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* Posts by Dave 126

4138 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Star Wars Episode VII: The Ancient Fear of, er, a CHEESE-TASTIC title?

Dave 126
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Re: My worst fear about the new SW movie

> it's going to be discussed, dissected, leaked, pulled apart, trailed, marketed, and interviewed to death

I liked Peter Jackson's sense of humour - during one of his 'Making of The Hobbit' video diaries, he opens a desk draw to reach for something, revealing a folder marked 'Star Wars Episode VII script'. Most internet pudits assumed it was a wind-up!

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How Google's Android Silver could become 'Wintel for phones'

Dave 126
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>There's nothing stopping HTC or Samsung from developing their own Android branch.

There isn't a hard barrier preventing Samsung et al forking Android, but there are some hurdles:

1. The Google Play app store. If you fork Android, you can't use the Google app store.

2. Google Play Services libraries. Again, you can't use these if you fork Android. They are Google's propriety code, for things like location and in-app purchases. Google have been actively persuading 3rd party app developers to use these proprietary libraries.

3. If you fork Android you can't use the Gmail Client, Google Translate, Google Calendar and Google Maps apps, amongst others. You might note that these are the very apps that Samsung has its own equivalents for - hence the apparent duplication of functionality on Galaxy devices.

4. If a hardware vendor releases a device with an Android fork, Google prohibit it from also releasing a Google Android device. i.e, hardware makers can't hedge their bets in this regard, or dip a toe in a forked pool.

The above points indicate why Samsung have duplicate apps, and why Amazon had to reach out to a obscure manufacturer for their forked Android tablets.

Android hardware makers could cooperate on making a fork, but that wouldn't give them an advantage other each other, either.

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'Bladdered' Utah couple cuffed in church lawn sex outrage

Dave 126
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Please amend article with a NSFA note

Not Suitable For Anywhere

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Apple files patent for typo-sensing buttons

Dave 126
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>Why not just patent a method to determine what the use wants to do and give them suggestions or options relating to just that.

You mean like the 'Macbook Wheel', with its 'predictive sentence technology'? The MBW was exclusively unveiled by The Onion a few years back.

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You'll hate Google's experimental Chrome UI, but so will phishers

Dave 126
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Re: pointless

>Yo and I might consider them a scam, but what defines that? The post office do the same thing, they will charge you to apply for an EHIC card because they also offer a "check and send service" the same as these companies.

The Post Office charge a modest fee for their trained staff to VALIDATE (not VERIFY) your passport application as you wait, so that obvious errors (unfilled fields, signitures beyond the boundry box, you resemble your photo etc) don't result in a delay of several days.

You are comparing that to Web Form Vs Web Form + £20?

Okaay....

>Your problem is you are labelling something as a scam, simply because you see no value in it, and wouldn't use it personally.

Ditto. And... I have a problem?

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Dave 126
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You're right, Google takes money from people who wish to scam the general public. Take this example, where I searched Google for EHIC. This is a card it is prudent for me to have when travelling to EU countries other than my own, since it represents a reciprocal healthcare agreement between EU member states. It is free of charge from the UK government. The first three results are:

The European Health Insurance Card has replaced E111. Apply Online.

www.e111.eu/‎

This is effectively a scam, since they will try and charge me £20 for applying for the free EHIC card on my behalf.

Apply for a free EHIC card - Healthcare abroad - NHS Choices

www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/.../about-the-ehic.asp...‎

This result might be legitimate, but I can't tell from the Google page, since the address is truncated.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

https://www.ehic.org.uk/‎

This site is legitmate, but a lay user might find it simpler to tell if it ended with .gov.uk

* * *

Scam sites similar to the first result exist for other UK Gov services, such as passports and driving licenses.

Of course, user education is a part of the solution... perhaps by including a clear and simple message on all Government letters about .gov.uk sites.

Another part of the solution would to tell Google that if they wish to operate in the UK they shouldn't be complicit in scamming UK citizens. The government's role is, in part, to play shepherd against the wolves of free enterprise.

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Stephen Hawking: The creation of true AI could be the 'greatest event in human history'

Dave 126
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Re: Why is Hawking bloviating on AI this and that?

