* Posts by Andrew Fenton

36 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jul 2007

Adobe sounds off on iPad's Flash slap

Andrew Fenton

No mystery....

Flash is indeed inefficient garbage, but it's also a necessity for large chunks of the web.

The reason Apple exclude it is because of the video competition. Why pay to download expensive itunes movies/tv when you can get it free from the likes of hulu/iplayer/skyplayer//etc? Oh wait, you can't, because Apple blocked it.

HTC Touch Diamond 2

Andrew Fenton


"Um... sounds pretty much exactly like the HTC Touch HD. Is there a difference at all apart from the somewhat less rounded look?"

3.2" screen rather than 3.8", newer touchflo (though you can flash the HD to the same, well worth doing, it's a lot faster), and slightly different case - eg that zoom bar. I think the hardware is pretty much the same internally though. Personally I prefer the extra screen of the HD, makes reading things like web pages a lot better.

Anyway, it and the HDs are nice smartphones, the new rom and touchflo have improved it no end. If you like tweaking things to your preference, it's better than an Iphone. If not, it's not.

Pentax Optio P70

Andrew Fenton


1/2.3" sensor with 12mp produces rubbish results?

Wow, who could have predicted that.

Dell introduces 10in netbook

Andrew Fenton

unexceptional..... until 720p

Let's face it, the default version just looks like a MSI Wind, and at £300 the price isn't exactly tempting. Given we can expect the screen and hsdpa upgrades to cost a fair bit extra, this is rapidly heading well outside netbook pricing.

Samsung NC10 netbook

Andrew Fenton

Nice battery, but.....

....where's the novelty? It's basically the same as everything else out there.

Stick a 1280*720 screen on it and I'd be interested. That's a whole heap more convenient for web browsing.

Samsung LE40A786 'smart LED' 40in LCD TV

Andrew Fenton

Still far too expensive

You can get a Panasonic 1080p plasma for that price, which is 56% bigger (50" model) and will produce a better picture.

iPlayer chief pushes tiered charging for ISPs

Andrew Fenton


Lots of people on this thread getting all hot under the collar based on not reading the article properly.

1) The BBC aren't proposing they charge any extra at all.

2) They're suggesting how ISPs may choose to charge you for the bandwidth you're going to need to watch net video services in future.

For all those who think they're already paying for 16mbit or whatever: you're not. You're paying for 16mbit at something like 50:1 contention, ie you're only guaranteed 1/3rd of a megabit. The only reason the current setup works is the vast majority barely use their connections (eg a few emails, and web pages). People who download lots of video cost their ISPs an enormous amount - if they were paying based on use it'd be £100/month+.

Essentially they're freeloading off the light users, but when the majority are doing it, as seems inevitable at some point, then the whole setup will collapse. The BBC are trying to address the concerns of ISPs, who see this inevitability coming and have no idea how to deal with it.

2008's top three touchscreen phones

Andrew Fenton

Usual lame comments I see.....

What is with all the nutters that come out to comment for these sort of articles?

Anyway, I've had the iphone, now have the HD, and had a play with the Renoir. Overall the HD is my preferred - but it has a lot of faults, and needs a hell of a lot of tweaking from the default shipped state. Clearly HTC did minimal user testing on the software, and a lot of things are plain shabby - it all feels a bit beta. Still, at the end of the day, once you've fiddled things to your preference, installed new apps, the sheer number of pixels and huge screen win over. It really is terrific for web browsing (once the relevant opera tweaks are applied!), as you can read most websites in landscape mode without any zooming required. Same for video - if you encode to h264 in an mp4 container, it can hardware accelerate and play fullscreen 800*480 smoothly. Terrific detail.

