* Posts by Amanda

28 posts • joined 10 Jun 2007

HTC waves wand, pulls second Android phone out of hat



Featured on their main website - link only goes to brief blurb about the "Die ganze Google-Welt in Ihrer Hand!" and a sign up form to be emailed when you, too, can get the entire Google World in your hand from Vodafone.

Fake plane death businessman left SOS bullet-point list


What doesn't get mentioned enough when discussing this jerk...

Worst part of his fail: his plane landed rather close to a subdivision (what you Brits call a housing estate, I think). I sincerely hope he gets slapped with attempted murder charges. Intentionally leaving a working plane to fly who knows what distance deserves nothing less.

@ Ken Hagan: "How many times have we all heard the smug retort "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich."? To judge from this joker and others in his line of business, intelligence (or at least the ability to ask pertinent questions) is actually a barrier to wealth."

There's probably a peak IQ for wealth gathering, beyond which people tend to ask too many probing questions and are too able to do the maths in their heads. My younger brother, who is terrible at math, sold cars with large loans to people and thought he was doing them a favor. He thinks I will be wasting my money by paying for my next car in cash. "But it loses like 20% of its value once you drive it off the lot!"

"Precisely why I don't buy new cars and would never borrow money for one."

National Safety Council seeks total* cell-phone driving ban

Thumb Up


Highways have exits. You are not single-handedly responsible for preventing nuclear war. Your call can wait.

I loved talking on my hands-free while driving between Baltimore and DC on perpetually-congested I-95. But after one hour-long gabfest, I realized I was back in Baltimore and couldn't remember anything that happened outside of my car. Sure, I was physically there, completely sober, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, but my mind had been with my friend on the phone. If something had come up requiring a quick stop, I probably would not have been aware of it until too late.

I've seen other spaced-out looking drivers talking to thin air, so I'm probably not the only one who pays less attention than they think they are while talking to someone not in the car.

To those who think that they drive and talk on their mobiles just fine: there are also plenty of people who think that they drive as well on a beer or three as they do sober. I like my mobile and I love beer and wine, but those things just don't mix with safely operating a car.

Driving's the most dangerous thing most of us do on a regular basis. Why voluntarily handicap ourselves behind the wheel?

Noise-cancelling headphones head-to-head test


PXC-250: Seconded!

I bought a pair for my fiance for Christmas last year to make the trip to visit my family in the US a bit more pleasant. We agreed that they are excellent and were worth every penny. They can currently be gotten quite cheaply (about $65). I'm about to go buy a second pair so we can each have one for the annual "big hop" from Germany.

US only kidding about 'clear to fly' January deadline?



Oh, goody. My German in-laws to be are supposed to come over for our wedding in May. Note that they are all 65+ years old, and most of them are very mistrustful of a) the Internet and b) the US government. I'm really hoping the ones born in German cities that are no longer German cities don't have a special fun time.

Me, entering Germany: Queue no longer than 15 minutes even in the non-EU line, hand over US passport, border police officer swipes code, glances at me, asks me about my general destination and plans, stamps it, hands it back and waves me through. Time without passport in hand: 20-30 seconds. Bags are automatically routed to destination airport - no mucking about with customs while trying to make a connecting flight.

Me, returning to the US: Queue for up to 30 minutes, hand over passport, get a few minutes of questions about what I was doing outside the US, then try to find bags before joining a second queue to discuss what I might have brought back, recheck bags. If one or more checked bags not available, wait in intermediary queue to report missing/delayed bag, then go through cusoms queue with form stating that I reported missing/delayed baggage. Run like the wind to catch connecting flight.

When Germany makes your own country look like a police state...

Reding prods Germans on termination rates info


You go, girl!

Viviane Reding continues to be one of my personal heroes. I'm not even an EU citizen or permanent resident, yet I feel like she's done way more to improve my lot in life (just a few little things) than pretty much any of my own country's officials have. She actually seems to be using her power to make things fairer for most telephone users instead of the bidding of the telecoms. This behavior is rather odd to me, an American.

German mobile termination rates are a mystery to us Auslanders, and probably to most Germans. It does seem to have one huge advantage: telemarketing, which is rare enough on landlines here, pretty much does not involve mobiles.

Brits decline to 'think outside the box'


@ Kenny Swan

"No Guestimate?"


(wishes she could grab her coat and run out of the room every time her boss says that word)

#1 Pet Peeve: "Professional" used as an approving description of someone who looks and talks the part, but cannot actually DO the part. When did "professional" start meaning well-dressed glad-hander instead of seasoned expert with perhaps questionable fashion and social judgment?

Geek gets Blackberry Storm tattoo


That's one expensive mobile...

How much would a tattoo covering that much skin area cost?

Better question: how much would a tattoo coving that much skin area cost to remove?

(at least he did it all in black ink - I hear that's easier to remove)

'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

Paris Hilton

Crying into my beer over the possibilty this idiot might be president

Good Bavarian stuff though, as I'm an overseas employee of the US Military-Industrial Complex...