>Why is Hawking bloviating on AI this and that? I can't remember him doing much research in that arena.

Well, Hawking's collaborator on black holes, Roger Penrose, is known for writing 'The Emperor's New Mind', in which he 'presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.

The majority of the book is spent reviewing, for the scientifically minded layreader, a plethora of interrelated subjects such as Newtonian physics, special and general relativity, the philosophy and limitations of mathematics, quantum physics, cosmology, and the nature of time. Penrose intermittently describes how each of these bears on his developing theme: that consciousness is not "algorithmic"'

The areas in bold are very much up Hawking's street.

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Creating your GOLDEN statue of NICOLAS CAGE FINALLY possible

Dave 126
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Re: The molten metal doesn't chase the wax out

If you carve a shape from, for example, clay, and then create a mold around it, you are faced with the problem of how to remove the clay from the mold before replacing it with molten metal. This limits the geometry somewhat, since you can't have undercuts, and you'll need a minimum draft angle.

If you use wax you can melt it out of the mold, leaving a complex cavity to be filled with molten aluminium/gold/silver/titanium etc. The mold is then destroyed to 'liberate' the desired metal shape.

You can also use polystyrene in place of wax.

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Dave 126
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Re: cheesiest, least credible (or is that edible), cheesy actors

In the brilliant series 'Community', an aspy film student is asked by his lecturer the question: "Nicholas Cage: Bad or Good?"

The student, after days of analysing the question, has something approaching a nervous breakdown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlzObGIMa4

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Dave 126
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Smooth.

Since the printed shape is made of wax, it can be licked with a flame to smooth the layering artefacts of the printing process. Cute.

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Chinese iWatchers: Apple's WRISTPUTERS ALREADY in production

Dave 126
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Oh well. Would you tell that to the scaffolders who drink in your local?

No, I didn't think so.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sure....

>Because we need something else to charge every 7 hours....

The Casio G-Shock BLE connected wristwatch has an estimated battery life of two years, based on being connected to a phone for 12 hours a day. Compared to the ten year battery life of a normal G-Shock watch it is on the low side, but still...

You have to trade features against battery life.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWTF?

I wear a watch. I can see the time at a glance, without having to fumble in a pocket for my phone. With a twist of the bezel, I can set a reminder of a time (for cooking times, parking tickets etc) in one natural movement.... to accomplish the same on a phone takes a bit of fumbling, prodding, stroking, and returning it to my pocket.

There are a lot of functions that could be incorporated into a watch without it looking ugly or 'geek-chic' like a Pebble.

Even a single RGB LED unit can tell you whether an incoming call is coming from a someone you want to talk to or not, for example.

Being able to silence a phone by a double tap to your wrist would be desirable.

Being able to locate a phone in a similar way would be useful.

If you are only imagining a smartwatch as being like a mini phone on your wrist (a la Samsung Gear), then I can't blame you for being indifferent to the idea. However, if you break down the interactions you have with technology and perform a time-and-motion analysis, you might find that there is room for improvement.

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Thanks for nothing, Apple, say forensic security chaps

Dave 126
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Re: solid state wiping

Not an electron microscope, but a magnetic head with greater resolution than that which normaly lives in the drive. The drive is dismantled into individual platters before hand.

Which is why you don't use zeroes. Instead you use randomn data, and several passes at that. Nuke n Boot does this, and OSX has an option to do the same to user-erased data on the fly. Of course this incurs a performance penalty.

I'm sure there have been some papers published on recovering data from solid state storage.

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Dave 126
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Re: And yet no advantage for the common user

>Encryption is fairly useless unless you have control over the hardware that encrypts.

Useless to the common user? No it isn't. Most users aren't in fear of well funded agencies. What is a threat to them is losing their phone and have a criminal access their on-line accounts, or else a mate access their nudey pictures.

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Boffins build billion-synapse, three-watt 'brain'

Dave 126
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Re: As a matter of interest ....

>So what's the fastest processor you can currently get that runs at 20W?

Probably some Intel ULV laptop part, but that is missing the point. Depending upon the task, you might be better off spending that 20W on a GPU or an ASIC.

