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* Posts by Dave 126

8296 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

A pretty and helpful user interface? Nahhh. Is that really you, Samsung?

Dave 126
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Re: Killer feature maybe

I haven't used it myself, but people used to swear by an app called Tasker. I'm not sure if it required root to run, or only needed root for some features.

I'm not sure that you can have your phone recognise a car charger over a wall charger, other than your Samsung-supplied adaptive wall charger will supply more power than a 2.1 amp 5v car charger.

You might consider an NFC tag to alert your phone to where it is. Again, I've not tried this but forums might give you an idea of how well it works.

An alternative is to use an older or second hand phone as a dedicated car unit. As a bonus it could be a model with a larger (not necessarily that high resolution display) and its storage used for music instead of camera photos. However, you'd still be turning on the WiFi hotspot on your primary phone unless you stretch to a second SIM

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Dave 126
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Let's not forget...

.. . That sometimes vendor's additions (either the concept or the actual code) to Android are incorporated into AOSP.

I'm thinking of:

-Power saving modes (Sony, concept)

-LDAC (Sony, code)

-24bit audio support (LG, Code)

If Samsung create something useful that isn't patented, it could well be incorporated into Android.

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Dave 126
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My S8 works fine, my first Samsung since a feature phone in 2008 . Feel free to trawl my old posts to see my previous Androids have been an Xperia P, Xperia Z3 Compact (both close to stock Android) some cheap but surprisingly cheerful Huawei (couldn't budge their weird launcher, other weird changes to Android), a Nexus 5 (stock, obviously). No complaints about Samsung's skinning of Android in the S8 after one switches the soft Navigation keys to Android standard and turns a couple of things off.

Still competition is good, so if you buy Sony, LG or Motorola, you'd being doing me a favour.

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Dave 126
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Re: I hate Samsung phones

That's weird - there's no Facebook on my S8... I must have deleted it. Maybe you got your phone through a network operator.

The camera UI isn't the best, and no, I don't know why it sometimes starts up using the front facing camera (double tap of power key).

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Dave 126
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Similar techniques have been used on iPads and other devices for years. The software doesn't simply ignore touch input on a margin of pixels around the screen but rather uses algorithms to distinguish between what is probably a deliberate prod or swipe and what is probably an accidental brush or tap.

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Dave 126
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Re: Form over function

Numerous websites report the Galaxy S9 has Project Treble - as Google mandate that all phones that ship with Oreo must do. The S8 which shipped with Nougat does not support Project Treble and may never do.

Not only does Project Treble allow for swifter updates (something Google wants), it also makes life easier for the custom ROM crowd as Android builds don't have to be so fine tuned for specific handsets.

Google worked with Samsung to draft the Enterprise Certified guidelines, but Samsung declined to be a launch partner. I don't know why, it may be because Samsung has it own enterprise administration tools it wishes to promote (Knox).

https://www.androidauthority.com/samsung-galaxy-s9-plus-project-treble-841067/

https://www.androidpolice.com/2017/11/25/googles-project-treble-start-custom-rom-revolution/

https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-launches-enterprise-android-device-recommendation-program-omits-samsung/

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Dave 126
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Re: Form over function

No, sorry. Android updates are (or rather, have been) slow because of the process: Google creates new Android version, sends it to silicon vendors for them to release a binary driver blob if they can be bothered, they send that to the phone vendor, test, repeat, phone vendor combines binary blobs with new Android and their skins, tests, if applicable sends to regulators and network operators, test, maybe repeat.

Of that, the vendors skin, which is often not much more than an app, is not the stage that takes the time.

Since we're talking about Android P here, the first phones to get it will be those that *shipped* with Oreo (here, Galaxy S9) and thus are built atop the modular nature of Project Treble - which means new versions of Android aren't dependant on silicon vendors creating new blobs.

Judging by the past, the S8 which shipped with Nougat (no Treble) will likely get Android P beginning of next year.

