* Posts by Dave 126

7433 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Microsoft reveals details of flagship London store within spitting distance from Apple's

Dave 126
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> It also puts it just two minutes' walk – some might say pissing distance

Since this is a technical blog, shall we calculate the pressure required on one's bladder to piss the distance one can walk in two minutes?

We will assume that the walker and the pisser are the same individual, and that walking speed is limited by sheer number of other pedestrians. The pisser is at street level, the nozzle at average height.

For the sake of the sums, we shall ignore wind.

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Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

Dave 126
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Re: Ben Hur Moment.......

I've always observed taxi drivers driving in the way you describe of Prius drivers. I'd always assumed that taxis were slow to accelerate in order to save on fuel.

Watching taxis do entertaining U-turns has, for the last twenty years prompted me to mentally sing "Because Iiiii'm a taxi!" to the tune of of Baby Bird's 'You're Gorgeous' (Well, the Mark Radcliffe and Boy Lard's homage 'You're a bastard', but the tune is the same)

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How Apple is taming the ad biz. Just don't expect Google or Zuck to follow

Dave 126
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I've always been on Android, but now the iPhone 6s is priced at where the Android upper-middle range was a couple of years back, at around £450. That's £250 less than the iPhone 8, and most of what the 8 offers over the 6s is tweaks to the camera, and sensor and silicon stuff that largely benefits AR. Oh, and likely a longer update support period of course.

Still, I'll probably wait til next year and see what cunning stuff active IR 3D scanning stuff Qualcomm come up with (niche, but a niche I sometimes play in... would encourage me to dust off my RepRap 3D printer), or see how Google get on with their hardware efforts. Or see what the latest Chinese £200 special is like.

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Google's Big Hardware Bet: Is this what a sane business would do?

Dave 126
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Logitech have just released their first trackball in years. Pricey, but I've never regretted spending good money on the fancier Logitech mice:

https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/product/mx-ergo-wireless-trackball-mouse

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Attention adults working in the real world: Do not upgrade to iOS 11 if you use Outlook, Exchange

Dave 126
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> El Reg has already sounded the alarm about potential pitfalls in the update: it won't run any of your older 32-bit-only apps

Well done the Reg for alerting us to stuff that was announced several years ago. Clap. ... Clap.

Being snarky is one thing, being smug through disingenuity is another. Check yourselves.

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BlackBerry's QNX to run autonomous car software

Dave 126
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> All software should be reliable. There is no excuse for unreliable software.

In an ideal world, for sure. However, many people if given an informed choice between a rock-solid local-only music player and a Spotify-enabled device that crashes once every hundred hours might choose the latter.

In fact, it's a choice many of us have already made in the home, choosing to listen to Spotify in houses where the Wi-fi might occasionally misbehave instead of just listening to an old MP3 player. Any gadget tinkerer has occasionally traded stability with for features. That's fine for gadgets, but obviously not cars.

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Dave 126
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I remember reading that QNX can be packaged to have a footprint the tenth of a comparable Linux solution. That and its real-time nature and battle-hardened reliability make it a better fit for many applications, except of course it isn't open source (it's open in that the source code is freely available, but royalties must be paid upon commercial deployment)

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Dave 126
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Good point. I was just thinking of the newer infotainment systems such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Unlike the traditional Radio, CD player, Sat Nav etc, they offer music and podcast apps like Spotify, and through an interface (though simplified) that the user is already familiar with from their phones.

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Dave 126
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I'm not sure that QNX is required for the infotainment system - which doesn't need the levels of reliability one would demand of the car's driving aids, sensors, drivetrain and autonomous functions. Android and iOS have a lead in apps such as Spotify et al, and in voice-driven controls.

That said, Blackberry have demonstrated Android apps running on their QNX-based BB10 OS.

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Falling apart at the seamless: Inside Apple's LTE Watch fiasco

Dave 126
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Question:

GSM devices must be able to contact emergency services - even without a SIM.

Is the same true of virtual SIM devices such as this watch?

