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* Posts by Dave 126

4210 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

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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Dave 126
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Re: £800????

>you've jack of an eco-system.

Can you expand on that statement? All sorts of hardware and legacy software work with (full fat) Window 8. I don't think there is a device that is now plugged into my Win 7 laptop that wouldn't work with this machine, from my HDDs to my mouse. The chances are that the vast majority of my installed software would work on it as well. Is it possible that you have confused this device for a Win 8 RT (can run on ARM) device?

I have no need for this form factor, but to say it has no 'eco-system' confusese me.

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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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Honey, I BLEW UP the International SPACE STATION - in full 3D

Dave 126
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Headmaster

Re: But....

>Can it run Crysys with max settings?

I don't know about Crysis, but it looks like a crisis for the two astronauts concerned!

CrySys with two 'y's is something different again, but does have an IT angle: :-)

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

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Dave 126
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Re: All that trouble

What vacuum? It looks like expanding gas, dust and debris (i.e an explosion)- the rest of the noise is screaming over the suit radio, and noise transmitted along the suit tether- in much the same the way as you can hear the cable of your earphones rubbing against your shirt.

There is a medium for sound to travel through. I don't expect the noise portrayed in this trailer is what people would hear in that situation, but nor would I expect it to be a silent experience.

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Acorn founder: SIXTH WAVE of tech will wash away Apple, Intel

Dave 126
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Re: so that leaves ....

AMD spun off their manufacturing to Global Foundries, so they are more like ARM now. MS have dabbled in hardware (mice and keyboards, later the XBOX and the Surface devices, but I imagine the physical production line belongs to someone else) but remain primarily software and services.

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Dave 126
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Re: Inevitable

>As you point out Sil, its primary driver is computing power/watt.

That, and wireless connectivity - be it the now more common WiFi or sensibly priced data-plans.

Looking forwards, small wireless connected devices such as sensors might be frugal enough to be harvest energy from their surroundings, and cheap enough to be almost disposable (or at least deployed redundantly).

Making good use of all this easily collected data might be more challenging, though.

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Dave 126
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Re: "the incumbent always misses the next wave"

The canal owners had everything invested in assets - canals. The Japanese stole a march on transistor radios because the Americans had too much invested in manufacturing valves.

Apple don't have much invested in manufacturing hardware- and the value of offering services such as iTunes or their App Store isn't lost on them. That their hardware is profitable for them is a nice bonus, but the physical devices are just away of using their services. Google, and ARM likewise - nothing invested in manufacturing hardware.

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Dave 126
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Re: You can call me AI

Though deliberately his own atheist Utopia, Iain M Banks' Culture sci fi concerns a society of powerful AI Minds and hedonistic humans. Banks' doesn't really explore too deeply why the Minds keeps humans around, other than perhaps for their own amusement. Other Minds get kicks out of hunting down 'Hegemonizing Swarms' - little clouds of Von Neuman machines.

Asimov wrote quite a few stories about Multivac, a central computer that looks after all administration on the behalf of humanity- in one story, Multivac manipulates a man to destroy it, since it is its considered opinion that humanity would be better off taking responsibility for itself.

Then there is that great moment when a human figure blast through a wall, and reveals itself to be R. Daneel Olivaw, now capable breaking the 'first law' and hurting individual people if it furthers the aim of the 'Zeroth law'- protecting humanity.

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Review: HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook

Dave 126
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Re: I don't get the appeal

>Yes they are called tablets and smart phones these days, oh and they are a lot more versatile.

A Swiss Army Knife is more versatile than a dedicated can opener, but for opening cans I'd rather use the specialist device- it's quicker and easier. There is no reason why I can't own both, either.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

@Yet Another Anonymous coward

>Unfortunately office365 doesn't work with chrome

Sorry, I didn't make my point clearly: I wasn't thinking that Office 365 would work on Chromebooks, but I mentioned it because it is part of a competing solution, a competing solution that is in some ways moving in the same direction as Chromebooks.

