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Showing posts from October 6, 2013

F1: Maria de Villota Dies In Spain

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Former Marussia test driver has died at a hotel in Seville whilst on a tour to promote the launch of her autobiography.

The Spaniard, who survived a grave accident during straight line testing with the Marussia team last year, is reported to have died of natural causes at the age of 33.

There's little in de Villota's driving record to suggest she would have gained a F1 seat on merit - being the daughter of former F1 midfielder Emilio de Villota probably carried her further than talent did - but the same is true of other women in the sport, Suzie Wolfe and the last woman to race a F1 car Giovanna Amati.

What has been achieved by these women is to push back the boundaries to the point that a woman could achieve an F1 drive on talent alone.

Maria's will be most memorable for the way that she triumphed over adversity following the serious head injury and loss of her right eye after last years disastrous accident.

If her legacy is that drivers taking part in test sessions benefit fr…

Another Musician Whinging About Spotify

You'd think the music industry would have got the message that the world has moved on from the days when customers were gouged with expensive, poor quality product, sold via a cartel that dictated price, choice and popularity.

Of course the world has moved on from the days when ripping free music from Napster and Limewire was acceptable and the rise of services like Spotify have made this possible.

David Byrne is the latest to push the artist's message of poverty as a result of the low streaming payments made by Spotify (even though this argument has been completely discredited in the past).

Musicians need to understand the new world order. The days when the sales of music on album were a license to print money are gone. Its time to realise that earning money as a musician is going to require as much work as other industries.

And a good less time at self congratulatory awards shows.

Artists need to embrace multiple different income streams: Spotify, live shows and radio play being …

Curved Displays: You're Doing It Wrong

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Sorry Samsung, but if there's one device that could have benefited from a curved display, it wasn't the phone you announced today. It seems like only yesterday that you announced the Galaxy Gear - a device crying out for some curved screen action and yet somehow lacking it.

If the technology was that close to production surely it could have been incorporated into your smart watch?

Now I realise that the actual capacity for bending these new displays is limited, but even a few degrees of display curve could have improved the way the Galaxy Gear hangs on the wrist.

Never mind, Samsung seems to have a pretty good understanding of the niches in the smartphone market, perhaps the Galaxy Round will prove to be its next big sleeper device.

Or perhaps not.

F1: Tyre Issues Back On The Agenda After Korean GP

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Once again talk has turned to the decisions which have been made around F1's current standard tyres. Pirelli are in the firing line after a tyre failure on Sergio Perez's McLaren caused chaos and a safety car.

Pirelli blamed the failure on a lock-up from Perez, who flat spotted his front tyre braking into turn one, the tyre subsequently failing catastrophically not much further into the lap. Pirelli claims that the flat spot had burnt through the tyre's carcass causing the failure.

This reflects poorly on Pirelli, although it should really be cast as a failing of the sport's governing body, the FIA. Their insistence on tyres with short racing lives has meant that driver's are running closer to the limits of the tyre to gain a competitive advantage, directly causing incidents such as Perez's.

For 2014 it's imperative that this guidance is thrown out and Pirelli are allowed to build tyres which are both durable and performant.

Bringing us back to a position …

Hysteria Over Tesla Fire

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Tesla's public image did a mini-implosion this week after one of its vehicles was filmed burning out. Share price collapsed and every man and his dog had an opinion about the safety of the vehicle's battery pack.

With all this knee-jerk reaction going on, a little time to examine the facts reveals a rather different story.

The Tesla in question struck a truck component, puncturing its battery pack and starting the fire. Its not unusual for petrol powered vehicles to catch fire after a petrol tank is punctured. However in the case of the Tesla there was no risk of an explosion as there would have been after a petrol tank ignited. And whilst firefighters allegedly struggled to put the fire out it didn't sound like it was much more than the similar difficulties they would have experienced had s diesel tank ignited.

In reality cars catch fire everyday. That the Tesla fire was the result of an impact rather than a component failure should have rendered the whole kerfuffle unne…

Revisionist History of Symbian

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I've seen a number of articles on websites recently bemoaning the failure of Nokia and singing the praises of Symbian. I'm afraid to say the authors of these articles have either been living in a bubble for most of the last decade or a completely delusional.

Symbian has never been anything other than a limited system, with complicated user interfaces and poor control features. Even UIQ, aka Symbian Touch, was so far behind its contemporaries that it killed potentially great devices from Sony-Ericsson.

I've been tempted by three Symbian devices in the past, the N95, N8 and Pureview 808. With each its taken only a very short hands on with the device to realise that whatever the draw of the device the underlying weakness of Symbian made its ownership untenable.

Ask anyone who's had to manage a Nokia Symbian fleet on a Microsoft Exchange email platform if you want a story of frustration and disappointment. I know of one such network manager who went down his knees and pra…