* Posts by Dave 126

7433 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Dave 126
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A man after my own heart

My own headphone behaviour is uncannily similar to that of Mr Dabbs.

I look at headphones in the shop when I don't need any new ones. My preference is for over-ear designs, except they are incompatible with my hat which I wear anytime it is raining or likely to rain... or sunny. I have preemptively reinforced the cable near the plug on various 'phones with Sugru, Sikaflex or heat-shrink tubing. Indeed, this cable issue is why I don't have a problem with a cheap dongle on the end - let an inexpensive doodad take the mechanical strain, be it 3.5mm > 3.5mm or otherwise. If I broke out the soldering iron now, I could repair at least four pairs of 'phones I have kicking around.

I'm mildly upset at leaving my plastic over-ear Sennheisers in a pub the other week - I could fall asleep wearing them, and yet feel no discomfort on my ears when I woke. Still, I'd only taken them out of the house because I had lost or broken all the pairs of earbuds I've had.

I would never buy anything akin to Apple Airpods- far too easy to be loose if you're me. Might be tempted by the 'neck bud' form factor.

Keep hearing of cheap but very cheerful Chinese ear buds... think I'll consider them to be consumable items like drill bits or knives.

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Li-ion king Goodenough creates battery he says really is... good enough

Dave 126
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The article only said sodium *could* be substituted for lithium, so if this new tech pans out it might be a case of choosing cheap or high density as the situation demands.

BTW, Lithium extraction is done by removing salts from water, not blowing up mountainsides. It does have ecological impacts if done poorly, but can bring money to poor places such as Bolivia and, um, Cornwall.

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Silicon Valley tech bro's solution for homeless: Getting himself in the news. Again.

Dave 126
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The Onion has covered him today, by coincidence!

Area Man Accepts Burden Of Being Only Person On Earth Who Understands How World Actually Works

http://www.theonion.com/article/area-man-accepts-burden-being-only-person-earth-wh-55427

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Frustrated by reboot-happy Windows 10? Creators Update hopes to take away the pain

Dave 126
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Re: "We also heard that unexpected reboots are disruptive if they happen at the wrong time"

Since Vista, you mean. It just feels like decades! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Stopped using

> How much lower will Windows nose dive over the next few years?

Walt Mossberg has written this week that he believes personal computers to change to ARM soon, citing Chromebooks, Windows Universal Apps and Apple. Being Mossberg, he thinks Apple is best placed, given their ARM expertise and range of existing iOS tablet apps.

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/1/14771328/walt-mossberg-pc-definition-smartphone-tablet-desktop-computers

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Samsung phones, Apple's iPhones are 'overpriced', says top Huawei exec

Dave 126
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Re: They're all mostly overpriced landfill.

I've just switched from a low-end (but very usable Huwaei) to a Nexus 5 (after fitting a new battery). Huewai was bought news half price for £45, has 4G, never annoyingly slow for basic tasks, poor camera - good value though. Nexus 5 feels fast, can't immediately imagine what anything faster could do. I knew that anyway, because it shares he same generation of Qualcom SoC as my broken-screened Xperia Z3C.

Downsides?

Huewai overlay subtly annoying for some operations. Stock Android on Nexus 5 has to be told not to bring up irrelevant notifications (related to Play Store and Google Maps) the whole damned time. Grrr. Nexus battery life not great (2300mAh), especially compared to my smaller-screened Z3C (a proper 2-dayer, a treat!)

The process of switching handsets was not as smooth as Apple, either. Numbers transferred fine (if you avoided Huwaei default of not saving to Google), but not SMSs ( could be done with an app though) or WiFi passwords ((Grr!).

It seems that if some has the money to avoid the Grr, I wouldn't blame them.

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Dave 126
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Re: reduced the wattage or the current

The UK charger that comes with the Galaxy S7 does 9v (IIRC) in addition to 5v, over microUSB. Presumably it only supplies 9v if it detects that it is connected to a compatible phone. It may that Huewai are adjusting the voltage too.

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Boeing seeks patent for mobile device case with built-in fire extinguisher

Dave 126
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I'm confused...

