* Posts by Cuddles

110 posts • joined 3 Nov 2011

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Visa: One million bonks a month for Europeans from next year

Cuddles

"The biggest problem with NFC payments .... is trying to get a service to use it with a phone."

Indeed. My last two phones have had NFC going back around 4 years, but neither my bank or my mobile network will actually allow me a way to use it. Hell, I've had a contactless credit card for a similar length of time, and even my local Tesco won't let me use it. Of course NFC use is insignificant when every point in the chain of banks, networks and shops all refuse to let us actually use it.

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And the buggiest OS provider award goes to ... APPLE?

Cuddles

Re: Android

I don't know that OEMs are necessarily the biggest problem. By far the biggest issue Android has is that idiots will happily install every piece of malware they can find as long as it pretends to be a free fart app. It doesn't matter how secure and up to date the OS might be if the user happily gives all the malware they can find full access to everything.

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Denmark tops European tech table, two other Scandis right behind

Cuddles

Re: Scandis

The article didn't claim the Netherlands is Scandinavian. Read it again - Denmark tops table, TWO other Scandis right behind. Those two being Sweden and Finland, with the Netherlands being mentioned simply as falling between those two.

As for Finland, whether it counts as part of Scandinavia or not is not all clearly defined, since Scandinavia itself is a relatively recent term that has never actually applied to a clearly defined entity and varies a lot depending on whether it's defined by ethnic groups, language, culture, political boundaries and relations, simple geography, or other factors. Iceland and the Faroe Isles are also sometimes included as part of Scandinavia. Restricting it to just Sweden, Norway and Denmark is certainly the most common usage, but it can't be claimed to be strictly wrong to include others. In particular, note that Finland lies on the Scandinavian peninsular while Denmark does not, and that it was mostly part of Sweden or the Swedish empire for a large part of the last millennium.

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Mégane Renaultsport 275 Trophy: Hands-on gizmo-packed motoring

Cuddles

"You’ll note that all the in-car pictures here are taken from the passenger seat"

Pretty sure I'll note that there isn't a single in-car picture taken from any seat.

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Kyocera: Torque among yourselves on our unbreakable ruggedmobe

Cuddles

S5 Active

Is not in any way "rugged". Copying the Sony Xperias and earlier Motorola efforts by slapping a bit of waterproofing on is certainly handy for ordinary consumers, but it is not even vaguely in competition with a phone that can survive being repeatedly dropped on the floor in the middle of a construction site.

It's just a shame that adding that survivability to a phone adds so much to the price. £50 more than a Galaxy S5 for a two year old processor equivalent to the Galaxy S4 (Snapdragon 400 in the S4 (soem of them at least), the Cat S50 linked in the article and this Kyocera). Obviously that's worth it if you work in an environment that will destroy normal phones, but for an ordinary consumer that's quite a price to pay for a fairly dated bit of kit.

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REVEALED: TEN MEEELLION pinched passwords and usernames

Cuddles

Re: Increase the noise ?

@Roland6 - I'm always surprised it never seems to show up in the lists of commonly used passwords. Obviously you'd have to be an idiot to actually use that specific phrase since it's so well known. It's rather sad how few people actually seem to understand what that xkcd actually explained though, and just shout "Words! Dictionary!" and think they've somehow made a valid counter-argument. If you use an unknown number of words of unknown length to form a password of unknown length, a dictionary attack is simply impossible; when you have to check all words from one character length upwards, you're just doing regular brute force guessing.

It's similar to the silliness of insisting on using upper case, numbers and punctuation. Sure, increasing the number of possible characters increases the number of possible permutations, but so does making your password a few characters longer. A password that forces you to use at least one capital letter and number but restricts you to a maximum of 8 characters, as many websites do, is far less strong than one made entirely of lower case letters that is allowed to be 20 or 30 characters long or more. Yet the latter will almost always be classed as weak by sites that claim to check the strength of a password when you're choosing it.

@Symon - yes, I didn't say not to use a password safe, I was simply criticising their repetition of the myth that random gibberish is the only good password. The problem of remembering large numbers of different passwords is a separate matter, and is always going to be a problem no matter how memorable each password might be individually. I may be able to remember the lyrics to at least 50 songs, but if I use an entire song as a password for 50 different sites there's no way I'd be able to remember which song goes with which site. Passwords safes are useful no matter how you generate your passwords.

