* Posts by Dave 126

7029 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Ur dumped lol: Folk may be able to leave mobile contracts via text

Dave 126
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I'm on a SIM-only tariff. When I ran out of data three days before my monthly refresh, I was appalled by EE's top-up pricing.

Whilst leaving them by text is tempting, it takes the fun out of ringing them up and saying "Your top-up rates with no roll over are just customer-hostile. Up my monthly data allowance for the same money or I'm leaving for GifGaf."

Just buy your phones outright, even if you need to use a credit card to do so. It gives you greater consumer protection against the phone vendor (Sales of Goods Act) and gives you greater leverage over the network operator.

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

Dave 126
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I only noticed AMP the other day... and I tend to notice things more if they are irritating. I was commenting in a Reg forum and wished to paste in a link to another news article, but the results returned by Chrome Android weren't behaving as they normally did - I couldn't

find the address bar, let alone copy it. What the heck is going on?! I asked myself in frustration.

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Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

Dave 126
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Yet again somebody here is suggesting that a device should be sold at its bill of materials, whilst wilfully ignoring development costs.

This isn't the only company making Lidar kit, yet its competitors aren't able to drastically undercut its current prices. That observation should cause a thinking person to pause and examine their assumptions before commenting.

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DeX Station: Samsung's Windows-killer is ready for prime time

Dave 126
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The serious CAD vendors are looking at browser-accessed cloud systems. The ability for several engineers to work on the same documents is of more use to bigger firms than it is to the amateurs and hobbyists, as indeed are the security advantages and document control. Serious CAD was largely mainframe-based until the very late nineties so the above conventions are familiar, and what CAD applications that were on the desktop then were dismissed as being toys.

There will of course be situations where CAD will be essential in areas of no internet, but for the large part engineers will get online - Bob can't design part B until Alex has finalised part A, so Alex has better connect to the company network as he is paid to.

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Dave 126
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I'd like all tablets to have the ability to be used as dumb monitors. Would be cute to extend a laptop's desktop onto a tablet.

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Dave 126
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By some definitions, yes. If we looked at 'most tasks done by most users' then browsers cover communication (email et al), organising travel (buying tickets, reserving rooms), chasing deliveries, checking inventories... the list is nearly endless across a wide range of jobs and trades.

CAD is moving to browsers - quickly deployable to users, OS agnostic, modest client hardware requirements, centralised file management for team working, no local files to be stolen, extra processing power on tap. Offline working isn't desirable when other team members need to work to changes you have made and vice versa.

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Dave 126
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> Wouldn't it be great to have a standardised mechanical form factor and electrical interface for a credit-card sized compute module?

Like Intel's Compute Card? They are trying to sell the idea to TV set vendors, as an easy way for users to upgrade the 'smart' innards. Of course, it is proprietary and not 'standard'. As I understand it, its capabilities are on a par with Intel's HDMI 'Compute Stick'

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Dave 126
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Re: ORLY?

The idea of using your phone as a desktop is cute, but the small size and low cost of a discrete ARM or X86 computer that plugs into a monitor and keyboard offer some advantages - for starters, you can pick up your phone to make a call, and also you have a redundant device should one develop a fault. Say you lost your phone - you could still use the discrete 'compute stick' to track or remote-wipe your phone.

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Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

Dave 126
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Re: expanding from?

> If so, where is the center of the universe?

Point your right arm to your two o'clock, and just a smidge to the left... now up a bit, a bit more, that's it: about fifty gazillion yards in that direction.

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While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

Dave 126
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Re: Eh?

Just wondering - would it have been possible for the NSA to have developed a patch at the same time they wrote the exploit? I'm just thinking of old movies where the moustache-twiddling villain has the poison, but also the antidote should he or his incompetent henchman mishandle it.

I'm thinking of an image of Dick Dastardly and Mutley.

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Never mind custody decisions, let's AI up our police cars

Dave 126
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In the implementation described, this kit is working with officers, not supplanting them. Today, you could have traffic cops read every number plate manually and compare it to a list... but that process is probably too slow to be useful in real time. It's a job best automated, leaving the officers' eyes available for other tasks.

That said, many people anecdotally talk of how their spelling has deteriorated since they used spellcheckers for most of their writing. Could it be that using a system that flags known bad guys might make human officers less vigilant? I don't know.

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Dave 126
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Re: "those that have nothing to hide so nothing to fear"

There is also the possibility that the system might rule out an innocent person, whereas a human officer might mistake them for a wanted felon.

We humans vary greatly in our ability to recognise faces... some people literally can not recognise their own mother, whilst at the other end of the scale are people whose natural ability means they have long been employed by casinos and intelligence agencies.

