* Posts by Jon H

97 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Mar 2008


Google loses Latitude in Maps app shake-up

Jon H

Shame to lose Latitude

Well this will be the biggest lose here for me... it's quick and easy with Google Maps to see where a few select friends are... I can see if my girlfriend arrived safely at her hotel after a flight, I can when my brother finally decides to drive over to my house (he's always late), I can even see where my mates are who moved to Australia and USA. Latitude is both very useful and also interesting. And it's simple enough for anyone (thinking of my GF!) to have it automatically working on her phone.

Instead we have to have G+ ??? How does live tracking work on that then? I set myself up on + a while back after various nagging by Google apps on my phone, but I don't use it, it isn't very clear how to work, I get all this rubbish on my page that has nothing to do with me. There's no way in the world I'd get someone like my girlfriend or mother to be able to use it. I don't know how live tracking works on it, do you have to have the app open for it to register your movements? Is it auto updating to selected people (not all your friends on G+)?

Latitude worked simply... your phone knows where you are all the time anyway, it's simple for it to upload that location to a central server, then your friend just looks on Google maps (which checks that server) and sees your location. It works, it's simple, it's fast, you don't need a big messy social media app just for a map.

At last: EU slashes mobile roaming fees

Jon H
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38p - is that ex VAT?

Tescos have today updated their mobile charges page stating 45p per MB in Europe. However they go on to say "upto 80MB for £40"... err, that's 50p per MB!

However outside of Europe they still charge a staggering £8 per MB!!!!

Don't download that app: US presidential candidates will STALK you with it

Jon H

Why would you want this app anyway?

Obviously I understand why the political teams would want you to install their app, but why would YOU want to install their app in the first place? I don't recall myself or the UK population in general rushing to install any political apps in the run up to the last General Election.

Punters want BBC iPlayer in TVs, not 3D

Jon H

3D sure, but where's the media?

I paid lots for my new TV last year. It has FreeSat HD, iPlayer, 3D and all the other buzz word features. iPlayer is great, I plug in a network cable and there it all is, doesn't cost me a penny more. But 3D? Apart from the final of Strictly Come Dancing that the BBC showed in 3D (and very good it was too), I can't access any 3D media. I don't have and have no plans to buy a 3D bluray player. I already pay Sky lots for the channels I do get but to get the 3D channel, you HAVE to subscribe to every channel they do but I have no intention on paying for their sports channels. Surely Sky could just scramble the 3D football to non sport subscribers but then make the 3D films watchable to the movie channel subscribers???

If there was a 3D channel available that didn't cost extra to view it, 3D would have a good chance of gaining popularity. Without content, it's going nowhere.

Ice Cream Sandwich gives Android mobes brainfreeze – Sony

Jon H

+1 for ICS on Sensation

Installed ICS on my (unbranded) Sensation yesterday. Once I sorted out a couple of account log-ins, so far so good. Seems to run smoothly, perhaps better than before. In fact I used to run low on memory causing the HTC Sense to have to re-load when I went back to the home screen, hasn't done that yet with ICS.

Visa shows off data centre 'moat'

Jon H

Easy to avoid the moat

Are those links to the aerial photos of this place correct? Yeah, there's a pond in front of a hairpin bend on the "in" driveway, but anyone who really wants to get in could just take the far straighter "out" driveway smashing through the little barrier. Heck, if they had a 4x4 they can easily take to the bare ground next to the drive. It hardly looks that secure.

Novatech pushes affordable Ultrabook

Jon H

Build Quality

As much as I like Novatech for peripherals and things, and even their desktops are usually pretty good (like using Asus motherboards in them), there have been questions in the past about the reliability of their laptops. Novatech are relatively close to me and I've worked for companies who've bought several Novatech laptops but had a high failure rate, perhaps they're much inproved these days but it puts a doubt in my mind.

Still, I wouldn't buy one of these like others said because of the low res screen LAN port. (note, the Reg article says it only has "g" wifi but the Novatech website says "n")

Cineworld flaunts '4D' movies

Jon H

Theme parks

Don't theme parks and other attractions often have "4D" cinemas? I know Babbacombe Model Village down near Torquay has a little one, the seats move and you get sprayed with jets of water and air.

Navigation app CoPilot Live goes freemium next month

Jon H
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Re: Yay Navfree user!

+1 for Navfree on Android.

It has a few updates to go before it offers all the features of a decent SatNav, but the maps are supposedly updated frequently (every 2 months?). Heck, Google Maps hasn't even got the A3 Hindhead tunnel on it which opened to traffic last July!