... which probably means that I need to learn more. That said, I will still ask:

Since the C02 canister adds weight and bulk, why not use a less power-dense battery of a more stable chemistry such as NiCad and dispense with the CO2 canister? Can it be that a Li-Ion battery plus CO2 canister is still a more power-dense arrangement than a NiCad battery?

Ideas?

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Polls? How very 2016. Now Google Street View AI scanner can predict how people will vote

Dave 126
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Re: Its called Surveillance-Capitalism - And its just beginning

That ain't the least of it:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage

It would seem that Google and Facebook are the monkeys and Cambridge Analytica is the organ grinder.

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Dave 126
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Re: What car?

There tend to be fewer bumper stickers than there are cars, thus fewer data points. Ditto Truck Nuts.

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You want a 4-SIM mobe? Never mind why – your wish might come true

Dave 126
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Re: Didn't you guys..

@ Doug

Hiya. To clarify - the Moto Mods use a magnetic connector on the rear of the phone (for two way power low and high speed data), not the bottom or side is where a USB port would be. Your post suggests that you may be thinking of LG's failed modular system, which did require removing the 'chin' of the phone.

LG's system was daft. Moto's system is technically good, but would be very good if it were opened out to other vendors. Whilst their physical connector is proprietry, it is built atop the open Greybus system, and Android nativity recognises most added modules as if they were a part of the host phone.

Regards

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Dave 126
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Re: Didn't you guys..

They assessed the 1st generation of modules, and assessed them to be useful (the battery), humdrum (the speaker... handy for podcasts), largely redundant (the camera, one probably has a better compact zoom camera already), and not great (the projector). This article is about new modules.

These existing modules neither prove nor disprove the utility of Moto's connector. What will decide its fate is market faith in Moto's continuing support on future models.

A great shame this connector is proprietary- wider adoption by Androud would be a great differentiator from Apple. Imagine Psion-style keyboards, game pads, specialist sensors (3D scanning, IR imaging)... Heck, the one issue with Sony's QX 10 screenless camera for Android (same lens and sensor as the widely lauded RX 100 compact camera) was that its wireless connection to the host phone was flaky.

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Up close with the 'New Psion' Gemini: Specs, pics, and genesis of this QWERTY pocketbook

Dave 126
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Re: Nope

>Which can probably be mitigated by having a battery underneath the keyboard as well, to be hooked up as a power bank, but the setup won't be very elegant.

I reckon it could be done... The Moto Z actually has a fairly small internal battery, and a two way power/data magnetic connector. If you place a second battery under the keyboard module, and use a cunning sliding mechanism to place some support (a la the original Psion) it should be stable.

It isn't necessary that it work with every phone, just each year's new Moto Z equivalent.

[By the way, I would like to thank you all for your understanding; I've harped on quite a bit about Moto Mods this last two weeks, and you've all understood my enthusiasm has been for the possibilities such a system could open up - especially if open sourced or licensed out -and that I haven't been cheerleading for Motorola per se. In fact, I feel a bit sad that it is a proprietary connector]

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Dave 126
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Re: "Ships November 2017"

It would be nice if the Reg commissioned a guest article about Product Design and hardware development. Firstly, it would be an interesting diversion, and secondly it would dispel a few oft-repeated myths.

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Dave 126
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Good for watching video

I don't personally watch video on a mobile much, but this Gemini seems suited for watching video whilst commuting by train.

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Dave 126
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If the keyboard was developed as a Moto Mod, Motrola would contribute to the development costs. (See Moto article on Reg today).

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Dave 126
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Re: Problem with screen unprotected and facing out

I guess a common scenario will be the user wanting to take/make voice calls whilst the Gemini is in its 'open laptop's position, so that the user can take notes or refer to information during the call. If so, then a wired or Bluetooth headset will be a given anyways.

Such a Bluetooth earpiece could be designed to 'dock' with the Gemini using its USB-C port, sitting flush when not in use.

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Dave 126
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Re: IndieNoGo

> I've had less bad experiences with Kickstarter. Is that just luck?

I can't speak about you specifically, but there has been research that indicates some individuals will consistently buy products or systems that fail in the market (thus never pick up 3rd party developer support, and lose vendor support), even if they are technically superior.

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Dave 126
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> they have to crowdfund rather than seek investors - because NOBODY else but fanatics under the illusion of hype will touch them.

