* Posts by Chris 72

13 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

iPhone 3.1 code goes beta

Chris 72 Silver badge

@AC 08:37

"Well, none of the phones I have ever owned or used have had this. They certainly can't turn something like 0141-999-9999 into a dialable number either (because of the - chars)."

Works OK on a WinMo6.1 HTC Touch Pro. Doesn't translate text into numbers though, so on that point iPhone3.1 is ahead (though as someone else pointed out above, on this side of the puddle it's not all that often you'd need to be able to do this...).

Acer Aspire Revo R3600

Chris 72 Silver badge
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Missing the point a bit, I think

"Buying the drive raises the cost of the £250 Revo by 25 per cent and also puts paid to the idea of mounting the Revo on the back of your TFT display using the optional VESA mounting kit."

Don't see why, unless you've got a humungous display or the drive ships with the shortest USB cable on the planet. Mount the Revo on the back of the display as before, trail the USB cable down to the desktop, attach to back of drive, job done.

"The problem is that those are mostly theoretical advantages as the Revo doesn’t have an optical drive so it's tricky to watch movies or install games, unless you use a web-based service such as Steam, and it doesn’t have a DVI connector so its value as a desktop PC is severely reduced."

Indeed, but I very *very* strongly suspect the whole point of the Revo is that it gets added to an existing home network to allow the playing of media files/spot of gaming/web browsing on the LCD/plasma in the living room, rather than being pressed into service as someone's primary desktop machine. And if, therefore, the average Revo owner also has another machine sat on their network, chances are reasonably high that this machine will have an optical drive which the Revo could then share as and when needed. Alternatively, as others have mentioned, do away with the need for optical drives by storing your movies as network-accessible files - getting up to change DVDs is *so* last century, don't you think?

"Nvidia’s Ion platform makes perfect sense here, but Atom, at least the single-core version, has no obvious place in a mains-powered nettop PC."

As a living-room PC, it makes quite a bit of sense to reduce the power consumption as much as possible - you wouldn't want to be switching it on and off on a regular basis, and chances are many users won't even bother putting it into standby mode, so anything which keeps the active power consumption down is a good thing given that we're constantly being urged to save power.

AT&T punts not-free iPhone nav app

Chris 72 Silver badge


As someone with drawers full of OS maps spanning the last 70-odd years, bookmarks to more mapping sites than I can shake a stick at, and a well-thumbed UK atlas in the pocket behind my drivers seat, I absolutely agree with the idea that people should learn how to read maps and use them more frequently for route planning.

However... I *also* own both a dedicated TomTom unit and the TT software for my WinMo phone.

Familiarising myself with the expected route and the basic layout of the roads along the route is something I find easier to achieve with a traditional map, and I generally aim to memorise enough of the route such that if I can't get right to the destination without further aid, I'll at least be close enough such that I could easily pull over, have a quick check of the A-Z/atlas, and be back on my way. So in theory at least, I should never need a sat-nav.

In practice though, if I'm travelling through unfamiliar areas where I don't know the traffic patterns and where the route I've planned turns out to involve the use of the most heavily congested roads in the area, being able to call up an alternative route that skips the jam ahead is quite handy. As is being able to reroute around accidents, roadworks, unexpected/unmapped changes in route accessibility (roads that used to be two-way being turned into one-ways, junctions being remodelled to stop you turning right etc.). Sure, *sometimes* I know the nearby road layouts well enough to be able to reroute without assistance, and *sometimes* the amount of rerouting required means it would only take a few seconds of studying the map to figure out a new route. But not always.

Sat navs and maps complement one another. Yes, it's a bit stupid to rely solely on a sat nav, but it's equally stupid to assume anyone who uses a satnav is doing so only because they don't know how to read a map.

Designer pitches flat-pack power plug

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@Glen Turner 1

"Oh please. Let me count the errors: All pins contact simultaneously, rather than earth first."

Yes, let's count the errors. Starting with that one... Look at a UK plug. Notice how the earth pin is longer than the L/N pins. Consider what that might mean with regards to connect/disconnect sequencing.

"Earth is at the top, disconnecting under gravity."

Uhh, OK. Is the gravitational pull several orders of magnitude stronger in your part of the world than over here where these plugs somehow manage to remain firmly grasped by their sockets even when said plug has a dirty great transformer-based DC adapter embedded into its casing.

