* Posts by Rob Davis

202 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?

Rob Davis

Take on amazon in online shopping fulfilment centres?

I had a similar thought to what The Mole posted here, but that Google would use these as pickers in 'dark stores' / 'warehouses', as part of expansion of Google Play into physical goods?

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Vodafone flashes bulging package at Brits: New 4G service to rival EE, O2

Rob Davis

Cities?!

Everywhere please!

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Review: Crucial M500 960GB SSD

Rob Davis

I really want to like this Crucial drive, but...

I got a Crucial M4 128Gb and it failed on me after about a week, sudden death. Very good customer service from Crucial as it failed within the 50 or so days (not sure what they would have done after that), I got a full refund. And I would like to think that there are many happy M4 users out there and that I was unlucky.

Side story: When the Samsung 840 Pro was announced last September (2012) I was very excited, but it took ages to be available -eventually November/December. I got one for a 3-4 year (or more) Core 2 Duo socket 370 desktop and installed Windows 8 Pro 32bit on it. Result: boot time like a rocket, once past BIOS, Windows 8 takes only a few secs to boot. So I would second other's points about Samsung's apparent reliability (perhaps because they make all their own stuff) and the fact that SSDs run very well on older hardware - my case in point.

Back to point, if I could be convinced that Crucial is as reliable as Samsung then this new Crucial would be very attractive indeed. But I am hesitant from that bad personal experience.

In forums (such as these) one more often tends to hear about the problems than when things go well.

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Review: HTC One

Rob Davis

+1 upvote. This to me is a crucial feature of a phone, a communications device that is used for mobile internet which the review neglected. Don't give a t*ss about pixel density, speakers or ui or quad core - none any good if the network is crap - can't download that content to view on such nice hardware.

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Rob Davis

Re: Luddites

Cloud is *a* useful place to hold files, as is SD. Neither should be the sole place, they compliment each other. Remember a golden rule about backups: multiple ones. Also bear in mind a recent google drive outage which illustrates it's not infallible.

Also consider *connectivity* - can you get a decent reception / signal AND at speed to connect effectively to the cloud in the first place? The review mentioned none of these vital facts.

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Rob Davis

Re: here you go

Thanks thomas k. for the specs - shame the reviewer didnt mention / discuss them. Instead they went on about pixel density, speakers, design. No good if you need to get on the internet and have a high speed internet connection. Thanks for doing what they should have done.

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Rob Davis
Stop

No mention in the review about 4G, LTE higher speed internet - the phone supports multi-band LTE

Nowhere in the review did you mention 4G or LTE capability which would afford the phone faster internet speeds where such networks are available. That's not to say it doesn't. My point is that the this is a glaring omission of the review.

Looking at the official spec page, the phone does indeed support multi-band LTE, http://www.htc.com/uk/smartphones/htc-one/#specs

From that I would guess that the phone will run on other operator's networks other than the current EE 4G network?

To be frank I think the review was largely superficial: screen pixel density, camera, UI, speakers as all of these are criteria that could be review in many non-phone devices. This is supposed to be a review about a *communications* device, a phone (which I must add in the general trend is that used more for data communications than voice, before you think that I'm on about the basic purpose of a phone to call people; I'm not). Therefore, review should have given attention to the various network types that this phone supports and whether or not they would be compatible with Vodafone's, O2's etc 4G higher speed networks when they roll out, as well as trying it out on EE. And whether or not it can use three's enhanced 3G network technologies.

High speed mobile internet access is patchy in coverage and performance, in the UK anyway, and your review should highlight phones that are compatible with the newest networks that aim to address these issues, as well as keep this issue in the reader's consciousness. It's no good having a phone with a fast quad core processor and fancy features if it is connected to a poor performing network - it might as well be any other non-phone device with those features.

Also agree with other: no microSD, no removable battery - would be handy to have a spare battery on days of heavy usage. USB OTG useful though.

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Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Rob Davis

Agree - netbooks are still usable - love my Toshiba NB100 1.6Ghz Atom netbook

Got it in 2009. Upgraded the memory to the max 2Gb and put in a 128Gb Samsung 840 Pro SSD. Runs Windows 7 Pro 32 bit very capably. Swift little dinky work horse. Can change the battery too, the larger expanded battery appears to give me around 6 hours of charge.