Investors will want to make lots of money on a successful product, in part to cover the losses they make backing unsuccessful products.

You're correct in that vocal enthusiasm doesn't necessarily translate into high sales. In fact I commented here a couple of weeks back (before any Gemini announcements) about the idea of crowdfunding the Psion-style keyboard "that many Reg readers keep telling us they want". [I wrote it in the context of an industry wide modular system akin to Moto Mods. Moto Mods are a proprietary magnetic physical connector built atop the open Greybus electronic standard. It seemed to me that it would be cheaper to crowdfund a snap-on keyboard than it would an entire pocket computer]

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Dave 126
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> So why should it be a problem to get [this new keyboard] right?

It's not a total replica of the old keyboard - it uses a magnetically sprung mechanism, just for one example of a difference. Then there is the process of refining the manufacturing once the design is nearly finalised.

Good hardware can be a time consuming process to get to market, and there is nothing to be gained from assuming otherwise.

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Dave 126
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Re: 18:9?

In the words of Bender Rodriguez:

"Popular? I'm pure lowest common denominator, baby!"

Using the LCD to describe LCDs is useful... It's clear how much taller a 16:12 (4:3) screen is than a 16:9

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Dave 126
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Re: Entertaining

If it runs Android, why would Google care if you bought it in place of a Chromebook?

And for that matter, would ChromeOS work on this Gemini hardware for the educational market?

(A slightly larger device, effectively a clamshell Newton with keyboard, was made by Apple but only sold to schools. Name escapes me ATM)

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Dave 126
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The Reg has featured this device because their readers have been expressing a desire in such a device for years.

The hinge was a crucial part of the original Psion device - the Reg readers who used it know why - and not just a small detail.

This Gemini is still being crowdfunded, so I'm not surprised they haven't finalised the keyboard, which will be the hardest part to get right. Prototype, test, repeat. They will, but hardware development takes time when you're doing more than just assembling off the shelf parts from ODMs. There is no point in them showing off a V.0.6 keyboard.

Speaking of which, most other phones at MWC are boring oblongs, much like the one you probably own. The Gemini is interesting.

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Dave 126
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That's a valid point - even a small monochrome display on the outside would allow the user to see the number of an incoming call before answering.

One solution would be to use this Gemini with that Sony device that clips to a shirt pocket. It's a small Bluetooth device with small display, and is held to the ear like a mobile phone - but it also has a 3.5mm jack for a normal wired headset. It is also a standalone MP3 player and FM radio.

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The most l33t phone of MWC: DarkMatter's Katim

Dave 126
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Re: Really Secure...

Android Open Source Project does not equal Google Play Services. The clue is in the name. The hard bit is getting open source drivers from the hardware component manufacturers, but you're safe from Google.

Try to refrain from commenting if you'd be better off reading up instead.

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Dave 126
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Re: Interesting

What exactly is the attack surface offered by a USB socket with no data pins?

Remember that wireless charging isn't as quick as wired charging.

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Dave 126
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Re: Regulations

All phones allow you to make emergency calls before they are unlocked, even the iPhone which had the FBI making lots of noise... No reason that couldn't be the case here.

This phone claims that the NAND-cloning technique assumed to have been used by the FBI won't work.

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Autonomous cars are about to do to transport what the internet did to information

Dave 126
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Re: Disruptivity

>As is pointed out in the article, come the robot revolution the price of mass produced consumer items will fall and volumes will rise, this includes personal transport.

The cost of cars will fall, but the cost of the land on which you have to park them probably won't.

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Dave 126
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Re: Trains

Wrong type of blood on the track.

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Dave 126
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Re: Instead of delivery, build on-site

>There will be racing tension between those who build on-site and those who ship finished goods.

You will still need to get the material feedstock, metals, plastics etc, to the 3D fabricator. It only changes factors like bulk - i.e a washing machine or fridge is bulkier than the materials used to make it.

EDIT: Charles and Steve beat me to it!

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Dave 126
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Re: Works for cities

>This will all work for cities, but not rural areas.

The article covered a few things, so I'm not clear as to what you don't think will not work in the countryside. Could you expand on it a little?