"The pins are square, so the socket will be weak in the corners."

True, rounded holes would reduce the potential for cracking, but the materials used in decent quality (i.e. not the cheapest imported rubbish you can lay your hands on that claims to be BS1363 compliant) sockets seem to be strong enough to withstand everyday usage without cracking. I've seen more cracked sockets on my travels outside of the UK than in 35 years of living here.

"You can see the hack with the insulation to prevent people contacting the pins on a partly-removed plug. But of necessity that retrofitted insulation is much thinner than desirable."

You can see the same "hack" on europlugs too... And what's worse - having thin insulation which will protect against some of the problems that non-insulated pins cause, or having no insulation at all?

People just not that into Blu-ray

Chris 72 Silver badge

@Citizen Kaned

"@"BD movies insist I watch all the crap the studios/publishers/whatever shove on the front of every movie - so I have no control" - you mean like DVDs do? or do you watch too many copies to remember this?"

Umm, rather than assume anyone who doesn't enjoy sitting through enforced trailers, FBI/FACT warnings etc. must be watching dodgy DVDs, how about considering that they are probably using a DVD player which simply ignores all the restrictions baked into the disc, and allows the user to skip these annoyances... How many Blu-ray players offer a similar level of control to their users, hmm?

Chris 72 Silver badge

@Ben Norris

"Thanks to the miracles of digital as long as the signal gets there it will be perfect so those £80+ HDMI cables that the likes of Currys and Comet try to sell you are absolutely pointless."

Not so fast there. For short cable runs between devices with decent quality transmit and receive hardware, an el-cheapo cable will work just fine. Start trying to send digital data across longer lengths, from a device which isn't quite as good at generating a clean signal, or to a device which isn't quite as good at pulling a valid data stream out of the received signal, as they could be, and you start to learn that even in the digital world, there are still times when you need to pay more for the bits of wet string linking your devices together.

It's not just a question of getting the signal to the other end of the cable, it's a question of getting it there without distorting it so much that the receiver can't pull anything intelligible from it - when it comes to sending signals down a bit of copper wire, especially at high bit rates, the analogue world has a nasty habit of gatecrashing the supposedly perfect digital party. So whilst I'd be happy to predict that in the majority of cases, people buying expensive HDMI cables *are* being ripped off by dodgy salesdroids, there are some situations where higher quality cables are absolutely essential.

Samsung Story Station 1TB external HDD

Chris 72 Silver badge


Why did they ruin the otherwise rather pleasing frontal aspect (god, I'm sounding like an estate agent here...) of the drive with a hideous protruberance such as that power knob? It's not as if the average user is likely to need to switch it on/off so often that being around the front rather than the back is going to be a real benefit, and I can't imagine anyone wanting to adjust the activity light brightness more than once or twice. Putting it on the front rather than the back also means that you can't take advantage of the space behind the drive required for cable routing, and so the whole thing ends up being deeper than it needs to be.

And easily-accessible power switches aren't at all compatible with toddlers - if I had one of these drives sat next to the mediacentre PC, I'd give it a day at most until our 21 month old learned how to switch it on and off... In comparison, the FreeAgent drive already connected to the mediacentre has remained powered up without a break despite it also having a bright flashing white light on the front to attract his attention - the power switch on that is round the back where he can't see it, and so as far as he's concerned it doesn't exist.

Oh, and Sam, any chance you could send some of those full-size USB cables in my direction? I'm in the opposite scenario here - over-run with mini-USB cables and always struggling to find a spare full-sized one on the rare occasions I need an extra.

iPhone 3.0 - born on schedule...

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@Mac Phreak

"So I have to use an SD card to store all my contacts, text, email and data settinfg on then? That's shit. The Touch and Tytn (the two phone models that I owned) had a pitiful 128MB of "persistant memory" - requiring me to buy an SD card to make sure that data was not lost. If the battery ran out of power - batteries do that occasionally - the settings, ie modem settings, mail client settings et c. would disappear."

I have to ask, did you *really* own either of those devices? Because the T-Mobile branded version of the Tytn my wife owned never lost data due to a loss of power. And neither should the Touch. Why not? Because they both run on newer versions of WinMo, versions which mandate the use of persistent storage for all of the stuff you claim would disappear.

"Microsoft officially state that there should be "enough for 72 hours of storage". Never - 72 seconds, maybe. Have they fixed it then? It didn't seem to work when I had them..."