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Google blows $1.1bn to hire HTC's Pixel people, forming one big happy handset team

Dave 126
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> Won't be the same with HTC but little reason at the moment to suspect that Google wants mimic Apple, because control of the supply chain and customer service is more important than hardware designers

The evidence is that Google has been selling phones under its own name. More evidence is that Google has been hiring SoC designers so that it has software and silicon expertise in house, as Apple does. Tight OS and SoC integration seems to have served Apple well, and is worth learning from. It might be that Google want to fully design their own chips as Apple does, or merely have its own SoC experts to better liaise and plan roadmaps with the likes of Qualcomm.

But yeah, leverage over the supply chain is important.

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Dave 126
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Re: About time!

There's lots of good phones that don't cost $1,000. The ones that do are trying to differentiate themselves in some way.

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Dave 126
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Re: About time!

If you want a range of genuinely different phones, look at Moto - the range includes phones with extra big batteries, snap-on extra batteries, phones with guaranteed shatter-proof screens, ultra-slim phones... take your pick. I mention Moto here because the were once controlled by Google.

If you want a physical keyboard, the the Moto Mod system is the sanest way I've seen of adding one to a phone - though it isn't available yet it's exceeded 100% funding on Indiegogo.

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GNOME Foundation backs 'freedom-oriented' smartphone

Dave 126
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Re: Comparison with the Planet Gemini?

Not all Gemini devices will have SIMs. Without having even a monochrome display on its outer lid I'm not sure how practical it will be as a phone - it seems pitched more as a companion to a phone, a laptop replacement but not a phone replacement. Various small Bluetooth headset devices with screens and call buttons exist - these could help.

Gemini can run Linux or Android.

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Dave 126
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> - last but not least the past is littered with glorious attempts to create a phone that finally breaks away from The Man

That was my first thought. I wish them well, but I hear past names on the wind, like SailFish, FireFox, Ubuntu Phone, Palm, BlackPhone... I haven't clicked through the link, so I don't know if this Gnome Phone has addressed why they think they will succeed where others have failed.

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Dave 126
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Re: i.MX6/8 !!??

Presumably the architecture of this Gnome Phone is such that it won't require binary blobs from ODMs for each security update. Even Android is finally moving in this direction with Project Treble.

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Bill Gates says he'd do CTRL-ALT-DEL with one key if given the chance to go back through time

Dave 126
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Re: Bad Idea

It isn't that pressing three keys at once is inherently awkward, it's that pressing *those* three keys is awkward. I can do it with one hand, but it requires a weird contortion to bring my middle finger under my palm.

That might be acceptable for an occasional system freeze, but isn't fun for a login many times a day.

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Dave 126
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The reset button doesn't bring up Task Manager!

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Dave 126
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Re: Brilliant idea

Windows NT.4 was pretty solid, but I guess that came at the expense of features found in Win98. It morphed into Win 2K and then XP, the latter being the one that really had to cope with evolving nasties on the internet.

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Dave 126
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Re: BREAK

> One key would have been too easy to press

Yeah, a one-key restart is bad, but a one-key Task Manager is no drama.

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Mobe reception grief turns LTE Apple Watch 3 into – er, a dull watch

Dave 126
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Bluetooth devices advertise to others which functions they are capable of, so, for example a phone never tries to connect to a keyboard as an audio playback device. A Bluetooth device can also listen out without advertising itself (the 'Make this device discoverable' setting).

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Dave 126
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Re: Bluetooth & wireless still alive?

Airplane Mode will still work -

it shuts down that whole chuck of silicon (which is annoying because in Qualcomm devices one loses the FM radio.)

Android's default behaviour for years has been to occasionally poll for WiFi networks (for location), even with WiFi supposedly turned off. (I'm sensitive to these things because I'm forced to - Nexus 5 battery capacity was always sub-par.)

The fear expressed in the article is that battery life will suffer in iOS - but that's a matter best settled by empirical testing. Any drastic drop will be fixed.

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Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

Dave 126
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Re: "you'd have almost no apps"

> The inevitable conclusion is that today's programmers, or at least the millennials, are lazy, uneducated and incompetent, and the centrepiece of their workflow is something that would look more at home in Toys R Us than at a software engineer's desk.

Okay... why single out the "millennials" when we've experienced stuttery computers for decades? Might the answer instead be that the grasp of people's home computer systems always exceeded their grasp?