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Cuddles

Re: Increase the noise ?

Password safes certainly aren't a bad idea, but that article just reinforces the myth that a good password must be an un-rememberable string of gibberish. As xkcd explained, correct horse battery staple.

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BBC bins pricey Windows Media, Audio Factory goes live

Cuddles

Standardised?

"Audio Factory, a streaming tool delivering audio in the AAC codec over http. Audio Factory aims to standardise Auntie's audio delivery practices and infrastructure."

"The broadcaster is also ceasing SHOUTcast streams that use the AAC codec, replacing them with an MP3 version of the services."

So on the one hand, it's moving everything to AAC format, but on the other hand it's moving things away from AAC and using mp3 instead. Apparently this is some definition of "standard" I wasn't previously aware of.

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Swap your keyless key for keyless key-less key. You'll need: a Tesla S and Apple Watch

Cuddles

An experiment to control PR

So it's an app written for a watch that they didn't actually have or test it on, in order to carry out various functions on a car that they didn't have or test it on. And said watch would not actually have done anything other than connect to a phone even in the hypothetical situation where both the watch and car actually existed. I would call this the most pointless "experiment" ever devised, but it got their name in the news associated with two popular companies, so I guess it accomplished everything it was supposed to.

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Sony Pictures claims 'Nork mega-hack attack' cost it just $15 million

Cuddles

Interesting admission

The Interview cost over $40 million to produce, and made under $7 million at the box office. An extra $15 million would still only have it making half its production cost, and most of that wouldn't even go to Sony. So, Sony have effectively admitted that The Interview was a shit film that was never going to come close to making any money.

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Yahoo!'s Firefox search hook-up pays off as it nicks Google's US clicks

Cuddles

Is there any reason to care?

I use all three of those search engines at different times, and I honestly can't tell the difference between them. Their results are all just as good and just as fast as each other. Google was huge back when it started because all the other options sucked donkey balls, but the only reason they remain dominant now is people have got in the habit of using them. Same with browsers really; Firefox really shook things up by providing a real alternative to IE, but there's now no real difference between Firefox and Chrome, and as cool as it apparently is to hate IE there's really little to set it apart from the others any more. While the people who make browsers and searches love to shout about how much better their product is, the majority of consumers can just close their eyes and pick and random, and get exactly the same results regardless.

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Bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orbs? Are you kidding?

Cuddles

Bluetooth?

So these balls will only tell you the status of your washing machine if you're standing within a couple of metres of it? How incredibly useful.

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Living with a Renault Twizy: Pah! Bring out the HOVERCRAFT

Cuddles

Re: Good idea, wrong price

Indeed. For 1/4 the price you can get a decent second-hand 125cc bike, a reasonable set of leathers, and a full training course and license fees. That gets you 130mpg with a range in the hundreds of miles, top speed of 68mph, legal both for learners and on all roads up to and including motorways (although you're insane if you actually take it on one), and just as much room for passengers and probably actually more for luggage. Usually the downsides of a bike are safety and the weather, but it looks as though the Twizy is at least as bad for both so I really can't see any reason to prefer one over a much cheaper and more useful bike.

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Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

Cuddles

Re: If only...

Candles work the same way as incandescent bulbs - they're just low temperature black-body radiators, with the vast majority of the energy being infra-red. Candles are quite a bit cooler than most bulb filaments, so they're even less efficient at producing visible light. With bulbs only around 2% efficient to start with, that leaves candles giving off something close to 99% of their energy as heat. You don't even need a very efficient waste heat gathering process for it to be far more useful than just using the raw candle for light.

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Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

Cuddles

Majority?

"you will see that all the O2-Three spectrum is at 2100MHz or below, with the vast majority below 1GHz."

Pretty sure I won't see that at all. The table shows O3 as having 65 below 1GHz and 92 above. Far from being the "vast majority" it's actually a minority.

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Dark Fibre: Reg man plunges into London's sewers to see how pipe is laid

Cuddles

Security?

