* Posts by Grant Mitchell

98 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Mar 2007


Finally in the UK: Apollo 11 lands... in a cinema near you

Grant Mitchell

Re: Amazing...

And the lunar ranging retro-reflectors happened to get there how exactly?

Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

Grant Mitchell

Re: Selfie hell

1. Only you are not taking a selfie. And everyone keeps telling me android has done this for years (so we must already be living in this hell - as I'm also told Android is far more popular).

2. Because you couldn't touch the phone against their finger as they sleep? And... if that worries you, turn on the attention feature - unless you sleep with your eyes open you should be ok.

3. About as well as touch id with gloves. Sometimes you may need to use pin/password. Live with it.

Enjoy your phone. I'll enjoy mine, without the need to mock others for their choices. Personally having used Android, it's not for me (inconsistent interface - perhaps due to carrier/manufacturers bolt ons, etc. but I like keyboards to be consistent, have things in the same place, etc, not to change based on where I am in the interface), but that's my opinion, and I feel no need to impose it on you - but reserve the right to call you out for inaccuracies and a need to force your opinion on others.

Man nicked trying to 'save' beer from burning building

Grant Mitchell

Re: like mixing wine and beer

Really? After spending a few weeks in San Diego, home of Stone, Alesmith, Ballast Point, Mikkeller (USA home) and Mike Hess, to name but a few (there were a _lot_ more, but those are the ones fellow Brits would likely recognise) I can assure you finding good tasting, high volume beers was like falling off a log (which certainly became more likely as the nights progressed ;) ).

Alleged ISIS member 'wore USB cufflink and trained terrorists in encryption'

Grant Mitchell

and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.


New MacBook Pro beckons fanbois to become strip pokers

Grant Mitchell

Re: Typical views from those want to buy but don't like the price.

...so take your brand new iPhone 7 out of its box, and your brand new MacBook pro out of its box.

Now, using the components given to you by this company, for these items launched but weeks apart, connect them together.


I'm waiting



Bluetooth? 802.11ac? Oh, you want wired connectivity. How 1990's of you (ok 1999, but still, a few years ago!).

Samsung patches Galaxy Note 7 to not explode as two-thirds of phones recalled

Grant Mitchell

Interesting approach

So... a phone that may catch fire when charging... what will we do... make it so people have to charge it more frequently? Excellent idea.

Germany: If Brits vote to Remain, we'll admit Hurst's 1966 goal was a goal

Grant Mitchell

So now Scotland suddenly swings to vote leave

As per title...

Apple's AirDrop abused by 'cyber-flashing' London train perv

Grant Mitchell


Perhaps you could find out where he lives... assuming he took to snap in the comfort of his own home...

UK exam board wants kids to be able to Google answers

Grant Mitchell

I think in one exam yes, in others no.

I think there should be a "effective use of data retrieval techniques" exam, where using search engines is approved, but for others no. There is no doubt using these tools are an important part of life, and that will only grow. However much like when I were a lad, we had a mathematics exam where we could use a calculator, and an arithmetic exam where we couldn't - I'd leave google to one (or possibly 2 subjects), but not to all.

Less seriously, perhaps they could introduce use of google as sort of a joker card, to be used on no more that 2 exams? ;)

We're doing great, say dot-London chiefs ... Unfortunately, few agree

Grant Mitchell

I just don't get these new TLD's

Ok, so before all this came along, you could have a good guess at domains....

International-company-name.com - a safe-ish bet (yes, there are squatters, etc, but you had a high success rate).

Want to see them in your own country, change .com to .co.uk (If you live round these parts).

Not a company, but a not-for profit, no worries, there's org... You could kinda guess. Now it can be .anybloodything - and I don't see how consumers/interested parties will get to your site by guessing.

I understand it allows resellers to make money from the gullible, but if you are considering one of these domains, ask yourselves what benefits the investment will make to your customers?

Facebook wants to LISTEN IN on the songs and vids playing in YOUR living room

Grant Mitchell

But I don't have a broadcast license...

Sorry Facebook... but that song has, you know, a copyright and I don't have a public viewing/broadcast license to let you listen to them.

Bummer, huh.