As for camera comments: the Iphone's 2 mpixel produces better quality than the HTC's 5 mpixel. There's an optimal number of megapixels for every size of sensor, beyond which the quality goes downhill as noise takes over. For a camera phone that's maybe 3 or 4mp - for a compact point and shoot 6ish, for a bridge 1/1.6" about 7-8, for an aps-c dslr 10-12 (for example, the Sony A300 10mpixel dslr produces better pictures than the A350 14mpixel, which is identical other than the mpixel count). Unfortunately idiots just read the headline figure and assume more means better. Ultimately, camera phones will always be useless, there simply isn't the space in there for decent optics and the size of sensor needed.

Ideally, I'd like to see a combination: the screen of the HD, but with the kind of usability testing Apple put into it. Would be nice if they bugtested the thing before selling it - you're paying more than the cost of many laptops, so really basic errors are unforgiveable.

@fireman above: there's a patch for the Touch HD's freezing problem. Still, like I said above, really shabby of HTC to ship with such an obvious bug.

Confirmed: HTC's big-screen Touch HD smartphone

Andrew Fenton


"Would anyone be capable to discern the resolution difference at 3.8" size? "

Yes, but only if you hold it really close. Assuming 20/20 sight, a 1280*720 display would need to be about 9 inches away from your eyes to resolve all the pixels. A SD display only needs about 14 inches distance, a lot more practical for video playback.

Andrew Fenton

First genuine ihpone competitor

All the rest have had far too small screens, and too low res. This has a slightly larger screen than the iphone, near double the screen area of the n95/touch diamond, yet is physically about the same size as the iphone. Double the iphone's resolution is good for displaying a whole web page at once - even if it's not terribly readable at that size, you can more quickly see which bit to zoom in on.

Sony Ericsson confirms Xperia X1 UK launch

Andrew Fenton


Different markets/capabilities. The Omnia is a consumer grade phone, with 400*280 res screen. The X1 is an expensive gadgetmonkey phone, with 800*400. Makes a huge difference in web browsing - that res is only slightly less than most netbooks.

As for all the gibberish about camera megapixels - all you do is add noise when you increase the megapixel count, and the optics are still as garbage as ever. A camera on a phone means rubbish pictures, full stop. There simply isn't space there for a decent sized sensor and particularly for a decent lens.

Fringe box office FAIL pushes sales down 10%

Andrew Fenton

To be fair....

It has rained pretty much all August here, and that always hurts ticket sales.

Doubt the Olympics made much difference though.

Olympus SP-570 UZ 'superzoom' camera

Andrew Fenton
Paris Hilton

Sensor size........

A 390 quid camera, and they stick a 1/2.33" sensor in it? That's like a Porsche with a lawnmower engine up front.

Paris, cos - well, she's in the news innit?

It's official: Samsung shows off i8510 8mp cameraphone

Andrew Fenton

More mpixels = more noise

As above, 8mpixel in a phone will be worse than 3mpixel in even the cheapest standalone camera (eg 15 quid off ebay).

The phone might be OK otherwise, although video and web browsing are just not practical on a 2.8" screen.

The Top Ten 3G iPhone beaters

Andrew Fenton

HTC needs to ....

...make a Touch Diamond with a full-face 3.5" screen, with a slider keypad. Then you've actually got enough physical screen acreage to browse the web properly, and you don't need hard buttons on the front. Oh, and add a microsd card slot, increase memory to 8GB, and get Microsoft to write a decent mobile OS for it.

None of the smartphones in this list are competitors for the Iphone, they're all a generation behind in actual use.

HD TV in the UK

Andrew Fenton

1080p content

All UK 1080i broadcasts can carry 1080p. For films the original 1080p25 is squeezed into a 1080i50 broadcast signal with flags added - on receipt, your TV notices the flags (or at least it should), and reassembles it back to 1080p. End result is no different from broadcasting 1080p in the first place.

Crazy coders enable full-screen Crysis play on Eee PC

Andrew Fenton


Compressing down to 20% is easy - beefy systems can do live 1080p video (over 1000mbit) into 12mbit already, with almost no perceptible loss - about 1% the size of the original. Most games would be much more compressible than that too, due to the lack of film grain, clean edges to shapes etc. At 1024*600 25fps you'd be looking at approx 1.5mbit for pretty seamless quality, 1mbit for good enough.