"this communications infrastructure is out of sight and out of range from the potential disruption of some utility service severing a vital communications link with some misdirected digging. Needless to say, Zayo plays on this as a boon to security."

Surely it's the exact opposite. Regular cables are highly secure because no-one can get at them without digging up the road in a fairly noticeable fashion. Putting them in a sewer means anyone can hop down the nearest drain and have their way with them without anyone ever knowing about it. You trade the convenience of avoiding accidental interruptions with a somewhat greater vulnerability to deliberate ones. Although given that attacks are far more likely to happen at exchanges, the whole security angle is fairly silly anyway; it doesn't matter where you put your cable, it's the ends that people are interested in and they're going to be in the same place.

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Swots explain how to swat CPU SNITCHES

Cuddles

Re: In terms of doing anything useful

I think at the moment the goal is not so much to actually do anything useful, but rather to find out if it might be possible to do anything useful. And especially to simply bring the matter to the attention of those who might care - essentially telling security types that there is information being transmitted via a mechanism that is not taken into account by any hardware manufacturer or programmer, and maybe they should have a think about it just in case. Maybe it will turn out to be completely impractical to see anything meaningful, but there are pretty serious consequences if it can be made to work.

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EE data network goes TITSUP* after mystery firewall problem

Cuddles
Coat

Nothing Nowhere

Hang on, doesn't that double negative actually translate to Something Everywhere?

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Cuddles

Re: Content content content....

The focus is largely on streaming. Of course, by that I mean that the focus is largely on how no-one will actually be able to stream it because broadband in the UK is too shit. So to answer the question - no, aside from the occasional bit of "Look, we're totally offering 4K" gimickery, you can't actually get any 4K content yet. Give it 5 years or so and maybe there will be enough to justify having a TV that can display it, but at the moment there's really no point at all. Hell, most broadcast stuff still isn't even 1080p so even a regular HD TV is overkill if you're not streaming to it.

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BT bemoans 'misconceived' SUPERFAST broadband regs

Cuddles

The important line...

"According to Ofcom’s assessment, BT is already making sufficient margin under the draft rules, but said “the condition is a safeguard” to restrict the company’s ability to reduce retail margins in the future"

In other words, everyone agrees that there isn't any problem at the moment and no-one needs to change anything. But there's potential for abuse in the future and Ofcom wants to make sure that doesn't happen. Also it's only a draft; no actual rule has been made at all. So for all the complaining here about BT, Ofcom, stupid rules, and so on, there isn't actually anything there to complain about.

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Kiss your Glass goodbye: Google mothballs techno-specs (for now)

Cuddles

"there's really SO much promise to the concept. Maybe not for every-day use - that depends on fashion as much as utility - but for many, many learning and educational uses."

This is by far the biggest problem with GGlass. Everyone can come up with all kinds of ideas where such an idea could be useful - combined cycle computer and sports glasses, same for many other sports, education, medicine, the military, and so on. But Google ignored all that and came up with a completely useless product marketed at narcissistic twats with more money than sense. There are all kinds of uses for glasses with a built in HUD, but they tried to make it nothing more than a fashion accessory, while simultaneously making it as unfashionable as they possibly could. It's not the idea of GGlass that is the problem, it's that Google tried to get everyone to use it in one of the few situations where it has no actual use.

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FERTILISER DOOM warning! PESKY humans set to WIPE selves out AGAIN

Cuddles

Nonsensical scaremongering

"According to the prof, until a point around a hundred years ago, the planetary ecosystem had been stable for thousands of years"

You can ignore anything he says after this, because it's total bollocks. The environment hasn't been close to stable since the last glacial period (around 13,000 years ago), and the Holocene extinction, the sixth mass extinction event, is generally considered to have begun some time between then and about 9,000 years ago. The alternative view is that the Holocene extinctions are actually just a continuation of the Quaternary extinctions which have been going on for the last 2 million years or so. The Quaternary being the most recent ice age period (the previous one finishing around 260 million years ago), with ice ages being characterised specifically by their highly unstable environment and ecosystems - the consist of constant oscillations between glacial and inter-glacial periods, with the Holocene being the most recent interglacial.

