* Posts by Sam York

49 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Dec 2008

Dell Inspiron Mini 10

Sam York

So it's got a HDMI port, but can't play full HD video?

Marvellous. Another one to steer clear of then, although the screen resolution is a welcome improvement.

Panasonic TX-L37V10 LCD HD TV

Sam York

@ Tony Smith, David Paul Morgan

Yep, entirely correct, it's done on a 'red button' basis where HD content is available.

I think, but am not certain, that the Freesat EPG includes an icon to indicate that this is the case for a particular program, but I can't currently check as I am at work!

Sam York

@ AC 11.21

AFAIK the reason that the VGA (well, technically HD15) input on a lot of TVs is crippled to sub-HD resolution is through pressure from content owners/creators, as VGA obviously does not include the facility for HDCP.

For the commenter above (jonathan rowe), my 32LZD85 displays full 1080p resolution absolutely fine using a DVI-HDMI lead. Took a bit of fiddling with graphics card settings, maybe you didn't quite hit on the right one.

Allowing you to mix the RCA audio input with video via HDMI is a nice touch though, mine can only use the HDMI audio when you're on a HDMI input. Doesn't really matter to me as I use an external amp anyway, but I appreciate the feature being included on this one.

@ richard 69: please spare a thought for those of us who live out of range of Freeview reception, and do not wish to further enrich Rupert Murdoch.

Sam York

@ AC 8.56

Er, it clearly says LCD in the title...

(apologies if El Reg has corrected this in light of your comment, I can't remember what it said when I first read it)

Anyway, as an owner of a 32LZD85 (the slightly older 100Hz model with no Freesat etc) this looks very interesting with the extra features, although I doubt I'll be upgrading so soon after purchasing the other one. My Viera has one of the best pictures I've ever seen on an LCD TV, both for SD & HD content, so I can easily believe this will be as good as or better.

O2 wins UK exclusive on Palm Pre, says report

Sam York


I really wanted a Pre, but there's absolutely no chance I'm going back to O2.

@ Rob Haswell - much as I personally dislike the decision, it's certainly not a case for the EU to be interfering in.

Samsung Story Station 1TB external HDD

Sam York

@ Chronos

Obviously your geek fu is not strong...

When I started this job 7 months ago, I spent pretty much my first solid week refusing to do anything but coil cables, cable tie them and file them in stack & store boxes depending on category.

It does mean that IEC M-F would be in the same box as 13A plug IEC, but they are the only two sorts of cables in that box. Similarly the mini USB are in the same box as maxi USB (although I'm considering revising that).

A cable _pile_, though? Nah, I'm too much of a nerd (read: my OCD is too bad) for anything that messy :D

Sam York

@ Chris

I'll stick you a box in the post mate, it's getting like Day of the Triffids over here!

Sam York
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I like the switch as well - I'm a fan of that sort of thing too

But a _mini_ USB socket on a full size drive?!

Within easy reach of me at the moment I have something like 10^23 full size USB A-B cables, they are truly ubiquitous. When I cart external hard drives between home and work etc I don't usually bother bringing the lead, I leave it plugged into my home machine, it's one less thing to carry.

Whilst I have several mini ones they would take much longer to locate, because they're not used for as many things. And there's two types that look nearly the same but are incompatible.

Fine for devices that _need_ a physically smaller socket, a full size external HDD however does not.

Palm Pre developers told to read a book

Sam York


When are we getting a GSM version?

Sony Ericsson Walkman W995

Sam York

Title required

"Sony Ericsson's standard two-pin Fast Port power connection and a 3.5mm jack plug, which is nice, but somewhat superfluous since an adaptor for the power plug also features a 3.5mm headphone socket and is included with the supplied earbuds."

So after EVERY review you've ever written of a SE phone criticising them for using an adapter for the 3.5mm socket, and saying they should put a standard socket on the phone, you now write this?

I admit they could have made the charger socket smaller, but kudos for remaining compatible with their existing chargers.