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Web is turning us into kid-ults with no 'private identities' - report

Rob Davis

Write-only memory: Posts are sometimes more for the benefit of the poster than the readers

Be it attention seeking, approval, need to impress etc.

...which goes against the idea that imparting information is for the benefit of the recipients.

In computing we have Read Only Memory, ROM, that permanently stores data, information. With social media and networking, I suggest we now also have Write-Only Memory, more of a concept about people's interaction than the technical description that ROM is. Write-Only Memory is where *some* are self-concerned with their own output and not anyone else's and they write stuff which is seldom read or valued. What's noticed is that they are saying *something* not the content, goes back to Marshall McLuhan's The Medium Is The Message.

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Tell Facebook who's the greatest: YOU are!

Rob Davis

Atom not pixel, moment not memory

Great article. Perhaps the advice is to get out of the bubble and enjoy the randomness of reality more, as the title says: Atom not pixel, moment not memory

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2012: The year that netbooks DIED

Rob Davis
Go

2009 9" 1024x600 Toshiba NB100 going strong - replaceable battery - Win7, 2Gb RAM, Samsung SSD

Still like my Toshiba NB100 netbook - while many netbooks have 10" 1024x600 displays, the Toshiba has a 9" display at the same resolution, with a thin bezel/border around the machine making it a dinky little machine indeed. It has a 1.6Ghz single core Atom. It's handy when spare is restricted - e.g. on train journeys.

It's still in use by me today and I have upgraded the RAM to 2Gb from Crucial and replaced the harddisk with a Samsung SSD 840 Pro 128Gb. It runs Windows 7 Professional 32 bit competently with Norton Internet Explorer. The Samsung SSD I fitted means boot time is fast, and once booted, less "settling down time" so that apps can start quicker.

While today's tablets and smartphones are capable of doing many tasks of the Netbook, I still find this netbook relevant for running well known full-blown content creation and "housekeeping" applications. My Toshiba runs Adobe Audition 3.0, Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0, Beyond Compare 3.0 file comparison, ImgBurn DVD/CD/Blu-ray burner, LibreOffice as well as Chrome for browsing the web. Its VGA out means that I can extend the desktop to a 1920x1080 monitor which it shares with my other machines via a KVM switch.

Another great thing about this netbook is the replaceable battery, which many tablets and some smart phones don't have. Once one battery gets low, I can swap for another one, which means I can be away from a mains charger for longer. Ebay still sells such batteries, including double capacity ones.

Like some have said and for me, the netbook is a handy secondary PC and for while travelling. At home/office, I can leave it doing a job such as backup to a blu-ray writer while I do something more intensive with a main machine.

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The hoarder's dilemma, or 'Why can't I throw anything away?'

Rob Davis
Go

Help is at hand: IT recycling, charities, museums and scanners

I've been throwing out stuff for the last few years and feel all the better for it. I don't worry about hoarding something "that might become valuable". Apart from a few sourvenirs of travels, concerts, family and loved ones photos, most things I am disposing of in the following ways, see below. Life is about experiences not things.

IT recycling charity: Jamie's Computers: http://jamies.org.uk/

- Proceeds from re-sale, salvage of materials goes to homeless (they are part of St James charity)

- they take anything IT or electronics: working/broke - from consumers/households for free - if delivered to them during their opening hours

- If it works they may sell it in their ebay store: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/jamiescomputers/

- If it doesn't they will dispose of it following WEEE guidelines or (I believe) sell to scrap dealers (rare earth materials)

Sell or give to friends/family the stuff that is still useful, still works, but not any use to you anymore

- I've done this a few times

Computer Museum: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/

- Took my Acorn RISC PC (I DHLed it from Staples for 25 quid out of my own pocket - I'd rather do that than just dump it on the local WEEE tip, gone to a good home to give others pleasure). I have a RaspberryPi now - so I will be able to run RISC OS on that.

