* Posts by Tony Smith

72 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jul 2009


Freeview HD - your questions answered

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Anonymous John

Two technologies are being introduced but both are part of the Freeview HD specification. So, no, you won't have to buy a second box. They will all do DVB-T2 and MPEG 4.

No Freeview HD kit in time for launch, warns telly exec

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Richard 69

'HD Ready' TVs will not work directly with Freeview HD.

'HD Ready' simply means the telly can display an HD picture - it says nothing about its ability to tune into HD transmissions and never did.

HD TV + Freeview != Freeview HD

Europe welcomes Dell's Mac Mini Zino HD

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: James Robertson 2

No, it's £50.

Looking at the Dell site now, Zino base price is £249, Zine HD base price is £299.

GlideTV Navigator

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: How much?

Yeah, but that Maplin thing is way fugly. Looks like a mutant BlackBerry from the mid-1990s.

Intel to fast track Atom 2.0 introduction

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Not just NVidia

VIA's Nano 3000 consumes rather more power than the netbook Atoms. So do the nettop Atoms, which is why you're unlikely to see a D510-powered netbook.

Unless, we're all ready for the 'desktop replacment' netbook. Someone'll try it soon enough, mark my words.

Kingston SSD Now V 40GB boot drive

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


"You can then write smug comments on forums..."

As opposed to writing smug comments on El Reg's BB, eh?

Seriously, to say any machine other than some OLPC-style 'for the kids' job isn't a "real computer" is just plain daft. Aren't Reg readers bigger than all this 'my dad's bigger than your dad' BS?

Samsung Galaxy i7500

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


We will.

Elgato DTT Deluxe

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


iPlayer doesn't (yet) do other channels and gobbles Wi-Fi bandwidth. TV broadcasts don't.

Sony Reader PRS-600 Touch Edition

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Tony (no relation) vs e-book reader buffs

I think we all know Tony's not unreasonable views on the matter, and the equally reasonable comments from the pro lobby. No more tit-for-tat comments going over the same ground, please.

Dell details 'world's thinnest' laptop

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


It competes with the Air because they're both aimed at people who who want light, thin notebooks.

Both the Adamo XP and the AIR have Core 2 Duo processors that are rather more powerful than the Atom CPUs you'll find in 300 quid netbooks.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: LAPtop?

If you apply the name solely because of where the device will be used, my MacBook Air is the now the world's flattest desktop computer.

'Laptop' and 'notebook' are interchangeable here, and such a machine is a laptop whether you sit it on your thighs or not.

Belkin Powerline HD Gigabit mains Ethernet adaptor

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


It's a nice idea, but impractical. Review kit goes back to the supplier after it's tested. We generally don't have it long enough for reliability testing. We could ask for it again nine months or so down the line, but (a) no one's going to lend us 'old' kit in case we grumble about it being out-of-date and beat up and (b) they're much keener to push the latest models.

Even if we had the kit for that long, how can we, say, use dozens of laptops, MP3 players, netbooks, set-top boxes, TVs etc a day to give them realistic usage?

I would seriously like to do this on Reg Hardware - I think reliability is very important - but it's not going to be easy to do. At least not without readers' help. If you - or your fellows - have products we've reviewed and you've had them for at least nine months, drop us a line to news@regharware.co.uk with your experiences and we'll start publishing them as reliability reports.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@P Stevens

Much as I might have liked them too, the Belkin adaptors had no effect on The Archers during the time we were using them. Other radio broadcasts I was more keen on listening to weren't affected, either. The radio was on all day.

Claiming powerline adaptors screw up FM radios is one of those allegations I personally - having used both - have to take with a lot of salt.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


It has nothing to do with the availability of Gigabit Ethernet ports in PCs, but everything to do with the fact that, until now, powerline links have been sub-100Mb/s.

Just because your computer has Gigabit, your link to, say, the router won't reach that speed if a portion of that connection has a much slower speed. If you're never going to get above 10/100Mb/s speeds, there's no point, as a manufacturer, putting 1000Mb/s in your powerline adaptor.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Dave 125

Fair point about reliability, Dave, but unless you want us to publish reviews a year after products are launched, there's not a lot we can do about this.

FWIW, I have a Belkin N1 802.11n router and it still works fine, years after purchase.

Apple MacBook Late 2009

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Neill Mitchell

Neill, DisplayPort is an industry standard developed under the auspices of Vesa, who did VGA and DVI.

