* Posts by Dave 126

8241 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Android daddy Andy Rubin's Essential axes handset, is 'actively shopping itself' – report

Dave 126
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Poor camera

Reviews of the Essential phone suggested its main failing was a camera that just wasn't as good as rival phones.

A few years ago Sony made the QX100, a lens and sensor-only camera designed to use an Android phone as screen and storage. Image quality was superb because it was effectively a Sony RX100. However, it was let down by connection and transfer issues. This concept could work well using Motorola's Mod system.

What other mods would I buy, and to what extent can their functionality be incorporated into the base phone? A keyboard - maybe. A game controller - maybe, but Android game support is poor because games are too easily side-loaded. Good stereo microphones for recording jams and gigs - could be incorporated into handset, or otherwise use USB C since separating microphone from phone is useful. A speaker - no, my current phone is loud enough for me to hear podcasts in the shower. Active IR 3D environment mapping - yes please, but I'm weird like that. A projector - nah. IR camera - nah, I don't retrofit insulation to old houses for a living, but it would be fun to pretend to be the Predator for five minutes. Get To Da Choppa! So, there's no 'killer app' for modules for me.

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Dave 126
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I just don't like the Essential Phone's peripheral 'port'

The Essential Phone only supplies power to an add-on module, data is sent over some flavour of RF. It just seems to be a limited system, unlike the GreyBus standard (an electronic standard that lets Android see resources in modules as if they were integral to the host phone) that underpins Motorola's Mod System (the actual physical connector is proprietary to Moto).

Having a physical connector on the rear of a phone can lead to more elegant packages than plugging something in at the base of the phone. This could be seen on the Nokia 6210, where the bottom-mounted dock contacts extended around to the rear of the phone under the battery, so new features (such as Bluetooth) could be added with a new battery module.

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Dave 126
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>At least you can't take one thing away from Essential. It was the first phone to introduce The Notch.

Yeah. However wasn't the first phone to regain screen space by bumping status bar icons up level with the camera and earpiece though. That was done by 2016's LG V20 by means of a small secondary display.

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Samsung loses (again) to Apple in patent battle (again). This time to the tune of a mere $539m

Dave 126
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Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

Duopoly on OSs maybe but hardware is a mixed bag. Displays are Samsung, Sony, Sharp and LG. SoCs are Apple Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, MediaTek and Huaweii. Camera sensors are largely Sony.

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EmDrive? More like BS drive: Physics-defying space engine flunks out

Dave 126
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Re: An aside...

Thanks @tfb

Yep, it was the laser concept (central to Buzz Aldrin's hard sci fi novel Encounter with Tiber) that inspired my pellet shooter idea - that and an Osbourne children's book that featured a linear accelerator (akin to that seen in Duncan Jones' film Moon) based on the moon.

The basic premise of my mad notion is that accelerating one big thing over a set distance is hard (and no good for payloads) but accelerating lots of small things is easier - and can be done over a longer period of time.

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Dave 126
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An aside...

... but I'll jot it down here lest I forget this (probably daft, but I don't know) notion:

If the challenge is reducing how much reaction mass a vehicle must carry (thus accelerate that reaction mass in addition to itself and its payload) then could a possible solution be:

Use stationary linear accelerators at the vehicle's departure point to shoot pellets of reaction mass / fuel at the departing vehicle? The vehicle could then 'catch' the pellets and make use of them.

As i say, its just an idle thought that popped into my head when I read this article. Anyone here with an envelope and a biro care to give ideas as to why it wouldn't be work / be impractical?

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HTC U12+: Like a Pixel without the pratfalls, or eye-watering price tag

Dave 126
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Re: No Headphone Jack, No Sale

Sony phones have been waterproof and had a headphone socket for years - though latest Sony flagships have ditched the port. Top end Samsung phones have been waterproof for a few generations now, and still retain the 3.5mm socket.

I saw a mate the other day, had dropped his phone into a puddle of paint and thus funked up the charge socket. Having wireless charging is a form of reduncy - if the USB socket dies the phone can still be used. If my phone lost its 3.5mm socket, it'd be annoyance but I'd find a workaround somehow (i.e I'd spend £20 on dongles instead of £500 on a new phone)

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Can you handle the tooth? AI helps dentists design fake gnashers

Dave 126
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Re: I'm confused.