IT recycling: http://www.viridor.co.uk/

- they take old floppies and CDs/DVDs: break them down into pellets to be used as low-grade mouldings OR as fuel to heat homes

Old Documents - scan in with Double-sided auto document feeder (ADF) all-in-one printer/scanner: Epson Stylus Office BX635FWD

http://www.epson.co.uk/gb/en/viewcon/corporatesite/products/mainunits/overview/10882

Old film-based (pre-Digital) photos: Major town/city branches of Boots The Chemist on your local high street with a dedicated onsite Photo department and processing service do a great, efficient negative scanning service to CD.

Games, music, DVDs: Charity shops: British Heart Foundation, OxFam music and book shops etc.

Finally - some wise words on clutter - The Many Reasons We Rely Upon Our Clutter written by Leo Babauta.

http://zenhabits.net/crutches/

(I gain no benefit from any of the organisations mentioned, nor work for them - I've simply found them all useful)

That said, I still have quite a lot of stuff: One MacBookPro, Desktop PC, netbook (all of which I've upgraded in one way or another, I love to rejuvenate, the netbook, a Toshiba NB100 will be getting a Samsung 840 Pro SSD soon - why replace - upgrade!), 2 digital radios, 2 TV/monitors, freeview boxes, CD/DVD/Blu-ray burners, speakers, audio mixing console, synthesizer, digital camera, external drives,ebook reader. But all of these are being used actively - when they cease to be, they will be disposed of in one of the ways I mention.

I'm enjoying a less cluttered, minimalist-ish flat.

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Fanboys order 2m iPhone 5s in 24 hours

Rob Davis
Thumb Up

Re: Not surprised.

+1 I agree about the evolutionary product philosophy. My iPod Touch will be able to run iOS 6 (though perhaps some features absent). This shows Apple recognises that longevity is quite important to the consumer; it makes them more willing to part with cash with the knowledge that the device will still be relevant 1, 2 or 3 years or more.

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Ten iPhone 5 challengers

Rob Davis

But are they all 4G / LTE capable?

...did I miss something but I couldn't see any mention of 4G / LTE compatibility. The iPhone 5 supports one of the standards.

If these phones don't support at least one of the 4G / LTE standards then the claim that these are equivalent iPhone 5 alternatives is incorrect. Preferably for them to have a real edge over the iPhone I think they should support the same standard that the iPhone 5 supports AND the other standards -- for when O2, Vodafone etc. eventually catch up with Everything Everywhere in offering 4G / LTE faster mobile broadband.

(Not an Apple/iPhone fanboi, a HTC Desire Z owner)

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Google's stats show few Android tablets in use

Rob Davis
Go

Ergo Electronics have some nice Android-based machines

Birmingham UK based Ergo Electronics have some nice ideas based around Android, some of their products are available now while others have just been announced. http://www.ergoelectronics.com/

I don't work for them but think their site is great and the functionality of their products is relevant: USB host, microSD slots, HDMI outputs, keyboards...

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Ten digital radios to suit all budgets

Rob Davis
Stop

Roll on 4G & more WiFi hotspots - TuneIn Radio already works well on 3G & WiFi, Revo RadioStation

Assuming mobile internet availability continues to improve, DAB will become less relevant.

TuneIn Radio is an great mobile app - works well on Android on iPod touch in the home. Instead of spending 100 pounds on these radios why not spend it on a cheap Android phone such as the Orange San Francisco or similar, download TuneIn radio from the Android market and hook up some speakers. For the same cost of many radios here, you would have a more versatile, multi-purpose device, that is portable around the home.

Also, my three year old Revo RadioStation portable WiFi/Internet/DAB/DAB+/FM radio is still going strong.

I'm looking forward to forthcoming 4G / LTE roll out this/next year and the expansion of WiFi networks such as in London. Both of these are set to improve the availability of mobile internet to support internet radio apps such as TuneIn. I can already listen to internet radio in my car and hope that the drop-outs due to lack of mobile coverage will reduce as these new mobile networks are rolled out.

