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* Posts by Dave 126

4046 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

BMW offers in-car streaming music for cross-Europe road trips

Dave 126
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Re: Poor man's Radio 4 solution

Or... spend £20 on a shortwave radio receiver, and use line-in to your car stereo to listen to BBC World Service... has many of the same current affairs and documentary output of Radio 4, but without the R4 cruft.

Just a thought!

If you want spoken-word content, and don't mind 'loading up' before you set off on your travels, you could do worse than download MP3s (at around 25MB/hour) from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/ (the 'Australian Radio4' but not as smug - 'The Science Show' and 'Late Night Live' being particularly good. ) Or maybe you haven't exhausted the In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg yet? : D

Thank you for bringing these stream-compression services to our attention!

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Dave 126
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Re: Why when Radio is already free?

>What's so bad about DAB?

- Batteries in portable DAB radios don't last very long

-The codec used in DAB doesn't sound very nice

-In areas of poorer reception, the sound of DAB breaks up in a way that is more unpleasant than poor FM

- It is fragmented across countries

- The price of DAB receivers has never come anywhere close to that of FM radios.

Since current DAB adoption is currently poor, we may as well skip it and adopt streaming of radio content: The sound quality can be better, and it offers thousands of stations, not just dozens. We are not all at that stage yet, but we might be close in a few years.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another retarded music service begging for an audience, fools and their money...

>Why not provide REAL VALUE and offer a straight 3G/4G INTERNET CONNECTION with no roaming or data rate charges that would let you use multiple streaming services AND have in car WIFI hotspot capability, telephony, etc etc etc??????????

Because that would impact on sales of traditional phone-based data tariffs. What makes this deal acceptable to Vodaphone is that it is tied to one specific service- the customer will still be paying a separate bill to Vodaphone (or a competing network) for their phone's data allowance for email and internet browsing etc.

>Nooooo, that would make too much sense. As to "digital radio" again this is ONLY a plot to take away simple terrestrial radio, let's take a mature product, put a new name on it, fuck up the signal quality so it sucks so bad we can sell them on shit that works even worse.

Which is exactly why I welcome this product as a step in the right direction - with luck, music streaming will, in time, render DAB obsolete, and maybe we will be allowed to keep FM. I like FM, the equipment is reliable and batteries in a portable radio last for weeks.

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Dave 126
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Re: WOW

>Only those for whom '(money > sense) == true', methinks.

Maybe, but then they have already paid thousands of pounds more for a car than they strictly have to... so one assumes they won't miss the money. Then imagine how much they have spent on their home HiFi system...

I f paying a couple of hundred for DAB and getting a few dozen more stations (not necessarily in your language or to your taste) is justifiable, how is then spending an extra few hundred for hundreds of streamed stations a sign of idiocy?

(My car- not a BMW- is the one with the the £50 Lidl stereo, featuring an SD card and USB port, line in, FM radio and CD player - the latter never used. Loads of albums on the SD card, the USB socket is ideal for charging my phone since the fag lighter socket is playing up. Line in for when I really want to stream a podcast from my phone. Sorry - I just wanted to mention something that was modestly priced, useful and good at what it does)

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Dave 126
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>great idea, one small problem. how is a flat fee of £300 going to pay for the costs to BMW? The roaming charges alone for a days use would be more than that.

From the article:

"What's unusual and interesting about the deal is that it includes 3G access to the music - via Vodafone's mobile network - across Europe"

So, one assumes that BMW have made a deal with Vodaphone... and Vodaphone would rather make some money from this system than make no money at all (which is what would happen if they insisted on their usual roaming fees - since nobody would then bother with it). Since it is tied to one service (music) it is not 'cannibalising' the data tariffs they sell for phones.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why when Radio is already free?

>I just dont get it. Any data dongle can stilll do that and beam it into the stereo system !

Answered in the article:

"you can get Rara's music catalogue and playlists, without any extra charges - particularly roaming charges - or extra cables or devices. "

If you used a dongle without being careful, you could arrive home to a massive roaming phone bill. Whilst you can stream to your car stereo with extra devices, it is not as convenient as having it integrated with the car - both for ease of use (safety) and connection to the car's aerial.