I've been suspect of TouchWiz in the past (so have had more stock Android phones from Sony and Nexus) but my S8 is actually fine (once I'd flipped the navigation soft keys, t and urned off Bixby and Edge Actions.

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Google-free Android kit tipped to sell buckets

Dave 126
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Re: What do people want in a smartwatch?

White hands on a dark grey background - it's rare to see a watch display the time as clearly as an Omega Chronostop. A new company called Roue* come close but no cigar.

*On the subject of targeted advertising, I saw an advertisement in the Register for Roue after writing a post about the sheer functionality of old Omega, Braun and Seiko wristwatches - the very brands Roue state as their inspirations.

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Dave 126
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Re: someone can tell me

You'd need a team of auditors to screen applications for spyware - the job is too big to do it yourself. This auditing could be open source (for apps whose developers wish to disclose the source code to all and sundry including competitors), or could be run by a company that uses its business model (hardware sales plus hefty percentage of app store sales) as a differentiator to Google's (data collection to fuel advertising). You'd have to pay a bit more upfront for the latter, and even more so if you use the same administration software that sensitive organisations use (e.g Blackberry Suite for iOS).

Auditing the source code is time consuming and thus unfeasible (remember how long it took a team to audit TrueCrypt) but I guess a middle ground might be crowd-sourced monitoring - i.e, everyone inspecting packets sent from a phone with 'Bob's Scientific Calculator' installed against a control. However, this would only catch the trawlers, not the tailored attacks.

Another approach is to spoof the data harvesters with false information as Safari has done for a few years now. It's still cat and mouse, but at least you're denying them the low hanging fruit.

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Ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm kicks crisis meeting into long grass

Dave 126
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Why?

Is there any reason why the people who wanted a portable ZX Spectrum gaming experience didn't buy a PlayStation Portable and run an emulator?

As a bonus, they can also play C64 games, and, gasp, PlayStation Portable games.

I believe a similar emulator is available for PlayStation Vita machines.

For all these Sony consoles, the method of enabling homebrew software, including emulators, depends upon the firmware version.

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Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

Dave 126
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One thing Eelo could do...

...is to provide a way for developers to publish apps without them being made available for people sideload for free. There's not currently a great incentive for Android app developers to abandon In App Purchases and Ad-Supported business models. Compare this to the Apple App store where more apps are bought outright, and users spend more. This is why many apps are available on iOS first, and some never come to Android.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm uncertain...

> Knowledgeable techie-types like ElReg readers may go for this, but for "Mom & Pop" this will be just like asking them to run Linux instead of Windows on their laptop.

It's worse than that: out if the 'mom and pop' segment, Eelo won't sell to those who have already bought into iOS because it's simpler. And then, other parts of the 'mom and pop' segment will have iPhones because they have read about Googly privacy concerns in newspapers. Nor will Eelo sell to moms and pops who are happy with their Nokia 3310 'for emergencies' thank you very much.

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Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour

Dave 126
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So there's three of you who think that DJs use audio out from an iPhone instead of balanced output from a FireWire/Thunderbolt soundcard? Okaaaay

Some DJs will use an iPhone as an XY control surface (ersatz Kaos Pad) in conjunction with with other devices. Some will even take advantage of its gyros and accelerometers. Either way, its just a control device.

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Dave 126
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Re: Don't worry about the DJ's...

Nobody uses just iDevices, but they are common as part of a setup. They're not typically used to output audio though - there are external DACs with a variety of balanced outputs for that, usually from the MacBook as you say. The low latency and compatibility with legacy standards (eg wireless MIDI) make iPads good control surfaces. A multi-touch screen offers a better UI for some applications (eg a virtual mixing desk) than a MacBook does.

DJs use a variety of gear, some just using two turntables and a cross-fader, others using time-stamped vinyl to control digital music, others a Kaos pad or other XY pad to apply effects in real time.

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Dave 126
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In this context the iPhone is usually a control device - iPhones have always had MIDI baked in.

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Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

Dave 126
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Re: it is not the customer's job to adapt

> I never understood why people dont like it..