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Why Java would still stink even if it weren't security swiss cheese

Rob Davis
Mushroom

Programming is embedded in another career as much as it is in devices

I think what the author of the article and some posters may not realise, when they talk of mediocrity or worse among Java programmers (and perhaps those of other languages) is the trend of programming being part of another job. There are many jobs which involve programming but aren't purely software engineering or development roles. Much as a lot of software is found in machines and devices that aren't general purpose computers themselves but something that performs a specific task or tasks: TV, washing machine, car, etc. (However I would say that those who write software for embedded applications need a high level of discipline in memory and CPU usage, ensuring code executes when expected (real time constraints) and extensive testing.)

Would it not be a good thing for those whose job title is not 'programmer' but who can write programs to solve the problems in their field: empowering. This is a development of the trend whereby use of computers is no longer the preserve of computing professionals but for everyone. Further along, the trend suggests that just about *every* job will involve some kind of programming in the future.

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Rob Davis
Mushroom

In support of Java: reader "colin the aardvark"'s sensible viewpoint in another Reg article forum

I thought that this post from fellow Reg reader "colin the aardvark" was a sensible viewpoint in support of Java and is realistic about it's limitations but with a real world view of Java's technical competencies as well as the industries it can work within and the skillset issues too:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1191612

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'Young people don't want to become like us', say IT pros

Rob Davis

Theatre plays are like real time software

I would agree it's all about presentation and context. I was in a lovely theatre play a few years back and if I wanted to put an "interesting" (define that!) spin on computing (if it ever needed it), I would describe a theatre play as having things in common with real time software:

Multiple-threads of execution - multiple actors doing different things

Real time nature - things HAVE to happen at certain times

Synchronisation - some things have to happen in sync with others

Testing - rehearsals

Debugging - removing/modifying troublesome parts of a script (actor's lines or sequence)

Scripts!

Version Control - we all had to edit our scripts in the same way at the same time to be sure we knew what we were supposed to be doing

Subsystems - different parts of the the Theatre's Company (different roles)

Can you think of any more?

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Apple introduces 'next generation' MacBook Pro with retina display

Rob Davis
Thumb Up

Impressive specs, would buy but I will remain content with my 2010 MBP for a few more years at least

Impressive specification in the new Mac Book Pro.

Apart from the performance, the build quality of Apple notebooks are very good - clean, light and strong. And I will remain content with my 2010 MacBookPro 17" for another 2 years at least. I'm no fanboi - I also use a Windows 7 / Ubuntu dual boot desktop and a Windows XP netbook.

By then, if I was considering replacing, in 2 years time perhaps hexacore or octocore notebooks with multi core graphics chips, 100Gbit optical Thunderbolt and even faster and bigger flash would be the new state of the art, making those who buy today's latest release as envious then as I would be of them buying this latest update out now.

One can't win at the game of having the latest, as technology marches on. The key is to accept this and be content with what one has for the useful life of the item and realise that most tasks can still be done on that, even if it involves a little more waiting.

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Ten... Qwerty mobiles

Rob Davis

Sony X10 Mini Pro and HTC Desire Z

+1 for everyone here praising the Sony X10 Mini Pro. It's a dinky little marvel!

I don't own a X10 Mini Pro but I have a HTC Desire Z which I am happy with.

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Google+ dying on its arse – shock new poll

Rob Davis

Give it time. Facebook going for 8 years. G+ underpins other services.

Facebook has been going for 8 years.

G+ is a relative newcomer which is its disadvantage competing against the established.

People's tastes will change too which may work in the favour of G+

G+ shouldn't be directly compared to Facebook. G+ binds lots of services good in their own right together (Gmail, Youtube, Blogger), providing convenience of sign on and sharing.

Too much focus on G+ itself when it is more a underpinning fabric for these services.

A Facebook weakness I can see is being too time-oriented: it's not easy for example to see all the things you Like as a list, there is no notion of favourites or categorised tagging.