Dell has DisplayPort machines and monitors, and three of the DisplayPort screens you mention on Dabs.com come from companies not called Apple: HP and Lenovo, to be precise. All of ATI's top-end graphics cards support DisplayPort, and many others do too.

Just because DisplayPort is not as popular as DVI, VGA or even HDMI doesn't make it proprietary.

FWIW, I think DisplayPort is largely unnecessary because of HDMI, but Vesa doesn't oversee HDMI, and wants to keep its oar in. Whether DisplayPort will take off in any meaningful sense remains to be seen.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Neill Mitchell

IIRC, Mini DisplayPort isn't proprietary, it's part of the latest DisplayPort spec.

Apple Magic Mouse

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Tom 36

Mea culpa, mistyping on my part: it's AA not AAA.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


I did try it, and it doesn't. You can change the modifier key, but whatever you pick, all it does is zoom the entire screen.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: They're so stubborn.

Mac OS X has supported third-party two-button (possibly three too; I haven't tried) mice for ages. Apple's own mice have had two-button operation for a long time too, though I agree it's daft that this isn't enabled by default. Even the two-fingered 'right click' tap on the laptops' trackpad isn't.

Nokia sues Apple over iPhone

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

re: Bitter?

Standards usually contain intellectual property that can command royalty payments and/or licensing fees. Just because a technology becomes a standard doesn't mean the creator has given away the rights to the relevant IP.

Western Digital My Passport Essential portable HDD

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


All of this was experienced at first hand. The software aspect is minor - it would have lost the product a few points, not a lot. But it's impossible to rate highly a product where there's a substantial risk that nudging your desk, your computer, the cable or the drive will cause the latter to dismount.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re. Bad Sample

Could be a bad sample, but it's not the only WD My Passport Essential I have seen the problem on.

HTC Touch 2 Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Suggested Price: £280 (SIM-free)



Freecom Hard Drive XS

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


Enabling faster USB in Windows then unplugging the drive and connecting it to a Mac doesn't change the data-transfer speed on the Mac. The faster transfer speed is solely between Windows PC and external HDD.

Apple breaks jailbreakers' hearts with iPhone 3GS patch

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Sean Timarco Baggaley

Hear, hear.

This 'debate' is no different from a schoolyard 'my cheap Spectrum vs your expensive BBC Micro'.

Are so many Reg readers really so insecure about their own purchase decisions they have to slag off people who have bought something different?

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


Mectron, you've changed your tune.

Didn't you previously say Sony was the worst company on the planet.

PS. What Apple's doing isn't remotely illegal. Don't like the lock in? Buy a different vendor's smartphone. Nothing monopolistic or anti-competitive about that.

Western Digital WD TV Live

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Goat Jam

Careful with the assumptions. It's by no means certain that WD has violated the GPL. Even the guy who *thinks* it might have doesn't own a product to check, and his accusation was made in January 2009, long before the WD TV Live's launch.

We will look into this.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: iTunes?

Given how many iPod users there are out there, iTunes support is hardly catering for a 'fringe'.

Nvidia halts future Intel chipset development

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why don't Nvidia just an ARM on the chip and

They have, it's called Tegra.

Toyota Prius fourth-generation e-car

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Ian Bonham

And likely to remain so, I'm pleased to say.

PC tune-up software: does it really work?

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@The Indomitable Gall

That'll be the green bar in the chart that you're after.

Apple iPod Touch 3G

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


Read the comments appended to *any* PSP, DS, Xbox 360 and/or PS3 story and you'll immediately see that it is.

Mentioning Blu-ray produces the same result - get this - even though it no longer has a rival.

Fanboys are an insecure bunch at the best of times, but console buffs take the cake.

Apple yanks C64 emulator from App Store

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Brian Miller

You might not input a game in Basic, but you might write a game loader, perhaps.

HTC readies radical Touch HD revamp

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


The Touch 2 is indeed WinMob 6.5


But this story is about the Touch HD 2.

Nokia's £500 netbook: What were they thinking?

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Atom screen restriction

The original 1024 x 600 was - allegedly - imposed by Intel (possibly by Microsoft too, to hinder demand for Windows XP). How it was enforced is not known, probably just through the N270/N280 CPU sale Ts&Cs.

One way around this was to use the Atom Z-series processors, which is why early hi-res netbooks weren't based on the more commonplace N series.

Nb. N series are for netbooks, Z series Atoms are for internet tablets.

In the Spring, Intel relented and allowed N-series Atoms to be used in hi-res laptops:


And suddenly 1366 x 768 netbooks based on the N270/N280 appeared, eg the Sony Vaio W.


