multiplied by the production run... i.e magnified by millions)... so I'd like every connector to be as easy to use as a 3.5mm headphone jack. (Though even that gets messed up... an example being the original iPhone when the socket was so recessed that not all 3.5mm plugs would fit it, especially fancy thick hifi 'Y' cables)

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Dave 126
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Re: Great stylus, even better sound

A major frustration with being an Android user - the lack of standardisation of headsets and headphones, even within the same phone manufacturer, and few offer headsets with three buttons. Even headsets with the same jacks might use resistors with different values. Most of the 'quality' 3rd party headset makers (Sennheiser etc) only support iPhones/pods/pads.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

Mr Alexander was after a smaller Android phone that didn't compromise on its internal components compared to 'flagship' models.

Reg readers that want a 3.3" Android phone might want to have a look at this Samsung Android quad-core flip-phone with dual-SIM slots:

http://androidcommunity.com/samsung-sch-w789-hennessy-unveiled-includes-dual-sim-feature-20130813/

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

> (the "anything mini" line of phones are crippled, all of them)

If you wait until the new year, you might consider an Zperia Z1 f. This 'f' variant has a 4.3" screen, but the same processor and 2GB RAM as its bigger Xperia Z siblings.

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/124257-sony-announces-xperia-z1f-its-flagship-z1-shrunken-down

I have a 4.3"-screened Xperia P, and whilst being far from state-of-the-art it ticks along quite nicely on a dual-core chip and its copes with HD video and 3D games happily enough- though I seldom ask it to. Good call quality. Battery life could be better. Small text is readable on websites, but I imagine a bigger screen would make browsing easier. I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone with poorer close-up vision or 'sausage-fingers' though.

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Dave 126
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Re: Elegant..

Not just looks... the microUSB connector is a bit scratchy and I still need to give it a second glance to determine which way round to plug it in.

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OAR-some! 18ft SEA SERPENT discovered off US coast

Dave 126
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Alas, they won't be able to accompany their "It was THIS big" with the traditional arm gesture... if they could, a human with an 18' arm-span would be even more of a scientific marvel than a bloody-great fish.

On the subject of men with long arms and sea-dwelling animals, I seem to remember a story from a few years back about China's tallest man being drafted in by an aquarium to help them. They had a dolphin that had eaten something it shouldn't, and they required someone with a very long arm to remove the foreign body. On the back of this publicity, the gentleman, in his forties IIRC, found himself a wife (which I'm led to believe is no mean feat in China).

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Apple's Oct 22 WORLD-SHAKING San Fran party: New iPads or what?

Dave 126
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Re: A lot to cover...

>Only one Apple product needs a "cover"... the iPad.

I like your lateral thinking... maybe an iPad cover that offers functionality in some way (Thinking of MS's new Surface cover that has audio mixer controls instead of qwerty keys [reminds me of concept keyboards]... pity Window's audio subsystem is a mess, though; for plinky-plonky things best off with OSX/iOS, it will save some headaches)

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Expert chat: The end of Windows XP and IE6

Dave 126
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Chrome with little Ram - not great

>And Chrome is about the worst choice for a low powered PC as it eats every last available megabyte of RAM on your machine.

Agreed, one company I help has lots of low powered XP machines (just for data entry, really), usually with 512 MB RAM. Chrome is hopeless, but opera isn't too bad.

Most of the staff don't use anything beyond a spreadsheet and a web browser, so migrating them to a Linux distro should be fairly straightforward.

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Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee: DRMed HTML least of all evils

Dave 126
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Re: You wouldn't steal a car

>You wouldn't steal a car

I love it when that message is displayed before a movie about lovable car thieves.

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Dave 126
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Re: He does have a point

Whoo, that's some expansion. Fair play to Btrower for expanding on his views, we seem to have moved from the Ancient Greeks (who first raised taxes to pay for courts, so that trading disputes didn't result in knife fights) through Bertrand Russell's 'Case for a Leisure Society', and made a detour around Thalidomide.

So, possible alternative means of funding artists and inventors include, but are not limited to:

-Private patronage by a powerful individual, eg Leonardo da Vinci by the Medici family, JS Bach by a bishop.

-Leisure Society - i.e with a 20 hour working week, people have enough leisure time to write, play musical instruments, write the software that they want to use, and potter in the shed.

-Bounty - e.g John Harrison's invention of the bimetallic strip and thus accurate clocks, to claim an award being offered by the British Admiralty

-Employment by an organisation that can bring the individuals work to market quickly enough for it to be a competitive advantage.

- Academic research, grant, i.e society as a whole funds research / artistic endeavour.

None of the above seem perfect systems either, though the Leisure Society should be discussed more... which is tricky when Gross National Product and Economic Growth are all politicians brag about.

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Dave 126
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Re: Anyone fancy reading that?

I think it was a variation on the adage "It is better to have a piece of a big pie than to have the whole of a small pie", but I'm not sure.

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Dave 126
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Re: He does have a point

>"Patents and Copyrights do not create wealth. They destroy it. The only ones saying otherwise are the parasites who leach off the productivity of others."

Okay Btrower, that's a very sweeping statement. However, you neglected to summarise your system for rewarding inventors and authors in their place. Patents and Copyright aren't perfect systems, but then what are? Have you alternatives in mind?

Is your position informed by certain types of patents which perhaps shouldn't be granted, or perhaps by their application (for example, a small inventor not having the financial resources to defend their work from a large established organisation)?

Please expand upon your point of view.

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'Computer GEEKS' snatch NOBEL Prize for chemistry - without using chemicals

Dave 126
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Re: Sceptical

@Sheluser

If you fire up an engineering simulation application, the disclaimer "This software is intended to reduce testing, and is not intendd to be a replacement for it" is displayed. You still need to test real models in a wind tunnel, but just not as many of them.

The same idea is applicable to software simulation of chemical compounds.

Of course, the real advances in science come when there is a discrepancy between the expected result and the real result of an experiment, a discrepancy that then needs explaining.

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Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

Dave 126
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Re: The sad thing is..

Xperias have LED notification lights, different colours for different alerts. Strange thing is, all I would want from a 'smart watch' is a notification light.

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Dave 126
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@AC that's a touch too subtle, perhaps.

Seems a strange game for Samsung to play... non-geeks don't care about benchmarks, true geeks know that their benchmarks are cooked...

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Dave 126
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Re: LG v Samsung

>Everyone already knew it was pretty much a re-hash of the LG G2.

The G2 has some nice features... none that would cause people to go 'Wow!, but nice nonetheless, such as the screen that saves the GPU power (although others use this too), the bi-wiring that saves on bezel space, and the high definition audio playback. The LG G2 seems to have suffered (in terms of media exposure) from being the 4th entry to a race that already included the S4, HTC One, and Sony Z variants.

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Three BILLION people now potential nodes for the transfer of cat videos

Dave 126
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Fuck you, I'm an anteater.

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Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

Dave 126
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There have been some sites selling legit 24 bit 96 - 192kHz Flags for a while. In addition, LG's New flagship phone can play them natively- and LG have released APIs in the hope that 3rd party audio app developers make use of them. With luck, Google will incorporate it into Android properly.

With storage, bandwidth and silicon ever cheaper, why not?

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