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Ten... freeware gems for new PCs

Rob Davis

PFrank File Renamer, ImgBurn, Fast Duplicate File Finder, Picasa, Folder Size, Truecrypt

PFrank File Renamer

- Probably the most powerful and flexible Windows-based filename renamer there is and it's free. Well supported in forums. Powerful regex, derived names, generate logs of the renames, etc, undo, with built-in commonly used presets - all done from a Windows application.

http://www3.telus.net/pfrank/

ImgBurn

Reliable CD,DVD,Blu-ray burning software, burn files direct to disk, or make image files and burn those. Very comprehensive logging, preset Wizard quick guides. Well supported in forums. Free.

http://imgburn.com

Fast Duplicate File Finder

Free basic non-trial version (pro, paid for version provides extra features). Find same files with different names. Uses CRC. Exclude folders from being purged as duplicates (i.e. define the master location).

http://www.mindgems.com/products/Fast-Duplicate-File-Finder/Fast-Duplicate-File-Finder-About.htm

Picasa

Photo image browsing across multiple folders. Define which folders get looked at by the program. Free.

picasa.google.com/

Folder Size

Adds the missing folder size feature to Windows 7 - see how much space the contents of folders are taking up. Free basic non-trial version. Paid version provides extra reporting.

http://www.mindgems.com/products/Folder-Size/Folder-Size.html

Truecrypt

http://www.truecrypt.org/

All this talk of erasing sensitive data using Eraser or CCleaner. Use truecrypt instead to encrypt the data before it gets written to the hard drive in the first place. Transparent and integrates with Windows, requires you to define a password that you enter once on boot up or if accessing an encrypted drive. Free.

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NHS's chances of getting world's best IT: 80% ... maybe*

Rob Davis

Re: Two different languages

+1 Good point. This seems to be a common problem in my experience of working in 5 organisations. For example, different departments have a different name for the same thing.

Wasted conversations clarifying things, confusion among new hires, poor training. At best people agree at worst people don't get this, let alone a solution.

There needs to be a recognised job function - "master term dictionary" maintainer or something.

Content management systems can help like the open source Drupal provide taxonomy (category) management, including synonyms. Another example is the stackexchange.com sites - see how tags for things are well managed here.

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Rob Davis

Re: Disunity

+1 on interoperability.

And to further support the point, different systems is a fact of life and this is not a problem if they can interoperate electronically (APIs etc) and automatically (if required) to achieve what is required.

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HTC to produce exclusive Facebook smartphone, bitch

Rob Davis
Stop

Root phone and forfeit using apps like PingIt money transfer

Barclays PingIt won't work on rooted phones apparently. Quite a useful app for paying people you owe money to. Well phone users in Kenya seem to like the idea of phone based money transfer - which is where the idea gained popularity before it came here - and we're all tech-aware people here, embracing new ways aren't we?

Reason being for not allowing it on rooted handsets is there is a risk perceived with rooted phones and perhaps possible extra support costs.

The risk being that even though the published modded/rooted source and firmware are available, you have to take the supplier of these word for it that the firmware was produced from the source. Ideally you want to believe them (and probably can for some rooted vendors) but the risk is there.

I can see the sense in this policy, given that in the past some freeware sites have been hijacked with malware (always check the MD5 checksums) and the concerns over security on smart phones (perhaps some hysteria but still...) Indeed Barclays offer internet security apps to those who wish to use PingIt.

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Panasonic DMP-BDT320 3D Blu-ray player

Rob Davis

Indeed it looks great, but will it compete against Sony Playstation 3 at that price?

For that money one could buy a Playstation 3 and have some change.

I'm guessing the Panasonic has more refinements aimed at the audio fan (like the Super Clarity Mode) as mentioned and perhaps the disc transport itself is quieter.

I hope it does well but there is competition as said.

Thoughts?

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Getting rich off iPhone apps is b*llocks, say UK devs

Rob Davis
WTF?

Difference between getting rich and earning a respectable amount with correct app pricing

I'm wondering if the article and posters here have confused the article with getting rich and making a decent amount of cash.

It seems unnecessary black and white to me: the incorrect inference seems to be: "if you can't get rich doing it then why bother at all?" when actually there are shades of success and some might be able to earn a decent income - particularly if apps are priced sensibly.

Moreover perhaps some developers might rightly view success as income from an app being a secondary income to supplement a main one. Sure they can't live off it alone, but it's jolly handy and compensates for their time spent in front of a screen when they could have been doing something else.

I do hope there isn't an artificial debate about app pricing, saying that apps aren't worth more than 99p when some should be priced more.