Course, latency issues......

Influential tech pundit says iPhone 'will be 3G in 60 days'

Andrew Fenton

Probem with Iphone = O2

I did some tests of various networks (have a lot of phones!), and oddly enough in Edinburgh o2 with edge is actually slower than t-mobile (fastest) and Orange over mere GPRS. Duh.

Anyway, all that needs to be said about the Iphone can be summed up by usage stats: it's the most used mobile browser out there by miles, even though there are bazillions of windoes mobile devices out there. Having used countless Windows Mobile devices, this didn't come as a shock - the Iphone over GPRS is much more usable than WM6 over HSDPA.

Global-warming scientist: It's worse than I thought

Andrew Fenton

Credentials please

Would all those posting with such certainty here please add to their posts where they got their doctorates? Also, a list of the papers they've published.

Oh wait, you don't actually know anything about the subject, but just believe a lot of conspiracy crap by non-scientists? What a surprise.

Global LCD TV sales overtake CRT

Andrew Fenton

Power use

LCD/DLP/LCoS TVs are much more efficient than CRTs. My old 28" used 160w, the replacement 45" uses the same despite the screen area being over 2.5 times greater. Even more extreme with the computer monitor: 19" old beast was 150W, 22" LCD is 55W.

With modern sets the only ones to watch out for are plasmas, some of which can be quite greedy. For example, the Panasonic TH-50PZ700 takes 570W - admittedly it's a 50" set, and is one of the worst offenders, but it's worth checking especially for heavy users. At 4hrs/day, that's 65ish quid of electricity/year.

Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV

Andrew Fenton

Resolution screwups

As others have said, why output 1080i to a 1024*768 set? You're upscaling to 5x the number of pixels, then the TV is downscaling 2.5x, thus introducing an extra level of errors. Just send SD to the set, and let its internal scaler do the work, you'll get a better picture.

100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way

Andrew Fenton

Backhaul for VDSL2

Can't see them running this into every home cheaply. More likely the fibre emerges from the smelly depths near the local BT street cabinet, which then acts as a micro-exchange for all nearby households. VDSL2 can do 50mbit over 1km length (something like 80% of households are nearer than that), 100mbit at 0.5km (60%?), and 200mbit at 0.25km.

Still kinda expensive putting mini-dslam all over the place, but a lot cheaper than runing cables into every home (see the cable TV networks for proof of that).

Lindsay Lohan crowned 2007's worst actress

Andrew Fenton


300 is just vacuous rubbish, Very stylish, but contentless - it's rather hard to build the atmosphere needed when the dialogue provokes giggles. If it hadn't followed Sin City then it would have had novelty value, but now it has no merit whatsoever. I've nothing against war films, or indeed violent films (some of my favourites are Apocalypse Now and City of God), but this was just tedious war porn.

By the way, it's interesting such an obviously homoerotic film is so popular. Have we become more open-minded so that it's not a factor? I suspect not - it's probably just most of its audience isn't aware enough to notice it (and indeed would be disgusted with themselves if they were).

BBC HD channel gets green light

Andrew Fenton

HD bandwidth

BBC HD currently broadcasts in 16mbit, Sky uses 12-18. BBC Three and BBC Four use around 7mbit total, so if you scrapped them and all 19 radio stations you'd only just free up 10mbit. That's not even enough for very poor quality HD.

The iPhone arrives, but is O2 being taken for a ride?

Andrew Fenton


Sums were based on flext35 web'n'walk, which the N95 is £60 on a £37.50 12 month contract. That gives you 600 minutes, or 400 mins + 400 txts. You don't need to buy wifi on top of that, because you've got flatrate HSDPA included.

