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* Posts by Samuel Penn

32 posts • joined 31 Aug 2007

Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Samuel Penn

Re: I feel for you

Also on Three, with their £18/month One Plan. Unlimited data with tethering. My normal usage tends to be 3GB-5GB/month, so I'd actually be happy with a 10GB cap. There are cheaper options, but Three also have free international roaming (to some countries, including the US) which is useful to me.

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Rebellion sees Chromium reverse plans to dump EXT filesystem

Samuel Penn

What has work to do with it? All my external USB drives are formatted ext3, and I watch videos from them on my Chromebox because it doesn't support NFS. Dropping ext would be a pain.

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TalkTalk and Three want to make it easier to switch mobe networks

Samuel Penn
Thumb Up

Re: im moving soon

I left Vodafone for Three at the beginning of the year, also because I wanted more data and free international roaming. It was easy, and I even get better reception with Three than I did with Vodafone.

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Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

Samuel Penn

Re: How about a watch that has the correct time?

Mine does. Automatically syncs with some atomic clock at Rugby every night via whatever radio signals that is sending out. It's also solar powered, with a twenty year life expectency on the battery. I haven't had to 'charge' it for 10 years so far.

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Little pink handjob: Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact

Samuel Penn

Re: we love ours

> The daily battery like is very very good - even before switching on all the

> very efficient stealth modes built into this device.

Define very very good. Mine lasts about 20 hours, with medium usage. It gets me through the day with some music streaming, podcast playing and a bit of browsing (it's rarely used for phone calls), but I would consider that minimum acceptable rather than good.

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XBOX ONE owners rage as HDMI SNAFU 'judders' Brit and Euro tellies

Samuel Penn

You're assuming the TV has enough HDMI ports for everything. Even some expensive, otherwise high end, TVs are limtied to one or two HDMI ports. If you have a blu-ray player, games console and Sky HD box, then at least one probably isn't going to be plugging directly into things. Even receivers can have quite low numbers of HDMI ports.

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Check out The Register's Google+ page

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

Re: Not for me but...

The Register using pop-up ads was what drove me to originally install Adblock. That was some time ago though.

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The CURSE of WHO: WHY has there never been a decent videogame with the Doctor?

Samuel Penn
Happy

Mines of Terror

I played Mines of Terror on the BBC, and thought it was actually a pretty good game. IIRC, you could program Splinx with a set of commands to go and run tasks for you, which was a crucial way to get around some of the threats and actually worked quite well. It was one of the few games I actually played to completion.

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

Samuel Penn

Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

I was on a Jury about 8 years ago, for a case which involved some computer evidence. The document that we (the Jury) was given included a lot of detail on how they got material from the computer, and described some of the technology involved. Even back then, the software supported at least ext2 file systems.

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Keyboard fatigue? Now you can SCRAWL in Gmail and Google Docs

Samuel Penn

Re: What usage ?

I use it all the time on my Galaxy Note 10 for note taking in meetings. The Samsung software doesn't actually work very well for this, so I just use Evernote with the Samsung OCR keyboard. I find it feels more natural than typing.

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You thought NFC tags were Not For Consumers? Well, they're in Maplin's

Samuel Penn

Re: @DragonLord 10:14

I have a bluetooth device that is powered from the car's cigarette lighter, and plugs into the car's audio (via the AUX socket). Switches to car mode and pipes audio through the car's speakers in one device. However, it sometimes picks up the bluetooth when I'm in the house, so it's not perfect. I think it was about £10.

However, I'm tempted by the NFC tags just to see what I could do with them. They potentially have the feature of being a lot more precise.

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Oi, Google, you ate all our Wi-Fi keys - don't let the spooks gobble them too

Samuel Penn
Black Helicopters

Use Spider Oak

Does everything you're asking for by default.

https://spideroak.com/

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Google shreds Reader in new round of 'spring cleaning'

Samuel Penn

Re: Boo!

I use BeyondPod for podcasts, I could never get Google Listen to work.