And what about application rental? This might be another option of developers and actually Adobe for example has launched more rental schemes with its CS products for desktops.

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Laptop computers are crap

Rob Davis

Love my 9" Toshiba NB100 XP machine

Dinky versatile swiss army knife of a machine.

Three years old running Windows XP home on 2Gb and a 1.6Hz Atom, 120Gb HD and still a swift little work horse.

Carry it around like a hardback book on the move. At home it hooks up to my 22" 1920x1080 display for extra space and I then forget I'm using a sub-notebook/netbook. Love it. Best of both worlds.

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Ice Cream Sandwich gives Android mobes brainfreeze – Sony

Rob Davis

If it doesn't help provide faster mobile internet and longer battery life...

then I'm not interested. Of course software alone would never make these possible -capable network hardware and phone hardware are required.

But I'm looking at a smart phone from a black box point of view, from the experience of it. In other words, any Operating System version beyond Android 2.3 is low on my list of wants.

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Rob Davis

Oneupmanships

Comments here full of:

"I'm alright Jack, mines just fine. Problem with your phone. Bad luck."

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Ten... FireWire 800 hard drives

Rob Davis

No review of Lacie Rugged triple? (FW800, USB3.0/2.0)

http://www.lacie.com/uk/products/product.htm?id=10553

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Canon PowerShot S100 GPS compact camera

Rob Davis

Great review for a great camera, corroborates with other views, discussion on DSLR vs Compact

e.g. at kenrockwell.com and on amazon.co.uk

Also, for an informative discussion on DSLR vs Compact look at:

http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14510/is-there-at-least-one-reason-why-i-should-buy-an-entry-level-prosumer-aps-c-dslr

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Rob Davis

Re: 90%

+1 Agreed.

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Warner Bros boss moots 'disc-to-digital' scheme

Rob Davis

Re: "In other words they want you to rent rather than buy"

Depends on the additional services that the cloud can offer as to whether the cloud is really inferior as you might claim

- there is an overhead of time managing your own files: backups, organising, cataloging. A cloud service looks after all that for you. I've done all of these things with my own media and it can be very time consuming. Fast Duplicate File Finder, Beyond Compare, mp3tag. PFrank File Renamer -- help a lot though!

- a cloud service can track how much you have watched/read and synchronise this information to all the authorised devices. Think Kindle, for example.

- a cloud service can potentially make your media available anywhere. Again think Kindle.

Don't get me wrong, I see the pitfalls of proprietary cloud services. But today, I'm also not one to collect physical media. Most films I might watch once or just a few times. A few I might want to keep for longer.

But I prefer the minimalist clutter free life; can't take it to the grave and life is all about experiences and all that. I'm partly over the need to own something tangible.

As one commentator put it very well right here on ElReg, DRM'd services are like a perpetual hire of the material, that might actually suit some more than the albeit small worry of looking after a DVD collection that might not even play on machines in the future, become obsolete.

They can't and never will be able to DRM the discussions one would have among friends about a film, a tune or a book.

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Powerful, wallet-sized Raspberry Pi computer sells out in SECONDS

Rob Davis
Happy

Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

The rapid sell out reminds me of the same with Glastonbury in previous years. However, unlike that festival, they can make some more... and more... so hopefully no-one is disappointed, eventually. I'm so pleased for them for the well deserved popularity. I look forward to the next batch so that I can buy mine.

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EU shoves telly signals aside for next-gen mobile broadband

Rob Davis

LTE/4G More socially useful than community TV (Jeremy Hunt MP Culture Secretary's idea)

I would favour an alternative to the community TV plans outlined by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP for the UK and use this bandwidth for 4G and LTE services to provide high speed mobile broadband services where possible.

Surely such services are more socially useful than community TV. 4G and LTE services promise high speed mobile internet: a 2 way, many to many form of high speed communication enabling rural business, connecting local communities, including rural and enabling whole new applications and innovation - as well as providing TV services via iPlayer or live streamed.