Amazon granted patent for taking photos against a white background – seriously

Grant Mitchell


Passport agencies now have to pay amazon then? Looks like the UK have it covered though... they don't specify white:


taken against a plain cream or light grey background

But in the US, they may need a slight change to the instructions.


Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background

Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

Grant Mitchell

Re: That's not actually possible...

"...since the UK doens't have a constitution."

Better go update wikipedia then.


Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS

Grant Mitchell

American beer rocks (Just not Bud, etc)

To be fair, America has a great craft beer scene as well. Personally I've switched completely on the beer front. German beer I find bland now (there are exceptions, the Leipziger gose for example) but for the most part it's a dull scene comprising of pilsner and schwarzbier. US craft beers on the other hand (talking about the likes of dogfish head, ska brewing, rogue, alesmith, etc) are mostly amazing in comparison.

Bud, Coors, etc sucks, but that's only part of the american beer industry - slowly the craft boys are making progress.

Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Grant Mitchell

Re: What exactly is the problem here?

>The same goes for any other form of identification/services (be it passport, birth certificate, benefits application). That is not the exclusivity of an ID card. Besides, if you're indeed homeless, my guess is that you have different priorities altogether. I don't see how it becomes any easier for them to get any kind of service by not having an ID card.

At the moment here, it's pretty easy for people to get health care. If ID were required to get healthcare, them I'd imagine that would affect the homeless (who, through no fault of their own don't have a good track record on health). It's incredibly likely that if ID cards were introduced, they'd be required for health care. There are factions of society here already whipped up into a frenzy about supporting people sponging off the state or health care tourists visiting the uk to get treatement. I for one would not be surprised if healthcare required an id to prove entitlement - unfortunately, that's just how the UK mentality works. It sucks.

>In reality, those "new checks" don't exist. We are asked to provide proof of identity for exactly the same things that you are right now (e.g. open a bank account, rent a car, ...). Privacy laws are pretty strict in Europe, and having an ID card does not automatically give everyone the right to require you to show it.

Yes, and the UK has a track record of obeying those laws doesn't it? We don't keep DNA samples from innocent people now do we? Relying on European laws is fine if you have a government that follows them... mine doesn't. We have a crap record - http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/mar/23/dna-database-idcards-children-index

Grant Mitchell

Re: What exactly is the problem here?

The problems with ID cards are many. Once you have them, people will insist on using them all the time when they are not at all neccesary. Ok, you say, that might be an inconvenience but you'll live with it. Imagine however, you are a homeless person living on the street. Everything you own you pretty much carry on you. How would that person prove their identify? How would they apply for new identity if they lost their existing id? They have no utility bill, not credit cards, nothing. Here is the real flaw. Today, right now how do you prove who you are in order to get one of these cards? The card doesn't prove who you are, it proves you persuaded the issuing body you were that person. How do you persaude them if you own nothing (or very little in terms of current ID)? So homeless people won't get ID's. As they become more pervausive in society they will be excluded from more an more services as they cannot prove entitlement. Seeing the problem yet?

The use cases when having an uber-ID are, in general, things that happen quite infrequently today (getting a new back account, etc). This translates to a small saving of time today - but I'd be prepared to guess that over time, given that "there is now an easy way to check, you know, just to be sure" this would soon be swallowed up in the new checks that get introduced - because we can, resulting in a net loss of time.

Incidently, the oft used banking dilema has other non-ID related issues. My partner moved to the UK some 12 years ago, and despite having a clean bill of health with her mastercard in Germany, could not get a credit card in the UK because UK mastercard couldn't confirm her credit history with their German colleagues. Linking up data across borders is another issue for another day.....

Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Grant Mitchell

This sort of thing may become a really interesting proposition if you could combine it with an occulus rift or other VR headset. I think an interactive movie, where you could be made to feel part of the action is a compelling direction to take both gaming and film making in. Sure, not for everyone, but I'd be interested to see where you could take this.

MI5 boss: Snowden leaks of GCHQ methods HELPED TERRORISTS

Grant Mitchell

Re: 225

I would help you if I only knew how, but these things are a mystery to me too :(

iPhone 5S: Fanbois, your prints are safe from the NSA, claim infosec bods

Grant Mitchell

Re: Believe Apple? Erm no.