The same is true here - these researchers are looking at how to make a system that does well at tasks humans find easier than traditional computers.

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What HAS BEEN SEEN? OMG it's a thing that looks like an iWatch

Dave 126
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Re: El Reg has either deliberately or inadvertently got their description wrong

>What is actually being patented ? Isn't there a notion of "invention" involved in a patent.

A good question, and one that I can't answer from the application- the language is a little obtuse. However, just because I don't understand it doesn't mean that there isn't something of merit in it.

For sure, I'm no fan of the way these patent applications beat around the bush, dscribing many aspects of a device or system but not emphasizing the supposed novel concept.

What I can gather is that it is describing a specific method of assembling a device with a flexible PCB, using overlap.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wot they all said above

A modicum of common sense would dictate that you at least try to read the patent application before commenting on it, but hey ho.

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Dave 126
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Re: The mind boggles

>... but if its just a box it is beyond credible.

It's not just a box. I can't quite work out what it is, but it isn't just a box. Lots of description of manufacturing processes and the like.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wait, let me get this straight...

>Apple is about to patent the concept? Now? ...Really?

No, they're not. If you skim through the patent application before you comment on it (a crazy idea, I know), you'll see its not describing a concept at all. Its is concerned with a method of mounting a flexible PCB of adjustable length within an enclosure, using 'conductive foam' amongst other techniques.

I don't know enough to judge whether it has merit as a patent, but at least I know that I don't know enough.

The many references in the application to using a vacuum to test the seal of the gaskets, and of 'conductive foam' (useful for securely mounting parts in a device subject to shock) do suggest a wristwatch-like device.

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It's spade sellers who REALLY make a killing in a gold rush: It's OVER for graphics card mining

Dave 126
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Re: I may be wrong but...

>Yea, because everyone wants to buy an ex-mining card thats been thrashed to within an inch of it's life.

If it has been used almost continuously, then it will have been subjected to very little thermal cycling. This is in contrast to a gaming card which will probably have been through several hot/cool cycles a day.

Thermal cycling is more likely to cause mechanical problems with solder connections etc than a nice constant load. However, as another poster has observed, component designers better understand how to mitigate this these days.

There were some issues with the introduction of lead-free solder a few years back (some say it was the cause of the infamous XBOX 360 hardware failure dubbed the 'Red Ring of Death'). I have been told that a certain UK manufacturer of very advanced metrology equipment still uses lead-based solder, but only in kit that has been ordered by the Ministry of Defence.

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Dave 126
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Re: Other uses?

The clue is in the name.... Application Specific Integrated Circuits.

You could massage code for other algorithms to work on a mining ASIC, but you would lose the efficiencies of the ASIC, which is their whole point.

Litecoin was supposed avoid the whole GPU (and later ASIC) game, because it was based on part of the Scrypt Proof of Work... it differs from the Bitcoin PoF in that it requires much more memory. The idea is that CPUs can compete, and that specialist hardware gives less of an advantage. However, this is not the case, due to the way it was actually implemented in Litecoin.

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Dave 126
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Re: Doesn't add up

>...we're used to gold and the balance of it is in rough correlation to the balance of actual power and wealth, so it works as a good enough proxy. Bitcoins don't, at least not yet, and the disapproval from necessary institutions makes me doubt it ever will.

Fair enough, but most of us don't use gold as a currency, and the currencies we do use haven't been linked to it for decades.

The strength of currencies is sometimes seen as correlating with actual 'wealth' and power, except for when a financial crash reveals the convoluted games that have been played with it.

Maybe the skyscrapers of New York, the neo-classical architecture of many financial institutions and the ritual of a man with a red briefcase all play a part in the perception of currencies as 'real'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Doesn't add up

What to do with all these GPUs?

I'd almost be tempted to go onto eBay and start building a render farm... except that renting the GPU cycles from the cloud is becoming a viable option.

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Dave 126
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Re: re "unless you can find a better use for them"

That is my first reaction, but compared to the energy, pollution and human fatalities associated with the mining of real gold, it appears to be the lesser of two evils.

