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Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android

Andy Smith Definitely a beta product (800 comments)

After 2 years of using Android, going from love to hate, I returned to iPhone with the 4S. I hadn't even heard of Siri til I was leaving the store with the 4S and noticed Siri mentioned on a poster.

Siri is useful in a very limited number of circumstances. I routinely use Siri to set an alarm. S/he seems to be good at understanding stock market enquiries too. But the natural language parsing can be very random at times. For example, try "set a countdown for 10 minutes" -- sometimes you'll get "I don't understand", sometimes you'll get an alarm clock set for 10 mins from now, and sometimes you'll get what you want which is a timer counting down from 10 minutes. Try "set a timer for 10 minutes" and you'll get the same range of mis-understanding.

I'm fine with Siri being how it is at the moment. I know it will get better and more useful, especially when it can work with maps / businesses outside the US. But it is still definitely a beta product that is usually slower than performing the task yourself.

Siri in a year or two should be great. I'm looking forward to it.

more than 2 years ago
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Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan

Andy Smith Compensation (158 comments)

This is an age-old debate but in my opinion there needs to be significant compensation for arrests that don't lead to convictions. Even more so if the arrest doesn't even lead to a charge.

The way things are at the moment, people who are wrongly arrested are expected to see their eventual release as a "relief" and be thankful for it. That's not how it should be. Otherwise the police had might as well arrest and hold everyone, take their time investigating all of them, and then release everyone who didn't do anything wrong.

In the venn diagram of arrests and convictions the target intersection is 100%. Currently it is nowhere near 100% and that is not entirely due to a flawed court system, it is partially due to too many innocent people being arrested.

more than 3 years ago
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34% of iPhone Owners Think the 4 Is 4G

Andy Smith The cheek of it! (306 comments)

I hope you're not suggesting that Apple had any intention of misleading people? That would be outrageous. I mean, they put out the iPhone for 2G networks, then the iPhone 3 for 3G networks, then just as people were starting to want a 4G handset they put out the iPhone 4. And you dare to suggest that it even _occurred_ to Apple that the numbering might confuse people!!!??? Go to your room and don't come out til supper time! Cheeky young scamp.

more than 3 years ago
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LulzSec Debunks UK Census Hack

Andy Smith Re:Cloud water? (93 comments)

Except it's Rachel, not Chandler :-)

more than 3 years ago
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LulzSec Debunks UK Census Hack

Andy Smith Re:Cloud water? (93 comments)

Respect, sir! :-)

more than 3 years ago
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LulzSec Debunks UK Census Hack

Andy Smith Re:Cloud water? (93 comments)

Haha! I knew what that moo point link would be before I even clicked it :-)

more than 3 years ago
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LulzSec Debunks UK Census Hack

Andy Smith Cloud water? (93 comments)

Isn't it cold water? To pour cold water on something, to debunk it.

Cloud water is rain.

more than 3 years ago
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Judges Berate Spammer For 'Incompetent' Litigation

Andy Smith Makes me sympathise with the spammer (143 comments)

Well done judge, you made me sympathise with a spammer. I don't want any court case conducted in this way. The judge's conduct is indicative of someone who is in a position of trusted neutrality but with an apparent bias against one side. Even when the case inevitably goes against the spammer, surely the judge's behaviour provides grounds for an appeal, eating up more of Spamhaus's defence fund.

--
Andrew Smith
http://www.brainachegames.com/
Developer of "Seq", the world's hardest puzzle game

more than 3 years ago
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France Bans Facebook and Twitter From Radio and TV

Andy Smith Unless (278 comments)

"unless the terms are specifically part of a news story"

Well that hardly ever happens.

more than 3 years ago
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Hacker Group LulzSec Challenges FBI

Andy Smith Permission... (308 comments)

...to find this all frickin' hilarious?

