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Showing posts from December 10, 2017

Some Thoughts On The Xbox One X & Project Cars 2

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Project Cars had been the best Xbox One driving game ever since it launched. In terms of realistic feeling and driving experience it made everything else look very arcade-y.

Imagine the anticipation that built up around Project Cars 2 then. I've already spoken about the awful install experience - a 12GB download before first install - including the ready to play notification which usually indicates enough of a game has loaded for you to play whilst the rest comes down the pipes. 

Not on the case of Project Cars 2 though. No, ready to play means ready to access the settings menu - and nothing else. That this was followed by another 12GB update just a comer of days later was infuriating.

That infuriation was nothing compared to the disappointment of playing the thing though.

A physics model, and hence driving experience, which is worse than the original in almost every way. Cars that pivot about their geometrical centre and giggle buggy rules and penalties implementation.

I definitely do…

Cortana Everywhere? More Like Cortana Nowhere Until Microsoft Recognises The Rest Of The World Exists

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Microsoft is clearly going out of its way to annoy damage its brand outside of the US and UK. Cortana Everywhere? That's a particularly unfunny joke. Cortana practically nowhere is more accurate if you wnat the facts.
No phones, no smart speakers, not even officially on Windows Mobiles. In fact not even on Xbox anymore, now that new Xbox One versions S and X don't support Kinect and Microsoft isn't even selling the Kinect Adapter in most countries around the world.
So Cortana, basically tied to your PC, the place you are least likely to use it. 
The day that Microsoft wakes up to the world outside of the US and starts to engage with it will be the day it finds out it missed the boat.
Hey Cortana, can you quit with the patronising ads?

2017 Fiat Punto Gets A Record Zero Star In NCAP Rating Screw-up

Fiat's Punto is an old, old car, in fact the current generation was introduced as the Grande Punto way back in 2005. So even though its sold in 2017, its technology is ancient by modern car standards. So the above crash test result, in which the new model scored the first ever zero rating from NCAP, is hardly surprising.
It's a sign of how far cars have come in the last 12 years, rather a damning indictment of the Punto itself. Lest we forget, when tested in 2005, the Grande Punto managed a five star rating, the first ever small car to achieve this.
In 2017 though, things have changed, our expectations of vehicle crash performance and the NCAP testing not least.
However all is not as it seems.
The true score for the Punto should have been two or three stars based on its ratings in the three key categories, but because NCAP requires a minimum score for driver assistance - which the Punto lacks - it cannot be awarded any stars.
Which is patently nonsense. The Punto is not an in…

Spotify And Deezer Ask EU For Protection From Apple

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Apple's ability to profit from subscription services sold through apps on iOS has never sat right with me. When that app competes with one of Apple's own services, that becomes more than just a concern. 
Seems like Spotify and Deezer agree, and they have taken their complaint to the European Commission. The letter alleged that Apple has been abusing its advantaged position. 
Now it's likely that the EU will side with European companies against the big American giant, especially one which has spent so much energy avoiding taxes to community members; but even if it does, justice moves slowly in the EU and Apple will undoubtedly use every avenue of appeal available to it. 
So any relief Spotify or Deezer gets from Apple's abuse is likely to be a long time coming.

Lack Of Upgradeability Is A Not Very Pro Feature Of The iMac Pro

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Upgrades and Pros go together like Nutella and peanut butter, so the news that the iMac Pro won't be upgtadeable isn't a great start for Apple's attempt to pacify its professional customers upset with the company's consumer focus and neglect of Pro products.
This means what you order is what you're stuck with, paying Apple markups for components no different from off the shelf pieces. I guess those wedded to Apple will bite the bullet and be vociferous about how it doesn't matter.

For those more open minded or less tightly tied to Apple this will be another move which opens the door to alternative products from the likes of HP and Microsoft.

Is The Game Up For Uber Britannia

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A third UK city has joined London and Sheffield in refusing Uber a licence to operate its service. York City Council took the decision based on both local and global issues. The company's recent data breach, which affected all of the country's three million Uber account holders; and a reportedly high number of complaints received about the service.
The latter is especially relevant, given the news today of a Uber rider charged $14,000 for a twenty minute trip.
Based on the decisions of other City Councils it's not hard to see Uber being driven out of other UK cities come licence renewal time. And if Uber can't license its service, it no longer has a service.
As with London, the expectation is that Uber will appeal the ruling and continue operating until the appeal has been heard and a decision made. Which means much will hinge on the appeal decision on the London Licence. A bad decision there might bring the Uber house of cards tumbling down on its UK operation.