Those of you who wonder if we have large groups of insane right-wingers who troll the Internets for any mention of themselves or their mascots: yep. Look at any slightly left-leaning (by American standards) blog that allows comments.

I was back home in Texas for two weeks this month. I had to suppress bemusement at hearing complaints about Obama's "radical leftist agenda". He would slot in nicely with Germany's center-right Christian Democrats, maybe towards the left side of that party, but still not social enough to make the Social Democratic cut, and certainly nowhere near the actual socialists of the Left Party.

However, this all leaves me with the convenience of being called a "liberal" on both sides of the pond.

Obama weighs into Shuttle-v-Soyuz ISS brouhaha


If our success in the War on Drugs is any indication...

Trouble is, dear fellow American Matt, our friends tend to think that attacks like the one on 3/11/04 in Madrid and 7/7/05 in London prove that our War on an Abstract Noun is counterproductive. Far from wanting more of our "help" after they were attacked, Spain decided that being closely tied to us was dangerous and kicked out their conservative government in favor of a socialist one which campaigned primarily on getting Spain out of Iraq.

When bombs were found on a German train, the German police and intelligence service sprang to action to find the culprits. The Bundeswehr, however, did not join any of several convenient Iraq training exercises going on at US bases in here in their own country, and Germans continued to be pleased with their government for not getting involved in that particular bit of the mess. The majority would have the Bundeswehr leave Afghanistan.

I guess we dump enough money into the local economies that Germans believe the risks of keeping a bunch of US bases around are worth it. In my little backwoods corner of Bavaria, we are one of the top employers... of Germans.

My paychecks are written by the US defense industry, but I wouldn't mind seeing it downsized. Even if I then have to learn German and go find a real job...

Diverting a couple of defense budget billions into NASA wouldn't go amiss. Oddly enough, it's much the same set of contractors - just different applications.

Oh, and like most Americans who get to live with the consequences of our foreign policy on a daily basis, I'm voting for Obama, as he seems less likely to get us into an imprudent third (or fourth) war.

That 'Elderly Persons' sign: Can you do better?


Maybe it's an American stereotype but...

Simply depict a figure shaking a cane, as if insisting that those damned kids stay off his lawn.

NZ judge saves girl from bloody silly name

Black Helicopters

@Dave Jones

Germany has some of the strictest naming rules in the world, including a restriction on giving last names as personal names, but there's an out if one or more of the parents is from a different country. You just need to get a letter from your home country's embassy or consulate in Germany stating that the name you would like to give the child would be approved for registration in your home country.

Since I'm American, there's nothing stopping me from calling my sprog (either gender) Princess Pink Sparkle Pony MyLastName-HisLastName. Well, aside from common decency. But it will let me throw in a family name, if it's not already on the list. I think the American consulates here just give form letters with a blank for the parents to fill in the name :)

I thought it would be similar for other nitpicky EU countries (and which EU country has more finely-trained nitpickers than Germany?), but France might not.

Black helicopter, because I'm American and therefore deeply suspicious of governments, in general, but especially France's.

Asus P750 Windows Mobile smartphone


Looks boring, sounds interesting

Finally, someone manages to combine 3G, WiFi, touchscreen, a solid keypad and the ability to take SD Micro (albeit not necessarily SDHC) into one device. Wonder how much weight dropping the mediocre camera would have saved, though...

Divorce for shouty YouTube wife


The world doesn't stop at the edge of Manhattan island...

$750k is a nice retirement account back where I grew up (semi-rural Texas) or much of the rest of the US. A nice $200k house and something sensible like a Toyota Corolla bought outright every decade still leaves over $500k. It wouldn't be glamorous, but she also wouldn't necessarily have to work again.

What an ingrate!

Green-loving California may dodge utility bill bullet


$300 electric bills? Pshhh...

My parents in Texas paid that during the summer back in the late 90's. We do not talk about electric bills now.

(34 EUR/mo!!! But Germans don't believe in air conditioning...)

Rambus sues Nvidia



Pity the Reg doesn't have a little green symbol for astroturf...

Bic punts 'disposable' pre-charged phone


49 EUR?!?

Unless France's market is dramatically different from Germany's, this sounds like a recipe for failure. I've never walked into an electronics store here without seeing some Vodafone or T-Mobile PAYG handset for 10-20 EUR (including 5-10 EUR starting credit), rechargeable at any grocery checkout counter or ATM nationwide.

Though 60 min * 0.39 EUR = 23.40 EUR, so let's say that the thing comes with 20-25 EUR credit.

They're still asking a 15 EUR premium for a charged-up battery.

Report fingers prints as ID scheme's point of failure


Good job I don't live there...

Because I accidentally remove parts of my fingerprints every few months due to clumsiness or inattention in the kitchen. Fortunately, my reflexes are fast enough that I just graze my fingertips against 400-500 degree pans only long enough to give a first-degree burn (no blistering). The tips of my fingers were slick for two weeks after that.

I'm sure my home country (USA! USA!) is trying to figure out how to implement some form of this foolishness in that "REAL ID" mess, and am only surprised we didn't get around to thinking about it before the UK did.