Where do they state that in relation to WM5 or above? This 72 hour requirement was part of earlier versions of WinMo, none of which would have been installed on the two devices you mention.

"Apps on mobile devices. I can count the times on precisely NO hands the amount of times I used mobile Word or Excel. They are useless IMHO."

Yes, in YOUR opinion. In my opinion, or in the opinion of countless others who do genuinely find having such apps in your pocket at all times, they're anything but. Just as you seem to think MMS is useless when you can simply email photos to people, ignoring the point that many people use phones without email capabilities but which are MMS enabled, or that MMS is pointless because you've yet to see a phone camera worth taking photos with (ever tried the LG Viewty or similar? They're damn close to being compact cameras with phone functionality tagged on, rather than a phone with a camera). In YOUR seemingly narrow view of the mobile world, the iPhone is all you seem to need, but it's a big wide world out there and not everyone subscribes to the "if it's not in the iPhone, no-one really needs it anyway" mindset.

"Also the iPod functionallity works whilst I compose messages or browse thy web (on a browser thaht allows *multiple* windows too). as for your comment "Or how about being able to kick off the delivery of a large MMS/email and then go do something else without having to wait for the message to be sent?" I'm able to do that on my iPhone just fine, ta. Have you looked at or used yor wifes iPhone at all?"

Yes, I have. Which is my point - in order to achieve these basic abilities, without which the iPhone would truly be a pile of cack, it needs to be able to multitask. So why do you think multitasking is such a bad thing to open up to the user?

Multi-window browsing eh. Most HTC devices now ship with Opera, and there are various other free/payware browsers to choose from, which offer tabbed browsing - so we'll call that even shall we...

"As for the last part - not liking something *purely* because of your percieved prejudices is small minded and blinkered, and frankly childish."

So you're saying Apple don't sometimes overstate or misrepresent the capabilities of their products? The ASA would beg to differ with you here. Or that Apple don't exert a significant level of control over what owners are allowed to do with their own property? They're neither perceived nor prejudices, simply personal opinion based on fact.

"You have the chutzpa to insinuate that I'm an fanboy - pot, meet kettle."

I post using my real name, you post as Mac Phreak... I don't need to insinuate anything, you're doing a damn good job of that all by yourself. And I'm no fanboy, I use whatever device suits my needs, which is why there's a well-used iPod Classic sat next to me. I can appreciate the quality of their products without needing to like the way they do business, can't I?

"So Apple aren't allowed to market their stuff now? Are they not allowed to apply quality control to products that carry their brand."

Of course they can market, but they have a habit of consistently bending the truth to suggest their products are better than the rest, and that's not allowed. If their products are genuinely good - and as I've said plenty of times, I think they mostly are - they'd sell themselves without any hype. Hell, these days the cult of Apple is so strong, just slapping the Apple logo on something will guarantee sales figures most manufacturers would kill for, they simply don't need to do anything more than basic "here's our new product, available from Monday" advertising.

As for QC, I don't have a problem with them shipping only carefully configured devices and only officially sanctioning/supporting Apple-tested apps. It's when they start restricting the abilities of end users to try moving outside that walled garden (orchard?) that I think they need to loosen up a bit. How many iPhone users have ended up going down the jailbreak route because of Apple's over-protective stance?

"As for Microsoft being a "paragon of openess", have they released *their* internal API's to the Windows developer comunity then? Didn't think so."

I didn't say Microsoft were open, just that compared to Apple, and from the perspective of an end-user, their products seem to/actually do offer more freedom and open-ness.

"It would appear that I touched raw nevre. Were you the AC that wrote his story about being "down the pub" with his "mate"?"

No, I've never felt the need to hide behind a cloak of anonymity. And I can't remember the last time I set foot in a pub...

Chris 72 Silver badge
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@Mac Phreak

I'm another WinMo user (HTC Touch Pro), who also has access to an iPhone 3G (when my wife isn't playing Peggle on it...), and I think I've spent long enough using both to have a realistic (as opposed to fanboi-blinkered) appreciation of the pros and cons of each.

"So what you are trying to tell me is that your Touch is better that my iPhone? You are wrong. I owned a HTC Touch. It was shit. Anything that requires a stylus to operate is shit."