Yeah, but where this technique helps is determining the shape of the business end of the tooth, regardless of whether just a crown is being fitted or if the whole tooth is being replaced - both procedures benefit from the food-end being of an optimal shape.

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The future of radio may well be digital, but it won't survive on DAB

Dave 126
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Re: Psion Wavefinder

Hehe, the Wavefinder, from back in the days when not including a DAC would save a considerable amount of money.

Heck, a decade earlier my first DAC (not including those built into CD players) cost a couple of hundred quid - a Gravis Ultrasound.

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Dave 126
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Re: If you have an older car and don't want to upgrade the stereo...

At least modern cars usually offer a 3.5 mm AUX in. Some models such as the Ford CD 5000 don't always have it present, but a cable kit can be had for £5 of tinternet.

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Dave 126
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Re: Radio 4

BBC podcasts I can just download as MP3s, but not all programmes are available (something to do with not letting the BBC hurt the business model of commercial audio book providers) as such. Instead, the programme has to be downloaded and played back within the iPlayer Radio app itself.

Thanks for the suggestion!

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Dave 126
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Re: just receive an IP stream, buffer as necessary.

Radio 4 isn't buffered for obscenities - who can forget the Today programme when Jim Naughtie accidently referred to Jeremy Cunt the culture secretary? And Andrew Marr making the same slip an hour later when referring to his colleague's gaff?

Anyway @Lee D to answer your question as to why DAB want built with buffering, it's because solid state memory was expensive in the nineties. It was present only on the higher end portable CD players to mitigate shock-induced read errors. It was standard on MD players - it had to be because a recorded Minidisc might not playback in the order it was originally recorded (users could split and reorder tracks by altering the Table of Contents) - but this required less storage per second because MiniDiscs stored compressed ATRAC audio. Pricier models offered 15 seconds of Electronic Shock Protection over the standard 3.

Some DAB radio sets do offering buffering, but it isn't a part of the standard.

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Dave 126
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Re: Radio 4

Spoken-word content doesn't need a super high bit-rate, so most people's mobile data allowance is sufficient. Failing that, much of it can be downloaded in advance. And of course the internet offers a far greater range of material than any broadcast system ever could.

The Android iPlayer Radio app sometimes fails to download a programme - a bug that the BBC said they're aware of for a while. However, the Android app has the ability to set a BBC radio station as an alarm clock - something that can't be done on iOS unless the iPhobes screen is left on (i.e if plugged in to charge overnight) because of iOS permissions.

The BBC's insistence that one must be logged onto a BBC account to listen to radio programmes ( something that doesn't require a paid licence) is just irritating, especially if you want to send a friend a link to a programme that might interest them.

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Dave 126
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I enjoy listening live to 6 Music - the music is varied and the hosts put the music first. And after all, how would I know to search for something on Spotify (or in a record shop!) if I hadn't already heard? On a Sunday morning I can put Cerys Matthews on and make my breakfast without having to attend to any playlists.

I don't like ads on commercial radio, and Radio 2 is intensly annoying for many reasons - not least DJ's habit of talking g over a song and then not telling you what it is (their one job!)

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Astronaut took camera on spacewalk, but forgot SD memory card

Dave 126
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Re: He may well have known what it meant.

I can't upvote Jon 37 enough. The astronaut was reporting the observed facts and not making assumptions (it is an assumption that No SD Card means there is no SD card present (even if it's an assumption that might prove to be correct most of the time) because it might be a contact problem or a cosmic ray-induced camera logic error.

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Dave 126
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If there was an SD card present, I guess he couldn't just whip it out and blow on the contacts!

( See 'The Magic Blow', a time-honoured response to a NES (Famicom) console not reading its cartridge. I've read that the Magic Blow procedure is counterproductive, something to do with moisture on the breath, but no doubt people still do it)

One friend of mine routinely dabs anything electrical with IPA (isopropyl alcohol, not Indian Pale Ale... Though I have known him to use the former to clean the latter off his camera after a spill)

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Sysadmin hailed as hero for deleting data from the wrong disk drive

Dave 126
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Cock up to triumph

The Black and Decker Workmate was invented by a bloke who had just sawn through a chair he was resting a plank on. His error earned him a few bob.