So yeah, whatever problems their may be from overuse of fertiliser, anyone who claims everything has been nice and stable up until 100 years ago is spouting utter bullshit and can be safely ignored. As can anyone who claims nothing important has happened in the last century.

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Virgin, Qualcomm, back 600-satellite space internet plan

Cuddles

Re: Latency?

Yes, but most people aren't particularly worried about that. Latency isn't a problem for things like streaming video and posting shit on Twitbook, and there are plenty of people who would be much happier with high bandwidth and latency and they are with their current low latency and close to zero bandwidth.

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Fujitsu: Slide your fingertip through our ring piece and show mice the finger

Cuddles

"A" button

So no, it can't replace a mouse. And that's before you even start thinking about how incredibly inaccurate waving an accelerometer around is compared to even an old ball mouse, let alone a modern laser one.

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Magic streaming beans? Sure, have my cow - music biz

Cuddles

Re: Because the CD is basically free....

More to the point, it often has negative value - buying a CD from Amazon and getting the download free is frequently cheaper than just buying the download on its own. I haven't actually used a CD in years, but Amazon's insane pricing policy means I've ended up buying quite a few. I don't have a CD rack, I have a bin (or a local charity shop at least).

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Nvidia flops out TERAFLOP X1 for self-aware cars

Cuddles

Re: I hope it is heat tolerant

A standard Nvidia Geforce GPU on factory settings has its fan set to keep the temperature at or below 90C (although Maxwell is a lot more efficient so the newer ones may try to keep to lower temperatures). The danger temperature not to be exceeded is generally around 110C. So no, 55C is not anywhere near enough for any kind of worry. In fact, it's closer to normal idling temperature than anything else. As others have mentioned, actual engine temperatures are likely to get higher than that so it's not quite simply a case of sticking a bog standard consumer GPU in there and assuming it will work, but "my car sometimes feels a bit hot" is really not any kind of sensible worry about whether in-car computers will have problems.

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Hack hijacks electric skateboards, dumps hipsters in the gutter

Cuddles

Failsafe?

So he first noticed this because disconnecting from the controller caused him to crash. Surely if it disconnects, it should fail to a safe state, presumably simply turning the motors off and leaving it to behave as a regular, unpowered skateboard. A skateboard that launches its user facefirst into the ground as a reaction to losing its connection really doesn't sound like a great idea even before anyone starts hacking.

Also, am I to understand that using this skateboard requires you to actually control it with your phone while using it? As in, these guys are standing in traffic on a motorised board playing with their phones instead of looking where they're going? They should count themselves lucky if hacking is the worst that happens to them.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Cuddles

Re: Usb charging flap

I was going to say the same. The article is correct that the feel of the waterproof flaps doesn't inspire confidence, but over a year after I got my Z1 it's still just as solid as ever.

Unfortunately, the article is certainly not correct about all the bloatware that comes with it. I don't know why the Reg keeps praising them so much, Sony's media apps are by far the worst I've ever had the misfortune of using. If you actually want to have music on your phone, you're much better off dropping a couple of quid for a decent Android media player (I use PlayerPro, I haven't found a single free one that's even half decent) and transferring files using Windows explorer instead of some pointless crapware that only lets you "sync" in some way that it's decided you can instead of letting you tell it what to do. Even if you don't care about any of that, stock Android is still so much better than Sony's efforts it's not even funny.

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Sony looks at unpopular Google Glass, shouts 'ME TOO!'

Cuddles

Re: It's a sony

@dan1980

Exactly what I was thinking. The problem with Google glass is that it assumes that everyone will want to walk around wearing glasses all the time for no good reason. While the technology involve has plenty of potential use, marketing it as essentially a fashion choice for people to wear all the time in their day-to-day life just doesn't make sense. Very few people are interested in that for exactly the same reasons you don't see people wandering around town with GoPros strapped to their heads.

A small, self-contained unit that can be attached to equipment you're already using, on the other hand, has plenty of very obvious use cases. Cycle computers, for example, have been incredibly popular for decades (the first one, obviously a mechanical one, was made in 1895). Having a readout on your glasses rather than having to look at something strapped to your handlebars would definitely sell well. Plenty of other sports that don't currently have somewhere handy like handlebars to attach a screen would see obvious benefits as well. Running would be an obvious example, and you can get rather expensive ski goggles that already do exactly this, but are currently a very niche product for largely the same reasons as Google glass.

