* Posts by David Evans

348 posts • joined 3 Aug 2007

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Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

David Evans

Re: I always like the idea of these

I thought long and hard about using my old Shuttle as a NAS instead of buying one, but in the end I went down the Synology route, and to be honest I'm glad I did. Its reliable, super-quiet, and idiot-proof, and unlike a lot of others, the Apps are actually worth having; much as I like XBMC, the VideoStation App is quicker and easier to use on the TV (controlled by my phone, it makes my Samsung's otherwise near useless dlna setup usable so I don't need a separate STB like an RPi or Apple TV). I think a couple of years ago I'd have been less likely to recommend a Synology, but with the release of 4.3 its now a mature, polished product.

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VIOLENT video games make KIDS SMARTER – more violent the BETTER

David Evans

Interesting to find out if playing games actually improves STEM skills (causation) or in reality the type of people drawn to such games are already predisposed to being techie types in the first place (correlation). I suspect a little from column A and a lot from column B.

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3D printing: 'Third industrial revolution' or a load of old cobblers?

David Evans

Re: Its all about the drugs

3D printing isn't just about plastic. You can use a printer to synthesize combinations of drugs into tailored packages. So instead of taking 15 different pills you take one bespoke one. Good article on it here:

http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2013/August2013/3-Dimensional-Drug-Printing-Potential-in-the-Pharmacy

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David Evans

Its all about the drugs

Most people are thinking about 3D printing in terms of physical manufacture, but one of the real early contenders for large scale development is in creating tailored drugs. There's already a lot of work going on in the development of processes to create personalised prescriptions that are rendered in a 3DP. It makes a lot of sense when you think of people on long-term medication who may have to take half a dozen different prescriptions a day; with an ageing population that's a big market. The biggest hurdle for this right now is regulation, but as ever, I'm sure there are naughty chemists on the other side of the pharmaceutical industry who are thinking about the possibilities for the next generation of recreational drugs.

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BBC's Clangers returns in £5m 'New Age' remake

David Evans

*shudder*

If its anything like the Magic Roundabout remake, it'll be utterly awful, and probably feature a hideous catchy theme tune.

They don't need to mine these old classics in the hope parents might get their ankle biters to watch through misplaced nostalgia; it doesn't work because most of those parents will recoil in horror when they see it. There's plenty of good original stuff for pre-schoolers anyway (Personally I think Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom is one of the best things on TV, period.)

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

David Evans

Not just Apple

Actually my two-year old Galaxy Tab has a non-standard connector, so its not just Apple. For the record, I'm not actually a fan of micro-USB; its way too easy to squash the connector; and its also effectively putting a lower limit on the thickness of a phone by standardising.

I don't really see why the EU needs to get involved; if a manufacturer wants to plow their own furrow, let the market decide if it will tolerate a non-standard connector.

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F-16 fighter converted to drone

David Evans

missing the point I think

QFs have been around for decades, they're not really anything to do with UAVs used in combat. Its slightly newsworthy that F-16s are now part of the QF programme, but its not really surprising; people tend to forget that the first F-16s went into service 35 years ago; there a lot of old airframes knocking around.

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E-book him! Entire Judge Dredd back catalogue gets iDevice treatment

David Evans

Drokk it!

...You got me excited there; I thought they'd finally gotten around to offering all of Dredd up to date but these are just digitised versions of the Case Files anthologies that have been onsale in your local ink-on-dead-trees emporium for ages. The first 20 volumes take you up to prog 887. We're currently at prog 1850.

Haven't looked at the 2000AD website for ages and I'm annoyed that it looks like Zenith has finally been reprinted but as a limited run and I missed it.

I do wish Rebellion would get their act together on digitising the whole of 2000AD. Progress seems pretty slow (rights issues aside), their site design is pretty poor and only putting subs on iTunes and not Google Play is behind the curve. I'll fix all of that for you Mr. Kingsley, for a reasonable fee :)

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Typical! Google's wonder-dongle is a solution looking for a problem

David Evans

Apples and Oranges

I don't think the Now TV box is quite the same thing as the Chromecast so you're not really comparing like-for-like. The Sky device (which isn't "like" a ROKU, I'm pretty sure it IS a ROKU) is a locked down one-vendor streamer, whereas the Chromecast is an Airplay rival; it basically needs another switched on device to work. Apple TV is a bit of both.

Ironically if the Now TV box actually streamed my Sky TV content from my Sky+, I'd be interested in it, but since that would screw up their multiroom business it's no surprise it doesn't do it.

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

David Evans
Big Brother

Re: Nanny State ?

