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Showing posts from October 13, 2014

UK Proposed Troll Legislation Doesn't Make Sense In Light Of Finnegan/Madeley Meltdown

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Over the years we've seen numerous examples of what the press likes to call 'trolling', the online bullying and threatening by comments and messages, that has become much more prevalent and visible since Twitter became popular.

The UK government has begun a process to ensure that those guilty of this abuse receive a stiff sentence and in the last few days has suggested that the maximum penalty by law for this 'crime' will be increased from six months to two years.

Currently the media has focused on this issue due to the Ched Evans, Judy Finnegan, Chloe Finnigan debacle that is running its course right now.

Evans is a professional footballer who was found guilty of the rape of a teenage girl and sentenced to five years in prison. His expected release after just two and a half years has prompted protests from football fans warning clubs not to offer him a new contract.

There are some interesting questions here. Is five years an appropriate punishment for the offence…

F1: Closed Cockpits Are Not The Right Response To Bianchi Accident

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There has been much talk about investigating closed cockpits for F1 cars following the terrible accident that befell Jules Bianchi in Suzuka a fortnight ago. And whilst closed cockpits certain add a degree of protection for some accident types it's unlikely they would have prevented the injuries which have left the French driver in a critical condition.

The problem in this accident was the violent and sudden deceleration of Bianchi's head - restrained by the HANS device - which could not be matched by the brain inside the head. Bianchi's brain will have suffered a heavy impact his skull, which is what lead to the widespread brain injury. This is different from the injury suffered by Michael Schumacher, for example, where the injury was caused by an impact to the head causing bleeding inside the cranial cavity.

The HANS device may sound like it's the problem, but actually the restraint is probably the only thing that has allowed Jules to continue fighting for so long. …

Using A Tablet As A Camera Is Just Ridiculous

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Cameras in tablets have started to approach those of mid-range smartphones in quality and pixel density, but if you use one to take snaps you're seriously misunderstanding the whole camera/phone dichotomy.

A smartphone camera is never going to approach a dedicated camera for capability or functionality. Image quality is always going to be better using a camera rather than using a phone. Even the daddy of all smartphone cameras - the massive 41mp Pureview sensor on the back of the Lumia 1020 can't compete with anything better than a mid-range compact. And that phone is far and away the best phone for taking pictures available today.

So why do we take billions of photos a day on our phones?

It's the old adage 'the best camera you have is the one you have with you' coming into play. We have our phones with us 24/7. They go everywhere and are always ready to grab that photo. Pocket to picture times are impressive and the phone is always in your pocket. The dedicated c…

Apple Getting More Like Samsung Every Day

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What are the qualities that Samsung has consistently been derided for by Apple fans over the last few years? And how many of them have been adopted by Apple?

Small screen tablets? Check. Large screen phones? Check. Plastic bodied phones? Check. And now a complex range of tablets.

Apple announced the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 today - as they let slip yesterday. Which now gives them a range which extends to six iPad Minis and four iPad Airs (excluding the various storage options).

Of course choice is a good thing - and Samsung's remains significantly wider in terms of both technologies and screen sizes; and price. But Apple's move to broaden it's range is good news, even if its swinging u-turns and slavish copying of rivals smacks of hypocrisy (I'm kidding!!!)

Having seen the launch I'm not convinced that the new iPads make for a compelling upgrade and certainly aren't tempting me to reach for my credit card.

Nexus 6: Just Say Note

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As well as the HTC built Nexus 9 tablet, Google announced a new handset today. The Motorola designed Nexus 6. Its a Moto X 2014 that has been left in a grow bag for far too long. The screen is all but six inches in size and it gives the Nexus 6 monster dimensions: it's significantly larger than the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note and dwarfs the LG G3.

The screen packs a QuadHD resolution, for a pitch of around 490ppi. The extra size - and especially extra depth - allows Motorola to pack on a behemoth of a battery which should give exceptional battery life, but to be truthful it's another so-so device bearing the Nexus branding.

An expensive one too. With an expected launch price of US$649 it's barely cheaper than the far more capable Galaxy Note 4, although it is US$100 cheaper than the entry-level iPhone 6 Plus. The days of the Nexus being the cheap option are gone, it would seem.

Of the three QuadHD devices that have been released so far the Nexus impresses me the lea…

Apple Leaks New iPads

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Here's a bizarre occurrence - Apple has posted images of its new iPads onto its own website, effectively leaking the updated devices a day early.

As predicted there's little new about the two devices to get excited about. They look pretty much the same as the outgoing models - although I'm guessing that Apple will once more have reduced the depth of the device, in its crusade to make every device thin over every other possible feature.