It wasn't the Ribbon per se that people didn't like, it was the way MS used it to replace menus (except on Macs where Apple's rules meant the menus had to remain).

Before the Ribbon came to Office, I'd used a ribbon-like Command Manager in a CAD package. The difference was that menus, customisable toolbars, and radial menus where still present, as well as keyboard shortcuts. The Command Manager was optional and could be repositioned - though it was pretty useful in its default spot. The user had complete control of the workspace. The other difference was that due other tool pallettes and windows, vertical screen space was at such a premium as it is in a word processor.

Also: why don't more applications use pie menus (aka Radial Menus)? They're quick, require little moving of the mouse, and work well with muscle memory.

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OnePlus 6 smartphone flash override demoed

Dave 126
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***This vulnerability doesn't require the phone to be unlocked with a passcode / fingerprint / pattern.***

That's the damned point. It's a vulnerability. If you can install a new OS *after* authenticating yourself to the phone as its rightful owner - that's a feature.

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Dave 126
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Re: Next stage lose the PC

USB OTG isn't required - headless, battery operated PCs are already available, not much larger than a thumb drive. Not sure USB OTG would work - since it requires the phone to be the host.

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Dave 126
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Seriously, a lot of people here have got the wrong end of the stick.

https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-6-bootloader-protection-exploit-physical-access/

In no way can it be described as a 'feature'. The *option* to leave a Yale lock open using that little nubbin is a feature. This is akin to a lock that can't be locked at all - clearly a bug.

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Dave 126
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Given the upvotes given to Steve the OP, it would appear there's general misunderstanding here. Perhaps the article should be rewritten for clarity?

It is desirable for many owners to be able to load their choice of OS on their device. I can't see how it is desirable for an owner to be unable to prevent an attacker from loading an OS on their device - which is what this story is about.

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Dave 126
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Just the 6. The 5T had a less serious flaw in that it required the user (having first unlocked their phone) to turn on USB Debugging.

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Dave 126
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A phone is more prone to being lost or stolen than a PC - or even just mislaid for half an hour. Of course if you have people's sensitive data on your laptop then you are legally obliged to encrypt it.

The issue here isn't that the OnePlus 6 can load an arbitrary boot image, but that an arbitrary boot image can be installed by someone other than the owner.

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Dave 126
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> Is that a vulnerability? I'd pay extra for it.

It is a vulnerability - it means anyone with physical access to your handset can put whatever they want in it without your knowledge. This is in contrast to a phone that requires the user to unlock it and turn on USB debugging and jump through other hoops before flashing it with a new OS image.

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Intel confirms it’ll release GPUs in 2020

Dave 126
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Re: I have a Skull Canyon

https://www.anandtech.com/show/10343/the-intel-skull-canyon-nuc6i7kyk-minipc-review/4

In which Intel's Iris Pro graphics are discussed. Tl.dr should be fine for light gaming.

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Dave 126
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> AMD, for once, are following the right path, while Intel just flounder like they usually do.

Intel are playing the on-package GPU game too. See EMIB and Intel CPUs with AMD GPUs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Always good to have competition to rein in that nVidia/AMD duopoly

> There are many other GPU creators out there. Qualcomm, ARM, Imagination

And Apple and Google too. The former having ended its relationship with Imagination Technologies. Google and Apple likely looking at mobile GPUs that do more than shade polygons, but can also be more efficiently put to other tasks such as DSP and object recognition.

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Dave 126
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Re: Beat them on packaging?

Yet it was an Intel packaging technology, EMIB, that allowed them to combine an AMD GPU with an Intel processor:

https://www.anandtech.com/show/12003/intel-to-create-new-8th-generation-cpus-with-amd-radeon-graphics-with-hbm2-using-emib

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New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

Dave 126
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Oliver Reed in Gladiator - though he was partly through filming before he passed on. Carrie Fisher in Star Wars Rogue One ditto - though she'd completed her filming, they used CGI to recreate a c. 1978 Ms Fisher. Peter Cushing, similarly recreated, was sadly long gone.