Your fingerprints are as safe on the device as any other thing your carrying.. You're missing the obvious point about fingerprints now, aren't you? I don't have a fingerprint scanner on my laptop, or my phone... but my laptop and phone have my fingerprints. It's not even a new problem, the O'Relly book (old analogue tech in front of me on my desk even has my fingerprints!). Your fingerprints are not safe, BECAUSE YOU LEAVE THEM EVERYWHERE DUMMY!! If the you have been stopped at a border crossing, handing over your passport is giving them your fingerprints! Yes, you hand it to them! SHOCK!

Now sit back, breathe and think about what your fingerprints are used for. Consider for a moment does this technology give anyone the cool pictures that appear on CSI when you watch this? Does it read that oily print you left at the crimescene... from several fingers? THINK (PLEASE!) if I wanted to get your fingerprints off your phone... take 2 seconds to consider how I could do that even if you don't have a scaner on your phone.


Grant Mitchell

Re: wrong target audience

Arguably more concerned about privacy than 'driod users - breaking it down to simple things people here will understand - Google... they are an advertising/marketing company that sell hardware and software services to facilitate getting saleable information on people. Their business is finding out about you. Apple are a company who make hardware (used to be computers, but these days more entertainment hardware).

The sensible answer is to trust neither, but to single out i-users may seem a little foolish when you actually consider the facts (I know, not a popular thing 'round these parts...).

Grant Mitchell

Re: Blah blah blah -@AC 14:24

Sigh. but it's your fingerprints... You know what, if you loose your phone (even if it doesn't have a fingerprint scanner on it) there will be an easier, low tech method to obtain your print...

You know what... if you're so paranoid about your fingerprints falling into the wrong hanfs, why do you leave them everywhere?

It's fingerprints people, and you know, for now, that's of limited interest to most, if not all criminals....

What people are worried about are law enforcement, not joe criminal.

Grant Mitchell

Re: Good point

Yes, because on your open system, you audit every piece of code you install and your skills for detecting issues is beyond any hacker?

Open or closed makes no difference if you're not checking. Apple is closed, but they do check. Now, are their checks good enough, that's another story, but with a closed system such as apple, at lease someone is checking. How many unchecked 'droid apps get installed every day?

Grant Mitchell

Should we trust Android more though?

Hypothetically, if an Android phone was released with fingerprint reading capability (now a likely outcome in response to apple) would you trust it more? Yes, you could possibly see the code in use by the sensor (but I'm pretty sure android isn't completely open source when it comes to hardware drivers, etc - so this isn't neccessarily a given) and you could audit every piece of code you install to make sure it doesn't use the sensor... but would the averge person do that (even the truely paranoid will be relying on skills they may not posess to the same degree as the person trying to subvert their phone). The argument for apple, I guess, relies on how much you trust them, first in their assertion that the fingerprint is only stored on the phone, and second, how good they are at vetting software in their store to prevent it from accessing the stored fingerprint, or capturing a new one during operation.

Apple may lie, but I'm not paranoid enough to believe they will (in this instance). The risk seems to be subverting the app store vetting process. That's an interesting risk though, as let's face it, your fingerprint is pretty useless to most criminals (at present at anyrate). Yes, law enforcement would love it but are law enforcement going to break the law to get it (I guess only if they think they can get away with it)?

At the moment, in balance, I think it's probably safe (I mean, fingerprints have inherent flaws if you go beyone specific uses anyway - I don't know about you, but I leave mine lying around everywhere I go!). As always, this is subject to change, but at present I don't see any reasonable vector that causes any concern.

Now it gets serious: Fracking could RUIN BEER

Grant Mitchell

Purity law is bad anyway

God only knows that Germany needs to loose it's outdated "purity" laws anyway. The rest of the world is enjoying a craft beer revolution, but Germany is stuck (I would say in the dark ages, but let's be honest, big business in Germany keeps changing the purity law to suit anyway **). In my younger years I'd never have thought I'd consider American beer better than German, but these days it is (to qualify, American craft beer, not that bud shit). Anyway, the best beer at the moment is produced by the Scots (Brewdog), with the Danish (Mikkeller) coming a very close second (IMHO). Let me know if anything is going to affect them!