I've been hoping that this is the way things are going - so we can all forget about DAB.

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Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Dave 126
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Re: Micro USB charging

>I had a 200m G-Shock crap out on me in the shower, once, for exactly that reason.

I've had a 200m Gshock repaired under warranty following a high fall onto concrete - when I got it back the strap was mouldy because they had pressure-tested the waterproofing after making the repairs, but not dried it out afterwards. I'm not sure that the watch battery shop on the high street does that! (Casio did replace the strap, too)

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Dave 126
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Re: Wrist-based technology needs two hands ...

Um, you don't have to let go of whatever your left hand is holding just because your right hand touches your left wrist. Or vice versa.

You don't have to touch your watch to read it.

Tiny buttons? The rotating bezel (a method of user input) on my watch is larger than any buttons found on my phone- and is a far quicker and convenient way of reminding myself when to take my dinner out of the oven than using a phone timer. There are other ways a watch could accept user input, too - such as shaking it or tapping the watch face.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why bother?

>How many hands do you need to use a watch?

Zero, if you are just glancing at it to see what a notification is.

>How many hands do you need to use a phone?

One, usually, but it has to retrieved from a safe place - a pocket or bag - and returned there when finished.

>If you are standing on a train/bus or holding a cup of coffee - you cannot use a smart watch

Fair enough, on the occasions that it is easier to use your phone, you can still use your phone. That doesn't mean that the phone will always be the easiest option - a cyclist would find easier to tell the time from a wristwatch than they would by pulling a phone from their pocket, locating the screen lock button to display the time and then returning the phone to their pocket.

>A smart watch is not as smart as a Rolex for example, in fact it is rather untidy in comparison

Fair enough - though I'm not Rolex's biggest fan, I think a useful smartwatch could be made that doesn't draw attention to itself. I'm thinking of that Tissot Touch watch, when tapping 3 o'clock made its hands rotate to indicate altitude, touching 6 o'clock made them act as a compass, 9 o'clock a thermometer etc... its appearance gave no clue as to its extra functions- it looked like any other analogue watch.

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Dave 126
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Re: Micro USB charging

Why not make the strap a cable with a male microUSB plug st the clasp? I'm sure I've seen something similar on Alibaba

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Fairphone goes on sale to all

Dave 126
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Re: "closing-time-at-a-dive-pub type ramblings got on national stages "

>What's politically correct about using materials that weren't produced using slave/forced labour (which is what I understand "conflict free" to mean)?

Not so much about slave labour, its more about the arms which are bought with the proceeds of tantalum.

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Happy 23rd birthday, Windows 3.0

Dave 126
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Re: For people who knew no better

When I was still in primary school, the classroom a single Archimedes, a few of the lads had Amigas for games, my mate's dad, a hippy musical technology lecturer, had an Atari ST (and a MIDI guitar), and another friend's dad, a graphic designer, had a Mac. There was of course still a smattering of Spectrums, Vic 20s, C64s, Acorns, and a few 8 bit consoles.

Me? I had an 8086 Olivetti with no sound or game port! Still, over the next ten years I learnt quite a bit just getting it and its successors to play games... and eventually the games (X-Wing, Doom, System Shock, many more) came.

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Dave 126
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Re: Mattrick demonstrated starting up the console by saying "Xbox on,"...

Hehe! Alas, I believe the new Kinnect features fairly bog-standard noise cancellation techniques to discriminate between sound from the television, and sound coming from humans in the room... It wasn't implemented to avoid the situation you outline, but so that voice commands can be heard over the virtual explosions.

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Dave 126
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Re: Halo?

>>#1. "The shared graphic memory is exactly what people like Carmack have been waiting for."

>Can you expand on that please...?

I can't speak for Zot, but he may have been thinking of this interview with John Carmack (iD software - lead programmer of Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake) discussing graphics architecture, memory, PCs vs Consoles and of course, his then-upcoming game Rage:

http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Editorial/John-Carmack-Interview-GPU-Race-Intel-Graphics-Ray-Tracing-Voxels-and-more

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Dave 126
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Re: XBox One == Creepy Snooping Apparatus

I would worry that someone has installed video cameras and microphones in the beer garden shrubbery to catch people discussing all manner of naughtiness - legal, finacial, sexual- but I don't.