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Dave 126
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Re: technology like this will lower crime rates

Criminals tend to be sad, mad or bad, with the genuinely bad ones making up the smaller number. The sad and the mad wouldn't be as good at adapting, i.e adhering to good operational security.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'll bet there are lots of lawyers salivating

Presumably the system would alert an officer that the person stood on the corner resembles wanted bad guy Joe Blogs, and then show the officer a mugshot of Blogs from the records. The human officer would be the entity making the decision to question the person on the corner. In this respect using an automated facial recognition system doesn't change anything legally.

I'm assuming that it is currently legitimate for an officer to talk to someone resembling a known wanted criminal based on a photograph or other image.

Where the lawyers might get some business is if this nVidia system, through a fault or bad data, causes an innocent person to be questioned ten times a day.

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America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Dave 126
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Re: Define laptop

> Define laptop. What is a laptop?

That's moot my friend. The original ban explicitly barred Kindles and iPads by name, as well as other devices bigger than a smartphone, including portable games consoles.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wouldn't it make more sense...

Airport security have used lists of how much empty suitcases of different brands weigh for decades. "Hmm, this 'empty' Samsonite XYZ300 weighs 0.5 Kg more than it should... "

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Dave 126
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Re: Have to hand it to Microsoft

The original ban explicitly mentioned Kindles and iPads - basically anything bigger than a smartphone was not allowed.

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Dave 126
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Re: That Samsung S8 dock doesn't look quite so silly now eh?

Similarly, there are quite a few 'compute sticks' based on either ARM or Intel that plug into HDMI sockets. I guess you're moving the issue of trust onto the keyboard you pick up at your destination.

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Your 90-second guide to new stuff Nvidia teased today: Volta V100 chips, a GPU cloud, and more

Dave 126
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Its been a common practice for CGI rendering workloads (which are suited to distributed across GPU/CPU resources) for a few years now - you install client software on machines on your local network to use their CPUs and GPUs to do the job quicker.

For example, Keyshot is a real time ray-tracing program. Input a 3D model and assign materials and lighting, and the output is a photorealistic image:

KeyShot Network Rendering allows you to take advantage of your network’s computer resources for rendering images, animations, and KeyShotVR’s. After the simple installation process, any user with KeyShot can send a “job” to be rendered on the network. The jobs are organized into a queue that all users can view. Jobs can also be sent from the internal KeyShot queue to network rendering.

- https://www.keyshot.com/features/network-rendering/

I didn't read the article as meaning that the the nVidia cloud will use *your* compute resources, a la Seti@home or Folding@home :)

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French drone bods Parrot wheel out 'prosumer' division

Dave 126
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> drones were a passing fad with consumers

Read the source article. Parrot do well serving the agricultural and construction industries with drones costing in excess of $10k, whereas DJI lean more towards cinematography. This new range of Parrot drones include a model for 3D mapping of the landscape, and another for thermal imaging.

Tools that save you money are not fads.

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Opposable thumbs make tablets more useful says Microsoft Research

Dave 126
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Re: Loss of freedom

I don't think it has to *rely* upon this method. Traditional desktop applications already have multiple ways of achieving a single command - menu bar, context menu, alt keyboard menu navigation, ctrl keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, mouse button modifiers, radial menus.

You are right that this control method can't be used all the time, so the return on investment of developing 'muscle memory' will be lower... but it appears to be an easily 'discoverable' input method.

Indeed, the main issue people had with MS's Ribbon interface is that removed the traditional menus. I use an application where a Ribbon-type control palette is an option in addition to menus, and I use both.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

Eh? It's Android and iOS tablets that are largely used as content consumption devices.

Engineers, artists, site surveyors, product designers amongst others would have a use for using tablets as productivity tools - indeed MS's Win XP Tablet Edition existed before the iPad and other ARM tablets. Your comment is a little curious, given that the ability to run a large range of existing producivity software is an advantage Windows tablets have over Android tablets.

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The radio environment is noisy – so use the noise as a carrier for signals

Dave 126
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Re: Disney

Knee-jerk reactions aside, there are potential application in toys and theme parks. Disney have also done some research into wireless power transmission - https://phys.org/news/2017-02-wireless-power-transmission-safely-devices.html

The downside is that that your room needs to have metal walls, floor and ceiling, and feature a pole in the centre.

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First cardboard goggles, now this: Google's cardboard 'DIY AI' box powered by an RPi 3

Dave 126
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Re: Why I feel uncomfortable...

Plastics like ABS will burn too - but burning cardboard is easier to brush off your skin than burning ABS or nylon.

I don't know how hot RPis get, but I've heard of no injuries from them. Given they are marketed at youngsters and sold without a case, it would be a massive design failure if they did hot enough to cause injury. Of course, chip temperature isn't the only fire hazard - higher temperatures can occur locally on short circuits (perhaps if a child dips the microUSB power connector in liquid before plugging it in) but it would take an unlikely placement of dry fluff (tinder) for that to cause any sort of risk to the user.