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Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

Dave 126
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No much difference in appearance of S8 and S9 save for the location of the finger print sensor

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Dave 126
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Re: Phone or camera?

It's only by historical accident that we call things 'phones' and not 'PDAs' or some such.

An when it comes to personal gadgetry, people have been carrying pocket cameras (not DSLRs) around for far longer than they have phones. Transistor radios and Walkmans ditto.

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OnePlus smartmobe brand modelled on 'a religion', founder admits

Dave 126
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Re: Nice phone but...

Now that Samsung phones have on-screen Back and Task Switcher keys, they can be easily swapped over to the normal Android positions.

My previous Android phones had all been close to stock Android (Xperia) or stock (Nexus), so I was pleasantly surprised to find my Samsung Galaxy straightforward to use (once I had disabled the hardware Bixby button of course) having been apprehensive about Samsung's TouchWiz UI.

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Dave 126
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The OnePlus return system is poor. They don't supply VAT invoices - something no reviewer mentioned. A few months after a OnePlus is released, Samsung's top offerings are reduced to much the same price ( see OnePlus 5T Vs Galaxy S8), and said Galaxy will offer waterproofing, wireless charging and greater support from 3rd parties (HDR certification, ARCore). These aren't essential features for everyone of course, but nice to have. I have no immediate plans to buy a wireless charging mat, but it's good to know I can in case I ever break my USB socket.

Tl;dr OnePlus are competitive, but they're not amazing value for money.

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Boffins build smallest drone to fly itself with AI

Dave 126
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I'd seen many a US coin used for scale next to a specimen in National Geographic (often next to a high contrast ruler) long before I first held a US coin in my own hand.

I've also known people to use 1p and 2p coin when weighing out small quantities of herbs, but that's a different matter.

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Dave 126
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> Non-fossil' Renewable power sources are very poor. They deliver low amounts of power, which is easily disrupted. No engineer in their senses would use them -

Engineers use renewables all the time. Regarding solar power, at one end we have low power untethered devices - calculators and wristwatches - and at the other we have roof-mounted solar panels and grid storage. Even fossil fuels are subject to the same demand spikes that requires grids to be overbuilt - and that grid storage has long been used to mitigate (e.g pumped hydroelectric storage).

If an engineer was tasked with designing, for example, a remote sensor, solar would be on his shortlist

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And THIS is how you do it, Apple: Huawei shames Cupertino with under-glass sensor

Dave 126
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Re: an under-glass fingerprint sensor.

Qualcomm are working in an ultrasonic fingerprint t sensor, and likely Apple too.

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Dave 126
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Re: A removable notch, that's Genius!

Most mid to high end TVs sold today are capable of 3D output - it's largely a function of having a high refresh rate (used for 2d output)

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Apple MacBook butterfly keyboards 'defective', 'prone to fail' – lawsuit

Dave 126
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The MacBook Wheel

"With Predictive Sentence technology..."

Classic

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You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

Dave 126
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Hehe! Bizarrely, the Mahna Mahna song from the Muppets was originally from an Italian soft core psuedo-documentary about Swedish sex life.

http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Mahna_Mahna_(song)

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Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

Dave 126
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> don't think any current model of phone actually has a way to turn the GPS transceiver off. Android (or I guess iOS) just controls access to requests for GPS info. So you're probably no saving any power

Really? In Android, the Location Settings are marked 'High Accuracy (GPS, cell tower and WiFi)' and 'Battery Saving (cell tower and WiFi only) '. When I first switch to High Accuracy (GPS) it'll take the phone some seconds to a minute (depending on terrain and availability of cell masts for AGPS) to lock on to enough satellites a clue that the phone hadn't been tracking satellites in Battery Saver mode. The GPS will deplete my battery quickly to the extent that the phone grows hot and my car stereo's USB socket won't keep the battery charged, especially on older phones I've owned such as Xperia P, Xperia Z3C and Nexus 5. These are phones running something close to Stock Android, but even my Samsung has its location setting marked this way. What phone are you using?