LG 42LF7700 HD TV

Sam York

"However, it’s a shame that the 42LF7700 doesn’t have an upscaling option"

Er, what?

So how exactly is it filling the screen with a standard def picture then?

Microsoft announces Zune HD

Sam York

@ Chris

If you think EX71s are decent, you need to try a few alternatives...

I'm using Etymotic Research ER4s in custom moulds for in ears, Sennheiser HD-25 for small portable closed cup cans, and Sony MDR-7509HD for the big daddy over the ear jobs (I alternate between them all on my portable player depending on a variety of factors)

Granted, both those examples are probably slightly OTT, but as noted above I am fanatical about sound quality!

Sam York

@ richard

If you can't hear the difference, you must be hard of hearing!

The iPod headphone amp is cheap as chips (read: execrable quality), it really does have a serious impact on the sound.

This is why I always wince when I see people using the headphone amp as a line out when they should be using a dock connector on the bottom; the sound quality from the proper line out pins is vastly better, although I'd still hesitate to describe it as 'good'.

The files/bitrate/headphones/etc do all need to be the same, but the electronics in the analogue domain are going to have a huge effect.

FWIW, I use a fairly old Creative with an external headphone amp (I'm quite anal about sound quality). I spent over twice the price of my mp3 player on the amp and decent headphones to go with it, and the difference is staggering.

Office 2010 tech preview leaks onto interwebs

Sam York

@ those (like me) who can't abide the ribbon

Check this out: http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/2009/03/08/get-office-2003-menus-in-the-office-2007-ribbon/

Means you can enjoy the (admittedly quite good) new features of 2k7 without tearing your hair out over the 'My First Computer' interface.

I can't imagine HOW anyone thought that was a good idea; in Excel 2003 I have four rows of buttons that between them can access just about every single feature in Excel - in 2007 the ribbon takes up the same amount of space but can fit about 8 buttons per tab. Can't understand how that's more efficient or better in any way, it takes more clicks to get everywhere!

Anyway, enjoy the above link...

Facebook eliminates parts of Wales

Sam York

@ Mark Daniels

You're quite correct, it's a principality that these days is more an administrative region of the UK than anything else. I describe myself as British to anyone that asks.

'Cardiff, England' however is inaccurate. Cardiff, UK would be fine, but it is clearly not in England.

Sony pooh-poohs PS3 redesign claims

Sam York

Agree with Joe K

Those pics certainly look genuine.

Not surprised, they did it with the PS2 as already mentioned, and also with the PSX (remember the PSOne? Didn't sell amazingly well I don't think).

I might even get one, I'm moving ever closer towards buying a PS3 and a slimline one would be more attractive than the current behemoth.

Toshiba Tecra M10 14in notebook

Sam York

@ Buck Futter

I'll take the one that has the feature set I want, is well made, reliable and has good support available. I couldn't give a flying fuck what it looks like; it's a tool, not a fashion accessory.

Toshiba would be my choice brand of laptop for almost any situation I can think of.

But then I'm one of these engineer types that prizes substance over style every time, some of us are funny like that.

Sam York

My mum has a Dell Latitude from work

I think it's a Sempron (i.e. absolute bottom of the range) not an Intel though.

The build quality is piss poor compared to the Tosh sitting on my desk. The high end Dell laptops seem well made, but the lower end ones are horribly flimsy and plasticky and feel like the lid will snap off when you're opening it.

I find Toshibas to be very well made even down to the £300 entry level models, and for this reason they are my first choice/recommendation of laptop in most situations.

Sam York

You may mock the inclusion of a serial port

But for a lot of business applications it's essential - so much industrial equipment of many many sorts interfaces via RS232, and it's a real pain in the arse that so few laptops have it. USB-serial dongles tend to be very hit and miss.

I have a Tecra A9 (15.4") sat on my desk and it's fairly bulky yes, but nicely specified. I particularly like the 1680x1050 screen resolution. That was only £600 ish though, so 50% more for the 14" model seems slightly poorly judged.