@Titus Technophobe - "A question for folks on here how is this different from the other restrictions placed on pornography?"

Its different in one key aspect; you have to put yourself on a database to say "I want to watch porn". In a country that has effectively declared war on porn and sees you as a "deviant" by default. You can't see how your name on that database may come back to haunt you in the future?

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Unreal: Epic’s would-be Doom... er... Quake killer

David Evans

My real intro to online gaming

I could never get into Quake; I came to it late and everyone I played against was just...better than me, but for some reason I got a handle on UT and actually got to be quite good, so I always had a bit of soft spot for Unreal (and its mods). So thanks Epic, for all the thousands of wasted hours over the last 15 years. Its your fault.

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Facebook restricts ads running next to dodgy posts

David Evans

So let me get this straight...

...Facebook protects brands from dodgy content, but despite claims to the contrary, doesn't protect users from dodgy brands? If I click "I find this ad offensive" on say, a gambling ad, does it stop me getting more gambling ads? Does. It. Bollocks. I know that the users are the "product" on Facebook, but this just really rubs your nose in it.

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IT mercenaries and buy-to-let landlords are my HEROES - here's why

David Evans

And the country with the lowest rates of home ownership in Europe is...

...Germany. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, the shackles caused by "getting on the ladder" have always seemed fairly obvious to me (at a personal and a macro level), even though I ended up doing it myself, I was lucky enough to buy somewhere in London and keep that while renting myself elsewhere. Being a landlord AND a tenant certainly lets me see both sides of the coin, and while I don't think I'd stretch to the word "hero", the rental landlord does fulfil an essential service, and through a combination of renter-friendly legislation and expediency (its better to keep a regular tenant than swap and change) I think there are far fewer dodgy landlords around than there used to be.

Of course if working from home was a genuinely viable proposition for most people rather than a minority pursuit not really trusted by managers (and in Ireland where I live currently its viewed with much more suspicion than the UK), then home ownership would cease to be an unemployment issue. It'll never happen though.

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MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

David Evans
Boffin

Re: Lucky old Ireland

You've not been paying attention have you? Google don't pay much tax in Ireland either. Thanks to the "Double Irish" (where Google effectively charges itself for use of its IP), Google hardly makes any actual profit in Ireland, all the money going to the Caribbean (Bermuda I think in Google's case) to pay for the licence. The "profit" is all made in the tax haven.

Ireland gets a lot of job creation out of its tax regime, but nowhere near as much actual corporate tax revenue as you'd expect

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YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading

David Evans

@Piro

You're making the usual mistake of assuming "customers" means the people who go out and buy boxes, rather than the publishers and developers MS receive licence fees from.

This type of locked down "games ecosystem" has been predicted for at least a decade; its only now that the bandwidth is there to support it. And all you people saying "I'll buy a PS4 instead"; why do you think Sony, the acknowledged masters of botched DRM and consumer-unfriendly lockdowns, will be any different? Maybe at launch they'll sucker you in, but it won't last. This is the future.

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

David Evans

Re: Fashionable to mention Google

@Credas 12:16GMT

Actually in their core business of paid search, Google are a monopoly by any measure of the term used in most economies. They account for nearly 90% of all searches globally and over two-thirds of all paid search revenue. Now, you can argue that my definition of their business is too narrow, but online is rapidly catching (and overtaking) other advertising sectors; and lots of advertising sectors, especially TV, are subject to monopolies regulation, so why isn't internet? Google already makes more money in the UK than ITV and online's share of voice will continue to grow (indeed its pretty much the only growth ad market - everyone else is flat or in decline), with Google dominating that.

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High-rollers’ shop pitches wallet-pounding, wall-pummelling MONSTER TV

David Evans

Evolution Kit

Interestingly, I've stuck one of these on the back of my (rather more modest) Samsung telly; a 30 quid Raspberry Pi.

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Game designer spills beans on chubby-fancying chap with his stolen Mac

David Evans

Re: He'll probably/hopefully get sued

You obviously didn't read the article. The guy used his credit card, and as he did pass the information on the police, to no avail, so this seems like a pretty clear cut case. If the justice system singularly fails to act, or even bother to communicate with the victim, when said victim has given the cops a giant glowing arrow pointing to his lost property, than the system has failed and good luck to the guy.

This kind of crap goes on far too often, and while I know the police are often over-stretched, the fact they seem to operate a triage system that automatically dumps all "petty" (in their eyes) crime into the round filing cabinet simply isn't good enough.

I also think the police actively hate citizen detectives who do their own investigations, especially nerds who are better at using online tools than they are; I've seen that from the police first hand.