Other than TouchID there's nothing new to see. There are hints in the documents that new cameras may debut, although people who take photos with tablets are generally beyond help it may assist those who use their iPad as a quasi-document scanner.

So will you be upgrading? I really can't see any compelling reason to do so.

Nexus 9 Points To Reasons For Tablet Market Stagnation

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When the original iPad arrived three and a half years ago it created a market for a third screen that had never existed before. When Samsung released the original Galaxy Tab it showed that a smaller tablet was a valid choice for that third screen.

Whilst the market has grown phenomenally over the last three years, it's been a year of stagnation this year and the new Nexus 9 demonstrates why.

The iPad hasn't improved dramatically since the launch of the iPad 2, which in typical Apple style addressed the shortcomings of the original and caused a blow up in sales. Since then we've had small improvements with each generation - better screens, lighter shells - but in reality, there's no compelling reason if you have an iPad 2, it will still do everything you originally bought it for.

On the Android side there's been a little bit more innovative thinking. The Asus Transformer, Galaxy Note and Lenovo Yoga are good examples, but again, once you have your tablet there'…

Apple Financial Report Likely To Blow Market Away

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In a couple of weeks Apple will be reporting its performance for the last quarter to investors - and it should be an interesting call. This time last year Apple sold a mammoth 33m iPhones - on the back of what was a pretty average upgrade to the model range. The new iPhone 6 and Plus are significantly bigger upgrades (sorry!) and are sure to have drawn in a much higher numbers of upgraders.

So how many iPhones might have been sold this quarter?

Last year Apple sold about twice as many iPhones as the same period in 2011, if the same pattern holds true this year then Apple will sell around 54m iPhones. That would fit with sales growth historically.

However, I think that may well be understating Apple's actual performance this time out. In July Comscore reported that there were more than 40m iPhone users in the US alone, I'd guess that half of those users have already grabbed themselves a new iPhone.

We also know that in the EMEA region Apple sold 30m handsets in Q2 - that's…

Apple Might Be A Top Five PC Vendor

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For the first time ever reportedly (which is open to some dispute) Apple might be a top five PC manufacturer worldwide. IDC put its sales above Asus for Q3 2014. Gartner, on the other hand disagrees, and put's Asus in that fifth spot. Either way, it's likely that Apple will show a sales gain year on year, as do all of the other five companies detailed in the two reports.

The growth of these six businesses came at the expense of the 'Others' category, which presumably contains the shrinking PC businesses of Sony and Samsung. Overall the market shrunk again, although not as drastically as in previous quarters.

What is more interesting is the heavy reliance of two of the big players on the US market. Apple sold 45% of its Macs in the US. Dell more than 40% of its PCs. As these are number two and three in the US market that's a worryingly heavy concentration of sales in one economy.

With the holiday buying season in the next quarter and the heavy bias towards consumer…

Bose About To Feel The White Heat Of Competition With Apple

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Bose and Beats have apparently settled their lawsuit relating to the noise cancellation technology that the newly acquired Apple subsidiary was alleged to have copied from it's competitor. No details are forthcoming about the settlement, but it's probable that there was some licensing agreement reached which satisfied both businesses.

Bose aren't going to be crowing over their success for long though, as it's rumoured that Apple is beginning to put into action a plan to remove Bose headphones and speakers from Apple Stores worldwide. That's really only a natural extension of the take-over of Beats. The two are in direct competition and as a result it's bye-bye Bose.

It won't just be the loss of shelf space that isn't going to hurt Bose going forward either. Apple customers have proven themselves a loyal bunch and, even though Beats haven't been re-branded as Apple, every potential customer knows that they are Apple owned and, as a result, Beats hea…

HTC Re: On Reflection A Smart Move

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HTC wants a piece of the GoPro market and with the Re camera they look likely to find a niche in that market, with a product that approaches the question of what a lifelogging camera should be in completely the opposite direction from the market leader.

The Re looks like of those university course design projects, that are usually clever in some ways, yet completely impractical and unsuited to the task at hand. The Re however, unlike the rather ugly and intimidating GoPro, looks friendly and easy to get on with. I suspect it will be very suited to the task it's designed to do.

Pick it up and it turns on. Press a button to take a picture, hold it down to start a video. Pretty straightforward. You can use a smartphone as a viewfinder, but as most smartphones will probably take a better picture on their own that's not going to be a big use case except for some outliers like underwater photography (it's waterproof) or remote control for group shots with you in them.

Judgement…