It's US vs Europe as world e-car plug standard race nears end

Sam York

What a waste of R&D and effort in general

What's wrong with IEC 60309 (aka Cee form)?

Support for single and three phase, will easily handle the voltage, and IP rated. Oh, and someone's already gone to the trouble of designing them.

Freecom ToughDrive Sport

Sam York


why not use an SSD?!

Altec Lansing inMotion Max iPhone speaker

Sam York

@ Al

Aaaaah. Makes sense now!

Passive radiators =/= passive speakers. A passive radiator is a driver assembly with no voice coil or magnet (so basically just a cone of paper) that will vibrate in sympathy with the other one due to air pressure fluctuations inside the speaker cabinet. It's not doing a great deal towards the sound (the cynical part of my brain suggests it's a cheap way of improving the looks/desirability of the product without forking out for another pair of drivers or the uprated amps to power them), I thought this sort of thing had fallen out of favour a long time ago so it didn't enter my head at all!

Sam York

My post making the same point doesn't appear to have passed moderation due to high levels of sarcasm

Active/passive speakers is a slightly nebulous distinction. The speaker drivers are always passive, the term active simply refers to the amplification being built into the same box. Therefore, in this case, the whole unit can be considered active, although the active/passive designation would more usually apply to standalone speakers/speakers with amps in and doesn't usually apply to 'all-in-ones' such as this, that have a tuner, iPod dock, CD player or whatever built in. They're just 'an iPod dock' or 'a ghetto blaster', the fact they're active is taken as a given since nobody has built anything which includes a source signal and some speakers, but not the amps for the speakers, cos that'd be silly.

If it had two passive speakers and two active speakers, that would mean that only half the speakers worked until you hooked up an external amp to the input on the back for the other two. Which I would bet my bottom dollar is not the case with this product!

@ Al Taylor, I can assure you that all four will be powered - what would be the point of only powering half of them?

ZuneHD en-route to Blighty?

Sam York

@ 'erm....'

It will have a HD output, so the advantage of HD storage/playback will mainly be relating to plugging it into a big telly - imo quite a nice feature of a personal media player.

Also, the people who tell you you can't see the benefit unless you buy a massive TV are usually trying to sell you TVs so have something of a vested interest in upselling. I have a 32" 1080p Panasonic Viera, and I can assure you that you can tell the difference between SD and HD.

Wanna upgrade from Windows 7 beta? Go back to Vista first

Sam York

@ Paul Delaney

Expecting it to actually run on that spec is probably a bit optimistic though! Remember that at the time the P3 was released, we were all using Windows 98 (shudders at the thought of those days); there's been a fair few Windows releases since then...*

I agree the minimum (MS quoted) spec is not good enough as always, but from my tests on quite a variety of machines it will definitely run happily on a lower spec than Vista. I probably won't chuck it on anything earlier than a P4, but I don't really have any front line machines older/slower than that anyway.

It will take a lot to tear me away from XP as it's rock solid when I set it up as I like it, but it is getting old and unable to use the latest hardware to its full capabilities, so I'm going to have to upgrade sometime. Vista was too much of a resource hog for me but I think I will be purchasing quite a few copies of 7 quite soon after it comes out (and it's rare for me to be an early adopter). My main reservation is still the abject lack of classic view for those of us who view our computers as a tool rather than a pretty multimedia experience that wants to make friends with us!

*I believe it's somewhat frowned upon to mention the name of Windows 98's successor in polite conversation, so I've omitted it to save everyone having horrible flashbacks and panic attacks.

Sam York

@ mittfh

Well, yeah. Who cares about the semantics if we're getting a better OS? Which we are, even the beta version shits on Vista SP1 from a great height. They also did the same thing with 2000/XP, if you recall...

@ Paul, I'm only using the 32 bit version but where I've had to look for drivers the Vista ones have all worked, I'd expect the same to be true of 64 bit as it is on the same kernel.

I had a couple of really weird problems installing it as a dual boot on one of my machines - it borked remote desktop and the ability to synchronise to internet time on the XP boot although it was on a separate partition (albeit the same physical disk). Recovered my XP partition from the backup image after I'd installed 7, and then it all worked perfectly. Strange...!