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New rules to end cries of 'WTF... a £10 online booking fee?'

David Evans

I await RyanAir's response with interest

Michael O'Leary must be gearing up for some kind of "fuck you" response to this. It will be interesting to see if UK customers suddenly see their ticket prices going up while booking fees disappear but everything stays the same in other countries.

To be honest I'd prefer to seem him ignore it so they can be a high profile test case to establish some legal precedent.

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iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close

David Evans
Childcatcher

Who said iPads are used for IT?

While I kind of agree with the central thesis (iPads are expensive m'kay?), it seems to be coming from the idea that any computing device used in schools is there primarily to teach IT, which seems a bit...well...1980s in its thinking.

I always assumed iPads would be primarily used as a general textbook replacement with added whistles and bells (timetables, report writing etc.), and to a certain extent a degree of lockdown might be useful in that kind of environment. However, the Apple tax is a big problem for education content, and unlike paper text books, you've still got VAT to consider on top of that; so not only is an iPad a fairly flimsy and stealable piece of hardware, it doesn't really pass muster on the content side either at a time when parents bemoan the fortunes they need to spend on text books for approved syllabuses (syllabi?) - and that assumes such text books are actually available as ebooks in the first place.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

David Evans

Zardoz and Solaris (at least the remake) are both terrible. And if Star Wars doesn't count, neither does Planet of The Apes, not really (its a good movie but its rubbish SF).

As you alluded to in the article, the seventies is where its at; Dark Star, Silent Running, and the Donald Sutherland Invasion of The Body Snatchers are all worth anyone's time. More recently, how could you miss out Moon and District 9?

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Samsung's next smartphone to scroll by watching your eyes

David Evans
FAIL

No thanks

Having sat in on quite a few eye-tracking studies now, I'm pretty certain this will just piss people off because viewing behaviour isn't linear.

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Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

David Evans
Pint

A "problem" that doesn't need solving

Alcohol consumption in the UK is already in year on year decline (a function of an ageing population and increased health awareness) and has been for nearly a decade, and the UK already has the highest alcohol duties in Europe (even more than Scandinavia now). So the "problem" is actually that people aren't drinking enough; UKGov could do with the money.

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Fashionably slate

David Evans

Re: Staring them in the face

My TV already has this.

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Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

David Evans

Re: Now there's another mystery ...

Off prime rents for a start. CEX are usually in relatively cheap areas, whereas the likes of HMV are usually in prime areas.

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David Evans

Re: What a shame

"The strongest high street retailers seem to be those who have product lines crossing many categories such as department stores - perhaps that model is the best hope for the future?"

This has been the received wisdom amongst corporate strategy people for at least a decade; you can only survive as a specialist retailer if you have unique product not available elsewhere; if you sell a commodity you can't cross-subsidise margins so you've got nowhere to go when a multi-category retailer undercuts you (Amazon and Tesco work on single digit margins so can take the hit that a specialist can't). Problem is that with the rise of Amazon, more and more products become commodities even when they might not have been in the past (which is why some premium brands will only sell through their own channels), good for customer value, but maybe not so good for the retail "ecosystem".

We're heading for an age of much reduced choice in retail (which in the long run hurts the department stores as well; fewer reasons to go to the high street), and unless landlords have a major rethink about rents, whole categories of products are going to disappear from the high street altogether; in fact it may be too late even if there is a big rent correction.

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Hm, nice idea that. But somebody's already doing it less well

David Evans

Yeah but...

I hadn't heard the phrase "regulatory capture" before, but its very well coined, and yes, there are tons of examples of it in action (the largest in potential value terms affected by this is probably online gambling in the US), and its probably having an impact. However...there are lots of examples where "creative destruction" IS busily doing its thing, but is actually creating genuine growth? The transformation of all the media industries for example, seems to be creating a new landscape, but not necessarily an economically more buoyant one. Yes there are individual winners (Google, Apple, Amazon etc.) but in what looks like a much less diverse economic landscape. Maybe the old economic certainties on growth simply don't apply anymore.

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Ten technology FAILS

David Evans

Re: Secondlife Is still Alive.

Secondlife is all very well as a hobby, but in the mid-noughties people were seriously touting it as a new navigation paradigm. I was contacted by a headhunter asking me to flog e-commerce storefronts for it. Coming from a gaming as well as an e-commerce background, I took one look and ran a mile.

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Oprah Winfrey too late to save Microsoft's Windows 8

David Evans

Speaking as a general punter rather than an axe-grinding zealot...