It's the Red Queen effect. As soon as one feature is perfected someone (be it the user, the seller, the marketeer, the enthusiast) thinks of adding another, and at ever higher bitrates, pixel count and density, adverts per page, frames per second, milliseconds saved in latency, always ever faster faster faster. The coder might not have time to tie his shoelaces up if he's always running!

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Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

Dave 126
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Re: Ugh

And there has never been a version of Civilisation released for Android. The closest I've come is to install a Nintendo DS emulator on my Nexus and try to play that version of Civ... but playing a game written for a two-screen device on a phone isn't fun.

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Dave 126
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Re: Questionable advice

I've got a Nexus 5, it feels fast and snappy and runs anything I've had cause to throw at it. Google stopped supporting it earlier this year, 3.5 years after its release.

Even Google's Nexus and Pixel phones are sourced from a range of OEMs and contain components from a range of ODMs, and until Oreo the nature of Android was such that creating updates for specific phones was a headache.

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Dave 126
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Re: Updated with no drama.

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/09/14/iphone-x-hardware-flac-codec/

From the above article: The 7, 8 and X models apparently have hardware FLAC decoding. The ability to play FLAC on other models by software appears to be limited by Apple to save battery life.

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macOS High Sierra more like 'Cry Sierra' for Mac-wielding beta testers

Dave 126
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Re: Nuke it and start again

Well yeah, just restore the Time Machine system image. One would hope that that the sort of user who plays with Betas knows how to back up.

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Dave 126
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> The Fusion drives, offered in Mac Mini and iMac models sold from 2012 to 2017, marry solid-state and hard disk drive (HDD) hardware within a single enclosure.

'Fusion Drives are not physical devices. 'Fusion Drive' is a name given to a feature of Apple's Logical Volume Manager whereby partitions on a normal HDD drive and a normal SSD are combined into a pool. The user will see them as one drive with MacOS tiering them, replicating the most often used files onto the faster physical drive. Unlike pooled storage on Windows, a system can boot from a Drive.

It was one of the things Apple picked up when they were flirting with ZFS.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/6679/a-month-with-apples-fusion-drive/7

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is hot, but not much more than the S8+

Dave 126
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If you want to save battery, use the FM radio on a Sansa Clip. If you want access to an FM radio for emergencies then a phone really isn't suitable - the battery on a standalone FM radio will last weeks of occasional use.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Dave 126

@DougS

LCD and OLED screen costs have always been affected by yield rates. Small sensors and IR emitters far less so - for reasons that are obvious if you only think about it. Hint: area is L x W.

The 8 screens cost Apple about $50, the X screens currently $150.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rendered irrelevant by the iPhone X...

> I must have missed the bit about the X having 6GB RAM

And that does what for you exactly? RAM is meaningless beyond what it does for the user experience - so if you want to compare handsets on a task-for-task basis then go for it. Remember that they have different OSs, and different speeds of NAND storage, and of course different SoCs. Anandtech can give you a range of benchmarks and analysis, if you fancy.

You merely waving numbers around like a teenage game of Top Trumps suggests you've learnt nothing from the last twenty years of computing. It's actually embarrassing that a supposedly technical website like the Reg has readers that up-voted that simplistic fuckwittery.

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Dave 126
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The LG V20 has a *swappable* battery... the LG-built Nexus 5 has a *removable* battery. The distinction is that the former takes seconds and the latter takes a few minutes - and a small Philips screwdriver.

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Dave 126
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The Moto Mod phones allow a secondary battery 'backpack', reducing the number of charge/discharge cycles endured by the primary battery.

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Dave 126
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It might be worth you looking at the the Moto Z range from Motorola - Android appears pretty stock, and Moto boast battery lives between 24 and 40 hours depending on model. Plus, you can snap a 'Moto Mod' battery on the back for even more uptime - a better solution than swapping a battery (a la older Note and LG phones) because no phone restart is required.

Some Sony Xperia phones boast a good battery life, and they do minimal reskinning of Android. There are some bundled apps such as 'Walkman', but not all of them are crap. Sony's 'Stamina Mode' is better than Google's Battery Saving mode on Marshmallow, but I don't know if Sony still add it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rendered irrelevant by the iPhone X...