Sun packs 150 billion web pages into meat locker

Sam York

@ Steve Evans

The article clearly states that water cooling is used...

Web giants urged to bar Phorm

Sam York

@ AC 14.22

I disagree with Phorm as much as the next man (it's very much the thin end of the proverbial insidious wedge), but learn to read!

Below the bit that you quote:

"Alternatively, you may request specifically that your website is not scanned by Webwise. To request that your website not be scanned by Webwise, please email:

website-exclusion@webwise.com. "

This I believe is the 'opt-out' clause referred to in the letter/article.

El Reg spymobile snapper nailed on Street View

Sam York

So, given his name

was he looking for all spycars great and small then?


Acer K10 DLP pico projector

Sam York

@ AC

(not related to this discussion, but to answer your question)

The reason VGA ports etc on TVs are limited in resolution, even though VGA can comfortably manage the resolution, is to force you to use the HDMI port for full, which obviuosly has HDCP built in...

Humax Foxsat-HDR Freesat HD digital video recorder

Sam York

@ Liam Thom

How is SD better through a HDMI cable than through another cable if it's exactly the same signal and the same scaling algorithm on the TV? I haven't A/B'd between the two but might try it out. I can't see how there'd be any difference though, unless your TV has a really crappy scaler and using the one in the Foxsat is better.

Apple White MacBook Early 2009

Sam York

@ Adrian

USB2 is theoretically 480Mb/s but in every real world situation I've tried it in, FW400 is much faster (and particularly on Macs, they don't seem to cope very well with USB hard drives for some reason).

It's because Firewire devices contain their own controller chips where USB relies on the CPU.

Beeb borrows copyrighted Flickr image

Sam York
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Weasel words!

Copyright is automatic, under the Berne Convention. You do not need to state that the original work is copyright, or even use the (C) symbol; simply releasing the work into the public domain means you hold the copyright. If there are no contact details for the author the work then that just means they should not have used it.

I would have told the BBC to stick it where the sun don't shine, personally. Especially after a weaselly email like that, trying to backpedal/spin their way out of it. I don't for one minute believe that it was a test image, and even if it was, ignorance or accident is no defence!

Coming soon: Pills to 'turn down' your ears at clubs

Sam York


And if we're being really anal (and as technical people it's our duty) the time over which the reading was taken should also be given. 110dB(A)SPL Leq over 5 hours is a hell of a lot louder than a peak reading of the same number.

@ Steve Lubman - $10.00 doesn't buy you 'good' musicians earplugs. Whilst the cheap ones will attenuate the overall level acceptably, you have to spend a significant amount more than that to get anything that will attenuate all frequencies equally, which is what a musician would want. I agree the cheap ones are fine for the general public wanting to protect their hearing though (personally when I'm listening to music loud enough to require plugs, I want to hear the music as it was originally intended, not a muffled mess. Although I am a nerd when it comes to these matters)

Sam York
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Aaaaargh! Basic physics fail

'100 decibels' is meaningless. A deciBel (note capital B, it's one tenth of a Bel) is a ratio, not a unit, and must ALWAYS be expressed with a reference level. If we're talking sound pressure level (SPL), as I suspect, the weighting curve must also be given.

100 decibels = piffle

100dB(A)SPL = an actual measurement

I expect better from a site that's supposed to be technical.

I also struggle to see how something like what is described in the article actually works, as tinnitus resulting from exposure to high sound pressure levels is caused by physical damage to the microscopic hairs in the ear canal. So does the drug alter your DNA to stiffen said hairs? Find that hard to believe, although we are living in the 21st century now...

Seagate firmware fix bricks Barracudas

Sam York
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Why does everyone go for this business model these days?

Taking a leaf out of the MS book and using your paying customers as beta testers...

Release something that doesn't work properly, it's OK, we'll update it, update causes more problems, release another update that causes more problems, repeat ad nauseum/infinitum.