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Dave 126
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Re: 1366 x 768 screen ?????

> I'm sure we wouldn't mind paying a little more for a better screen

I'm with you. However, this Arstechnica review of a 13.3" Toshiba laptop with a 2560×1440 screen highlights some scaling issues presented by Windows applications, which might explain why some manufacturers are holding back:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/05/review-high-dpi-toshibas-kirabook-takes-on-the-retina-macbook-pro/2/

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Dave 126
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Re: I don't get the appeal

>May as well stick a proper desktop OS on it.

Some people only want to tap out some words, send some pictures or look at some websites. For them, any extra functionality wouldn't be worth the effort of maintaining a better featured OS.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

>The Chromebook is trapped between laptops with a regular Windows/Linux/OSX operating system, and tablets. >What's the point?

A Reg article suggested that Google's paid-for business offerings are gaining traction, for document creation, collaboration and sharing... if that is true, Chromebooks start to make more sense - especially if MS is moving in that direction too, with Office 365.

Already, a friend of mine has a works-issued laptop with a locked-down Linux distro, purely for connecting to his company's network. I could see Chromebooks being used in that area.

Think of all those fines that have been handed out to organisations when conventional laptops have been stolen from parked cars or left on trains, leaving their local data vulnerable to abuse. Chromebooks automatically encrypt cached files, and can be set not to store anything locally at all.

It's not a machine for me, but they don't seem as ridiculous as when they first surfaced.

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Dark blue side of the Force used to quell Star Wars nerd clash

Dave 126
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Re: An Alan Partridge moment

But was a dead cow dropped on anyone?

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Dave 126
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Re: Life copies art?

Sounds like a scene from the film Fanboys (2009), in which there is a scuffle between some Star Wars fans and some Trekkies ("It's Trekkers!")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanboys_(film)

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Sony investor wants to break up firm, re-invest in hardware biz

Dave 126
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Re: Pound for Pound

The Playstation for Phones effort was too narrow... Sony hoped it would cause people to buy a higher-end Xperia phone, I guess, but too few people own for there to be a critical mass of users and developers. Perhaps they could have licensed it for phones from all vendors if they met minimum specifications, and also released a good Bluetooth gamepad for mobiles- the Sony name on it might have encouraged more Android game developers to support it. Okay, this may have eaten into Playstation Portable sales (which are sliding anyway) but the sale of games, controllers, and perhaps subscription services could have made up for it.

It would be a shame if they scrapped all their laptops... at least they are still trying things that their competitors aren't (very high resolution screens, external GPU docks via a Thunderbolt variant)

In cameras, they are offering some good kit - full-frame sensored compacts competing with Leica's M series, DSLR-like translucent-mirrored cameras, and an APS-C sensored camera in a very compact body.

And I like their take on phones and tablets at the moment - making a waterproofing a standard feature, for example, rather than something only implemented on a specialist model.

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Apple seeks techies, designers to revive iWork office suite

Dave 126
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Re: What took them so long?

For sure, knocking 50% off the price would aid adoption, but I don't think MS would be able to rely upon future revenue as they could with the XBOX- with sales of games, peripherals and XBOX Live subscriptions.

If MS tablets were sold that cheaply, there would definitely be a concerted effort to get Android and Linux running on them, so many of the cheap units would go to penguins- and that wouldn't help MS at all.

Many of the people who bought the HP Touchpad during the firesale did so knowing that they would be happy to just use its built in features (browser, media playback) and wouldn't be buying software for it in future.

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'WikiLeaks of financial data' prompts worldwide hunt for tax evaders

Dave 126
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Re: But has this data

>@Dave 126

>400GB will comfortably fit on one hard disk. You are living in the past!

Ooops! Silly me. Cheers AC, I was having a funny five minutes and had my GBs and TBs confused!