That all depends on what you want to be able to do with the device. If you just want to quickly select something, then requiring a stylus IS bad, but even without the full HTC skin I can still place or answer calls and read SMSs without going anywhere near the stylus (and my fingers are far from being stylus-like in their dimensions). I could also write stylus-free SMSs too if that was something I really needed to do. Certain fiddly websites aside, I also do all my web browsing without needing the stylus. So to suggest that WinMo *requires* a stylus is a bit disingenuous. It may work better with one than without, and there may be some things that are a bit too fiddly to achieve without it unless you've got good aim with a sharp fingernail or the patience of several saints, but there's nothing about either the hardware or software that makes the stylus mandatory.

Now, on the other hand, the fact that WinMo devices do work with styluses (stylii?) means that, in addition to finger-driven apps with correspondingly chunky UIs, WinMo can also be used for apps where greater accuracy/resolution is required or desirable, without the need for any work-arounds like temporarily zooming into the general area of selection. I do like the responsiveness of the iPhone screen compared to the TouchPro, when both are being prodded with a fingertip, but I'm happy to live with the slightly lower fingertip-responsiveness given that the stylus is always ready and waiting for those times when I'd rather have higher accuracy than higher responsiveness.

"On the iPhone, copy and paste is implemented brilliantly and works really well between apps, extremely intuative"

Whereas on WinMo it's... what, exactly? I highlight the text to be copied, hold down the stylus/fingertip until the context menu pops-up, and select Copy. Move to where the text needs to be pasted, touch and hold, select Paste, and there you are. Alternatively, many apps will also let you select Cut/Copy/Paste from the app menu, if you're so pressed for time that you can't wait for the pop-up menu to appear.

Is that really any less intuitive than the way iPhone3.0 behaves? Perhaps it is if you're coming to the iPhone from a non-computing background, but to anyone with even the remotest experience with a computer, the WinMo approach isn't going to take them by surprise or leave them wondering how to achieve it.

"Signal strength is better than the Touch too."

I presume you were testing both phones at the same time, in the same location, and on the same network? If not, then I'm not sure you've got sufficient data to be able to make such a definitive statement. Some days in some locations I get better reception on my TouchPro (with a T-Mobile sim) than my wife does on her O2 iPhone, some days in some locations it's the other way around. Neither phone seems to have any obvious advantage over the other as far as overall signal reception is concerned.

"As for 'multitasking' (obviously this is to be the new no copy & paste/mms bête noir of the Nokia/WinMo fanboi's), answer me this. If you can only do one thing at a time on a device, why allow it to run multiple apps that slow it down and drain power?"

Umm, how about being able to play music in the background whilst you browse a website, compose a SMS, twiddle with an Excel spreadsheet etc. etc.? Or how about being able to kick off the delivery of a large MMS/email and then go do something else without having to wait for the message to be sent? The advantage of WinMo here is that you as the user decide which apps to multitask, rather than being limited by what the OS allows you to stick in the background.

"If an app needs to chug away in the back ground, I'd argue that it's been poorly written!"

I'd argue that it's been well written if it's able to do what you asked it to do without needing your constant attention... There's no excuse for an app chewing up processing cycles if it's not doing anything worthwhile (i.e. busy-waiting) - that IS shoddy programming for sure - but to suggest that apps should only run if they've got UI focus is simply ludicrous. I left the world of non-multitasked systems behind over 20 years ago when I bought my first Amiga, and I've no desire to return to it, not even on a pocket-sized device.

"Ultimately, the reason why WinMo fails is due to it trying to be a mobile computer, rather than being a PDA. It one of the reasons why it didn't take off *as* a PDA."

And that's precisely why I love it. Sure, I've also got access to a netbook and three laptops if I want to do some heavy-duty mobile computing (or run something that isn't available on WinMo), but they all suffer from the disadvantage of not being within arms-reach at all times. My TouchPro on the other hand is available 24/7, and gives me the ability to do a lot of stuff as and when I have the time/inclination to do so, rather than having to postpone it until I'm in the vicinity of one of my PCs. It's horses for courses, some people don't want/need all that power in a handheld device, some do, and I for one am very pleased we have the choice.

"Generally, if there is a missing feature you'll find that there's an app for that. Lots of them a free too."

Whilst iPhone apps might be easier to find thanks to the single-source AppStore, I suspect there are more WinMo apps available, with just as many of them being freebies too. And unlike the iPhone, my TouchPro doesn't care where the apps come from or if they've received the Microsoft seal of approval.