What happened to fully testing your product and making sure it works before you start selling it?

Conficker Autoplay ruse gets teeth into Windows 7

Sam York

Modify how Autoplay works?

Hopefully they will just turn it off altogether. I always have, on any Windows system that's supported it.

Is it really much hardship to put a CD/USB stick in, then navigate to it in My Computer to explore or open it? I think not.

Belkin boss 'extremely sorry' for cash-for-good-reviews plan

Sam York

I'm not a fan of Belkin

Everything of theirs I've had has been exceptionally cheap and nasty. Or overpriced and nasty if you buy it from PC World.

At the budget end of the router/network hardware market I struggle to understand why anyone would buy anything other than Netgear.

Addonics NASU2 micro USB NAS adaptor

Sam York

@ AC 16.51

USB 2 is 480Mbit/s....

Sam York
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I'll echo AC @ 15.16

This is a rewording of the press release/spec sheet. It tells us nothing really.

I'm mainly interested in the possibilities of adding a USB hub - you say the price combined with a new hard drive is more than buying a hard drive with an Ethernet port, but if I can plug a £5 active hub into it and use four cheapo USB drives, it starts to become more attractive.

Did you actually try it with a powered USB hub? You must have some knocking about El Reg Towers.

Did you even take it out of the box at all or did you just read the Quick Start Guide and regurgitate it?

Security boffins attempt to freeze out cold boot crypto attack

Sam York

@ AC

Getting round BIOS passwords is easy...! There's several methods that your average 14 year old would probably know. I'll leave out the details, it's not hard to find them out if you fancy doing a bit of research.

Pure Digital Avanti Flow internet radio and iPod speaker

Sam York
Paris Hilton

'metallic silver flashes on the main driver unit grilles'

Brilliant! Let's put things in front of the speakers. That'll make it sound good!

Paris, because she understands style over substance. (Jobs would fit equally well but I fancied some blonde eye candy)

Lexmark C543DN colour laser

Sam York

Lexmark has a solid technological base?!


Like I suspect many other people, I have had one Lexmark printer, realised my mistake and will never again buy anything bearing the name, however cheap it is or how good it looks.

Perfectly happy with Canon, HP, Epson or Samsung (for cheap lasers) but the Lexmark badge will never cross my threshold again.

Freesat signs up LG

Sam York

@ Colin Millar

Really?! My Humax cost me >£300. Show me how I can BMO with twin tuners and 320GB HDD for that price....

And that's even accepting the fact it won't be half as easy to use and well integrated.

Sam York

I was tempted by the Panasonic ones

but they don't offer a 100Hz set with the Freesat tuner built in, so ended up buying the Humax HDR separately. It was in stock at Argos a week ago Anonymous Coward, and is a bloody brilliant bit of kit.

The Panasonic TV is very nice as well, the picture quality is worth spending 2x the price of a brand you've never heard of. Night and day compared to my 37" Logik set, I really didn't expect the difference to be that big.

Western Digital WD TV HDD-to-HDTV adaptor

Sam York

A real shame

That there's no Ethernet/WiFi connectivity....

Otherwise I'd have ordered one already! WD missed a trick there I feel.

Hasbro drops lawsuit against Scrabulous creators

Sam York

You got a free Scrabble CD, yes

(I have the same one in fact)

But this will be fully licensed, paid for and agreed with Mattel! Not the same thing at all...

2008's top three MP3 players

Sam York

That's exactly what I mean, Rowan Huggard

Typical Apple fanboy response: 'The looks, the interface and the general user experience are so far ahead of anything else on the market, its going to take years for anyone else to even draw level.'

So these features are of more importance to you than sound quality, amount of different file formats played, whether the headphones that come with it are worth 99p, etc etc...

If I was buying an mp3 player I would prioritise mp3 playing functions over being stylish and cool. Guess that's why I don't own many Apple products then!

Sam York

Apple are never the best choice for anything other than styling

The quality of their hardware is shocking for the prices they charge.

PS - surely a discreet music player? All of them are discrete!