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Dave 126
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Get to fuck

See title

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Virtue singing – Spotify to pull hateful songs and artists

Dave 126
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Re: Spotify to pull hateful songs and artists

I thought running off on tour with a 15 year old girl and being cruel to groupies was a core part of rock n roll.

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Fitness band-it Garmin adds mobe bank Starling to bonk-to-pay fold

Dave 126
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Re: "How "smart" does a "smartwatch" have to be?"

Yeah, the article didn't make mention of security measures such as entering a PIN, or requiring a PIN to be entered after the watch is removed from the owner's wrist.

Really, I think watches and phones are overthinking the problem... if cash/credit cards were roughly the width of their working parts ( let's say 12mm) they could be more easily carried ( i.e with a pocket in a belt, or contained in a watch strap or bracelet). I mean SIM cards were the size of credit cards, before mini, micro and now nano SIMs became standard.

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Let's kick the tyres on Google's Android P... It's not an overheating wreck, but UX is tappy

Dave 126
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If continuing updates are a priority for you, it's best to buy a phone that ships with Oreo (as opposed to phones offering Oreo as a Day One Update). The phones shipping with Oreo have to support Project Treble, a modular design that means updates don't have to wait for binary blobs from ODMs.

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Apple to devs: Give us notch support or … you don't wanna know

Dave 126
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It's odd - I have a notch-less phone with OLED display. My black status bar therefore looks like the black bezel if the phone, other than the icons. These icons look like they'd nestle neatly to the sides of the earpiece. The first vendor to place status icons in line with the camera and earpiece was LG with their V20 in 2016 - only they used a discrete secondary display.

However, my phone is a Galaxy so there's too many other sensors stuck up there for Samsung to use a notch, unless they ditch the IR iris scanner.

I like the 2:1 aspect ratio, it allows you to use the keyboard and see where you're typing at the same time - currently I can see six lines in this Regard comment box, having a notch would allow seven lines (or have a permeant number row on the keyboard).

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AI crisis: Sony reports shortage of cute robot puppies!

Dave 126
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Buddhist funerals for robot dogs

Contrary to what was stated in the article, some owners of first gen Aibos remained very attached to them. The funerals mentioned here are result of Sony ceasing to repair Aibos in 2014.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/03/japan-robot-dogs-get-solemn-buddhist-send-off-at-funerals

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My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

Dave 126
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Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

We students used Zip drives at university, and I even got one in my home pc. The university computers had Windows 2000 which had an interesting bug: it would rewrite a zip disc with the contents of the previous Zip disc to be inserted in that machine. Grr.

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LG's flagship arrives with <checks script> ... G7 what now?

Dave 126
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Re: Apparently .....

LG didn't copy, they led: their V20 phone from 2016 placed the status bar info (notifications, battery and signal levels etc) at the the same level as the front facing camera and earpiece. LG did this by means of a small secondary display, but in terms of concept and purpose it was the same as a notch - it was just implemented by different means.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another notch!

Copying Apple? The LG V20 had status bar information in line with its front-facing camera in September 2016, though it used a second display rather than a notched main panel. Rubin's Essential phone had a notch before the iPhobe X, and other solutions to maximising screen pixels come with compromises (e.g, the Mi Mix from October 2016 had a front facing camera on the bottom bezel).

> why have it in the first place?

Very simply, it comes from the observation that most people have unused pixels in the middle of the status bar - notifications sit left, signal and battery status sit right. By happy chance, this often unused space is roughly the same size as that required for front facing apertures for earpiece, camera and other sensors. By shifting the status bar up, more space is left for actual content without increasing the length of the phone. It's a sensible enough solution (especially since creating the notch doesn't really add much to the cutting path of the laser already used for cutting out phone panels of this size), but I appreciate some people don't like the appearance of it. It's fine at the same time as phone panels have moved away from 16:9 displays to 2:1 displays, since the smaller dimension is limited by the size of people's hands and ergonomics. Making the phone taller allows more text to be read with less scrolling. This is generally a good thing. I use the extra vertical pixels to have my virtual keyboard always display numbers and yet still be able to read what I've typed. YMMV.