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Reg readers brew up the ultimate cuppa

Samuel Penn

Boiling water a necessity

Semi-skimmed milk first, any form of "builder's tea" (Tetley/PG), about 10 seconds of brewing, though the water must be actually boiling hot from a proper kettle, not from one of those hot water machines that only produces tepid warm water.

If it's American tea (even if branded Tetley/PG), then double the number of tea bags and up brewing time to several minutes.

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Take that, freetards: First music sales uptick in over a decade

Samuel Penn

Re: Now... will the movie industry take note?

Ditto on Skyfall, but couldn't figure out how to get the digital version on Linux. Ripping the DVD worked fine though.

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Fanbois: The Next Generation. YOUR CHILDREN belong to Apple now

Samuel Penn

Google T's and C's

If they're under 12 then Google won't let them have an Android tablet even if they wanted one, unless they lie about their age or use their parent's account.

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Classic game 'Elite' returns … on Kickstarter

Samuel Penn

Re: Multiplayer game based on Elite?

Actually, it's called Vendetta Online. VO is a twitch based first person shooter just like Elite was, whereas Eve is more point and click.

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UK.gov proposes massive copyright land snatch

Samuel Penn
WTF?

GPL?

So how does this work if an image is licensed under the GPL, CC-BY-NC, or something similar?

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Motorola Mobility loses to Microsoft in German patent battle

Samuel Penn

Psion 7 did this

I'm sure that the Psion 7 used to break long SMS messages into multiple smaller ones.

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N7Player

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

Google Music isn't available outside of the US. Their 'Play Music' app also seems to have problems detecting new music that has been uploaded to the phone. At least on my Nexus, it takes days before it notices that I've added more files to the Music folder.

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Samuel Penn
Unhappy

Re: Usual over zealous permission

Phone state also seems to be for detecting if you're on a call, in which case that could be used to switch off the music when the phone rings. Seems a poor choice of security granularity on the part of Android if that is the case. No idea why it needs access to the logs though, so I also decided not to try it.

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Crims fall back on old-school cons to avoid anti-fraud tech

Samuel Penn

Re: Re Time to phase out cheques

I used to pay our milkman by cheque, by the highly secure method of leaving it in the milk bottle. I was working in London at the time, so didn't get back home until late evening.

Cheques are also useful for paying/gifting to friends/family.

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Page won't show his ring to prove Google+ 'engagement'

Samuel Penn
Thumb Up

Re: Anyone used the multi-user video chats?

We've used it for team meetings where it worked very well, and 'Hangouts with Extras' option allows you to share your screen. Unlike our 'official' company meeting software, it worked on Linux and people's tablets.

People like Fraser Cain organise astronomy hangouts, with someone hooking their webcam up to the Hangout, and a group of astronomers can get together and discuss the view live.

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Samuel Penn
Thumb Up

I actually like it...

Never used Facebook, and got annoyed with Twitter, but I have been using G+ since it was launched (quite a few people in our company got into it early on). There's a large number of science people on there who post some quite interesting articles (rather than the text speak one liners you seem to get on Twitter). There's also some astronomers on there making good use of the hangouts - hooking up telescopes to a video feed and having online discussions about what they're looking at for example. We've also used the hangouts to do multi-way video conferencing at work.

It doesn't tend to get used so much for communicating with friends (I use email for that), but is more a way of sharing interesting stuff with complete strangers who are interested in the same sort of stuff. In my experience, it's got a good signal to noise ratio (much better than Twitter, which always seemed to be full of posts about what someone was having for lunch) and a decent amount of content. I guess it depends on what you're interested in and who you follow.

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Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note

Samuel Penn
Thumb Up

Looks good

I really like my Streak, and this seems to be like that but better. I don't particularly want a phone - what I want is mobile access to email/web/satnav etc that does phone calls on the few occasions I need to. For this the Streak is great, and the Galaxy Note looks like it'll fill the same niche.

A tablet, even a 7" tablet is too big to carry around in a pocket, a 5" phone however fits in my pocket just fine, but is big enough to be used for other things. I'll definitely consider the Galaxy Note when I need a new phone - probably sooner if it doesn't require special connectors.