Plus, maps are downloaded (for free of course) to SD card in full for offline use so no need for a data signal to plan or update your route which can be very annoying with Google Maps when you're in the middle of nowhere.

Eight... HD camera smartphones

Jon H


You say some of the phones "requiring adaptors to deliver a hi-res AV out"... I don't know about the others but the HTC supports DLNA. So as long as your TV is compatable, you can stream the HD video to your TV over your WiFi network without purchasing anything else. That's how I watch my phone's videos at home.

Telly makers failing to turn punters on to smart TV

Jon H

Experience doesn't compare to PC

I have a 2011 high end Panasonic plasma which has these smart features... iPlayer is done pretty well with a great picture, but apart from that, I don't touch the other "apps".

Sure it has Facebook and Skype and a weather channel and several other things that I can't even remember now, but generally they're so slow to navigate around and load. As for Skype, you have to buy a specific webcam that will work with the TV and it's over £100, no thanks!

It has DNLA which can be handy for playing videos (not all formats work which is really annoying so you end up just using a PC to TV HDMI cable!) and music but otherwise you get a much better experience with your computer (especially if you can hook it up to your big screen TV).

Ten... mini hi-fi systems

Jon H

How much?

Is it just me or does it seem these prices are quite high for mini systems? It wasn't that long ago you wouldn't pay more than a couple of hundred quid for a really good mini hifi system and a cheap thing was under £100.

I've got a Yamaha 5.1 AV amp that was just over £100 new. I know it didn't come with speakers or a CD player and the radio is just FM not DAB, but it does have something like 5x100W and decent quality with plenty of inputs so I can't see how the Yamaha in this review can be 3 times the price. Is an iPod dock and a pair of little speakers really that expensive?

Nissan Leaf battery powered electric car

Jon H

What if the charger is already in use?

So Nissan dealers have a charger for Leaf users... so what happens if you pull up and you find there's already another Leaf on charge? That's a half hour extra wait (assuming the driver returns promptly).

I know other places like council offices have installed chargers (probably not as high as 80A though) but again, there's only 1 or 2 of these in each town, so what if someone has got there before you and charging for a few hours while they go shopping.

I was at Cherwell Valley services yesterday and spotted a single charging point, except there was a non-electric ambulance (not on a call) parked in the bay blocking its use!

Brits turned off by Smart TVs

Jon H

no choice

This summer I bought a new Panasonic plasma. I wanted the best picture I could afford. Now that also meant the TV I ended up with is 3D and "smart" (Panasonic's "VieraCast"). Nice gadgets perhaps, but hardly a reason to choose this TV over another and it's not like I could have bought the same TV with the same picture quality without these features.

Yes iPlayer works very well on the TV but it's pretty much the only app I have used on there, and pretty rarely at that. The whole Smart TV menu system is slow, scrolling to the next page of apps is slow, typing in program names in iPlayer is slow. It's very fustrating. It's far easier and quicker to find the weather or do your facebook or catch up with iPlayer on your PC than it is on the TV. Being able to stream media from your PC/network is far more useful than having apps.

So I wouldn't chose to pay extra to have these features on a Smart TV, they just come with the higher end models already.

Samsung strokes big bulb that'll keep going for decades

Jon H

LEDs can only do directional lighting

As good as LED lighting is, it can't replace the traditional bulb in the centre of the room. Rather than giving out light in every direction, the LEDs can only throw light forwards with a limited beam angle.

So it's not just a case of replacing an old bulb for something new, you have to change your whole lighting system, install downlighters or other spot lights. You generally need more of them to flood the whole room.

Now Barracuda bitten by Thai disk drought disaster

Jon H

That's nothing, try over 260% increase

I bought a 2.5" 320GB 7200rpm Seagate towards the end of October for £34.99 ex VAT from Novatech, less than 2 weeks later it was over £90 and they still had over 50 in stock. That was 262% increase!

They don't seem to list it today but Amazon have the same one also for a bit over £90 ex VAT.

Battlefield 3

Jon H

Could be better

I don't play many games these days but BF2 was for a long time about the only one I did play (only stopped when I changed to a new PC and the game disc wouldn't work any more to re-install). I loved the wide open playing fields, even the city maps allowed you to see in the distance, run miles, be a sniper, need to find a vehicle... Never really been keen on the COD style everything crammed up close, can't turn a corner without being shot.

So I bought BF3 thinking I'd prefer the style over COD, but what's happened, it's turned into COD!

Oh and what's with all this Origin software and web based game launching? I just want to click an icon on my desktop and play the damn game!

I don't like the constant water marks on the screen either (you can see them in a few of this article's screen shots). Very annoying.