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Dave 126
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Re: But has this data

>anything to do with wikileaks? The only mention I can see is in the headline.

The linked article only says the data "was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists". Their only reference to Wikileaks is: "The total size of the ICIJ files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010."

Logistically, how did the inside source get that much data out? I'm just imagining a pallet truck loaded with HDDs.

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New Lumia 925: This, loyalists, is the BIG ONE you've waited for

Dave 126
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Re: Waterproof?

>Once you have no SD card and a sealed battery, then WTF are they doing not making it waterproof?

Two of the three waterproof Sony phones (Xperia Go and ZR) have replaceable batteries - they just employ a rubbery seal around the battery compartment... the compromise tends to be on loudspeaker quality.

Sodcasting in a pub or bus is nasty, but for spoken-word radio or podcasts a built-in speaker is handy. YMMV.

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Dave 126
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Re: beyond a joke

>Nokia that is handicapped with an OS that i haven't used and am not really qualified to talk about.

There, fixed that for you.

Indeed, I've managed perfectly fine with feature phones until a year ago, when I got an Android phone... I get on well with it, but I can't imagine it is the only way of skinning the cat. I've invested next to sod-all on apps... a couple I find very useful, but I've hardly scratched the surface of the thousands that are available for Android.

I imagine my next handset will be Android, but can't see anything wrong with some competition.

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Torvalds unveils first Linux 3.10 release candidate

Dave 126
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Re: Eadon

>Honestly can't this icon be specifically for himself?

There's an idea- a compulsory 'icon of shame' for commentards who consistently go out of their way to earn one. Icons such as 'frothing at mouth', 'Eadon' or 'broken record' will be shown next to all posts by the guilty for a period of one month, or until they have shown improvement.

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Android is a mess and needs sprucing up, admits chief

Dave 126
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Re: Most people will just install or use the apps they like or are most comfortable using.

>I still don't know anyone that has a Windows phone,

I know a couple of people in the pub with them, both single parents around forty years old, if that means anything. I get the impression that calling, messaging and Facebook are their main phone-based activities, and not much more. It seems that for such uses, they are perfectly reasonable phones.

(To be fair, my Android phone is mainly used for calls, messaging, a bit of internet browsing, and navigation - the latter I'm led to believe Nokia does quite well. I also use an app for tuning my guitar - a quick google suggests that an equivalent app is available for WinPho, so the smaller app store wouldn't bother me too much)

I notice that most of the people in the pub who haven't got a smartphone have Nokia 'candy bars'.... I wonder if they will stay loyal to the brand if they eventually get a touch-screen device?

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Dave 126
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Re: Hagiographer

> written up by the Sunday Express as the "wickedest man in the world"

I seem to recall the Express (whose sister media outlets include Television X and Red Hot TV - NSFW) was trying to say the same about Billy Connelly at one point.

I've only read a biography of Crowley, but it amused me that he thought L Ron Hubbard was a complete twat, as did, at the other end of the spectrum, Isaac Asimov.

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Drone to deliver beer-as-a-service

Dave 126
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Re: Duck and cover

So: Use a polyethylene bag- like that found inside a wine box, only smaller - to deliver the beer.

That said, I think something along the lines of DARPA's 'robotic mule' would be a better solution to the 'problem'; effectively a vending machine on legs... though at Glastonbury it might be mistaken for a piece of Mad Max-inspired crusty art.

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IT'S OFFICIAL: Hipster era is OVER – sorry, beanie boiz...

Dave 126
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Hipster Hitler? I was expecting to see the lead actor from the Springtime for Hitler musical, from Mel Brooks' The Producers!

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Dave 126
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Re: @ Aldous: It goes in cycles

Re Nathan Barley, trashbat.co.ck is still up! It features Barley's phone of choice, the Wasp T12 a 'speechtool' that I'll now be citing whenever someone complains about modern mobile phones being boring ("This device was advertised as being exceptionally loud, with several hugely annoying ringtones, a giant key for the number 5 (allegedly the most commonly used digit), a powerful projector, a business card printer and miniature turntables for scratching MP3s. ")

Most of the rest of the site is a piss-take of Banksy.