I didn't see anything in the article of a binary 'work/won't work' nature. In the future one might use Uber in a city, whereas in the countryside you might choose to own an autonomous vehicle for your own use, but then lend or hire it out when you are not using it - your ownership would give you priority. Today, the old lady without a car who lives next door doesn't mind when she gets a lift to the supermarket - she's happy to work in with the schedule of the neighbour who drives. Shopping is flexible, a hospital appointment isn't.

There are of course lots of factors. An example would be that in the countryside car parking isn't as tricky as it is in the city, a factor that can make Uber or Lyft more attractive than taking your own vehicle.

People in more rural areas are already used to things taking longer - today someone in a remote hamlet might take a half-hour round trip to a shop by car, whilst their cousin in a city pops a minute up the street by foot. Of course many people in more remote areas simply give more thought as to what they will need for the next few days.

For sure, a lower population density will mean greater distribution costs ( It is only because of legislation that the Royal Mail can't charge more to deliver to more remote addresses. )

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You're Donald Trump's sysadmin. You've got data leaks coming out the *ss. What to do

Dave 126
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Whilst this article was informative, I found this more entertaining:

Press secretary Sean Spicer is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures that include random phone checks of White House staffers, overseen by White House attorneys....

... Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. It's not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department's legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks, and that memo was immediately posted by The Washington Post.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/sean-spicer-targets-own-staff-in-leak-crackdown-235413

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Motorola's modular Moto Z: A fine phone for a weekend away

Dave 126
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Re: Add-ons become obsolete with the phone... and if they're not very cheap....

> outside true industry standards you rarely see add-ons interoperability across brands.

Too true... I mean, there isn't even a standard for Android-compatible wired headset microphones and remote transport controls. Even within the same brand (Sony would use a different value of resistor in the headset between one generation of Xperia and another - and this is just the one I know of because I researched it). Meanwhile, every supermarket in the land stocks a choice of headphones with mic and transport controls that will work with all but the newest iPhone.

This lack of full headphone interoperability doesn't help Android brands steal customers from each other, but if they did knock their heads together they would erode one reason some people go with Apple.

Ironically for a 'closed' system, iDevices have always been well supported by third party peripheral vendors, from Sennhieser to Logitech - chiefly because they can be confident that Apple will sell X million units of a certain model for a couple of years. If Apple made iPhones with a similar module connector to Moto's, there would likely be more modules available than the few that Moto currently offers.

On that note, Moto's website says they have set aside $1 million to help people develop new modules, with the most promising developers winning a trip to Chicago. I wouldn't sniff at that, but can't help thinking I'd rather go somewhere warmer!

[ The only brand-specific 'module' I have ever bought for a phone - ignoring cases - is a stereo microphone for my Xperia Z3 Compact, using Sony's 3.5mm TRRRS port. It was made for the Z2, and wasn't recognised by name by the Z3C's software, though it did work. Now that my Z3C is awaiting anew screen that it probably will never receive, I've lent the microphone to friend indefinitely. ]

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Dave 126
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You're right,it is a shame... You could assemble yourself a 1980s style Gordon Gecko brick of a phone just by adding more battery modules! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Stupid

> If I know I want better battery life from the get go, I'll buy a phone with a bigger battery.

What advantage would that bring you Charlie? Genuine question.

Lots of Reg readers have expressed a desire for a phone with swappable battery,and here it is but better (phone doesn't restart during battery swap)

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

Ug? There are no universal main batteries for mobile phones because most don't have removable batteries.

You can still use a generic USB power bank - this Moto system just gives you an extra option. I would imagine that the people who use their phone so much that they deplete their battery daily are largely the same people who don't want to be offline / uncontactable for a couple of minutes when swapping the phone's battery.

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Dave 126
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Better than my laptop, but it's a laptop I've had no urgent need to upgrade for many years.

I guess I have a great treat in store when I do eventually take the plunge - I'm still on spinning rust, FFS!

Because I'm in no hurry, I can sit back and wait for current interesting trends to mature, gain adoption and become more polished. When the time comes, it might well be a USC-C only laptop with external GPU... the awkard 'in between’ period will have passed me by.

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Dave 126
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Re: Add-ons become obsolete with the phone... and if they're not very cheap....

The electronic bits of the Moto Mod system are the open Greybus standard - it is only the physical bits of Moto’s implementation that are proprietary. Android largely sees Moto addons as an intrinsic part of the host phone, though the system allows for weird stuff that requires a custom app.