Ultimately, there is a requirement to prevent Alice from writing as many "I, Alice, owe Bob $20" notes as she wants - 'double spending'. A public ledger is a good idea, but without a Proof of Work, there would be nothing to stop Alice from controlling 50%+ of the public ledger.

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Why two-player games > online gaming: See your pal's shock as you bag a last-second victory

Dave 126
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Re: Wot no Doom?

>Wot no Doom?

Or Descent?

I think it was inferred that the article was about two-player games that only required one computer/console. All the action can take place on one viewport (typically fighting and sports games, but also MicroMachines) or else by use two viewports (split-screen), such as used by racing games and shooters. That said, I broke that convention in my OP by including Tetris, which in its most familiar incarnation required two GameBoy consoles and a link cable.

Not everybody had two PCs in a house, and lugging a friend's PC (and a heavy CRT monitor!) was a bit of a hassle. I did play Doom (and NASCAR Racing) over a null-modem cable, and it was great.

I also played 8-player Descent at school, on some networked Apple PowerPCs... setting it up took a few minutes because we had to take turns with the single game CD. It was well worth it though!

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Dave 126
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Re: My fondest gaming experiences have been two+ player:

Thanks Ace, I knew that some titles must have slipped my memory!

I also loved Time Bandit on the Atari ST, a two player top-down shooter / adventure game, with some levels being a homage to Pac-Man and Centipede. If one player died, they could still accompany the surviving player as a 'ghost'. Alas, the PC version has bugs, including one that prevents the players from being able to shoot.... how the hell did that ever get released?

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Nostalgia

@Vorn

You want to search for 'Scorched Earth'.

You can set as many human or CPU players as you want, and edit other parameters. Basically, its a turn based canon game, with control of elevation and force. You can edit wind and gravity, and the weapons available. Wining rounds earns money that can be used to buy weapons and stuff like parachutes, shields and fuel.

There is also a 3D version, and various 2D clones, including browser and Android versions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorched_Earth_(video_game)

Okay, it's not the BBC game you remember, but it should be close enough to satisfy, and flexible enough for you to make it simpler, if you wish.

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Dave 126
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My fondest gaming experiences have been two+ player:

Mario Kart

Micro Machines

Worms (makes good friends curse each other: a good thing!)

I don't do PES or FIFA, though I know folk who play little else

Sensible Soccer

Mario Stadium Soccer (bonkers)

Speedball 2

Super SWIV

The Chaos Engine

Tetris

Tekken

WipEout

GoldenEye 64, and later, Halo Combat Evolved (most FPS games wanted a LAN or null-modem cable for multiplayer. Split-screen gaming is fun and easy)

Special nod to Portal 2, a set of puzzles that require two players to solve.

Hmm, most of these can be divided into Racing, Fighting, Ball Sports or Shooting.

I haven't actually plugged in my console for over a year. I've had a few sessions of Worms with friends, and a lost weekend when I discovered an Android port of Dune 2 (finally, a use for my Galaxy Tab 10.1!), but that's about it!

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Samsung Galaxy S5 owners hit by fatal camera error problem

Dave 126
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>If its Hardware related, and presumably ALL SGS-Vs have this Bug.

A presumption, as you say.

Samsung often use different parts for phones with the same model number... witness the S4 which had an octocore SOC in some markets, and the S3 - some versions of which boasted a Wolfson DAC (so sought after by some audio-heads, apparently.)

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Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC

Dave 126
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Presumably the Reg has a stylebook, outlining the meanings of knacker, brick, bugger up and fry,

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Apple patent pokes at holographic iPhone screen

Dave 126
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Re: Anti innovation again,

They do tend to use the the 'might' a lot, but I thought that was just to cover any loopholes (e.g it matters not if a screen is CRT, LCD, IPS, OLED etc).

As far as I can work it out, it has something in common with a camera obscura...then it starts using equations... eek.

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Dave 126
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Re: Research

>because it's on "a mobile device"

Who said it was for a mobile device? From the Patent App:

Growing interest in the applications of 3D viewing is evident not only in the field of computer graphics but also in a wide variety of other environments such as education, medical diagnostics, biomechanical engineering, etc.