...I'm prepared to give Win 8 the benefit of the doubt. Problem is simply that I just don't need it. I have three PCs at home, and yes a little boost in startup speed would be nice, but its hardly worth the rigmarole of three upgrades just for that.

The problem is that the Metro UI is pretty much irrelevant to 99% of users because they don't have touchscreens, and yet that's where all the "surprise and delight" functionality in the platform rests, and may actually be suppressing current PC sales; if you were going to upgrade your laptop this Christmas, would you get one WITHOUT a touchscreen knowing it was going to have Win 8 installed? I wouldn't, which immediately gives me a tiny pool of laptops that fully take advantage of the OS, all of which that are at a distinct price premium.

As for Surface; only VERY early adopters want to take the risk on RT; those of us who actually want a tablet as a credible productivity device (which HAS to be the difference between MS and Apple's tab strategies at this point) are going to wait for the Pro version or one of the OEMs. Its not over for MS at the moment, but nothing's going to start moving until there's relevant hardware in the market at credible prices.

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Telcos react coldly to renewed UK.gov smut-censoring push

David Evans

Tiscali will rue the day...

...their active filtering fails (which it absolutely will) and some kid tops themselves purportedly because they looked at a suicide site and it fractured their tiny little mind. Cue lawsuits and a world of hurt.

How many more times does it have to be said? Its the responsibility of the PARENTS to monitor access. The ISPs can give them tools, but they shouldn't be responsible for controlling access to legal content (illegal content is a different matter, but is already managed).

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Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

David Evans

A judge with common sense

Good to know they exist

Not being a God-botherer in any shape or form, I disapprove of the guy's disapproval of homosexual marriage, but he's entitled to his opinion and his employers are bang out of order. Hopefully that's a nice bit of case law on the books to dampen down similar employer abuses in the future.

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Pollster predicts mega UK smart TV sales

David Evans

I find this...doubtful

I'd love to see what the actual question was.

Even though I have a so-called smart TV, I very rarely use any of the functionality since the various STBs attached (Sky+, Apple TV and a rapsberry pi running XBMC) do a much better job, and given the lamentably slow pace software updates on the TV (a Samsung), I'm pretty sure that will remain the case.

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What happened to comics for kids? Hell, what happened to COMICS?

David Evans
Childcatcher

Dying on its arse

I've been entering the hallowed doors of Forbidden Planet for nearly 30 years now (from Denmark Street to New Oxford Street and to the current Shaftesbury Avenue location), and gradually, especially over the last two or three years, I'm finding fewer and fewer reasons to bother. The latest DC reboot is just terrible, Marvel is meh, and everything else is fucking zombies (often literally fucking). I lost track of 2000AD after spending a year abroad a few years ago (I had every issue from prog 86 onwards and still regard Nemesis, Halo Jones and Zenith as pretty much the best mainstream comics stories ever), but when I thumb through a copy these days it seems to be treading water.

So this month sees the last issue of The Boys, and after that I think I'm done, and I don't think its because I've changed particularly, rather I've come to the conclusion that comics only work if each generation actually outgrows them; when we stopped doing that (and i'm and obvious case in point) and the market decided to actually accommodate the "mature reader" , it sewed the seeds of its own destruction, which is why Forbidden Planet now makes its money off selling 500 quid copies of Thor's Hammer to idiots and its comic shelves shrink every year.

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Man, 19, cuffed after burning Remembrance poppy pic is Facebooked

David Evans

Re: @JimmyPage

Actually not true (for WWI anyway). Conscription wasn't introduced until 1916, by which point most of the men able to fight had already volunteered (around 40% of conscripts were found to be medically unfit). The number of volunteers in the British forces always outnumbered the conscripts. So, yes you can argue the case for a collective Darwin Award (not that I would).

Back on topic, I always wear a poppy (even though I now live in Ireland, which makes it much more contentious) because I come from a long line of soldiers, but I am increasingly uncomfortable with "poppy guilt" as seen on most of the British Media, and have no problem with someone exercising their RIGHT to protest against the poppy by burning one. This whole Malicious Communications thing is turning into a farce, just as was predicted when it was enacted.

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Debenhams cafes ban outré terms like 'espresso' and 'cappuccino'

David Evans

Little England is alive and well I see...

...and I suppose all of you who rail against all that talkin' foreign nonsense refuse point blank to order Pizza or spaghetti don't you? "I'll have a flat bread with tomato,cheese and sausage, and none of yer "Mozzarella" or "pepperoni" mind, I'm watching you, and be quick about it Mussolini".

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David Evans

@DayDragon

So did you grow up in the hole in the road or the lake?