As an aside, it was rumoured that the iPhone 7 would include the same 3 pin magnetic connector that the iPad Pro uses for keyboards, but Apple decided against it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

I might even argue that a snap on external battery is a superior solution to a swappable main battery. Why? Because you can continue using the phone without turning it off and on again. In both scenarios you have to carry a spare battery anyway.

You could use the battery pack to avoid deep cycling the main battery, which really shortens the lifespan of Li-ion batteries.

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Dave 126
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Re: Oh ....

If it is an issue for some, it is far cheaper and easier to fix than, say, no microSD slot or too little RAM.

Really, a little dongle will save strain on the 3.5mm plug end of my headphone cable, which is often where they fail.

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Dave 126
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Re: Stupid

If you want it to be fatter and with more battery, put a battery pack on it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Oh ....

Fixed for 99p from eBay. MicroUSB > 3.5mm adaptor.

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

> I love the concept and it is a lovely phone .... but just too thin and the standard battery life is crap apparently.

So why not use it with the external battery module semi-permenantly?

The other modules are just place-holders for the module concept. If Moto were brave enough to open it out to other phone vendors, certain Reg readers could Kickstart the physical keyboard they keep telling us they want.

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Dave 126
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Yep. And of course the internal battery will be subject to fewer and shallower charge/discharge cycles so it will last longer. Basically, it allows for the most elegant external battery solution available.

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Dave 126
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Re: Add-ons become obsolete with the phone... and if they're not very cheap....

> In my experience, this kind of add-ons become obsolete together the only device that can use them - thereby very quickly

Indeed. This is why it would be great if Moto 'grew the pie' and opened their module system to other phone vendors.

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Google to annihilate online trolling with ... tra-la-la! Machine! Learning!

Dave 126
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Re: What a world to live in!

> I expect this to be deployed in "safe spaces" to administer a rightful tasering to anyone exhibiting more than his share of daily illiberalism.

Look, the best argument you can make against safe spaces is to use the intellectual freedom properly, and not just roll out some clichés or attack some stereotypes. If you're going to fight for the right to express well thought out views regardless of offending people, then think well.

Yes, there are some idiots on the left who are far too easily offended - and trust me, I talk to them firmly but kindly when appropriate. Even John Stewart would agree with you. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't some systemic issues which add up in a raw deal for many people, be them former coalminers or descendants of plantation workers.

Anyway,enjoy your Friday!

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Dave 126
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Re: What a world to live in!

Another tech blog noted that this Google system currently flags all text written in Arabic as 'toxic', so there is clearly work to be done.

There has also been the issue of webcams face tracking not working with black people ( the inverse of human controlled CCTV street cameras?), and another machine vision system categorising photos of black people as gorillas.

It would seem that it is all due to the sample sets that these systems are trained on, as well as the people doing the testing.

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We want Waymo money from you! Uber sued for 'stealing self-driving car' blueprints from Alphabet

Dave 126
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In order to use CC, your email client should insist that two keys are turned simultaneously in locks that are set 8' apart, in the style of a nuclear missile launch system.

The most insane thing about this story is that Waymo claims it was alerted to Otto and Uber’s alleged treachery by a mistakenly CC’d email. “Waymo was recently – and apparently inadvertently – copied on an email from one of its LiDAR component vendors. The email attached machine drawings of what purports to be an Uber LiDAR circuit board,” the complaint reads. “This circuit board bears a striking resemblance to Waymo’s own highly confidential and proprietary design and reflects Waymo trade secrets.”

- http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/23/14719906/google-waymo-uber-self-driving-lawsuit-stolen-technology

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Your next PC is… your 'Droid? Remix unveils Continuum-killer

Dave 126
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> I'll believe an Android phone can replace the desktop then it can do Crysis...3...at 60fps at full 1080p resolution or higher. THEN it'll have the oomph to replace my desktop.

By which time your desktop will run Crysis 4 at 120Hz at 4K HDR across three monitors. A bigger box will always be more powerful (greater room for heat dissipation).

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Dave 126
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Re: Windows tablets - when the touch screen driver craps out...

I think you've described a 'workaround', not a 'fix'! :)

Still, I didn't downvote you.

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