It seems Lucas Film are routinely making 3D scans of all their actors (and puppets) for future reference:

https://www.esquire.com/uk/latest-news/a19742240/lucasfilm-digitally-scanning-faces-star-wars-cgi-princess-leia/

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Motorola extends modular phone adventure for another year

Dave 126
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Obvious mods:

Game controller. Tricky because Android devs don't make much money from games due to the ease of piracy. Many Android titles that would benefit from a physical controller don't support one (I've tried, using an Xbox controller over USB OTG).

Camera Sensor. There is a zoom camera Mod, but it isn't as great as Weird Sony's QX100 which was an RX100 without a screen - it talked to a phone by radio. A Moto Mod would solve the shortcomings of the QX100. However, it was a serious bit of sensor and lens, too much of an investment to tie to a single phone. Sony discontinued the experiment.

Speakers are less obvious. You either want a speaker built into the phone for podcasts, or you want something bigger than a Mod for music - there isn't a sweet in-between zone.

The obvious and sustainable market for Mods would be in industry - barcode scanners, thermal cameras etc - that is to say, many niche markets.

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Dave 126
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Re: Is anybody listening?

For people wanting to continually use a phone throughout the day, a Moto Mod battery pack is a better option than a removable battery since it incurs no down time whilst the phone is power cycled. For people wanting to extend the life of their handset by changing the battery, the cost of having it done by the original vendor or 3rd party shop is small compared to the original price of a premium handset (removable batteries are still found in low and mid range phones).

For safety reasons a removable battery must have a durable, hard to pierce shell (especially if it's slung in a kit bag) that is bulky (a slimmer metal shell would interfere with the phone's radios), so it results in several millimeters extra thickness over an internal-only battery that could otherwise be used for storing power.

The need for a removable battery is further mitigated by rapid charging and the ubiquity of power sources, planes trains and automobiles. In the case of no mains or vehicle power outlets, power banks are inexpensive and universal (an investment not lost when a phone is eventually changed) and, whilst ungainly, don't need to be attached to a phone for very long (rapid charging again).

Then of course there is the economics - why would a phone vendor go out of their way to appeal to a group who by their own admission only want to buy a phone every three years?

You could get yourself an LG V20 with a Snapdragon 820 SoC with removable battery - and as a bonus it not only has a 3.5mm socket but a socket driven by an ESS Sabre DAC and amplifier.

I'm not against removable batteries, I'm just trying to outline how the current state of affairs came to be.

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watchOS 5 hints at new Apple wearables and life beyond the Watch

Dave 126
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Re: cheapest option wins

Skagen are thin and light, but they are still around today's near ubiquitous diameter of 42mm. Watches used to be around 38mm, which is all you need if the display is clear and uncluttered ( which Skagen are). Examples of 38mm watches include the afore mentioned Omega, Dieter Ram's watches for Braun, the similar looking quartz Seiko worn by Steve Jobs in the 80s and many a Timex.

I like what Skagen do, which is why I'm frustrated they just go with the herd regarding watch size. I'm not anti big watches, I'm for variety.

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Dave 126
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Re: "yes, they still make Teasmades"

Dissolved oxygen in the water is crucial for tea - that's why it's recommended to pour cold water into a kettle and then boil it. I suspect it's why tea tastes better from a pot than directly from a mug.

Occasionally I'll brew tea in one mug and then pour it into another mug before adding milk and sugar. As a bonus, I then don't have to wait as long before drinking it.

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Dave 126
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Re: cheapest option wins

In the late 1960s, an Omega Chronostop was £19 with a convention steel bracelet, and £23 for the same watch with a steel mesh bracelet. Roughly, let's say that 20% extra, and say an equivilent watch would now be nearly a grand... it's in the same ballpark. That said, watch brand Skagen charge around £150 for a quartz watch with a mesh bracelet. Nice simple designs, shame they are unnecessarily large.