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Twitter co-founder: 'I don’t give a SHIT if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pics'

Cuddles

"We make more money, m'kay?"

...is what he might have said if Twitter had ever actually made any money. In reality, the big news for Twitter last year was that for the first time ever they managed to post a profit. For one quarter. As long as you ignore half their expenses. Total for the year? $35 million loss.

"It’s this realtime information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter – important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversations on Twitter."

Or, in the words of Jack Dorsey, co-founder, former CEO and current chairman, as opposed to Williams, co-founder and currently not involved with the company at all other than owning some shares - "a message on Twitter is 'a short burst of inconsequential information'"

Which is why around 80% of it is classed as pointless, with another 10% being spam and advertising:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter#Content

We're very much social monkeys and pointless babble has a useful place as part of that, but let's not pretend that a service which exists specifically to enable that is in some way a deep and meaningful experience. Or a profitable one, in this case.

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BT Infinity ‘working to fix problem’ after three days of outages

Cuddles

3 days?

Bollocks to that, I've been having issues for over a week now. Oddly enough, Google seems to be one of the worst affected - gmail and Youtube are pretty much impossible to use at all, and I even had to start using Yahoo (no, they're not getting an exclamation mark from me) for searching. On the plus side, I've found out that other search engines have apparently finally caught up with Google and are actually usable, which is a big improvement over the last time I checked (probably a year or more ago).

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Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Cuddles

Am I missing something?

A decent surround sound system can be had for well under £100. Spend £300 or so and you're up to extremely high quality and face-melting power levels. Sure, the point of these "soundbars" (is there a reason we're not just calling them speakers?) is to not take up much space, but exactly the same effect can be achieved by just sticking a couple of regular speakers next to the TV. Hell, given the difference in price you could just get a surround system and bin half the speakers. Audiophiles are well known for being idiots, but at least that's usually because they actually believe something magic is happening, not because they're willing to pay hundreds of pounds extra to make their speakers look like a rectangle instead of speaker-shaped.

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Man asks internet for $1k for pebbles. INTERNET SAYS YES

Cuddles

Re: Nothing New

Indeed, I'm surprised it took this long for someone to point this out. Regardless of whether you think they're a terrible idea or not, starting a crowdfunding campaign for something that has been available in regular department stores for years seems rather stupid. Actually funding it even more so.

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Pebble: The brilliant stealth wearable Apple's Watch doesn't see coming

Cuddles

Re: Battery Life

Indeed. I have a solar powered watch and it doesn't even need any concessions - the battery is good for several months, and only needs a couple of hours of decent sun to charge. Even if it gets very little light all winter it only needs a couple of days at either end of the summer to keep it going all year, and of course something regularly worn outside gets far more than that.

An important related point is that it's not just the watch battery that is relevant. Having a bluetooth connection to your phone pretty much 24/7 is going to kill the battery life for that as well. With many phones struggling to make it a whole day without needing charging as it is (depending on how much use they get of course), that's an important factor to consider. Saving you the effort of occasionally taking your phone out of your pocket isn't exactly a great benefit to start with, and it's going to look a lot less attractive if it means not having a phone at all for half the day.

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Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then

Cuddles

Unbundle search engines from commercial services?

This statement seems to make the rather odd assumption that search engines are not, in fact, commercial services themselves. What, does the EU believe that Google and others just provide search services out of the goodness of their hearts, and that they'll continue to provide them if forbidden to ever make any money off them? It could make sense if they were a little more specific about distinguishing searching from other services, similar to the Windows/IE issue mentioned by others above, but as it stands the statement is simply nonsense.

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Wireless Power standards are like Highlanders: There can be only ONE

Cuddles

Wireless Power standards: There is only ONE

You may not guarantee winning a standards war by being technically the best, but you're even less likely to win it if you don't actually have any products available for consumers. As things stand, there is no standards war because as far consumers are concerned Qi is the only standard that exists. While there may be valid points regarding these things intake years to settle and there still being plenty of devices around that don't use wireless power at all, the longer we go with Qi as the only player actually in the market, the closer they come to winning by default.