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Dave 126
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Re: XBox One == Creepy Snooping Apparatus

>However Credit cards don't (yet) come weaponised with surveillance sensors such as cameras, microphones et cetera

Okay, Dougal, how do you 'weaponise' something with a sensor exactly?

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Dave 126
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Re: XBox One == Creepy Snooping Apparatus

>You give a fascinating variant on the nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument.

When I do get together with my friends to discuss the overthrow of Western civilisation, I prefer to meet in either a tent in the Sahara, or in a hollowed-out volcano - not in Ed's front room halfway through a Halo session.

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Dave 126
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Re: XBox One vs PS4

@mutatedwombat

Thanks for a clear, concise post. I think you're right to infer that the details of the whole offering ("online requirements, subscription services, etc") are likely to have a difference in peoples choice. As for the hardware differences, (and lets just hope that the Lowest Common Denominator doesn't bring down the quality of games) though my geeky side awaits Tomshardware analysing those hardware differences (since they are in the habit of examing the performance bottlenecks of gaming PCs).

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Dave 126
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Re: A behind the scenes look...

> Can't help but feel MS is putting too much emphasis on Xbox Live and not on Gaming itself.

For many gamers, it is all about the online multiplayer gaming. And those gamers pay, in the form of an Xbox Live Gold subscription. On those points, I would say that sorting out issues with XBOX Live (lag cheaters etc) is absolutely central to what MS are offering.

The games? Those are for the 3rd party developers to work out, not MS.

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Dave 126
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Re: BBC article revelations... XBox is not about games!

>MS abandons backwards compatibility once again. Must feel great to be an MS dev / partner / customer!

You really have gone full retard today...

Why would a dev care if people didn't keep playing DeathKill IV on their old machine and bought DeathKill V for their new console instead? They wouldn't care - they would welcome it.

The PS3 caught up XBOX 360's sales, despite most PS3 units not playing PS2 games... Guess what? Those people with PS2 games tended to own a PS2 console. Shocking, I know, but that's just that way it is.

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Dave 126
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Re: Oh don't be hard on them

>A suit is just an inanimate uniform for work

Unless you've read too much Iain M Banks...

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Dave 126
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Re: There's a lot more detail in the BBC article than here at the Reg which is surprising...

Eadon you cretin- the OP AC was expressing surprise that the BBC coverage had highlighted a (possibly significant) point when the Register had missed it. This point was not made on priviledged information as you suggest, but on already common knowledge.

Try putting your energy into different avenues for a month... if you see no improvement after that time, you should seek help.

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Dave 126
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Re: XBox One == Creepy Snooping Apparatus

>Unlike Google, MS have given user's data to the FBI/government without a warrant

From the FBI's persepctive, people who are sat at home playing video games with their mates are not of interest. People out on the street bombing, murdering and a smuggling... that's a different matter.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bah

>This console brings nothing new to the table, and if anything tries to hide the fact that it lacks anything new by drowning out the terrible console with added microsoft bloat.

One man's bloat is another man's features. Certainly the PS3 was always a more useful general purpose machine than the Xbox 360 (the Sony gave you Blu-Ray, fairly quiet operation, WiFi for media playback, iPlayer etc) so MS would be daft not to move in that direction.

For me, the striking thing is how similar Sony and MS's next gen offerings are- so I suspect it will be the details of implementation and polish that clinch it. Either that, or people are beyond caring which platform they adopt, and the 3rd party studios will benefit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Thats all we need

>More losers "pwning" people. FYI, nobody cares about you playing your game.

So you missed the news story this week about Nintendo trying to reclaim users' 'walk through' videos as a revenue stream? Do try and pay attention!

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Dave 126
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Re: Sir

>once upon a time it was all about the launch games :)

Yep. since before the Mario and Sonic days...