In short, the soldering iron offers orders of magnitude greater risk, and even then burning your fingers is an educational experience!

But hey, it's better to start out paranoid (and design out or eliminate risks) than it is to be blasé. :)

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Dave 126
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Google just didn't make that many. Demand outstripped supply for a while, but that's also true of Ferraris. Perhaps Google were cautious, knowing that the phone's standout feature - its camera performance - was implemented in software on top of the same sort of Sony sensor every high-end phone uses.

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Windows 10 S forces Bing, Edge on your kids. If you don't like it, get Win10 Pro – Microsoft

Dave 126
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Windows 10 on the computers that were upgraded from 7 & 8 doesn't have the Windows S limitations that were outlined in this article, regardless of what you or I define as a 'version'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Or just use anything but Windows

To many, an OS is just that thing they use to load up the applications they use. If that application is only available on Windows, then switching to Linux doesn't solve anything - regardless of what one thinks of MS.

People who support Linux would do better to acknowledge that straightforward fact than to ignore it. WINE is sometimes suitable, and some applications are suited to running off the cloud through a browser (OS agnostic). Interesting times.

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Dave 126
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Re: The Real money here? Proctor and Gamble etc

The port selection did raise an eyebrow. MS did have late-stage prototypes with two USB-C ports (which were used in the production of marketing materials) but have defended their final choice, saying that USB-A is still very common.

That is of course true, but why not both? My opinion is that the faster the transition from USB-A (and power input) to USB-C, the more convenient things will be for everyone.

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Dave 126
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They might be right, but this isn't the example that shows that. This isn't the version of Windows that users were coerced into migrating to from a previous version. If they didn't previously have features on a machine (because this version comes on new machines) they can't be said to have lost them.

There is a charge to upgrade to the professional version, but that was always the case. (Although this Pro version isn't as 'Pro' as previous versions - not being able to override system restarts to install updates, I'm looking at you)

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Dave 126
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Re: Does Win S-hit slurp like Chromebooks

Both the French and EU authorities are awaiting more information from MS about what data they collect from users, with a view to forcing them to make things clearer.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/21/14682256/microsoft-windows-10-eu-privacy-concerns

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Dave 126
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> Any company that can take the tactics it did to force Windows 10 down people's throats is a monopoly.

The version of Windows 10 that MS sneakily upgraded users' computers to is not Windows S. Windows S is unlikely to to become the dominant desktop OS. It's not my aim to defend MS, but just to point out that the situation now is so different to that of the Netscape days that the lawyers will have plenty to argue about, should it get that far.

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Dave 126
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Re: Meh, I give it a few months

> How that fits the EU ruling about IE in Windows? Or because they renamed it to Edge they believe it now doesn't apply?

MS could just say that Windows S doesn't have a dominant market position - which is true. It was only Windows' dominance at the time that opened them up to the EU ruling about IE. You can't be accused of abusing a monopoly if you don't actually have one.

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Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Dave 126
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Re: drunk posting again

Also: young people less likely to be in employment than older people, and beer has been taxed to the point of being of nearly unaffordable for them.

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Dave 126
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In the nineties, the word 'binge' was only used to describe a two day bender, aided by Columbian marching powder and, for full column-inches, the company of a underwear model. (I believe there are websites that help research the use of a word in newspapers and literature over time)

Three pints is a binge, now? Oh well.

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Gamers red hot with fury over Intel Core i7-7700 temperature spikes

Dave 126
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Re: "opening a browser or an application or a program"

Indeed. Language is an ever-evolving thing, so I prefer to err on the side of clarity. For that reason, I use 'application' for a desktop program, and 'app' for a phone or tablet program. In time, the distinction will become less useful as more applications run on ARM, and more predominately ARM OSs play nice with mice and keyboards. Hey ho.

( I also use 'program' for computer software, and 'programme' for theatre and television shows.)

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S is for Sandbox: The logic behind Microsoft's new lockdown Windows gambit

Dave 126
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Re: S is for Spyware

Idiots yes, but also anyone who requires some specific 3rd party applications not available on non-Windows platforms - so that includes a good many engineers at present. Not a hard concept to grasp.

And are you sure that 'idiots will flock to it'? I'd have thought these 'idiots' that concern you just use what comes installed on the machine they buy.

Windows S phones home just as Windows Pro does - as the article notes, there is little difference between the two other than a few settings.

(Curious observation - my stock Android keyboard just 'auto-corrected' Windows S to Windows Server)

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Windows 10 S: Good, bad, and how this could get ugly for PC makers

Dave 126
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Re: Oh dear

> 'do I click once or twice', hover to select problems? As ever with Microsoft, it's 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

My dad just hammers the left mouse button repeatedly over an icon then swears at the computer until a few instances of the document open up.