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Dave 126
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Re: At Dave 126, Loudspeaker

Cheers Shadow Systems, I often did perch my Nexus 5 on my shoulder, especially when walking the dog across the fields! I find the Galaxy S8 to be louder, so now I can get away with a shirt or jacket pocket. In the kitchen, for example, I can pop Galaxy on the table and make tea and toast without missing any words in a podcast. When I leave s room I'll take my phone with me - easier than picking up the phone *and* an external speaker.

I do have some actually quite decent earbuds for the phone, but the cables can get caught in things.

Again, I only do this in situations away from other people.

The battery use of a phone's loudspeaker is an interesting one - I have recently noticed it draining faster than I expected it for a new phone, but I hadn't yet chased down other battery draining variables such as a marginal 4G signal. I suspect you're right that the pokey little speaker is consuming a fair bit of juice.

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Dave 126
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Re: Imperfect notch hiding

Most of the Android implementations allow the user to hide the notch if they want (works best if the screen is OLED, capable of perfect black). It's iOS and Apple's App Store that lays down guidelines and rules about not hiding the notch.

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Dave 126
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Imperfect notch hiding

The software lets you hide the notch should you want to, but because the screen is LCD and not OLED you'll be able to see grey next to the notch.

Personally notches don't bother me, but I know they upset some people.

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Dave 126
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The LG G2 was the first Android phone to be able to play back 24bit 192Khz audio files natively (handy if you can't be bothered to transcode your music library). Some subsequent G and V models have boasted some very good ECC Sabre DACs and amps, but not always in the European versions of those models.

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Dave 126
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Loudspeaker

This G7 is said to have a big internal resonance chamber for its loudspeaker, and will sound even bassier if placed on a flat surface.

Now, I hate music being played from phones in pubs. However, I do like to potter around the house listening to podcasts (without carrying an external speaker from room to roim), and I've found my Galaxy to be loud enough to hear spoken-word content over a boiling kettle, or even in the shower. My Nexus wasn't loud enough for these use-cases. It's a small thing, but very welcome.

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NASA demos little nuclear power plant to help find little green men

Dave 126
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Re: Why don't they just use..

Yeah, but where do you get banana skins on Mars?

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Exclusive to all press: Atari launches world's best ever games console

Dave 126
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For more trips down an alternative history memory lane:

The consoles that nearly were and never were:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Vaporware_game_consoles

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I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space

Dave 126
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Re: Bill Gates....

And not only is Gates giving nearly all of his wealth away ( in a seriously run organised manner, targeted at specific goals) but he is, along with pals like Warren Buffet, encouraging other billionaires to do the same.

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Apple and The Notched One: It can't hide the X-sized iPhone let-down

Dave 126
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Re: Grew revenue...

I've never quite grokked this concept of people with little expendable income giving financial advice to - or at least judging the spending habits of - people with lots of expendable income.

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Reg man straps on Facebook's new VR goggles, feels sullied by the experience

Dave 126
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You can side-load 2D and 3D movies to phones for use with VR headsets.

The following link may help. I haven't tried it myself:

http://i-loveshare.com/rip-3d-blu-ray-to-google-daydream-vr/

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Dave 126
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Re: Tech firms are putting huge resources into VR/AR at the expense of everything else

Hehe, you supplied the links before I asked for them, cheers AC!

Right oh, to clarify then, Sweeney by 'mainstream' is talking about everyone having a lightweight pair of VR glasses powered by a smartphone-sized brick in their pocket of roughly equivilent power to today's PC desktop, and a dozen years is how he's extrapolating Moore's Law to have that happen within reasonable power restraints.

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We just wanna torque: Spinning transfer boffins say torque memory near

Dave 126
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Safe around magnets?

Any ideas? I'm clueless.

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Apple's latest financials are still pretty decent even though iPhone sales are slowing

Dave 126
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Re: Only 4,000 Macs?

Above comment withdrawn because the correction has been made to the article.

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