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Steve Jobs' Apple-powered yacht makes belated first trip

David Evans

well I like it...

I may not care for Apple or Mr. Jobs but I this is a handsome boat. Reminds me a lot of the current Wally design style. As for all the jibes about its seaworthiness, yeah right.

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Nook pulls on backpack, heads for Europe and flings with foreigners

David Evans

'Bout time

Good to see some proper Kindle competition. Now, question, why the hell did Waterstones tie up with Amazon (who threaten them with oblivion) rather than B&N? Seem weird to me.

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Ten backpacks for tech-heads

David Evans

Crumpler...

...worth the money. Mine has been all over the world and is absolutely bulletproof. The Pakuma I had before it fell to pieces in about three months.

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So, just what is the ultimate bacon sarnie?

David Evans

Jesus I'm fucking starving now.

Good crusty white bread (Irish batch bread works), back bacon cooked with a grill pan, fat is OK because its going to be crispy. Butter or not, doesn't really matter to me (I tend towards not) and HP sauce. Not ketchup, not mustard (that's fine for sausage sarnies but not bacon) and none of those shitty brown sauces like Chef or Daddies, has to be HP. Mug of tea on the side (the only time I drink tea is with bacon sarnies).

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Ready to patent that 'new' invention? Google is here to dash your hopes

David Evans

Good

Here's hoping the US Patent office start using it immediately.

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Optical Express 'ruined my life' gripe site lives on

David Evans

Site...

...doesn't seem to be awash with blinded punters. Six people with problems from what I can see. I also read the petition, and while I don't have a particular problem with its content, it seems like they're only trying to formalise what a good clinic does anyway. I had LASIK surgery 7-8 years ago and it was a major improvement in my life. Of course my eyeballs may fall out any day now, but until then I'm a fan of the process.

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RIP Harry Harrison: Stainless Steel Rat scurries no more

David Evans

Re: And hsi alternate histories

Loved most of HH's work but thought Stars & Stripes was literally the worst thing I've ever read.

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Facebook touts gambling to 'responsible' Brits

David Evans

Re: How long before

That would be The Daily Mail that operates its own bingo site perhaps? Oh, the dress it up in good causes, but its still gambling, so I'm guessing they'll keep their mouths surprisingly shut.

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McDonalds staff 'rough up' prof with home-made techno-spectacles

David Evans

Its all very odd

Definitely only getting one side of the story here. I also reckon Mann is running some kind of sociological experiment with all this cyborg crap on his face; if you go to his website you'll see he's been wearing various iterations of camera for decades now, but in the past he's used sunglasses to cover it up, obviously not the case with his little Paris showdown.

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Total bankers: Twitter and LinkedIn's cynical API play

David Evans

TANSTAAFL

That is all.

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Will Android, HTML5 tempt tabloid tablet tyrant Rupert Murdoch?

David Evans

Oh dear

Yes HTML5 is the right way to go; it was ALWAYS the right way to go, IF you're interested in maximum distribution of your content or service (why any eCommerce site would get into Apps any more boggles the mind), but the problem for NewsCorp is they're not interested in maximum distribution, they're interested in frictionless paywalls, which means, at the moment, apps. And that means continuing to give Apple, and probably Google (oh the irony) a cut of those news subs, because if NewsCorp tries to put up its own paywall in mobile and tablets, they'll get NO takers, rather than the few they get currently.

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Nexus 7 and Surface: A bonanza for landfill miners

David Evans
FAIL

Relevance of tablets

I use a 7" tablet every single day, for reading, news, music, some gaming, and especially video consumption on the move. I don't need that content to be tied into a single provider (I have three e-readers on my tab for example) or a single format (my tab happily gobbles up avi, mkv or MP4 vids), and its less hassle than carrying around multiple devices (as my iPhone is my work phone, I tend not to want to clog it up with music and video content that lunches the battery). If you played around with a tablet and couldn't think of a use for it, what kind of a tech journalist are you?

I won't buy a Nexus 7 because its not enough of a step up (lack of expandable memory means its actually a step down), but a Surface? Sure. You said it yourself, its a canny bet because its easily justified next time you want to upgrade your laptop or notebook.

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Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 and Nexus Q

David Evans

Re: Why use "The Cloud"

This size of tablet is perfect for catchup TV and movies on the train every morning, so much so that I bought a Galaxy Tab to do just that. Biggest problem? Constantly deleting videos off the SD card and hard disk to accommodate new stuff. You're right, 16GB isn't enough, and the Cloud isn't ready to take up the slack (not over a 3G connection anyway)

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