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Yes, UK. REST OF EUROPE has better mobe services than you

Cuddles

Prices?

While the quality of service is important, it's hard to come to any sensible conclusions without knowing what everyone actually pays. If UK customers pay half as much as German ones, having a slightly lower quality service wouldn't actually be bad (although sadly I suspect reality is closer to the opposite). And for local comparisons, the fact that 3 gives unlimited 4G to everyone at no extra cost makes them look a lot more attractive than a comparison of the raw numbers might suggest. Sure, EE have better 4G service (because they were granted an early monopoly for no good reason and continue to benefit from that head start), but your wallet is going to know about it if you actually want to use it.

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What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight

Cuddles

Crap screen, crap hardware, crap apps, crap price.

I'm truly amazed this hasn't been selling well. At a more sensible price this... still wouldn't be particularly attractive since there's plenty of competition in the low-to-mid end of things and this doesn't appear to have anything to make it stand out. But at the same price as one of the best high-end phones currently available? It's like they're deliberately going out of their way to make this fail.

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Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Cuddles

"second only to the HTC Desire 610 and Moto G"

That would technically be third, not second. And let's be honest, third out of six isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

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Dragon Age, Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...

Cuddles

Re: What about gameplay?

By far the most important point about gameplay is that this is a third person action-adventure, it is absolutely not an isometric-style tactical game like Origins. They've almost sort of pretended to give a tactical view, but on the PC at least it's completely broken to the point of being unplayable. The rest of the game is a pretty decent port; some of the interfaces are obviously designed more for a controller than a mouse, but everything works fine. The tactical view, on the other hand, starts off by slapping a giant glowing, and entirely unremovable, crosshair in the middle of your screen to show where your controller is aiming, apparently completely forgetting that a mouse is a thing at all. The view is zoomed in to the top of your character's head and cannot be zoomed out further, meaning you need to use third person mode to actually see anything, the camera controls are virtually non-existent, and you can't give group orders or actually select anything; it's basically just third person mode with a broken camera.

On the plus side, as a third person game that lets you control and swap between a group, it's great. But if you liked DA:O and want another game like that, you're sadly out of luck. It's more tactical than most - you can still pause to give orders, positioning matters more than ever since not only can thieves still flank and backstab, but shields only protect from the front and are far more effective than before when used properly. The lack of healing allows more party options (no more mandatory Wynne), and also requires deciding when to press on with exploring and when to head back to base (with fast travel, so not too much mindless trudging around) - and enemies respawn, so if you're too low level for an area you can't just grind away and slowly wear your way through.

There's sadly less customisation. Characters aren't locked into unique equipment only for them (other than Varrick and his crossbow), but almost all weapons and armour are locked to a specific class; no more mages running around with swords in heavy armour. On the other hand, there seems to be no actual difference between light, medium and heavy armour anyway; they all have basically the same armour values and differ only on the bonuses they get. Seems a bit of a wasted opportunity really.

I haven't played Assassin's Creed or Far Cry, but you do a lot more than just capture forts. Indeed, I've put a good few hours into the game and haven't even found one so far. Power and influence are gained by doing the sort of things you'd pretty much expect - establishing camps and spreading the Inquisition's influence, helping out refugees with food and defence, and so on. It may not be the most original mechanic, but it fits in very well with both story and gameplay - you're not just running random errands for nameless NPCs as in so many RPGs (including DA:O), almost everything you do is something it actually makes sense for your character to be doing.

Overall, this is basically what Dragon Age 2 should have been. The world is more open and expansive than DA:O, and looks a hell of a lot better even on a fairly old PC (I'm still running a pair of GTX470s and have most settings on high, although I did have to drop the resolution down to 1920x1200). I'm not far into the story so I can't say how good it is throughout, but it's at least somewhat less generic than DA:O's "totally-not-orcs are attacking, sort it out". The templar vs. mage conflict is well fleshed out, with everyone involved having legitimate points and no-one simply being evil for the sake of it; even those who appear so at first tend to get shown from a more sympathetic point of view at some point. From what I've seen so far, the writing is mostly of much better quality than recent Bioware efforts.