My educational computers have ranged from three mouse buttons (Acorn, something Unix-y) to one (Mac), my personal mice from two buttons to lots.

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Dave 126
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Re: MS is daft.

I wouldn't say 'need', but a 4:3 screen is better suited to many school and college tasks than a 16:9 screen. I say that hoping that the classroom activities involve more than watching YouTube.

The point was, the OP said he could get equivalent machines for less money... but that only holds true if one ignores the screen. How important aspect ratio is to you is a matter of personal preference, just as is the weight, the track pad quality, how noisy it is etc.

It would be nice if laptops with screens other than 16:9 were available from more vendors so that one could then shop around on other criteria, such as price.

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Dave 126
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Re: MS is daft.

Does MS's competition offer a 4:3 screen? No, sadly.

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Intel's Optane in PCs is as good as it will get for years, says analyst

Dave 126
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Re: Only on new Intel processors?

What's new is the faster-than-SSD cheaper-than-DRAM non-volatile memory called Optane. How it might come to be used is the point under discussion in the article. Cheers!

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Dave 126
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Re: Why no figures...

It's all there in the source article:

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/intel-optane-memory-review/1100-6449530/#Benchmarking_Methodology

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe I'm missing something

Have another coffee Steve! Yeah, you're right in that SSDs will be faster than a Optane + spinning rust setup. However, the point of the article was that a 1TB Optane + rust setup was no slouch, and yet still much cheaper than a pure SSD setup of the same capacity.

The second point of the article was that this isn't suitable for reinvigorating older PCs, because Optane requires newer Intel CPUs. Also, the spinning rust is more suited to desktops than it the laptops that many people use as their primary computer.

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Spotify seeks hardware boffins

Dave 126
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Re: Spotify - please create a device for audiophiles

Some variants of LG G and V series phones have an amp and DAC chip ('Sabre’) by ESS that is widely considered to be the dog's bollocks.

Alternatively, you can use an external DAC and amp over micro USB or Lightning. The B&O-branded audio module (actually ESS components) for that modular LG phone will work on a lot of Android phones with USB-audio.

Most of the reputable headphone makers will soon be shipping headphones with integrated amps and DACs, rendering the sound quality of the phone irrelevant (as long as it can output a digital stream quickly enough).

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Dave 126
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Re: But Why?

You can listen to music on a dedicated player without being interrupted by phone notifications. That's a selling point!

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Dave 126
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Re: Volume knobs!

> Forgive me in advance. Your life must be so complete and empty of day to day worries that you complain about a button (and size of) being in the wrong place? I do wonder about western peoples whinges.

If a manufactured object is irritating to use, then the mean time to the user punching it, throwing it away or stowing it at the back of the garage is reduced. This results in more objects being manufactured. In short, it is a sustainability issue. It costs just as much to manufacture a poorly designed object as it does a pleasingly designed object, so it should be done right.

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Dave 126
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Re: Let's get Spotify to address a huge issue

There used to be an issue with number of tracks on that rare thing: an Archos 500GB (spinning rust) Android-powered Portable Media Device. I think Archos patched it in an update, but for a while it suffered from not being able to access the number of tracks that it's raw capacity would suggest it could. At first, Archos blamed the issue on Android itself - but I've never taken much notice of which file system Android uses, if indeed that was the issue.

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Dave 126
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Hmmm, the current method of listening to Spotify - phone or tablet streaming to a Chromecast or similar - works well in all respects but one: it needs a nice big volume knob.

I can imagine a charging cradle for phones and tablets that would feature a USB jog dial or knob for volume control. Bang and Olufsen have made dedicated streaming-audio consoles that consist of a touchscreen plus knob. (And of course it was a B&O jog wheel on a telephone that inspired Apple's original iPod.)

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Man nicked trying to 'save' beer from burning building

Dave 126
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Re: Give the chap the benefit of the doubt

Foster's was unknown in the UK until the film The Adventures of Barry Mackenzie, in which a fire in a BBC studio is doused by a chain of Australian men drinking Foster's and lining up to piss on the fire - whilst singing the One-Eyed Trouser Snake Song.

Based upon Barrie Humphreys' cartoon in Private Eye, and featuring Peter Cook and Dame Edna. Produced by Philip Adams, whose brilliant radio show is available as a podcast - http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/

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Huawei P10 Plus: The bigger brother is the real contender

Dave 126
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Re: Small point

Large apertures also aid in portrait photography, since the background will be in softer focus.

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IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

Dave 126
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As Jack Dee on I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue said: the Romans settled in Bath, and named it for its natural hot spring waters, and for its proximity to a toilet like Trowbridge.

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