Contrast that with TV - a limited, passively consumed, one to many broadcast platform. Exacerbate that limitation with the small concerns of community TV where there may be a struggle to find worthwhile content (and hold viewers interest), without the critical mass, reputation and economy of scale of a large broadcaster. But I would definitely say that by contrast that community *radio* can and does thrive, particularly being audio there is less resource required and people can do something else while listening.

But community TV and radio can be provided on LTE and 4G services - and not have any broadcast range footprint that such services would have through a transmitter.

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Google limits Android support for CDMA phones

Rob Davis

Solution: Is it possible the same signing key as the CDMA .apk binaries?

Please educate me here:

"when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies [sic] were signed with."

Would a solution not be to use the same signing key as the CDMA .apk binaries?

Or is such a key not disclosed? I would guess so, as if not then this wouldn't be a problem.

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Australia should head-hunt Michael Gove

Rob Davis

Coding X Factor on Saturday night TV? Culture and role models, stereotypes. Great article.

Culture and role models are part of the solution as is RaspberryPi - can't just revolutionise computing learning on its own.

Article is spot on about kids with "thick glasses" tinkering with technical stuff. That's still a stereotype being perpetuated.

There is bit of inventiveness and enthusiasm for technology, I reckon, in more (young) people - but they haven't expressed this openly.

Part of the reason for more people not exploring technology might be the geeky stereotype and lack of positive, compelling and non-stereotypical role models. Fame culture might also be to blame, so what about some kind of coding X Factor on a Saturday night?

Also, success with computing has proven to be not just about the technology, entrepreneurship counts but there is a pessimism about this I feel. Partly down to programmes such as Watchdog which seem to me to give entrepreneurism a bad name by TV for its own sake highlighting the worst of it.

The Watchdog TV programme need to be scrapped and merged with Dragon's Den to give a balanced programme so that both the interests of the consumer and entrepreneur are supported and presented in a balanced way and how they can work together.

The Apprentice needs a new entrepreneur for each series to celebrate more role models we have. What about Richard Branson next time, or less well known ones like Charles Moir - featured in the Reg.

Success is also down to multidisciplinary approach - Facebook's Zuckerberg studied psychology along side computing - so he was equipped with the human aspect of technology its application.

There are some great course modules in Computing degrees at UK universities covering the human, economic and societal impact.

Both thumbs up and down welcome - but a reason why would be appreciated. Thanks for reading. Why isn't Reg's thumb votes AJAX based for same/in-page voting? Quite clunky!

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How Apple won the West (and lost the world)

Rob Davis

Still love my Nokia 5500 sport (symbian s60 v3)

+1 for your comment about the 1110.

Even though I have an Android phone, I take my 5500 with me when I go to the beach. It's Symbian/S60 inside its fairly rugged form and with GPRS I can check my train times online for the journey home.

I love it that it is basic but Facebook, email also work well on it. I'm not precious about the odd grain of sand scratching the casing. It's had its casing and keys replaced a few times, cheaply, thanks to spares on ebay. The only original parts are the logic board and screen and camera.

Such a shame Symbian seems to have been declared dead by Nokia's leadership - for people like me who might enjoy the freedom of simplicity from time to time - and for the developing countries where a healthy market still exists for cheap and power frugal handsets.

If Nokia don't want all those symbian phones and indeed pre-Symbian such as the classic 1110, 3210s then why don't Casio buy them? Given that Casio make cashier machines and that mobile is the first form of internet for many developing countries - and a means to transmit money, I can see that Casio would bring some new ideas to the table.

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Chrome passes Firefox in global browser share

Rob Davis

Google-owned Orkut social network site perhaps reason for Chrome popularity in South America.

Presumably Chrome is promoted through Orkut like other Google's products - e.g. when you go to google in Internet Explorer, you are invited to install Chrome. Also on YouTube - sb.tv promo. Some statistics show Orkut as being popular in Brazil, though that said, I see facebook catching up.

For me the overriding appeal of Chrome is 2 things: speed and uncluttered UI. Firefox comes second with speed, Internet Explorer 3rd.

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Adobe axes 750 jobs to focus on HTML5, cloud

Rob Davis

HTML5, Media, Canvas, Jquery and SVG...

can probably do all that Flash can do. And they're open standards - the ethos of the original web specification.