On the Origin (EA, not DA) end of things, you do have to install it and the game runs through it, but after activation you can put it in offline mode and do not need a permanent internet connection to play. Also note that the game comes on 4 DVDs, and takes about half an hour to install from them. It's just like being back in the '90s again! If you have a decent internet connection, it may well be faster to just download it through Origin even if you have the discs.

If you don't like third person games, you won't like this because that's what it is. But if the idea of a more tactical than usual third person action game appeals, this is certainly one of the best around.

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Too 4K-ing expensive? Five full HD laptops for work and play

Cuddles

Re: Full HD?

Indeed. Although time has moved on since that xkcd, and 1080p on phones and tablets is now pretty much standard, but is apparently still considered a big deal on laptops and TVs. Weird.

@Bassey: don't confuse the market for laptops with the PC market as a whole. PCs really haven't stagnated at all - more powerful CPUs and GPUs are coming out all the time, and DDR4 RAM is just starting to come into use. And of course, despite the constant declarations that PCs are dead, the market has been growing quite nicely recently.

It's only really laptops that have an issue, because they don't have a unique niche any more. Tablets and phones have taken their place for most of the more basic mobile stuff - emails and such, and desktops will always be better for the more high-powered stuff. So it often makes more sense to have a phone or tablet and a desktop in the office, than to try to compromise with a laptop. That leaves laptops desperately trying to justify themselves. Put a better screen in and it might be more attractive, but it will also be significantly more expensive. Why get a £1000+ laptop when you can get a much more powerful desktop in your office for the same price, and get a 6" mobile thingy on contract to do your emails on the commute?

As for Moore's law, that's not really relevant. Haswell mobile CPUs do have around double the transistor count of the Sandy Bridge ones, but raw transistor count stopped being the important metric a long time ago, as did raw clock speed, raw core count, and pretty much any other metric that has been considered especially important in the past. In any case, I have a hard time seeing how a two year old i5 (either Sandy or Ivy Bridge), 660M GPU and 8GB RAM can be considered essentially the same spec as a brand new Haswell i7, 750M GPU and 16GB RAM. It might not be worth the upgrade, but that's exactly the sort of improvement in specs you'd expect to see on newer models around the same price point. The only part that isn't a straight upgrade is having a hybrid drive rather than SSD+HDD.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Spawn of Galaxy Alpha and a Note 3 unveiled

Cuddles

1140 x 2560 pixels

I hope you mean 1440x2560 otherwise that's a pretty weird choice, especially given it's the same size and shape as the previous 16:9 display.

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PHONDLESLAB-ULOUS: Motorola Moto X Android phablet

Cuddles

Re: Ordinary person here

I'm with you on most points, but with SD cards is not necessarily about changing them, but simply about having a reasonable amount of storage in the first place. My "16GB" phone actually shows as under 12GB, which hopefully means the OS is using some rather than it just having gone missing. In total, I've used up about 22GB of the 42GB I have available with a 32GB (which shows as 30) SD card. If I only had the 28GB or so a 32GB phone would give me, that doesn't exactly leave a lot of space to use over the next couple of years before I'm likely to replace it. If I actually want to put all my music on it, I'd already be struggling. If I took any significant amount of photos or video with it, I'd be struggling. If I wanted to install a couple of decent size games, I'd be struggling.

A lot of people reply to that sort of thing by saying that 16 or 32GB is fine, most people don't need more, just use the cloud, and so on. And that's fine for people who use their phones that way. But for those of us who do want a bit more storage, SD cards are basically the only choice since the options for phones with more built in are very limited, and usually quite a bit more expensive than the additional cost of a similarly sized SD card would justify (for example, a 64GB iPhone 6 costs £105 more than a 16GB one. A 64GB microSD card costs about £20.). A phone that can take an SD card caters for both groups. I've never changed an SD card in any of my phones, but I've also never had a phone that had enough storage built in, and a 400% markup on storage is pushing things a bit.