The iPhone may be better in user interface, but tbat doesn't make up for the fact web surfing on edge is simply useless, especially with the graphics heavy stuff that Apple intend. Google maps/youtube etc are great on HSDPA (I was using that a year ago), but come on, 100kbit speeds? Seriously? At that price? No video recording? You have to send it back to Apple when the battery dies?

When they fix these obvious failuresI'll be interested, and would probably buy the V2. The current version simply can't be considered a serious product - what's more, they must know this, and chose to realise an utterly substandard product to milk a captive, slightly daft market.

Jobs hits London to announce O2 iPhone deal

Andrew Fenton

Complete rip-off

So that's 279, then 35*18, for a total of over 900 quid.

For that you could get yourself a Nokia N95 on a 12month Flext35 contract, with double the included minutes, and unlimited 1.4mbit 3.5G.

What's more, you'd still have enough left to buy an 8GB Ipod Nano. And an entire PC.

NBC to Apple: 'You're fired!'

Andrew Fenton


At current itunes rates, that $5 would become around 4 pounds an xvid-quality episode, or near 100 quid for the season. You can get higher quality in a DVD box set, with extras and no DRM, for around 40.

Or the more likely competitor: you can download it in full HD quality for nothing. This is exactly what'll happen if prices balloon like this.

UK CE firm preps sub-£200 HD DVD player

Andrew Fenton

Rip off Britain, as usual

Toshiba HDDVD players sell in the US for in the region of $250, or 125 quid. The elcheapo ones coming out for Christmas, ie the equivalent of this, are going to be near $150 (75 quid).

Goggle box content comes to iTunes UK

Andrew Fenton

Absurd prices

We swallowed 60% higher prices for music, so they obviously thought they'd just jack it up to +90% for video. What the USians pay for HDDVD box sets, complete with all the extras, we pay for a season of low-res xvid quality.

Message to Apple: maybe for HD I'll pay that price, but not for something that looks worse than ITV,

Chav-hunting toffs cop some flack

Andrew Fenton

Excellent idea

What's the problem? The only disappointing thing was that it was acted and not real.

Incidentally, the delightful chappies were clearly English. In Scotland we call these types NEDs (Non-Educated Delinquents).

eBay seller nabs $1500 for Jesus-like garage stain

Andrew Fenton


Everywhere else on earth the advance of education results in the weakening of superstition. However, in the US there's no sign of this - somehow they've reconciled their real religion (materialism) with a slightly batty Middle Eastern cult (Christianity). Amusing.

OECD: broadband is unequal

Andrew Fenton

Download restrictions not that severe

Sweden has 100mbit with no restrictions for 20-25 pounds a month. You only got download limits (500GB on the company I tried) if you go up to 1000mbit, which is about 55 pounds/month.

Yes, you won't max out that connection often, but at least you're getting as fast as possible. Here with 17mbit (Bulldog) I often max out the connection, so could use more speed.

BT matches analysts' forecasts

Andrew Fenton

BT keeping up with the times, I see

Only 3 years later than other major industrial countries then, and 2 years later than Germany rolled out 50mbit VDSL2. By the way, parts of Sweden had 100mbit for 20 pounds a month, 6 years ago.

Fortunately the likes of Sky and others mean that 75% of UK customers can get adsl2+ today, but the move to vdsl2 has to come from the incumbemt.

BT feels the need for 50Mb speed

Andrew Fenton


Been obvious for ages that this sort of FTTK/VDSL2 combo was the next step. We don't have the urban population densities for broadband fibre to the home (unlike Sweden, Japan, HK etc), so this is the only solution. It also has advantages for the telco, in that they can junk most of their old garbage quality copper thus saving on maintenance, sell the exchange buildings, and thus nuke the LLU providers into the bargain, as they'd have no connection unless they ran their own fibre to every street cabinet.

Oops, cat out of the bag. The latter point is what Telstra (ultra anti-competitive Australian incumbent telco) wanted to do. Their regulator was smart enough to tell them where to get off, let's hope ours is also.