There are many additives Germans consider make a beer impure, which makes it sound bad, fact is you can make a "pure" beer with spoiled/rotten ingredients, and they'd still call it "pure". Addition of things like salt and coriander for example don't make a beer bad (if you are buying into the purity myth, consider that they do actually make exceptions, the Leipzig Gose for example, a local beer of Leipzig is considered "pure" despite the aforementioned ingredients - and I'd recommend those to anyone wanting to try a more challenging and different German beer, though on my recent trip to Leipzig it proved quite hard to find gose being sold these days).

Ditch the purity laws, make sure quality of ingredients is king, and try some different beers Germany!

** Guinness does not meet today's purity laws, but does meet the original laws.

Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

Grant Mitchell

How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

So, if I keep everything but buy a new motherboard... is that a new computer? Then a while later. I drop in a new CPU - new computer yet?. a new case the following year? Raid HD fails, so I replace it...

I'm guessing it's the CPU, but if the contract says computer, It could easily be argued that a CPU isn't a computer, as it alone is not capable of running the software.

Vatican shrugs off apocalypse, fiddles with accounts dept

Grant Mitchell
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Re: as it almost always is

> - flu most probably kills more people each year -

yeah, but religious muppets - aka, the faithful, believe god made the flu don't they? And all the wars you say are not religious, are you telling us they were not God's will? Not part of his plan!? You heathen, you. He's omniscient and omnipotent, if he didn't see it coming, and couldn't avoid it, who could? The problem when you believe in fairies and the like, is that you have to construct t a consistent reliable world around these fallacies. Oh no, hang on, my mistake, we're talking about religion. The real world, logic and evidence does not apply. The all powerful god is capable of everything except a perfect world where you could live in peace harmony and contentment with him... that or maybe he's a fairytale? He's like an annoying colleague, really good at his job, but not happy unless you tell him he's a god and you worship him?

ICANN'T believe it's not Apple: Vatican wins domain-handout lottery

Grant Mitchell
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If the Saudi royal family can object to .sex etc, can I object to any religious based domains, as religion deeply offends me (and is more unnatural than reproduction!)... or does the not for profit (clearly not "not for prophet") ICANN only listen to people with lots of money?

I can't see how this level of impartiality can possibly go wrong.

Facebook tries to stop its staff using iPhones in 'dogfood' push

Grant Mitchell

Don't get it

Won't not interfering with staff choice mean that over time they'll match the rest of the populations trends? If in a few years no-one will be using iOS, surely no-one in their staff will be using it then?

Letting people "byod" will surely give them the best insight to supporting their users?

Why is the iPhone so successful? 'Cause people love 'em

Grant Mitchell

Re: Some people

Apple has always allowed you to share your photos since day one. Send them as email. Sure, bluetooth support is less capable (though I believe the new IOS version may rectify some of those issues), but for a lot of people, bluetooth is an edge case, email is something I believe people are more familiar with, so they did an 80/20 type decision and picked the more realistic and future proof transfer mechanism. There will _always_ be differences in phone capabilities, and if the new iPhone 5 supports NFC, will you argue against phones (and there will be a lot of droids) that you can't bump to send your pictures to?

Different phones do different things and support different standards. Research a phone first, and if it doesn't fit your needs, move onto the next one. Even with all that research, you'll find a feature (e.g. bluetooth picture sending) your phone won't do. As you didn't rule the phone out initially for not doing that, we might be right in assuming it's an edge case. You can still be entirely happy with a phone even if it doesn't do all your edge cases.

Grant Mitchell

Re: but I thought I just read that Samsung sells more phones than Apple.

But 800ukp is about 16 hours for a contractor, so the extra time taken to install on non-supported hardware (say a couple of hours), plus subsequent OS releases (my macs have taken around 4 OS releases on average), means that 800 goes quickly goes on new os releases alone, if we have patches that upset hackintosh, add on some more hours.

Although you can hear arguments to both sides, my experience of apple support has been excellent, so that has a value in and of itself.

The (_reaslonably_ certain) security of knowing that your device will be upgradable to the next few OS releases, thus adding to it\s longevity is nice as well, and by nice I mean has some value.