It used to be so, but at the launch of the PS3 Sony didn't seem to bother- I can't recall any big PS franchises making much of a splash. Now that this new Xbox and the PS4 have similar hardware (so more likely to share AAA 3rd party games), it might be less about the 'title exclusives' and more about the details... clearly MS have done well to recognise that Online Multiplayer could be better, which is but the first step to fixing it. d

Oh, and screw MS's Halo franchise - Bungie's 'Destiny' (available on both next gen platforms) is where its going to be at.

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The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex

Dave 126
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>"For Sale: 2 bed bungalow, needs some renovation, very large wine cellar."

I had believed the bunker outside Bath had been bought as a wine cellar, but it would appear that was only a proposal:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wiltshires-secret-underground-city-the-burlington-nuclear-bunker

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COLD FUSION is BACK with 'anomalous heat' claim

Dave 126
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Re: Disgrace of the sort of comments

>Regardless of the character and its claims any scientific discovery should be judged without prejudice

I think people's only problem with the man's character is that he doesn't allow a fair scientific experiment, even one which doesn't require peeking inside the box.

Hell, many of us grew up admiring a crazy scientist who stole plutonium off Libyan terrorists : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Lost inventions

Yeah, I understand that he hinted on a radio interview that his family knew.

Just how rich did he want to be out of it? It seems he spent decades turning down millions of pounds for the hope of billions. He must have been very confident that nobody else would stumble across the formula whilst he was sitting on it.

If it existed, it is baffling that it hasn't been replicated. If it didn't exist, it is baffling that the military labs said it worked. One doesn't really want to suggest that it works and the military really know the formula, nor suggest that it didn't work and the military had their own reasons for saying otherwise.

Odd, odd, odd.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lost inventions

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlite

That really is an odd one... I remembered the demonstration on Tomorrow's World, and the military seem to think it works...

About 18 months after the Tomorrow's World appearance, Ward finally agreed to let Lewis run a series of tests, on condition that he wouldn't analyse Starlite's ingredients. The first thing Lewis and his colleagues did was fire powerful laser pulses at the material. There was little damage, despite the fact that each pulse contained 100 millijoules of energy. "That will drill holes in bricks," says Lewis.

Other tests at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and the Atomic Weapons Establishment on the island of Foulness, UK, confirmed that Starlite was the real deal. At Foulness, researchers used an arc lamp, essentially a powerful tungsten bulb, to focus a huge amount of heat onto a small area of the material. Again an impressive performance: the material easily withstood temperatures of around 1000 °C, according to a 1993 article in the military publication International Defence Review.

-From issue 2864 of New Scientist magazine, page 40-43.

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Dave 126
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Re: No Brainer

BTW, Dick Smith is ace! In the early 1980s he served as the conductor aboard a London double decker bus which jumped 15 motorcycles. He would later serve twice as chairman of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority Board!

His interview with broadcaster Philip Adams is wonderful, and hosted here:

http://castroller.com/podcasts/LateNightLive2/3226855

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Dave 126
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Re: No Brainer

Okay, okay... if he doesn't want to open his black box to scrutiny, it could just be left running for a period of time with several independent assessors monitoring the power in and power out. The volume of the box is known. If the box continues outputting power for a period of time beyond what one would expect of a battery or fuel cell, it will become interesting and worthy of further consideration (even if 'all' he has created is a better battery, it would be noteworthy but not world changing)

Until then, I'm assuming snake oil.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hmm...

"Keep an open mind, but no so open that your brains fall out" - Bertrand Russell

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Dell's PC-on-a-stick landing in July: report

Dave 126
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Re: Instant PC

>Aye, why use this when you have a smartphone in your pocket anyway?

Because you can plug this in to your telly, and control it using your phone from your sofa.

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The iWatch is coming! The iWatch is coming!

Dave 126
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Re: Another Bluetooth & Wifi gadget a lá les Googgles?

The new version of Android shown off last week brings support for the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to the OS for the first time- though some Android Samsung devices already have the hardware. More recent iOS and Nokia WinPho devices already support it, as does the Casio G-Shock BLE watch - with a claimed battery life of 3 years based on twelve hours connection per day.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Owen Ashcroft

>Except that a wristwatch is big enough to display the time, a display smaller than a smartphone is going to struggle to display much more with any degree of usability

Okay, just a partial list of things that could be easily displayed on a watch without a fancy display:

-The time

-A direction to a waypoint - like a traditional compass

-Notification alerts - could be done with a single RGB LED - different colours and flashes denote different alerts, much like the one on your phone does.