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Dell puts gun to Streak 5 tablet, pulls trigger

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

I love my Streak

My phone is a 5" Streak, and I love it. However, it's use an actual phone is secondary to all the other uses it gets put to. Shame that it's being discontinued - I dropped mine the other day and it's now slightly dented (the glass is fine however). If it did get broken, there's nothing else on the market to replace it with.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

USB

Android 3 seems to have dropped support for USB mass storage. Apparently, it's not reliable enough and they've gone for some other standard (MTP). Which is strange, since USB mass storage has always worked without any problems at all for me, and yet my ASUS tablet won't talk to my Linux box at all using MTP.

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Toshiba AC100 Android smartbook

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

Pretty much agree

I'd give it a slightly higher score, since I still find it useful, but agree with most of this. You did miss the issue of standby not working - it comes back from standby after a few minutes, which means you have to power it off completely when not using it. The hardware is lovely though, and reminds me of my old Psion 7 (which is why I got it).

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Google shocks world with unthreaded Gmail

Samuel Penn
FAIL

You call that threading?

To be honest, I never realised that was Google's attempt at threading. I just found the layout annoying because it hid everything. In pretty much every decent email (and news) reader I've used, threading displays subsequent replies indented beneath the original in a tree view. You can immediately see which emails belong to which thread, and also see and access individual emails without any extra effort. This also supports sub-threads within threads. To me, this is the natural and obvious way to handle email, and it's been the norm for me since RISC OS email apps back in the 90s.

I've never liked Google's implementation of this however. Why can't they implement proper threading, with a decent tree view?

Sam.

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Group Test: smartphone satnav apps

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

Google Nav and CoPilot

I've tried both GoogleNav and CoPilot on my Streak (Android 1.6) recently, and both seem to have the same problem of not handling phone calls well. I've only tested this whilst stationary, but both have the SatNav screen completely replaced by the incoming phone call, and after the call (using bluetooth headset), it returns to the home screen rather than navigation. This isn't exactly ideal, and if I was the sort of person that got lots of phonecalls, then it would render the mobile close to useless for this purpose.

What I'd expect, is a subtle on-screen indication of a phone call which doesn't block the navigation view.

My other problem with CoPilot is that I can't find a way of displaying estimated journey time (apparently it's possible, but I can't find a way of making it work and anyway, it should be there by default). Most of the time, I know roughly where I'm going and use the SatNav for deciding whether I have time to stop off at a service station before my meeting. Not having this feature makes me want to stick with Google Nav, despite it's lack of other features.

The 5" Streak however is definitely big enough to use as a satnav.

One last thing - the option to switch between overhead and 3D view is really nice (my old SatNav, a PSP, has it). It switches to a large scale (configurable) 2D view if the distance to the next event is greater than 3km. Generally, if all I'm doing is travelling along a road, being able to see how far along it I am is far more useful than seeing the turnoffs I'm going to be ignoring. Especially useful on the M1, where I can be on the same road for 3 hours+.

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Blu-ray winning in Europe

Samuel Penn
Unhappy

@John

There's a large number of DVDs which aren't available in region 2, so if you live in the UK, you have to import region 1 DVDs. Personally, about half my collection is region 1 (mostly anime, but also things like Cosmos and Bullshit), the other half is region 2. May laptop is fixed to region 1, our old DVD player was fixed to region 2 (though our new one plays anything).

I did think about getting one of the new iMacs as a DVD player/web browser, but the region encoding issue makes it useless in that role (I could fiddle with open source player software, but if I'm going to fiddle around with things like that, I might as well stick with the old Linux box which currently fills that role).

So yeah, region encoding is a big pain. Having said that, I got a PS3 to use with a new HD TV, since even if Blu-ray lost I could still use it as a games console.

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Blogging: made in England?

Samuel Penn

1996 is two years late

Steve Jackson Games (the ones who got raided by the US secret service for writing a game about 'hacking') started in 1994.

http://www.sjgames.com/ill/1994/ill-nov94.html

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