I believe Adobe was trialling a Flash to HTML5 converter. Perhaps it would make sense to develop this further.

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WHSmith Kobo Touch wireless e-book reader

Rob Davis

Another review: Kobo vs Kindle vs Nobo

http://www.businessinsider.com/kindle-vs-nook-vs-kobo-2011-6

Conclusion: They say Kindle is best on grounds of page clarity and size of ebook store - which would compensate for the lack of removable storage provided the content you read comes from amazon and not elsewhere.

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Rob Davis

convert epub to mobi

epubs can be converted to mobi for reading on kindle.

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Rob Davis

pdf to epub via calibre for re-flow

convert your pdfs to epubs which will reflow the text to fit the page.

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Rob Davis

Distance selling regulations

No way they could get away with this. If you don't own the books why should you pay. If you can prove it then you should get your money back.

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Ten... digital voice recorders

Rob Davis

You missed Olympus WS-510M: sub-100pound high quality stereo MP3 recorder

Available on amazon here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Olympus-WS-510M-Digital-Recorder-Player/dp/B002650XNQ

Specs here:

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_archived_product_details.asp?fl=&id=1458

Records WMA and MP3 at stereo 256kbit/s with a free firmware upgrade.

Standalone recorder, 4G flash memory, stereo, USB for transfer to computer, USB charging!

And with this XLR to jack, cable adapter, you can plug in any passive (i.e. non-phantom powered) XLR pro balanced microphone:

http://www.audiospares.com/product.php?productid=1618&cat=775&page=2

I wouldn't bother with anything that records only to .WMA, especially since flagship audio editing program Adobe Audition CS5.5 has dropped it.

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Rob Davis

There's probably an app for it.High quality can be achieved on iPhone

I would imagine that there is a dictaphone app out there for the iPhone. If not then anything that a dictaphone can do, can be achieved by post-processing the recordings made by the iPhone, i.e. after they have been made, perhaps doing such processing on the phone itself or on a full general purpose computer.

The dictaphone mode works by having an amplitude threshold setting used in dictaphone mode so that recording is triggered only when sound is louder than this. There is also conference mode, which is just usual recording straight including background. Dedicated dictaphones have this feature, but it isn't rocket science and could be achieved in software on a iPhone or in post-processing software.

iPhones can record at high quality i.e. CD / 16bit 44.1KHz, there are some guitar applications comprising of a software part (the app) and a hardware part (an adapter, connected between the phone and the instrument). The thing missing from current iPhones I believe is audio input gain control, so volume control may instead be addressed on said adapter hardware. So it depends on the quality of the audio input into the phone. External mics will always be better than built-in, for example.

Also, I would advise on making stereo recordings of your classes, as this is how you would hear them, and your own ears and aural centres of the brain may then be able to better filter out the wanted voice from the unwanted noise perhaps due to phase differences in the audio arriving in the left and right channels, reflections etc. The so-called cocktail party effect.

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Rob Davis

I would imagine that there is a dictaphone app out there for the iPhone. If not then anything that a dictaphone can do, can be achieved by post-processing the recordings made by the iPhone, i.e. after they have been made, perhaps doing such processing on the phone itself or on a full general purpose computer.

The dictaphone mode works by having an amplitude threshold setting used in dictaphone mode so that recording is triggered only when sound is louder than this. There is also conference mode, which is just usual recording straight including background. Dedicated dictaphones have this feature, but it isn't rocket science and could be achieved in software on a iPhone or in post-processing software.

iPhones can record at high quality i.e. CD / 16bit 44.1KHz, there are some guitar applications comprising of a software part (the app) and a hardware part (an adapter, connected between the phone and the instrument). The thing missing from current iPhones I believe is audio input gain control, so volume control may instead be addressed on said adapter hardware. So it depends on the quality of the audio input into the phone. External mics will always be better than built-in, for example.

Also, I would advise on making stereo recordings of your classes, as this is how you would hear them, and your own ears and aural centres of the brain may then be able to better filter out the wanted voice from the unwanted noise perhaps due to phase differences in the audio arriving in the left and right channels, reflections etc. The so-called cocktail party effect.

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