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You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes

Cuddles

Or to put it more accurately

"Users who don't update their anti-virus may as well uninstall it"

Or, if you look at the actual numbers, users who don't update their antivirus still get around 25% fewer infections than those who don't have it at all (I make it around 2.4% to 1.8% eyeballing it from the graph, actual numbers don't seem to be given). Sure, you're a lot better off keeping it up to date, but there's clearly a significant benefit from having out of date protection than none at all.

It's also worth keeping in mind that this refers only to users of Windows 8, and only those who have both downloaded the Malicious Software Removal Tool and opted to send information from it to Microsoft. Obviously I can't say how that will affect the results, but it's not exactly a randomised representative sample.

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Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

Cuddles

Is anyone actually surprised?

Elite 4 has been in and out of development for at least a decade, supposedly in parallel with The Outsider which would serve as a test-bed for the technology involved. That would be The Outsider that was announced in 2005, scheduled for release in 2009 and... is currently in development. Anyone sensing a theme here? Elite 4 was last cancelled around 2011, although supposedly work never completely stopped on it. Oddly enough, most of the development history has been removed from Wikipedia.

But hey, everyone threw money at Star Citizen, so why not replace the 4 with "Dangerous", pretend it's not vapourware that's been hanging around for a decade, and get some suckers to throw money at it. And surprise surprise, the game said suckers were promised is not actually what they're going to get. But let's be honest, with this kind of history they should really just count themselves lucky that anything is getting released at all.

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Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG

Cuddles

To be fair

While attaching it to an airbag isn't too bright, the actual thingy itself isn't such a bad idea. There are plenty of "stick your phone to part of your car" gadgets around, but this one does it in a way I haven't seen before which looks like it could well be better than the usual suckers or magnets. Just a shame they appear to want $75 for it when the alternatives generally cost around £10.

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4G is quicker than 3G, says Ofcom. Can't we get you on Mastermind, Sybil?

Cuddles

4G is faster than 3G

...just. Considering it's supposed to be an entirely new generation of amazingness, the fact that it barely manages to be twice as fast 3G over two years after its introduction really isn't something to be impressed by. Maybe it will be worth it given another few years, but at the moment I keep 4G disabled on my phone even though I'm with 3 and don't have to pay for it because it's simply not worth the hit to the battery, let alone the cost in actual money if your with a network that charges extra for it.

Speaking of 3, it's somewhat interesting that these results give 3 the worst download speeds, but by far the best loading times in actual use. It's almost as though the benchmarking doesn't actually give particularly useful results. Don't mistake me for a 3 fanboy though, I'm pretty sure the reason their coverage wasn't reported was simply that it was too shit to measure properly.

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Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Cuddles

The next Xbox?

One reason the Xbox1 was so heavily criticised was because it was originally supposed to be permanently connected to the internet while watching and listening to everything that happened in your living room. Even before MS backed away from that, some people were still willing to buy it because it at least played games and such. Who exactly would have bought it if MS and instead removed the ability to play games and instead left only the always-on spying? Apparently this is a question Amazon have decided to answer.

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Boxing clever? Amazon Fire TV is SO CLOSE to being excellent

Cuddles

Cut-price console?

Not really. You can get a PS3 for the same price (from Amazon of course) which does every single thing this box does, plus a hell of a lot more - DVD, blu-ray, actual games that aren't crap, and so on. This isn't a cut-price console, it's just a shit one.

As for all the complaints about Prime, I really don't get it. No content provider offers everything you want at any time. Netflix or one of the others may happen to have a selection that more closely matches your taste and therefore be a better choice for you, but some people apparently want to be able to watch anything that has ever been made at any time without ever paying a penny, and that is simply never going to happen. Compared to "traditional" TV services like Sky and cable, Prime and all the similar services are so much better I'm constantly amazed that the old model still exists at all. No, you can't watch absolutely anything you want with no caveats, but compared to "pay significantly more per year in order to watch exactly what we want when we tell you you can, and incidentally most of it will be adverts" it really is a no-brainer.

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NHS slow to react as Windows XP support nears the end

Cuddles

More modern than I expected

I worked in a hospital records department for a summer job a few years back. Part of the system still ran on a BBCB, and there were still quite a few 486s running Windows 3.11 scattered around the place. Anyone worried that something as recent as XP hasn't been abandoned yet really has no idea what state NHS IT is actually in.

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