But I must say, for under 30 quid, it plays very well with 560ti graphics card and installed to an SSD! Those poor console owners! Ha!

WTF is... Bluetooth 4.0?

Jon H


Hmm, quotes of 100m or even 10m... has anyone every actually managed that?

When sending audio over bluetooth, whether from a mobile (tried a couple of different OS phones) or from a PC or a Sony audio-to-BT transmitter to various BT headsets, I've never achieved more than 3 or 4 metres and if your body/head is inbetween the transmitter and the receiver than the range is halved.

Dell Vostro V131 13.3in Core i5 notebook

Jon H

1366 x 768 is not "a decent resolution"

"and a decent resolution of 1366 x 768"... I think not. You'll be scrolling your screen up and down far too much to read web pages, spreadsheets and documents.

And don't think it's only that low resolution because it's a 13" screen. All the 15" Vostros are now stuck with that screen (only the top end 17" comes with 1600x900 and that's not great for 17").

I specify and buy all the laptops for my company, being on a tight budget, we used to buy the previous Vostros in 13" and 15", they'd come with 800 line screens as standard and we'd always upgrade that to 900 lines or more. But now there's no option to improve on the measly 768 line screens (I wish they'd stop calling it "HD"), we've had to go elsewhere.

The Vostros are cheap and it does show. The slot loading DVD drive on the old nn10 range would always die and you couldn't change them. The nn20 range were better. Just a shame the step up in quality to a Latittude is quite a step up in price. That said, look after them and they'll survive ok.

TomTom fights falling satnav sales with iPad app

Jon H

Android / WinMo6

Well I hope they hurry up and release an Android version (at a sensible price to compete with what's already out there).

I had TomTom on my old Windows Mobile 5 and 6 phones and in many ways it was much better than what is available free on Android now, even though it was somewhat dated compared to the iPhone version and their standalone units.

I've been using the Android free Navigation app and, hmm, well, it kinda gets you there, but creating routes isn't good, it may show you traffic conditions on the maps but it doesn't do anything about heavy traffic. TomTom i smuch better in that respect, especially if you subscribe to the Live Traffic.

BBC crowdsourced mobile map: A bit quirky, but useful

Jon H

Ofcom have a transmitter site map already for you

No need to make your own Google map of transmitter locations, just go to http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/

It's quite good, enter a town name and you see pushpins of all the transmitters (expcept "E-E"), click on one for info.

And that OpenSignalMaps isn't as great as some of you are making it out to be. It only really tells you if the area isn't covered by 3G, it doesn't tell you however if it at least covered by 2G or no signal at all or there is simply no info for the area. At least the BBC's map distinguishes between 3G, 2G, no signal and no info.

Both apps could be improved but they are both on the right track.

ISS 'naut shoots first ever 3D footage in space

Jon H

Lot of effort for a simple bit of camcorder footage

They seem to have gone to a lot of effort (you know, going to the Space Station) just to get a bit of low quality cheap camcorder style footage of a bloke standing there with a blow-up globe! It's not like they pointed the camera out of the window so we can actually see like the Earth in the distance behind the nearby solar panels or something.

There's better 3D stuff on YouTube made by amateurs.

Apple delays 'retina display' iPad 3 to 2012

Jon H

PC monitors with that resolution

2048x1536 = very nice, but on a semi-small screen the size of a tablet? Hmm, how about starting off making that resolution in a 24" PC monitor? Might be a bit easier / cheaper than trying to squeeze everything down so small too.

We used to have 1200 line monitors but now we seem to be stuck at a mere 1080 lines because apparently "HD" resolution is better than any other resolution.

Murdoch muscles BBC out of Formula One driving seat

Jon H


Great, I've just bought my first HD tele, still waiting for it to be delivered in fact. I bought one with FreeSat HD built in so I wouldn't have to pay Sky. Honestly I've been looking forward to F1 in HD more than other programs and now all this, just typical.

How many Sky Sports subscribers are there already? Obviously Sky next year will take that figure and say they have that many F1 viewers making it sound like they've won a lot of fans over.

If we can't see all the races live, public interest will wain, revenue from the UK will be down and this will slowly get noticed by the F1 teams and more importantly their sponsors and hopefully they will then kick up a fuss.

Skype brings cross-platform video to Android

Jon H

3G video?

Why is video on iPhones and Android such a big effort?

Bog standard 3G phones had video calling years ago and my 4 year old Windows Mobile 6 phone does video calling using the basic 3G standard, hence not limited like "facetime" users that can only see other "facetime" users or Skype to Skype only.

Pixmania users report scam-spam bombardment

Jon H

Ah that explains the email yesterday then!