-4 digit Numerical data sent from your phone - time to next train, custom countdown timer, average speed, distance to waypoint, altitude

Even little bits of information like these might be useful if they can be consulted without removing your phone from your pocket (or in some circumstances, a waterproof pouch in your rucksack)

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Space dogs and Dragons: A brief history of reentry tech

Dave 126
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>It wasn't until 1783 that Frenchman Louis-Sébastien Lenormand jumped from the tower of Montpellier observatory and lived both to tell the tale and invent the word "parachute".

Fair dooes! Personally, I would have placed my body-weight in courgettes in a bag, and tied the bag to my new parachute invention - before dropping that off the roof. Still, you can't knock showmanship!

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MYSTERY Nokia Lumia with gazillion-pixel camera 'spotted'

Dave 126
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Re: other factors

>quality of image is being able to keep the camera still long enough for the photons to be captured.

That is correct, but is not very helpful if your subject (sports, pets, children etc) is moving.

You have other options to let more light hit the sensor: One is to give yourself a larger hole (smaller f.) to let more light in. The compromise is that this reduces the amount of your scene that is in focus (though sometimes this is desired). Here, the autofocus speed (or manual focus controls) come into their own.

Another option is to up the sensitivity ('ISO') of the sensor, though this might increase the amount of noise beyond what you want. Generally, larger sensor DSLRs allow a higher ISO to be used without impacting on image quality as much.

There are always compromises and decisions to be made on the part of the photographer, which is why they place importance on the camera's controls- many having a preference for external knobs and dials than navigating through nested menus with a d-pad. And why most DSLRs have user-configurable buttons and Custom modes.

Oh, there is a lovely Instructables article about making a gyroscopic stabilising rig for DSLRs, made out of two old desktop HDDs : D

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Dave 126
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'Bridge Cameras' tend to have fairly small sensors, around the same size as most compacts... they have to, in order to offer a lot of versatility in the optical zoom range. Unlike a DSLR with any one lens, they can go from a reasonable macro shot to upwards of 24x zoom.

>but it's never going to be as good as an equivalent DSLR/Bridge camera or top end point and push.

Okay, If you Google "pureview 808 vs Lumix LX 5" and look at the pictures, you might be surprised.

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Dave 126
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Re: Whatever you do, don't show the Win 8 scrreen!

@Lee D

You might have missed the point- it is not being judged on the number of mega-pixels it has, but on the results it produces. Rather than give us a lot of theory, isn't is easier for you to look at the DPreview review of the 808- after all, it contains lots of test shots, many of them under their controlled studio conditions. They use the same conditions for each camera (DSLR, compact, whatever) they review, so that comparisons are fair and standard.

True, you are never going to get fine user control over your pictures with this thing, but that isn't he point of this device.

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Dave 126
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>Eleventy gazillion megapixels, and still a teeny tiny hole in the front to let the light in. So no, I won't be trying this.

Okay, why look at reviews and controlled tests when you have an opinion? Rather than think about it, why not just look at the pictures?

http://asia.cnet.com/shootout-nokia-808-pureview-vs-panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx5-62216561.htm

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Dave 126
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Re: Let's talk photon counts and well sizes

@Michael H.F. Wilkinson

What you say is true. However, the 808 concept is simpler than that - people tend to use 'zoom' for pictures of landmarks and wildlife during the day when light is good and noise isn't really an issue (so the 808 takes a crop of the image, 1:1 pixels). People want low light capability in social situations, often indoors, often at night, when the zoom isn't required (interpolate several pixels to create less noisy image).

Whilst it is good to think about the theory, it is good to balance that against looking at the results:

"Will they match professional DSLR kit: No; this little thing called physics gets in the way." - Theory

"Pixel-level detail is high at low ISO settings and acceptable even at ISO 1600 for non-critical applications. In terms of sharpness and detail, the 808 is more than a match at low ISO settings for most compact cameras (and some DSLRs) -http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview/5 Results of controlled testing.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lens

>"Is the lens up to this level of detail?" is exactly the right question to ask.