The iPhone X is a red herring. It can't sell in volume because Samsung can't make the screens quickly enough. It is something that generates discussion before those who want a new iPhones will buy an iPhone of another flavour. For that reason, there's little point in bringing up the iPhone X for comparison to Samsung's or LG's latest offerings. An iPhone 8 is a more suitable object of comparison, and specifically for a Note the 8+.

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Dave 126
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Mathematical notation?

I've only briefly played with a Note (4?), but I got the impression that it was handy for entering mathematical notation, transcribing big Sigma symbols and the like. Presumably it'd be useful for cultures that don't use an alphabet as we Roman-influenced folk do - is this the case?

And what is 3rd party support for the stylus like? Presumably it lends accuracy to drawing and painting apps, but does it add anything else?

I get the impression that some past Note buyers chose it for removable battery and sdCard rather than the stylus per se - can any Note users comment on this?

It just seemed strange that the reviewer didn't have the imagination to see past his own stylus use case of making shopping lists. But maybe he's in the majority - one assumes the market for a stylus phone is not overwhelmingly huge, else Apple would make an iPhone that supports the iPad Pro's pencil. (It doesn't matter a damn what Steve Jobs might have said about stylii, he was known to turn on a dime if presented with a strong argument. He didn't like the Windows CE

resistive touchscreen phones that *required* a stylus just to use as a phone)

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Linux 4.14 'getting very core new functionality' says Linus Torvalds

Dave 126
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Re: @Geoffrey W

Oh, I should add that I've only ever been a Linux dabbler. I installed Mint years ago from a mass-produced CD on an old Thinkpad with weird sound hardware - my mate and I did it for the challenge. A few years later I tried the Live CD (Ubuntu) route on a desktop and it was painless.

But hey, as a pure Windows user

I should note: if you create an Image Backup, you've got nothing to fear. You should create one even if you don't touch Linux. Linux is unlikely to bork (fuck up) your system, but there's no harm in erring on the side of caution.

The only real utility I've used Linux for is get_iplayer and to reset a Windows XP password (I forget why I'd forgotten it). I have used a few weird GNU graphics applications under Windows though, because I hadn't the latest Photoshop.

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Dave 126
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Re: Windows vs Linux ... really?

I'm sorry, I missed your main point!

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Dave 126
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Re: Windows vs Linux ... really?

> Could this possibly mean "year of Linux on desktop"? This question is really missing the point. It does not have to - it is already dominating in the pocket, and in datacentres

Respectfully, you are missing the point. It matters not how many other people are using any OS, as long as the applications you need are available for it. Obviously a healthy install base attracts application developers, but it is not a sheer numbers game (EG some powerful polished CAD application suites not on Linux, some handy niche scientific applications written by scientists for their own needs only available on Linux. People in some sectors will find themselves dual-booting).

An OS is only that thing I use to run applications and manage the files they create.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Geoffrey W

> Now if there's something I can download onto a USB which I can then boot from and install Linux with only a few mouse clicks/keystrokes,

You can!

Years ago installing or just running a Linux distribution could be a headache, especially if you had weird hardware which many laptops had. These days you can run it on most machines without touching a Command Line Interface (CLI)

If your computer allows booting from USB (I can't remember when that became common, but some still very usable PCs don't have it, most modern ones do) then just download a 'live CD' image (.ISO) of a popular distribution (commenters above suggest Mint has nice forums, Ubuntu is common too), stick it on a stick, restart your computer, enter BIOS to adjust boot order, and restart again with the USB stick plugged in. If your computer doesn't allow booting from USB, you need to burn the ISO to a CD or DVD using an Image Writer such as imgburn.com.

Here's the thing: this won't install Linux, Linux will run from the USB stick / CD. Obviously this is slower than running from HDD/SSD, especially CD. Consider it a 'dry run' - if everything is working, you can think about installing. Even if you don't install, you now have the means to boot your computer and use some repair tools should anything ever happen to your Windows installation.