And there are ascetics and design. Yes, they're not worth 800, but by my calculations with all else taken in, you're not paying 800 for them.

iPhone's market share in China sliced in HALF

Grant Mitchell

You'll know you don't have the latest version, because you're mobile manufacturer, or cellco hasn't bothered to release the latest firmware for your phone. Yeah, it's free open source, etc, but you have to go some way to get the latest firmware compared to your fruity friends. (It's possible of course, but really it may become a question of how valuable your time is to you).


Google launches Octane JavaScript benchmark suite

Grant Mitchell

On the ipad safari kicks chrome's ass

919 vs 205

82 London Underground stations to get free Wi-Fi for the Olympics

Grant Mitchell

Re: Bollox to the wifi

Everything from westminster to Stratford, except canning town, west ham and Stratford, which are above ground, so no doors there. Don't travel much east huh?

EC: Apple claimed Motorola demanded ALL ITS PATENTS

Grant Mitchell

Re: I might be wrong but ...

Or maybe:

1) Apple designed a 3G phone using licensed chips from a 3rd party

2) Started to sell said phones

3) Motorola withdrew 3rd party license.

4) Apple asked for terms

5) Motorola came back with ludicrous terms

6) Apple went to EU.

Seems like what happened in summary.

'New laws not needed' to block / censor Twitter et al

Grant Mitchell

Riot Gear

So next time they riot they'll loot a bunch of Sat phones to keep in touch?

Virgin Media preps firmware update for glitchy SuperHub

Grant Mitchell

GPL anyone?

The netgear router they base the "Super" hub on uses GPL code. Netgear release the firmware (as required) under GPL, however, VM modify the code, and seem to think (judging by staff postings) this means their "hybrid" code is not covered by GPL, and they don't have to release it to end users.

I _really_ hope they get into trouble for this. For all I hear of people chasing pirates of films, music and games, it'd be refreshing to hear about someone going after corp's for their flaunting of GPL.

That being said, I hope the let me on the beta program because the current r26 release is useless!

iPhones secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

Grant Mitchell

It's not that accurate

Wow, talk about exaggeration, I was expecting a _really_ accurate trail of where I'd been with my phone. It is _not_ that. It was various dot sizes, very roughly where I'd been in the UK, sort of.

Apparently I'd visited Cardiff (or my phone has, without me). I think I have visited Wales as a young child, certainly pre iPhone days, nearest I've been since then is Bristol (ironically doing some consultancy for cellco there). It had no indication of my various trips to Aberdeen (nothing North of the Border).

There is a very small dot (accurate fix I'm assuming?) on my house for one day, when I hit play. I'm pretty sure I've spent more time here than that! There is no dot covering my office, and I seem to be spending a lot more time south of the river than I remember.

The data is very inaccurate, which greatly lessens the security impact (though does not remove it of course). I did see that I'd visited Exeter and Bournemouth with the in-laws last year, but there are probably easier ways to find that out (like my flickr feed?).

Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen dies at 63

Grant Mitchell

Only the god die young.

A sad day. She will be missed.

VMware lets Apple fondleslabs tickle Windows VDI

Grant Mitchell

# ac

I wasn't aware apple forced anyone to purchase subscriptions via them. Perhaps you are confusing the fact that they don't allow subscriptions to be sold for cheaper than an in app purchase, and are just looking to troll?

Locked iPhones still got their ears on

Grant Mitchell


What would likely happen is everyone would stare at you like you're mad... What wouldn't happen is a lot of calls to "Mom" (or Mum/Mother if you live on the right side of the pond). If you read the article, you might realise it's triggered by holding down the "home" key, not on all the time.

This really is a non-story :(.

Cowon iAudio V5 HD media player

Grant Mitchell

Raw support

For which cameras?

E-book readers attract unwanted VAT

Grant Mitchell

@ Iggle Piggle

Here is a paper on environmental impact of ebooks:


Overall, the conventional book system required more raw materials and water inputs,

consumed more energy, and produced more air and water emissions and solid wastes than

the e-reader system under baseline conditions. Major conclusions from the baseline LCI

are as follows:

• For the conventional book system, LCI results were largely driven by three

factors: (1) textbook paper production, (2) the relatively large amount of

electricity consumed during book printing operations, and (3) personal


• For the e-reader system, LCI results were driven by the electricity generated

for on-screen viewing.