It is a good question to ask, but it seems by looking at two unrelated cameras from Pentax you took a strange approach to answering it. Generally speaking, 'prime lenses' - those of fixed zoom - are sharper than zoom lenses. If you want to be more empirical about it, have a look at:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8083837371/review-nokia-808-pureview/5

"At its maximum resolution of 38MP the 808 is capable of capturing a ton of detail, and pixel-level image quality is up there with some of the best cameras around. In its 8MP PureView mode pixel-level image quality is extremely high at low ISO settings, and even up at its highest ISOs, the 808 gives a lot of 'proper' cameras a run for their money. " This is a photography review site that is fond of studio comparison shots under controlled conditions. There is no criticism in the review of the sharpness of the 808's prime lens.

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Dave 126
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Re: The best camera

I've not yet considered getting a DSLR for just that very reason... it's a bit of lump to carry around, and not something I would always want to leave in an unattended vehicle- in short, I wouldn't get enough use out of it to justify its cost.

I do have a 'premium compact', a Lumix LX-5 that fits in a jacket pocket, and is with me enough of the time to capture interesting shots I stumble across, and in most conditions.

However, even this I don't have with me as often as I do my phone.

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Dave 126
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Re: Whatever you do, don't show the Win 8 scrreen!

>A phone camera will always be inferior to any dedicated camera, even a cheap portable one.

Eadon fails to look at any comparisons between the 808 Pureview and 'premium' compacts such as the Lumix LX-5 or Olympus PEN. I don't know why - I'm pretty sure using Linux isn't a barrier to using Google... 'pureview 808 lx 5' for example. All of the reviews, tests, and side by side comparisons come to much the same conclusion.

In some situations, especially low light, the 808 captured more detail, and generally holds its own. This is impressive, given that the LX-5 when released was a better low-light performer than most compacts, with a 1/1.6 sensor and an f.2 lens.

To really put the boot in, almost all compact cameras use a propriety OS, shock horror - though I've heard good things of CHKD, a temporay firmware for many Canon compacts that allows all manner of scripts. http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

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Surface Pro to hit Blighty priced 25% up on top-o-the-range iPad

Dave 126
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Re: Legacy Apps?

>What you call legacy applications we call real applications and they aren't going away.

Agreed.

However, if we want to see more laptops with very high res screens, traditional Windows desktop applications apparently need a kick up the behind. A excerpt from a review of a 13.3" 2560×1440 Toshiba laptop:

"Whereas navigating the Modern Live Tile interface was easy on the Kirabook, it was nearly impossible to touch anything, much less use the cursor, in desktop mode. The menu options in Photoshop Elements were microscopic. We don't consider our eyesight to be poor, but even we had to hold the notebook close to our face. Fortunately, a Toshiba Display Utility lets you set the size of on-screen icons and text in Windows, but it doesn't apply to the apps themselves."

- http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/toshiba-kirabook.aspx

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Dave 126
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Re: For that money . . .

>For that money . . . . . I would get 2 x tablets and a chromebook.

You could, and for many tasks that would work great. However, you wouldn't be able to run all the software that is available for Windows, such as CAD, Photoshop, more specialist accountancy packages, obscure external hardware drivers, you name it. The Surface Pro is no more or less than an i5 laptop with a touchscreen and removable keyboard. Whether you want these features is nobody's choice but yours.

If you had said "for the money I could buy a tablet and a midrange Windows laptop", I couldn't take issue with you.

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Prankster 'Superhero' takes on robot traffic warden AND WINS

Dave 126
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Re: I think you'll also find...

One does not walk or drive or transport themselves to Yate by any other means.

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Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

Dave 126
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Re: "privacy is only a problem for the last generation"

Quite. If you don't have car in some rural areas, everyone already knows exactly where you without having to track you: stuck at home.

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Dave 126
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Re: Understandable

>Power to weight restriction like they have on bikes would be good.

Possibly. However, some nasty crashes might be caused by drivers of unrestricted cars trying to overtake them. A moped can be overtaken relatively safely, a Nissan Micra less so.

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