If you like it, are curious, or like the idea of an alternative desktop environment (either to use as a recovery environment or for some esoteric application) you think about installing it. This will involve partitioning your HDD. Partitioning is pretty civilised these days, but there's no excuse for not backing up beforehand. (In Windows, search for Full Disk Image Backup, and heck, create a Recovery CD whilst your at it - this way you could set fire to your HDD, swap in a new one, restore your Image and your computer is just as it was in every way. )

One little thing: should you create a Linux partition, install Linux and set up a 'GRUB'(weird names in Linux land, get used to it) boot manager (basically sets up a menu when you boot so you can choose which Operating System to use), don't delete the Linux partition or you won't be able to start Windows (fix is quite straight forward - you remember where you put that Recovery CD, right? )

A few pointers: you are a User, so the machine won't let you make important system changes unless you become a SuperUser - SUDO. Doing so involves entering your password. If you've used OSX, you'll be kinda familiar with this.

You install new software with a Package Manager - much like an App Store on Android or iOS.

Stuff has weird names.

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Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

Dave 126
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Re: Warning

Re proofreading:

"What ya mean? I said mouse! Is your hearing damaged from too much loud mouse?!"

I knew damned well I'd written mouse, but mouse cancelling amused me. If someone here was unable to get the meaning because I substituted one word for another they must be hard of thinking.

However, of I ever use if instead if of, that'll be a typo on my part and yeah, I shoulda proofread my post!

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Dave 126
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Re: Warning

Even without active mouse cancelling, passive mouse blocking earbuds (professionally fitted, or try different sized tips or Comply foam tips) will still reduce the ambient mouse so that music doesn't need to be played so loudly. As for closed-back over-the-ear headphones, try some til you find a good comfortable fit that reduces mouse.

Most music venues these days are better at having PA systems that don't damage hearing as easily - medical science and PA design has advanced since the eighties - but I wouldn't go to a festival without some cheap earplugs. More expensive earplugs (made for gigs) attenuate all frequencies equally, but that doesn't matter for all genres of music.

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Dave 126
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Re: me wearing pretty headphones

The red ring means that the unleaded solder has misbehaved so the GPU isn't connected properly, surely? ;D

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Dave 126
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Re: I prefer the Bose QC

For a long time the Bose QC have been reviewed as the best at cancelling noise, but recently the wired/wireless Sony MDR 1000X have been compared to them. For a similar price the Sonys have more features, and will still function as wired headphones with a flat battery. They also have a mic for calls, and can use LDAC - a high resolution Bluetooth audio codec that Sony has donated to the AOSP and is included in Oreo.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lower frequencies only

Earplugs - unless sold specifically for music gigs - don't attenuate all frequencies equally. That said, I've used them with some big Sennheisers over the top when sleeping on busses - the music sounded a bit murky and distant, but was fine to fall asleep to.

The above link is good, but I'm not sure I'd paraphrase as the OP above did. A lot of reviews are hailing the Sony MDR 1000X noise-cancelling headphones as the supplanting Bose as the new king.

https://www.whathifi.com/sony/mdr-1000x/review

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Google to kill Chrome autoplay madness

Dave 126
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The best advert for the new Safari is the outraged letter a group of advertising associations have written complaining about Apple's cookie-killing system: "how dare Apple stop us from tracking users across websites". The poor dears.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/ad-industry-deeply-concerned-about-safaris-new-ad-tracking-restrictions/

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'All-screen display'? But surely every display is all-screen... or is a screen not a display?

Dave 126
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"The eye phone ex, for those ignorant of Roman numerals, is pronounced one phone ten... ....We've been talking about the new iPhone, but in the interests of commercial balance we are compelled to mention that Androids are still crap"

- The News Quiz, BBC Radio 4

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Dave 126
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Re: Sony and Ericsson parted ways in 2012

I do take you word for it and thank you for your clarification of Sony's confusion (I had a 2012 Xperia L with no SE branding anywhere except for a green circle on the rear... evidence of the transition period).

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Dave 126
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Re: Playing with fire, Dabbsy?

@David Nash

Yep, the [Chromecast] and [Chromecast Audio] are two different devices, though they are similarly sized and shaped. The latter's output is a 3.5mm analogue port which doubles as a digital optical output. To my mind it has a few advantages over a Bluetooth audio receiver, but it does require the presence of a WiFi network so isn't always suitable for portable speakers.

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Why the Apple Watch with LTE means a very Apple-y sort of freedom

Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

> What value is the watch to you if you have to have the phone nearby at all times anyway?

You need an iPhone to configure the watch, but you don't need the phone near the watch to use the watch for payments, GPS and fitness functions, music playback etc

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