Wildly entertaining as a spectator.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

Andy Smith Re:only applies to special contract purchases (388 comments)

"In short: nothing to see here, move along"

Consumers have a legitimate interest in the behind-the-scenes contracts used by companies. We want to know what they're up to. For example, Microsoft forcing OEMs not to supply any machines with Linux -- it's a contract between two companies, but consumers had a legitimate interest in knowing about it.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Nixes iPad Giveaways

Andy Smith Re:They did what now? (388 comments)

Gotta take that a step further...
iP[[ad/od]/hone]s

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Gags On Gaga

Andy Smith Moronic behaviour (180 comments)

"Some frustrated users meted out one-star ratings for the album as their way of protesting Amazon's slow service"

Fortunately those people are morons so we can disregard their silly protest. Amazon should cancel those one-star ratings, but then they'd be accused of censorship, influencing the rating, etc. The whole thing sounds a bit silly to me.

more than 3 years ago
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Tweeter To Be Prosecuted, Twitter Now Censoring?

Andy Smith Re:Ryan Giggs (195 comments)

lol

more than 3 years ago
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Tweeter To Be Prosecuted, Twitter Now Censoring?

Andy Smith Online newsagent scared by naming of footballer? (195 comments)

Similar to the trend list thing, here's another case of apparent censorship under fear. A newspaper identified one of the footballers, and that issue of the paper is missing from the online newsagent PressDisplay, even though PressDisplay is based in Canada, supposedly outside the reach of UK courts.

http://www.meejahor.com/2011/05/22/paper-identifies-injunction-footballer-scares-online-newsagent/

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon Removes Yaoi Manga Titles From Kindle Store

Andy Smith Re:alternatives to Amazon (450 comments)

"Where do people go when they give up Amazon?"

A bookshop?

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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HTC bloat is bad news for consumers and developers

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andy Smith writes "Smartphone manufacturer HTC has largely ignored a memory fault with its flagship Desire handset that causes the phone to slow to a crawl and app installs to fail. The closest they've come to admitting the problem was a statement saying that the phone could never support Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) so it was a surprise when the company announced yesterday that a Gingerbread update was on the way. The Desire is one of the main gaming handsets so as an Android developer I find this quite alarming: "HTC's decision to bring Android 2.3 to the Desire is a superficial gesture, intended to appease customer concerns that the once-flagship handset has been abandon after little more than a year. We anticipate that Desire owners will find their devices further encumbered by the Gingerbread upgrade, while the persistent low-memory issue remains unaddressed." (Disclosure: I am the developer of Seq, the game referred to in the linked article.)"
Link to Original Source
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BBC flouts cookie law with ironic cookie

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andy Smith writes "As of 26 May 2011 web sites in the UK must get a user's permission to set cookies. If you go to the BBC's commercial TV listings site Radio Times you'll see a message telling you about the new law. Go to the site again, though, and you don't see the message. How does the site know you've already seen it? By setting a cookie of course! It doesn't ask for permission."
Link to Original Source
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Paper breaks injunction, scares online newsagent?

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andy Smith writes "The super-injunction fiasco in the UK keeps rolling on. Yesterday, eagle-eyed Twitter users will have spotted that the name of an allegedly unfaithful footballer, being tweeted about by hundreds of people, was curiously absent from the trend list, giving the impression that Twitter may be censoring the list to bolster its legal footing. Today the Sunday Herald newspaper took the courageous and much-welcomed step of naming the footballer, yet users of the online newsagent PressDisplay won't know this as the service hasn't published today's edition, despite being based in Canada and supposedly outside the reach of the UK courts."
Link to Original Source
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Tweeter to be prosecuted, Twitter now censoring?

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andy Smith writes "Slashdot has already covered the super-injunctions furore in the UK, with one famous footballer going after an anonymous Twitter user who broke a court order and revealed his extra-marital affair. Now another footballer has asked the attorney general to prosecute a well-known journalist and TV personality, who went against another super-injunction and wrote about this footballer, again on Twitter. Meanwhile, going back to the first footballer, it looks like he's got Twitter running scared, as the site is apparently blocking his name from appearing on the trend list, despite him being one of the most tweeted-about people."
Link to Original Source
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Banned from Facebook for having famous name

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andrew Smith (55346) writes "Reports the BBC: A mother from Kent has been told she cannot use her Facebook account because she shares a name with Prince William's fiancee. Kate Middleton, from Pembury, said the social networking site had accused her of impersonating her famous namesake. Ms Middleton, who set up her account two years ago, said she was shocked at the decision. Facebook said it made the occasional mistake and would seek to resolve the issue."
Link to Original Source
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WikiLeaks-supporting DDoS attacks use "malware"