Yup, I had an odd email yesterday afternoon sent to a specific work email account. Had my name in the subject and it was offering "Customer Service Assistant vacancy at ASTRO Consulting". A quick Google after reading The Reg's article and it seems to be the same email everyone is getting.

I used that email address to order from Pixmania back in August last year.

Top telly tech fails to drive new set sales

Jon H

Wrong features stopped me buying a new TV this year

I was looking at Panasonic's 2010 plasma TVs last year but heard the 2011 models would have better displays so I waited. Hmm, yes they do but they've also lost all but 1 scart socket (the TV would be my first HD device so everything I have still uses scart), FreeSat HD has been removed from all but their stupidly expensive 3D sets (I'm loathed to pay Sky an extra £120 a year for HD and there's no cable where I live, oh and I'm not paying the 3D premium for something I won't use) and the VGA computer input which would be great for my VGA only laptop was also taken off.

So I'm still using my old Sony CRT today.

Panasonic TX-P42GT30 42in plasma 3D TV

Jon H
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2010 vs 2011

Shame Panasonic have crippled their 2D version of this TV, last year's G20 had FreeSat but they've removed it (and a few other connectors) off this year's G30 model. Only leaving useful features on their most expensive sets and I'm sure not paying £1300 for a 2D TV and I have no desire or forseeable need for a 3D TV for the next few years.

Channel Islands VAT loophole shut, petrol prices cut

Jon H

public transport impracticle

Back when we had the fuel protests, I looked into using public transport to get to work as I do live in a (small) city and worked in a town, both with a train station. My office was 30 miles away and I could do door to door by car in 35 minutes.

However the rail network being what it is where most lines point towards London and not in the direction I needed, I would have to catch 3 trains in both the morning and the evening. A 15 minute walk at the office end and a 25 minute walk at my home end (because the local buses didn't operate so early or so late in the day). It meant my commute would have gone from 35 minutes to over 3 hours!!! (remember my office was only 30 miles away)

About 6.5 hours a day commuting with public transport or a bit over an hour by private car (and probably a lot cheaper still too).

Even now, my current work is a mere 8 miles (about 13 minutes) away by road yet I'd need a bus, 2 trains, another bus and then a bit of a walk just to get to work (and obviously the same on the homeward trip). (Even a bicycle beats public transport on this trip and I might use one if I didn't have to carry tools and a laptop with me and get to work so early)

So, personal car or public transport, guess which wins my vote.

Ten... fitness gadgets

Jon H
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What about Run GPS http://www.rungps.net/ for Android and Windows Mobile?

Does all the others do and more (for starters it's also on WinMo!). Allows live tracking so someone can follow you on Google Earth in real time. Plus it has profiles for all sorts of sports... cycling, hiking, canoeing etc etc, and works out calories and all sorts of things.

Standard smartphone charger to dominate in two years

Jon H

HTC use Mini USB not Micro USB

As far as I know, unless they've changed with their most recent phones, all the HTC smartphones I've seen use MINI USB, not MICRO USB.

It's the same mini USB size that fits a lot of devices like external hard drives. I've got loads of devices which connect via, run on or charge using mini USB, but not a single thing that uses micro USB so that's a bit of a pain.

Nokia to halve its smartphone portfolio in 2010

Jon H

No Windows Mobile

Cutting their smartphones? Considering Nokia are one of the very few major brands NOT to so a Windows Mobile phone, they're already missing out big time in the business world. So halving nothing isn't really much is it!

Atheists smite online God poll

Jon H

TV vs Church

I heard an interesting fact that made me think recently, only around a million (or less) people in the UK go to church on a Sunday where a man tells you what to do/belive.

Whereas several million people watch comedy/quiz/news/etc etc shows every week.

So a single comedian/newsreader/etc etc on TV has a far bigger reach than the combined force of all the vicars, priests and bishops in this country!

iPhone and Windows Mobile get the (Gmail) Push

Jon H

Sky email

Will this work with Sky email which is basically just Gmail with a different front end?

Philips waves farewell to point-and-press remote controls

Jon H
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Not practical

So, I'm lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep while watching TV, the loud adverts come on and instead of just pressing the volume button of the remote that's sitting in my hand (barely using any effort at all), I've got to start waving this thing around in the air like an idiot? Oh yeah, that will really help me fall asleep!!!

CRB checks can take years to complete

Jon H

How many years in a year?

"in 2008-09 the longest time taken to complete an enhanced disclosure was 1,606 days, about four years and five months."


"The longest time for a 'standard' check last year was 864 days, more than two years and four months."

So err, if it took 2.5 years last year, then it still has a year and a half to run? And how can they be sure it WILL finish in another 1.5 years?