Most 'malfunctioning' gadgets work just fine, report claims


Dell? @Tom, @@Theory

It seems like the older the Dell, the better. My aunt bought a refurb Latitude PII-266 in 1998 and used it on her cattle ranch for about 8 years - Central Florida heat and humidity and even cow "stuff" did not seem to hurt it.

I got a refurb Latitude D630 last year for a little more than 1/2 the new price; the unit shipped had video issues, but Dell cheerfully built a new one for me with the refurb's specs and didn't ask for additional payment. So far, so good.

Morals of the story: if you go Dell, go refurb, go business-class (Precision, Optiplex, Latitude), and test the heck out of it the day you receive it.

No picture, because The Reg staff haven't provided a saint or devil Michael Dell...

Social networking site bans oldies over sex offender fears


Wait, what?

"I acknowledge that Faceparty was the world's first online community"

WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) *might* just have a little something to say about that... even they don't claim to be the absolute first, I think, despite being founded when Mr. Bamforth was about 12.

Canon Digital Ixus 70 compact camera


Re: Fragile

My boyfriend dropped my PowerShot A410 Digital Elph (early-mid 2004 North American equivalent of IXUS line here in Europe) onto cobblestones in Munich from about 1.5 meters up WHEN THE LENS WAS OUT. After freaking out at him, I realized that all that happened was that the case was dented a little. I still use it for snapshots; 4MP is fine for situations where the best camera is the one someone happens to have on hand.

Germans demand Nokia return funding


Wonder how this will affect Nokia's sales in DE

I'd like to see those numbers. I doubt that my Bavarian neighbors would exercise that much solidarity with a couple thousand "Preiss" (Prussians - northern Germans), but who knows?

BenQ screwed over a couple thousand German workers not so long ago by bankrupting their joint venture with Siemens (which has troubles of its own), so maybe Germans will take a brief interest in their phones' manufacturers.

It'd be kinda funny if Nokia's extra profits from moving operations were negated by a fall-off in German purchases...

Caffeine doubles miscarriage risk


Did they control for causes of heavier coffee consumption?

I drink more coffee when I have to work longer hours and/or with frustrating co-workers and clients. I imagine these sorts of stresses would not contribute to a healthy pregnancy, no matter what drugs I was or was not consuming.

That said, I routinely give up alcohol for 6-7 weeks at a time (Lent), but could not fathom going off coffee that long, much less 9 months. I'd suck it up for the sake of my theoretical child, but I don't think it'd be easy.

@ Alacrity: A good childhood friend who was something of a party girl swore her pregnancy caused an aversion to even the smell of alcohol and pot. I had been worried that she would be able to refrain from drinking or smoking for 9 months, but she did, and still only has two drinks a week at most while breastfeeding, and doesn't go near pot anymore. It also stopped her smoking tobacco. She's become even more of a hippie, though...

(Tux, because it isn't Linux users who cause me professional grief, and in honor of my pinko commie hippie friend)

YouTube biker clocked at 189mph

Paris Hilton

Why would you WANT to drive that fast in Britain?

Or much anywhere else, for that matter? 100-110 mph feels great on a well-maintained stretch of German autobahn in a Swedish mommymobile, but I don't really like driving over 80 back in Texas or much of the East Coast, where normal highway conditions would often be marked with "Strassenschaden" (road damage) signs in Germany.

Remember, speedy Brits: Americans can rent right-hand drive cars with UK plates :) Only thing saving you is that it's just entirely too expensive for most of us to drive there.

(Paris for my fellow right-side-of-the-road drivers visiting your fair country and getting very confused at motorway entrances and roundabouts)

Irish man rescued after falling for 419 scam


Re: Euros

@Bob Jones: Just about every "email lottery" notice I get is in EUR - most of these are allegedly Dutch national lotteries.

As if the Dutch government is going to give several million EUR to someone with a .de email.

Euro trains gets broadband internet


Still in mourning

...for Lufthansa's trans-Atlantic in-air WiFi, which was tragically ended in 2006. It was not perfect, but made being stuck in economy class for 10 hours a little less painful, which was worth the extra ticket cost over flying United (well, that and the drinks and somewhat improved vegetarian food).

It seems like 10 USD/EUR is about the impluse-buy point on net access for trips over 2 hours, and would make me more likely to choose to ride DB/Thalys over flying one of the many cheap airlines with whatever food I can grab in the terminal.

Jordan names sprog 'Princess Tiaamii'


If they wanted a diacritical mark so badly...

Tiaämii would cause it to be pronounced more like "Tia-ahmi"

(wait, why am I trying to rationalize Jordan with a diaeresis? Go on with your crazy self, dear...)

Planning a drunken stag night? Avoid Slovakia


I never imagined...

I'd prefer for anyone in Europe to know I was an American instead of thinking I was British, but I do whenever I go to one of the popular stag/hen-party destinations, like Prague or Bratislava or Amsterdam or Tyrol or...


Thanks, guys!


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