The Prisoner set for Sunday release

Grant Mitchell
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Was easy enough to guess... not very good at security are they ;)

A bit dissapointing what comes next though :(

(assuming there is only one password).

Apple update patches serious DNS flaw in Mac OS X

Grant Mitchell


Ok, I shouldn't really feed the trolls, but on the off-chance this guy isn't a troll, and is just totally clue-less and computer illiterate.

It takes time for patches to be released from all vendors for several good reasons.

1. They need to understand the bug. Fools rush in, etc...

2. They need to test the patch fixes the problem.

3. They need to confirm it doesn't affect the operation of the system adversely.

4. They need to confirm it doesn't introduce more bugs.

5. They need to package it, and submit the patch and installer for regression testing.


This actually takes some time, no matter how many people you throw at it.

Apple takes Snow Leopard for walk

Grant Mitchell

@AC 04:31

Do you actually know what the purpose of a development beta is? God, imagine a dev beta release having things missing/not working, I'm shocked!

Can you get your mum to read through your posts before you make them please? I'm sure she could help you out with the basic concepts.

Facebook eliminates parts of Wales

Grant Mitchell
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Not just Wales

Seems like they may have tried this in Scotland too...

judging by the group "ABERDEEN IS NOT IN ENGLAND!" (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=80236509770&ref=search)

Lloyd-Webber calls for clampdown on ISPs

Grant Mitchell


I always thought that ISP's don't like P2P, it consumes a lot of bandwidth, which ultimately the ISP\s have to pay for.

Is the argument that people only join ISP's to download wares, hence ISP's are making revenue on people who otherwise wouldn't be on the internet (obviously they're not there for the other wonderful uses of the internet, Facebook, porn, email, wikipedia and myspace ;)?

I think the logic here is somewhat flawed, much like the argument that someone downloading an album they wouldn't buy is costing the record company money (there is still however a morality argument to be had for sure, and the fact that by downloading from p2p, they are perhaps facilitating someone who may have paid for it to download it that little bit faster). While it's dangerous to make assumptions, and generalisations. I'm sure ISP's would like to not pay for p2p traffic and people pay for internet connections for things other than wares.

Deadfish iPhones send users into deep freeze

Grant Mitchell

@anon 17:05

Yes, so I can _use_ my computer, rather than spend all my time keeping it running. I'm not knocking Linux, I still run it, but there comes a time when you just want something that will work out of the box (I still like playing, but I have work to do as well!). Of course that makes me a "sheeple" (aren't you following the heard by saying that ;) ?).

What does the fact that at home I run XP, Linux (Ubuntu and Lineo), OSX, Solaris, Irix and NeXTStep, does that make me a someone following the herd too? You might notice that with the exception of Linux and XP, most of the other systems I run are manufactured by people who make the hardware and the OS (Sun, SGI, Apple and NeXT). I really don't see this as a bad thing. Again, not knocking Linux, but most of the real computers I end up using at work that don't run windows or linux generally run on a hardware and OS from a single vendor. It's how the big boys do things ;), and it's not necessarily a bad thing.

I have a choice of hardware as well, cause believe it or not, other people make hardware for Apple systems, at anyrate, this is straying off topic, I use a multitude of OS's, for fun and profit, so despite your "trendy, cool to slag off Apple" post, I feel it's likely I have used considerably more OS's than most (many that most people wouldn't have heard of), and I make my choice on other metrics than following the herd thanks.

Grant Mitchell
Jobs Horns

No Comment

Unfortunately this is the norm for Apple. I like their products, I just hate the way the go quiet whenever there is an issue (like the AEBS disk sharing issue they had for a long time, or the keyboard freezing with MacBook Pro's).

Still wouldn't want to go back to using any other OS as my main machine though, when it works (which to be fair is most of the time) it's far better Windows (by a long shot), and it's less hassle than Linux to maintain with newer hardware (I've had too much hassle running linux on brand new kit and discovering what's supported, and what's not :( ).

Just wish they'd be more open when they are issues... is the litigation culture really that bad?

Google kicks Amazon in the Kindle

Grant Mitchell
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The Sony book store is US only. The UK is served by their tie in with Waterstones. Can anyone see them give away free books (considering their ebooks are often more expensive than hardback equivalents!).

I bought a Sony reader for the other half, and now buy all books for it from fictionwise.