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Showing posts from October 1, 2014

Vaio Going After The High End

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Although you can still buy Sony Vaios, now that the company is no longer part of Sony it's getting ready to branch out on its own, with new machines that don't owe anything to the Japanese giant's influence.

The Vaio website has details of it's first prototype and if they follow through on the design and specs this signals something of a step forward into the high end market. The specs look pretty impressive with the focus on a large-screen hybrid - the specs point to a 12.3" display at 250dpi - and talks of support for the Adobe RGB Gamut.

In fact there's an awful lot of references to creativity and creative types on the Vaio webpage introducing the hybrid. Cartoonists, illustrators and photographers are among those who get special mentions.

Which suggests that rather than try and compete with every man and his dog for the high volume low margin sales, Vaio intends to go after Apple's higher end market share. The arrival of the new Vaio at Adobe's Ma…

First Thoughts On Windows 10

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Windows 8.1 isn't a bad operating system, indeed it does a half decent job of merging a desktop operating system with a touch screen tablet focused interface. However Microsoft mis-judged the demand for touch screens on desktop class machines and as a result there been no end of negative publicity about the OS. In reality most users who spend the time to get to know the system - and get it configured correctly - find that it is a extremely powerful way of using hybrid and tablet systems, whilst being a small step forward over Windows 7.

Windows 10 looks to address that negativity by better addressing the balance between desktop and tablet. And to ensure that it gets as much feedback as possible on the changes it's planning, Microsoft has released a technical preview which can be installed by anyone with the technical know-how (and a spare, non-critical machine). For starters Windows 10 will be available for desktop/hybrid systems, but ARM builds will follow and the prospect o…

F1: De Cesaris Killed In Italy

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Perhaps the most popular and charismatic driver of the 1980s, Andrea de Cesaris has been killed in a motorbike accident in Rome.

De Cesaris was a driver who polarised opinion - a torrid first season with Mclaren earned him the nickname 'decrasheris' but he matured into a fast, reliable racer who delivered points for nine of the ten teams he eventually raced for. The Andrea De Cesaris fan club was the largest of any driver during his career, a sign of the popularity of a driver whose bravery and commitment often overstepped his own and his car's abilities.

Eddie Cheever, then a Renault driver, remarked after following De Cesaris' Alfa Romeo at Kyalami
in practice "I had to let him go, I was sure he was going to have a big accident at every corner", the following day De Cesaris drove the evil handling Alfa to second place.

De Cesaris was never destined to stand on the top step of the podium, through a combination of average to mediocre cars and a huge amount …

F1: Bianchi's Accident Raises Questions

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The accident which has left Jules Bianchi in a Japanese hospital in a critical condition has shocked a sport that had begun to forget how vulnerable its protagonists are. With care and time we hope that the amiable Frenchman is able to resume normal life, although for much of last night we were hoping for the best whilst fearing the worst. The accident was one of those things that just doesn't seem possible, however the sight of the Marussia wedged under the recovery tractor speaks of a violent impact.
By necessity there will be an investigation into the various events that led to the driver's injuries, but as always with these things, a chain of unrelated yet complementary events came together to place Bianchi at the wrong time and the wrong place.
The biggest question has to be, why was the removal vehicle outside of the safety barrier on a live track, on a wet day in rapidly fading daylight? I, like many others I'm sure, thought 'Safety Car' as soon as Sutil…

Apple's 'Focus Pixels'? Yeah, Samsung Had Them First

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Apple's efforts to talk up the new iPhone 6 at launch included talk of the newly added 'Focus Pixels' which turns out to be Apple's trademarked procedure for taking an already existing technology, giving it a fancy name and then selling it as something new.

As this article at DailyTech explains, Focus Pixels are just a glitzy name for phase detection pixels, which have been around (and used in sensors) for a few years.

First smartphone to pack the technology? That would be the Galaxy S5...

Shinkansen At 50: Lessons From The Bullet Train

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It's hard to believe that Japan's Bullet Train is fifty years old. The technical tour de force that thrust Japan to the front of the race for a high speed rail service pre-dates the rise of the Japanese electronics and auto industries and, even though it is no longer the fastest or biggest high speed rail network, it remains the exemplar service for rapid movement of passengers.

In those fifty years the Bullet Train has been running there have been ten billion passenger rides completed, with a perfect safety record. (In fact injuries on the Bullet Train, and the only fatality, are as a result of people getting stuck in the doors) Compare that to other rail networks and you'll appreciate the scale of the achievement.

The decision to invest in the infrastructure necessary for this cost effective, reliable and safe service was made in the fifties and work started on building the network in 1959. The same year that Britain opened its first motorway section, the M6 near Presto…

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Gapgate, Design or Poor Manufacuring?

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Have a look at the front of your smartphone. Particularly where the screen meets the shell of your device. Notice anything? If it's like the iPhone 5 currently sat on my desk you'll probably not even realise there's a join there.
Korean customers who helped the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sellout at its early launch have found that the new phablet might not have quite such a seamless experience. As you can see from the photo, there appears to be a significant gap between screen and frame.
Given that there are just a few examples of this being discussed at the moment you might pass it off as a manufacturing problem with a few early units. But like the nine bending iPhone 6 Plus devices they are symptomatic of a bigger problem.
Android Central are reporting that the Samsung user guide mentions the gap between screen and frame as a 'necessary manufacturing feature' and that it also notes that the gap may 'expand slightly' over time.
That doesn't sound parti…