Is Tidal On The Point Of Drowning?

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Having already been exposed for apparently exaggerating subscriber numbers, massively changing the only measure of success a streaming service has, Tidal is now being reported as in danger of imminent financial collapse, with reports claiming the company has sufficient cash to survive just six more months at its current rate of loss.
Herein lies the problem for the streaming industry. Spotify is big. It has a brilliant model which brings subscribers onto the system by offering them free access and then converting them to paid users. At 150m users it dwarfs the rest of the market. It's sixty million paying subscribers dwarfs the rest of the market, if we're being brutally honest.
Spotify is a brilliantly engineered and popular music service and its cross platform availability only helps it hoover up more and more users.
Apple Music has 30m users - its a long way behind Spotify, but its far ahead of everybody else.
Right now if you're looking at a music streaming service, c…

Tesla's Semi Looks Like A Future Big Hitter In Road Haulage

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Tesla has this week banked two large orders for its new electric truck, as the road haulage industry looks too reduce its carbon emissions.

The reduction in running costs is sure to form part of the decision for two of the US's largest companies to move to electric road haulage.

Anheuser-Busch and Pepsico are the two companies in the vanguard of this move to cleaner haulage.

Synaptics Hints At Fingerprint Sensor Embedded In Samsung Galaxy S9 Display

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Earlier this year, when Samsung's Galaxy S8 was just a rumour, we heard many conflicting stories about whether it would embed a fingerprint sensor under its screen. The same conflicting stories also dogged the pre-announcement iPhone X hype.
A press release from Synaptics today suggests that the technology will actually make it into production on the upcoming Galaxy S9 - the press release for the Clear ID sensor mentions that it is already in mass production with a top five smartphone manufacturer; and seals the deal by name checking Samsung's Infinity display.
The Press Release also takes a less than subtle dig at the iPhone X and Face ID, pointing out that the Clear ID sensor  "allows users to securely unlock the device in situations including while it's sitting on the table, at any angle, or while in a car mount".
Whilst the GS9 might be the first to go-live with this technology, you can guarantee that it will spread like wildfire across Android OEMs before p…

Microsoft's Holiday Ad Is A Bit Different, A Bit Better

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Microsoft's Christmas ads are a little different this year, powered by the excellent Paint 3D, they come together to show a different side of the holidays. 
I've often been critical of Microsoft's marketing, but this is actually quite good.

Noel Gallagher's Genius Undercover

Best video of the week, no question. Insightful, funny and well-paced. Nice one GQ, well played Noel. Nicely topped off by City winning the Manchester - Trafford derby at the weekend.

Janus Bug Shows The Danger Of Sideloading Apps

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If you get your Android apps from the Play Store or the Amazon App Store, you can probably move on to something more exciting on the internet. However, if you are one of those who sideloads apps from dubious sources this should pique your interest.
A vulnerability discovered by Guardsquare which affects Android versions 5.0 and upwards, allows an attacker to modify the APK file for an Android deployable package and embed malicious code Whilst it's a change which will be picked up by Play Store policies, sideloaders are particularly vulnerable.
Christened Janus the vulnerbability has already been patched in Android's December security update. Shame that, statistically speaking, almost no Android users will ever see that particular update.

Here's Another Example Of Why You Should Be Fighting To Save The NHS

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The NHS is the greatest thing about the UK, even now after decades of political dismantling of the service by successive governments - including the Labour government under Tony Blair. 
If you want an example of what it will be like if that dismantling is allowed to run to its conclusion, then have a read of this post on Vox. Does that sound any kind of way to run a health service. 
So why are UK governments trying to dismantle such a worthy and valuable service?
Fear of rising costs and a reluctance to increase taxes, that's why. At some point during the late eighties a government think tank somewhere told ministers that the growing population, extended life spans and the greater survival rate for certain chronic diseases was going to create a crippling tax burden. 
Privatisation was the desired answer. However public opinion would have crucified that government, its ministers and their party for all of history.

Instead a plan was devised to turn public opinion against the NHS and ove…

I Can't Believe They Put Senna's Name On This Monstrosity

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This is the McLaren Senna, the British F1 team's road / track car for 2019. It's hideous, even when compared to other McLarens. Putting Ayrton Senna's name on it is a travesty.
If any car deserves to carry Senna's name and trademark double S it's the Honda NSX, a nameplate which Senna is inextricably linked with.
Senna may have win his three Championships with McLaren, but he never was and, on this evidence, never should be, linked to one of their road cars.