When asked about a second series, one of the co-creators said "We could have done it a couple of years ago, but there are just too many people like Nathan Barley these day"

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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

Dave 126
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Re: Not portable

If the screen were flexible (with a bending radius of, say, 16mm), a 13" sheet could be folded over into something roughly the size of a paperback book- 'jacket pocket' friendly. The battery and processor wouldn't have to be flexible.

Point taken, though... a company would want to exhaustively test the durability of a flexible display before selling it to the public, or else risk a lot of returns six months down the line.

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Who is Samsung trying to kid? There will NEVER be a 5G network

Dave 126
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Re: headline-grabbing technique

>what matters is free advertising, courtesy of you, the Register

True, Samsung regularly get a mention on The Reg, but then so do Apple, yesterday a snippet about an upcoming Sony phone, and last week a favourable HTC review, not to mention Windows phone OS and Nokia handsets, and articles about Blackberry's new offerings...

Even without the '5G' tag, surely even a generic 'boffins do something cunning with radio which might affect us in a few years' is worthy of a Reg article?

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What freetard are you: Justified, transgressor or just honest?

Dave 126
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Re: I "Pirate" what I have already paid for - I bet most "Pirates" are like me

>I pay for a cable subscription and download stuff I get there(tv shows that can take a while to show up here)

That's another area in which pressure from 'pirates' has benefited everybody: In early series of both Mad Men and Battlestar Gallactica, episodes were aired in the US weeks ahead of the UK... a few series later, and the gap in the air date had reduced dramatically. This benefited legitimate viewers, as they were less likely to stumble across spoilers on the internet.

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Which petite model likes a fondle and GETTING WET? Sony's Xperia ZR

Dave 126
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Re: Why aren't all phone water ressistant?

>Why does this have to be an unusual feature? mobile phones are often used in situations where water resistance would be good yet there are only a handful of water resistant phones.

Agreed. With luck the trend is moving in that direction.

Previously, waterproof phones were marketed as such (See Motorola 'Defy', and Xperia 'Go')... what is interesting is that Sony are featuring in their top-end phones, and trying to make it a standard feature.

They also have a waterproof tablet - a good idea for those who use a tablet to access the millions of food recipes on the internet.

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Dave 126
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>In these days of wireless charging, NFC and A2DP etc, I'm wondering when we will see a handset that can survive a proper dunking.

You could probably modify an Xperia Z... whilst it doesn't have wireless charging, it does feature external contacts so it can be charged in a cradle without removing the rubber grommit over the microUSB port. In theory, you could stick some silicon sealant in all the ports and still be able to charge and use the phone.

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Boffins plan to drop €250,000 TEST-TUBE BURGER on London

Dave 126
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Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

And the book (and film) Cloud Atlas also features artificial meat...

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Dave 126
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Apparently (according to QI), giant Galapagos tortoise is very, very tasty - explaining why it took decades for a live specimen to reach London after their initial discovery... after a month or two at sea, the crews couldn't help fancying a change in diet.

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Dave 126
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Re: What about fat?

They are sure to be able to do fat down the line... already 3D printing technologies are being explored to create artificial (simpler) organs by creating specific patterns of different cell types.

They could do mock marbling, or have their company's name written in fat...

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Dave 126
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Re: Actually, the article made me think of

Square Pigs!

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Dave 126
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Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

>You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

Oh, there's a lovely Brian Aldiss (I think, though it might be Arthur C Clarke) short story set in the boardroom of company that manufactures Artificial Meat... hint: Which meat would have vitamins and minerals best in keeping with our own bodies?

David Cronenburg's lad picked up the idea in a recent horror/satire film called Anti-Viral.

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