In any case, I'm sure there's some forum online discussing the quality of 3rd party metal straps for Apple watch.

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Dave 126
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Re: "yes, they still make Teasmades"

Sticking blue LED lights on stuff just to make it look 'modern' is a prime example of shit product design. The base level of annoyance is further raised by the evident lack of consideration in its design. I'm not going to lay all the blame at the designers - they need time and respect from management in order to do a good job. Whilst Diester Rams is a very good designer ('Form Engineer' in his own words) he would have been able to operate without the culture his boss Mr Braun instilled in the company.

Unfortunately the economics are such that spending time on thoughtful design can't always give a return. If you've owned a well designed Sony radio you might buy another - but this only works because there is a recognisable brand to associate with the quality, and a wide availablity of Sony stockists so you can actually buy one.

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NASA finds more stuff suggesting Mars could have hosted life, maybe

Dave 126
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Re: Surely the presence of Martian mud should be the headline?

Curiousity finding evidence of past mud did make headlines a couple of years back.

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Dual-screen laptops debut at Asus' Computex chat

Dave 126
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Re: WTF, why?

Yeah, using this twin-screened laptop in a docked setup with external keyboard actually makes sense. Keyboard at home, keyboard in workplace - and sub optimal typing on the train in-between. And heck, how much are external monitors these days anyways?

It could work well for some people, but not everybody.

Heck, I'm now thinking of a laptop that hinges on the other edge so it opens into an ultrawide twin display. Sticks some glowing lights on it and sell it to gamers!

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Dave 126
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There would be applications for a dual screen laptop in music production (UI consists of virtual sliders and the like) but that market is fairly well served by iPads already (wireless MIDI built in, good 3rd party developer support). Windows isn't great for music, never know when Windows is going to scratch it's arse, insist on an update, or decide it wants to use its audio subsystem instead of ASIO. It might be better these days, but I'd still research forums extensively before buying into a Windows-based DAW.

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Dave 126
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Other way of doing the same:

For years Adobe has had companion iOS apps that present OSX Photoshop et al tool pallettes on an iPhone or iPad, freeing up work area on the Mac's desktop.

I don't know one how well this Asus idea will work (the act of switching between touchpad mode and touchscreen mode might be clunky) and it's not making want to rush out and buy an Asus laptop, but there are some workflows where using a combination of touchscreen and mouse (or stylus and keyboard, or whatever) can work well.

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Chinese president Xi seeks innovation independence

Dave 126
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Re: I'm sorry, but incentives have nothing to do with the economy

Hence my chef/farmer analogy. Take a HDD drive from a HDD company, add the scroll wheel from a Bang and Olufsen telephone (though they were also present on Sharp Minidisc players and Sony AV equipment), add a FireWire interface (first iPods were Mac only, and most PCs only had USB 1 which wasn't fast enough for the job). Place it in a case that resembles a cigarette case (a time-tested and refined object that goes in and out of pockets). That's not meant to make it sound easy - if it were others would have done it. Sony had the expertise in all areas (UI, product design) but didn't make it.

Remember Apple has been near death in the 90s except in audio and design sectors where FireWire was invaluable for soundcards and scanners.

It's also why I asked about what @Christian Berger meant by 'innovation' - I'm not sure why some think the manner in which ingredients are brought together cannot be considered innovative, and that innovation can only be found in the components themselves. I also question the value of 'innovation' in a device for its own sake - it's only useful if it improves the user experience.

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Dave 126
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Re: The dragon is waking up

I was in Vietnam recently, and a lot of advertising billboards were in English. It seems English is a Lingua Franca for neighbouring Asian countries, Russian tourists, educated Vietnamese.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm sorry, but incentives have nothing to do with the economy

> Just look at Apple which became successful after they stopped trying to be innovative.