Looks like workstation stuff to me.

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Dave 126
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Re: Anti innovation again,

People are free to use parallax systems, volumatriuc systems, VR systems or stereoscopic systems for 3D games... this system is none of the above. I was hoping someone here would be able to explain how it works for me.

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Dave 126
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Re: You lot remind me of Mary Whitehouse

Exactly. I came into this thread in the hope that smarter Reg readers would have read the patent and would help me understand the principle upon which it is based.... instead it's the usual knee-jerk reactions from people who haven't read the patent.

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All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

Dave 126
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Re: Women are more important for the survival of a population -@boltar

>Get those female friends of yours down the gym and see who can lift the most. Unless you're the archetypal 7 stone weakling you'll breeze it.

I'm strong enough thanks (not all of my work involves IT) and physically stronger than most, but not all of, my female acquaintances. Some of them are in the military, some are rowers or rugby players. Which was kind of my point- individual humans can always defy expectations.

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Dave 126
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Re: "They've been selected and purified over time."

Well, the artificial selection of quickly evolving yeasts is central to development of 'premium' lagers, and required a degree of scientific understanding to achieve. See Louis Pasteur, and why he wouldn't have his books translated into German.

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Dave 126
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Re: Genetic elite!

>Comforting thought, I always find

Agreed. We the products of filtered luck!

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Dave 126
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Women are more important for the survival of a population

Were a fair proportion of young men to get themselves killed, the surviving men would be able to assume their reproductive 'duties'in their place. i.e the population as a whole is more tolerant of a loss of men than it is of women.

This might be why men, and young men in particular, are likely to commit reckless acts, be it extreme sports, criminal acts, reckless driving or risky activities in a more 'noble cause' such as military service or exploration. There are far more men in prison than women. There are more men mentioned in The Darwin Awards.

Men are disproportionately represented at the other extreme, too (though factors beyond intelligence, such as work/life balance, play a large part in why there are more male than female Nobel Laureates, or chess grandmasters or whatever). Whilst men and women have an average the same I.Q (not a perfect assessment, it is true) the standard deviation from the mean is greater in men. The resilience of a population as a whole is more tolerant of very stupid men (who may well get themselves killed by trying to eat a bear, or by stealing copper from a high-voltage sub-station) than it is of very stupid women (who are rare).

Of course, this is just statistics about groups, and should never be used to presume anything about the abilities of any one individual. "Test, don't guess".

In fact, I can't think of a single skill or attribute I possess that I haven't seen done better by a female I have know personally, though my mechanical skills are better than most (but not all) females I know.

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Tim Cook: Apple's 'closer than it's ever been' to releasing new product range

Dave 126
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6 - wait until they themselves are ready to release a new product. This would be the most likely explanation, given their past behaviour.

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Dave 126
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Re: The Facts..........

>The iPod wasn't new or innovative, just better marketed and more expensive. No Apple Tech. Only rip of Dieter Rams Braun styling.

Few PCs had USB 2.0 at the time of the iPod's release... the first model iPod was FireWire and Mac only. I was studying Product Design at the time, and the iPod was the first mp3 player that appeared to offer a marked improvement over our MD players, mainly due to its sheer capacity. That same capacity necessitated a different UI to those used in MD players... indeed the Sharp MD722 boasted a scroll wheel a couple of years before the iPod, but it was only used for text entry and cueing within a track - not track selection itself.

Solid state memory was so expensive that the first MP3 players started at 32 MB.

> Only rip of Dieter Rams Braun styling.

Dieter Braun was not a stylist, or even an Industrial Designer. He was a Product Designer or, as he prefers due to the common misconception that 'design' only covers appearance, 'Form Engineer'. His Principles of Design were there for all to read, but to actually implement them requires time and skill.

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Lost artworks by Andy Warhol found on 80s-era FLOPPY DISKS

Dave 126
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Re: XKCD

Excellent!

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Dave 126
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Re: Actually.....

Established artist experimenting with consumer tech?

Reminds me of David Hockey's iPhone pictures:

http://www.hockneypictures.com/iphone_pages/iphone_etcetera-01.php

Especially in light of the OP's point about the kit shown in the last photo being present in many pockets these days.