One other advantage of WinMo over iPhone - I don't need to infect my PC with iTunes.

"How much are much are Microsoft paying you astroturfers these days? They must be scraping the barrel a bit these days though. It would appear that you can't be bothered to find a spec sheet so you can tell me what features are 'better' implemented in Windows Mobile."

If only Microsoft were paying me to be nice about WinMo... Truth is, I say (mostly) nice things about it because it's the best choice of mobile OSs for the things *I* want out of a mobile OS, but I also realise that it won't be the best match for everyone. What features are better implemented in WinMo? All of them and none of them. It just depends on how each individual user prefers a feature to work. WinMo ticks more boxes for me than anything else, whereas the iPhone ticks more boxes for my wife than WinMo (she's been a WinMo user as long as I have, we started off with his and hers SPV E200's back in the days when Orange were the dogs danglies for mobile data contracts - oh, how times have changed...), and both of them ticked FAR more boxes for her than Android did (after attempting to get to grips with a G1, to say she was less than impressed with both the hardware and the OS would be an understatement of intergalactic proportions).

I think one of the biggest problems the iPhone has is that it's an Apple device, and as such it has to carry around the cult of Apple baggage, which puts off quite a few people. I'll be honest, there are times when I'm sick and tired of the way Apple pushes its products as if they're the best things since sliced bread, conveniently ignoring any other products that might have already been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt so often it's now in danger of falling apart. I'm also far from impressed with their control-freakish nature - any company that can make Microsoft seem like a paragon of open-ness must be doing something seriously wrong...

The iPhone *is* a beautiful piece of kit, both hardware and OS, it just isn't the right system for me. WinMo on a TouchPro, despite the flaws, is. It's as simple as that.

Chris 72 Silver badge

@Mac Phreak (again...)

"I find it funny that you mock iPhone for being behind, yet WinMo devices STILL can't retain data if they lose battery power (and I mean EVERYTHING)"

I find it funny that someone who's so quick to criticise a fellow iPhone user for failing to check their facts before criticising the beloved device, fails to check their own facts before attempting to play the superiority card over Windows Mobile. Google for "windows mobile persistent storage", then come back and explain to us how WinMo devices STILL lose EVERYTHING if they lose power...

Google to delete Street View source images

Chris 72 Silver badge


@ Paul Slater:

"Surely the privacy aspect is where the software *fails* to recognise a face or a number plate, and thus doesn't blur it."

That's another argument - this ruling only relates to what Google does with the unblurred source imagery, not the publically available imagery.

@ Handle:

"What they curiously fail to mention is false negatives - when faces aren't blurred that should be."

It's not curious that they didn't mention it, because in the context of this ruling it's not relevant - a false negative can be fixed without having the original image, a false positive can't...


Absolutely! As someone with an interest in urban history and industrial archaeology, if GSV had been around even for just the past 20-odd years (let alone any further back in time) you'd never be able to prise me away from my PC - I'm in my mid 30's now, can still just about recall how the area I grew up in looked before the mass urban regeneration programmes of the latter 20th century erased practically every trace of so many interesting pieces of history, and would love to be able to take a virtual walk/drive back down memory lane. So I have no difficulty in imagining how seriously useful a resource the existing batch of GSV imagery will be at some point in the future - whilst it may just seem like a monumental waste of time and money to some people right now, it's anything but.

Symantec, McAfee cough up $750,000 on auto-renewals

Chris 72 Silver badge

@AC 13:39

Paying double the price to renew might be worth it if it means avoiding a trip to PC World... Seriously though, it is an annoying practice, but not one restricted to purveyors of AV software - attractive deals for new users are commonplace in the world of mobile phones, internet access, satellite/cable TV etc... The only real difference here is that, unless Norton/McAfee etc have conjured up some particularly devious activation schemes, they don't prevent you from taking advantage of these "new user" deals every time your existing sub expires.

Chris 72 Silver badge


I suspect what Dave meant by "never had a virus in that time" is that he's never been infected by a virus, not that Avast has never detected a virus... Like him, I've been an Avast user for many years, and whilst I've seen it warning me about plenty of virus-laden emails and files obtained from, let's just say, slightly less than 100% kosher sources, I've been given no reason to suspect that my PC may have been infected by something Avast missed.