This was done to accommodate Windows 7.

Blazing laptop of death claims one

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Ye olde chip pan fire

Yus... in the same way no one but no one in the media or authority had the courage to say Princess Diana was partially responsible for her own death because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

Boffins render full HD million-point animated hologram

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Bob 63

Yes, but you still don't want to see the back an object when you're looking at the front, do you?

There's nothing in holography that dictates that just because you *can* recreate all of an object in order to view it from any angle, that you have to see all of the object at once.

Microsoft re-jigs Xbox 360 range

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@20legend @MarkOne

Enough of this 'my willy's longer than yours' orb-tossing, please. Save it for the gaming mags.

Intel 'Lynnfield'

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Version numbers

The conclusion mentions the 860, because we reckon it'll be the best value chip - slightly slower clock speed but much better price - in the series, based on our tests of Core i7s to date.

French govt to investigate immolating iPhone claims

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Richard Drysdall

No, but if you buy the book Beginning iPhone Programming (IIRC) by Dave Mark, there's code in there for a shake-to-break-the-screen iPhone app.

AMD Bulldozer core to weave multiple threads

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: "Either way...."

Bulldozer is the core not the CPU. The CPU has 12 cores, not Bulldozer.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard First Look

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


This is so bollocks, Sony Boy. Yes, there are plenty more applications on Windows than on Mac OS X, but to say you can only do the basics on it is willful trolling. Some major apps are not on OS X, true, but that doesn't mean to say there are no equally powerful equivalents - quite the reverse.

Fewer apps overall also means the general level of quality is higher. I have downloaded many more Windows apps that have turned out to be tosh than I have Mac ones.

That's not to say all Mac apps are perfect - far from it. But then that's not true of apps on other platforms either. But it is definitely not the case that fewer choices means less quality, or that the Mac platform has no choice at all.

Nokia announces 'N97 junior'

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Version 1.0

Prices in brackets are always Reg Hardware's own conversions, based on the exchange rates at the time of publication and provided for information. When we have been given prices in multiple currencies, we don't put them in brackets.

To recap:

£xx ($yy/€zz) - costs xx in the UK, which is the equivalent of yy and zz in those currencies.

£aa/$bb/€cc - costs aa in the UK, and bb and cc elsewhere.

Apple blogger legally unlocks iPhone

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Re: How about UK?

O2's PAYG iPhone is locked. O2 will not unlock it for you, even for money.

Using the iPhone Dev Team's unlocking tools isn't hard, though.

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

Down Under

I bought my 3GS directly from Apple - unlocked.

I bought it in Australia. All the carriers there sell the iPhone, but locked to their networks. Apple, on the other hand - and in refreshing change to the UK, US etc - sells it entirely unlocked and SIM-free for the same price as O2 is flogging its locked one on PAYG.

This page lists Apple's carriers, noting which lock them, which will unlock them, and which - Singtel, for instance - don't bother locking them in the first place:


Apple to offer own-brand HDTV, claims analyst

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@Richard 102

I dunno... look at it this way:

Mac = generic Intel PC hardware lifted above the herd by industrial design and software.

iPod = generic MP3 player hardware lifted above the herd by industrial design and software.

iPhone = generic ARM-based phone hardware lifted above the herd by industrial design and software.

Apple Telly = generic HDTV hardware lifted above the herd by industrial design and software.

I see a pattern here. It's a model that - like it or not - works and works successfully. Apple doesn't have to sell bucketloads - an Apple HDTV will never sell like a Sony or Panasonic TV will - it just has to make Apple money, which is what it's in business for.

It'd be easy to integrate an Apple TV into a Cinema Display. I can see this happening.

US magazine to display Harry Potter-style moving images

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)

@David Gosnell

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

And for fanboys it doesn't have to be very advanced at all...

Apple won't take tablet to September iPod event, says mole

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


When was the last time you saw an album with sleeve notes?

No, I don't mean the words to the songs, I mean sleeve notes. Go and look at some (old) LPs if you don't know what I mean.

Apple MacBook Air June 2009

Tony Smith (Written by Reg staff)


I suspect rather a lot of folk (at home) have to rely on Wi-Fi to back-up (or whatever) even when they're using a machine that has Ethernet.

Most people I know use Wi-Fi. Most have PCs or Macs with Ethernet ports. None connect by cable because they like the ability to connect anywhere in the house, not just in the room where the router is.

I do have an Air, but I'd still connect exclusively by wireless even if I didn't.