Windows Mobile 7 feature details mined

Jon H

Video calls?

"Microsoft is looking at adding the ability to make video calls" - But I can already make video calls on my WM6.1 phone. Explain!

F1 waves goodbye to KERS

Jon H

Was going to have more power

KERS wasn't given a chance... an extra 10% engine power for only 6 seconds a lap just didn't outweigh the weight distribution issues. BUT, the power output was due to increase next year and the year after, making it far more attractive.

iPhone 3.0 beta reveals mixed blessing

Jon H

you have to pay for simple features?!

This is why I'll never buy an iPhone, having to pay 3rd party developers for little features that really should be built in.

Sure, this 3rd version seems to be catching up but it shouldn't take 3 versions to get there. Voice recording? I've got that on my old WM5 phone and I'm sure my really old SE phone had that.

So you buy an iPhone, then you have to buy lots of "features", then you seem to have to pay subscriptions for using other apps... hmm, it's not a phone, it's somewhere to throw your money away.

Stargazers spy elusive binary black hole system

Jon H

not "Earth to the nearest star"

"The two black holes "appear to be separated by only 1/10 of a parsec - a tenth of the distance from Earth to the nearest star""..

Earth's nearest star is what we commonly call "the Sun". That is not 1 parsec, but one AU, about 93 million miles.

A parsec is about 19 trillion miles, so a 10th is a little under 2 trillion miles. Bit of a difference between that and the distance to the Earth's nearest star.

'Gv up txt 4 Lent,' urges bishop

Jon H

give up things and do what instead?...

...go to church perhaps?...

Ha ha ha! Yeah right! Pull the other one. That's less likely to happen than me giving up facebook for a month!!!!

Virgin Media boosts bottom tier broadband

Jon H


"typically charge £30 per month for similar service"... well I pay only a tenner on top of my Sky TV subscription and I'm seeing speeds of 12.5Mb/s and I'm not throttled or capped in anyway.

Meanwhile, although I live in a city, there's no cable here at all so it would be a complete FAIL on Virgin's side. At least 99% of the country can get ADSL.

Storage breakthrough could bust density record

Jon H


Damn it! I've already been beaten into saying a "quarter" of what?! This is a UK site.

At least complete the comparison by saying "a US quarter coin", or make a UK equivalent like "a 10 pence coin" or whatever is similar sized.

Scotland Today in news nipslip outrage

Jon H

Already on YouTube

Someone's already uploaded it...


Mobile phones to get universal charger

Jon H

Finally some sense

I have a draw full of old mobile phone charger cables... they're ALL different even though they're nearly all from the same phone manufacturer (I should probably bin them!).

A couple of years back I changed phone to an O2 branded HTC Windows Mobile phone with microUSB. Makes so much more sense, I can charge the phone, my bluetooth GPS, my little digital photo frame, my TomTom satnav and transfer data between my PC and all the devices, all with just the one cable plugged into my PC. Same in the car, if something needs a power boost, it's just the one car 12V to MicroUSB converter required.

Simple and tidy.

Question is, will this "standard" in 2012 be USB3 compatible?!

Pirate Bay prosecutor tosses infringement charges overboard

Jon H

Blockbuster Video *makes available* copyright material

So... let me get this right...

Pirate Bay is now up in court for "making available" copyrighted material which someone could copy. Yeah?

What's the difference then to me going to Blockbuster Video (or any other), browsing all that copyrighted material, taking one home and making a copy.

Neither Pirate Bay nor Blockbuster Video made the copy for me, I did that, however they both supplied that material in the first place, actually, you could argue PB didn't supply it at all, they just told me where to find it whereas BV actually did supply it to me.

Boffins ponder Geordies' lack of winter clothing

Jon H


We need photographic evidence / proof !!!

Last US sat radio gang mulls bankruptcy

Jon H

Don't forget...

Even Radio 1 transmits on Sirius

Brum laid bare on OpenStreetMap

Jon H

The first???

"the first British location to enjoy full-fat coverage on OpenStreetMap"

You what?! Who says?!

I finished mapping Chichester months ago! OK, it's not as big as Birmingham but it's still a city that's complete. (all done on my bicycle with a BT GPS and my Windows Mobile phone if you want to know).

I'm quite sure there are other towns and cities finished too.

Payback time for Ofcom on incoming call charges

Jon H

Free to USA "cell" phones"

So, how come it still costs us this termination fee? On my UK Sky landline package, I can call a land line OR cell phone in the USA for free, yet off peak calls to a UK mobile are about 5.5p per minute.

Something doesn't seem right there.