How do you define innovation? In the areas in which Apple has released products the low hanging new fruit has already been taken (and good, maturity is actually a good thing for end user experience, since the bugs are ironed out and a stable base has been established for others to build upon. Innovation for innovation's sake alone is daft). Those areas Apple is researching but has not yet released a product we hear very little about (though there's evidence that they're looking at AR, micro LED displays, self driving cars)

Apple are largely chefs not farmers - though if it suits them they will finance those who grow their ingredients. The iPod was the result of looking at a new form factor of HDD and thinking 'what can we do with this'? The iPhone similarly came from looking at available ingredients (wireless data networks, SoCs, Apple's own tablet skunk works and previously acquired companies).

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Dave 126
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Re: A President-For-Life Communist Country? Read Some History Please.

What Marx was saying was to use capitalism to drive innovation to increase wealth (grow the pie), and *then* to distribute that wealth more evenly so everybody has a better standard of living.

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Dave 126
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Re: A President-For-Life Communist Country? Read Some History Please.

> Communism, as well as having no ability to change one's government, stifles incentive.

President Xi has a different definition of communism to you. China is at ease with the contradictions of being both capitalist and communist.

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Select few to watch World Cup in 4K high dynamic range colour on BBC iPlayer

Dave 126
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HDR content is usually only in 4K. You will notice the difference between high dynamic range and lower dynamic range - though perhaps as obviously if in a brightly lit showroom.

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Dave 126
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Re: Samsung aren't updating many TVs to support this

Not just Samsung - there was a generation of LG OLED TVs that were released before there was a standard '4K' HDR codec.

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OnePlus 6: Perfect porridge? One has to make a smartphone that's juuuust right

Dave 126
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> I don't care so much about it being waterproof, but I care a lot about the existence of a headphone jack.

They're not mutually exclusive. Until the latest generation, flagship Xperia phones have been waterproof and boasted a 3.5mm socket. Last few years of Galaxy S phones have also had both features.

You never know when you might need a phone to call the emergency services and you don't get to choose the weather at the time; just look at the weekend's headlines. The idea of altering one's behaviour to suit a gadget is placing the cart before the horse.

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Dave 126
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Re: Qi Charging

The Moto Mod appears to relatively healthy (it's seen a couple of generations of handset and new mods are being released). I guess this can only happen in a nature market where many people have settled on a roughly 5" phone as being the best compromise of screen area and ergonomics.

The mod system is supior to replaceable internal batteries for all those who claim to be using their phone all day: it doesn't require a phone restart.

And yes, you can choose a Moto phone based on whether you prioritise slimness or durability.

They're not mentioned much in the US-centric tech blogs - I was interested to read that they're doing well in Brazil - and I've seen them advertised in TV in France.

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Dave 126
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Re: Note 4

Making a phone thicker to add a bigger battery is sensible. The idea of making a phone thicker to incorporate the features of a case is not sensible for several reasons:

- a plumber will want a thicker case than an office secretary

- a damaged or scuffed case can be replaced. For next to nothing.

- a lot of the market will want to choose a case in a colour or design to suit them

- people want different features from their case. Like Lee D I use a kickstand on my case, others dont. Some people use wallet cases, I don't.

If you try to incorporate every feature that every person want from a case into the phone, it'll not be an optimal product for anyone and it will sell very few units.

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Dave 126
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Re: So what about the updates?

At various times the big vendors have been good or bad at updates - so pastt performance is no indicator of future updates. There is a better way: buy a phone that ships with Oreo - it's mandated that its OS is more modular, so OEMs don't need to wait for new device drivers from ODMs.

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Dave 126
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Knox gets broken if the phone is ever rooted, but there's not much in Knox of interest to the average user. It's more of interest to organisations.

Samsung aren't the quickest at updating, but to blame it on Samsung's skinning is a red herring. If you care about updates, then you need to buy a phone that ships with (as opposed to offering a day one update to) Oreo, since Google insist that they are built around the modular Project Treble. Sadly the S8 doesn't support Treble and may never, whilst the S9 does (but is too pricey). Being modular means no more waiting on binary blobs from ODMs after Google release a new Android version.

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