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Look behind you, 'declining' sub-$5bn iPod. The iWatch has come... to EAT YOU

Dave 126
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Live music is alive and kicking - it has to be, since record sales are down. The more awful the mainstream has become, the healthier the alternative scene. Heck, there's young people listening to folk music these days, as well as other genres. The radio won't give you this impression, but gig posters and the internet might.

Don't worry!

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Apple's strong iPhone sales crush Wall Street moneymen's tepid expectations

Dave 126
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>Apple are notable precisely for not falling victim to the Inventors dilemma. They have a history of being prepared to cannibalise their own markets and existing revenue streams

Compare and contrast with Sony, who had all the ingredients to make an 'iPod' before the iPod, but didn't .... and even the first few generations of Sony HDD 'jukeboxes' were tied to the awful 'Sonicstage' software and only played ATRAC files. Perhaps Sony's publishingt wing had something to say? Similarly, the MiniDisc was good, but it didn't allow 2nd generation digital copies, and the DataMD arrived late in the game. Had Sony make a 1GB MiniDiscHD (normal MDs were around 100MB for a quid per disc, making them very cheap compared to ZIP disks or flash memory at the time) player with wider codec support and the PC connection, it would have been very competitive against the 1st and 2nd gen iPod.

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SAVE THE EARTH... give all your iThings back to us, begs Apple

Dave 126
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Re: Well....

Yeah well, the rest of the mobile industry brought it on themselves... Samsung never twice used the same proprietary connector on their pre-microUSB phones, Sony used a variety of different connectors, too. Nokia shipped hones that sported a miniUSB socket, but wouldn't accept a charge from it...

In fact, it was only iPhone and Nokia users who had a fair chance of being able to borrow a compatible charger in the workplace or at a friend's house.

Anyway, the rest of the industry is about to change to a different connector again... one that roughly resemble the connector Apple are currently using.

Just saying.

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Dave 126
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Re: Remember how they were going EPEAT free.......

>I don't find all that glue they use to keep users and 3rd party repair companies out, making laptops and tablets very disposable green at all.

That would suggest that you might not be a product designer or manufacturing engineer, then.

There is a difference between making a product easy to repair and making it easy to recycle.

It's cheaper to dismantle end of life products in a batch process. Glues facilitate this processing, since heating a batch of products in an oven is cheaper that employing someone to unscrew two dozen mechanical fastenings per unit. The trend in legislation is such that it is in the manufacturer's interests to make product end-of-life disposal easier and cheaper.

True, it is often better to repair than to recycle, but not always... you could hours fault-finding a PCB, but why would you if it only cost $5? In any case, with greater miniaturisation, things are only going to get harder to repair, even with the best will. However, they generally get more reliable, too.

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Battery-production problems delay anorexic 5.5-inch 'iPhone Air'

Dave 126
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Re: I've got an idea

>I would keep the phone width the same as it is and make it tougher with a larger battery capacity....

But if the phone is made thinner, the end user is free to choose from a plethora of after-market cases, allowing them to pick one that offers the best compromise between protection and bulk for their own situation. Someone on a building site might choose a bigger case than someone who works in a carpeted office, for example. Batteries and external battery packs, likewise - some people send their days closer to a phone charger than other people do.

>tougher

toughness is not the same as rigidity. I seem to recall a proverb about a sapling and a mighty oak in a storm...

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Tooled-up Ryobi girl takes nine-inch grinder to Asus beach babe

Dave 126
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My mate owned a Hitachi disc cutter for his work. When it refused to work one day, he was looking at a £60 repair bill. As a stop-gap, he bought a Lidl home-brand disc cutter for £50, and it's served him well so far.

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Sony Xperia Z2: 4K vid, great audio, waterproof ... Oh, and you can make a phone call

Dave 126
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Re: Very nice piece of kit.

I use headphones for music, but I often use my phone's built-in speaker for listening to podcasts when it won't disturb other people.

That said, small Bluetooth speakers seem pretty cheap these days, for podcast duties. I personally would prioritise waterproofing over speaker volume.

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