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Andrew Smith (55346) writes "It's interesting how words-of-the-moment can be subtly manipulated to affect public opinion. Most tech-savvy people understand the term "malware" to mean software that acts against the owner of the machine it is (often covertly) installed on, such as key-logging, or stealing bandwidth to send spam. But in light of the Anoynmous DDoS attacks on Mastercard and PayPal, a security analyst at corporate security firm Imperva, used the malware buzzword to describe the DDoS software that WikiLeaks supporters have been intentionally downloading with the intent of it being used to attack certain companies. The media must be careful when quoting such fear-inducing language. As mainstream support for WikiLeaks grows, people outside of tech circles are looking for ways of protesting against the companies that abandoned the whistle-blowing site in its hour of need. The DDoS attacks are not being carried out by "shadowy hackers" using "malware", but by everyday people who feel powerless to protest in any other way."
Link to Original Source
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UK pursues tax evaders using stolen bank details

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  about 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "The UK taxman (HM Revenue & Customs) is reportedly using a stolen list of bank details to pursue wealthy individuals with off-shore accounts. The list was stolen by an employee of HSBC, and gave details of the bank's customers with money in Swiss accounts. The bank employee fled to France, and the authorities there passed the details on to the UK tax collection agency."
Link to Original Source
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Google bans YouTube download in Android app

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "Web browser Dolphin HD hit Google's Android app market last week with much fanfair. Personally I found its browsing experience quite poor, but it does have one very useful feature: Easy and reliable downloading of YouTube videos to the phone's SD card. Today an update hit the market, with a single change noted: "Removed YouTube Download (Required by Google, violates the YouTube Terms of Service)" Naturally people are going to wonder if Google is heading in the Apple direction of tightly controlling what functionality can be included in apps. Or has the ban on YouTube downloading been imposed simply because Google owns YouTube? There are other YouTube downloaders available for Android, but in my experience they don't work at all well."
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Review of HTC Desire as alternative to iPhone

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "My search for an alternative to the iPhone has been long and frustrating. On paper, the HTC Desire is the first serious challenger to the iPhone's reign as king of phones. But how does it compare in use? There is much good and much bad. (This review is primarily for UK readers as HTC's new handset, the Incredible, will not be available here.)"
Link to Original Source
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Android gets carrier-operated European app store

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "Android fragmentation begins: EuroDroid reports that Vodafone will launch an Android app store in June, to fill in the European gaps where Google hasn’t yet launched the official Android app store. Worrying quote: "All apps will be pre-selected and tested by [Vodafone's after-sales processor] Arvato Mobile for compatibility with our devices." Just a few days ago Slashdot covered the suggestion by Barry O’Neil, ex-President of Namco Bandai Network Europe, that it could be wise for Google to "hand over the entire management of the Android Market to carriers, OEMs and trusted publishers"."
Link to Original Source
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Android in the UK blighted by delays

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "There has been one problem after another with the arrival of Android smartphones in the UK. First the official launch of the Nexus One was delayed, meaning that it would come out after the HTC Legend which is said to be a superior phone. But people have held off from buying the Legend because the HTC Desire was just around the corner. Now the Desire is out, available for a bargain £164 on a £10-per-month contract from T-Mobile. Alas there is an issue with the Desire not being able to send texts on T-Mobile's network, so suppliers such as Carphone Warehouse have been told to stop selling the Desire with T-Mobile contracts, and have removed them from sale. Consumers who have ordered unbranded, unlocked, SIM-free Desires are reporting that deliveries to non-network retailers have now been delayed for the second time, with the estimated arrival date being put back by a week to mid-April."
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Facebook violates privacy settings for ads?

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andy Smith (55346) writes "I'm a 36-year-old male. On Facebook I have chosen not to share my profile information with applications. Recently I've been seeing adverts that offer, for example, free laser eye treatment to anyone who happens to be 36 years old, or a free Blackberry to anyone who just happens to be a 36-year-old male. Here's a screenshot. I've refreshed the Facebook page multiple times but the adverts are always targeted at the same age and gender so I don't think this is a coincidence. Facebook appears to be sharing my information with advertisers, even though I have chosen to keep it private. Are they sharing your private info too?"
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Facebook helps police track prison absconder

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith writes "The BBC reports that a burglar who absconded from prison in Suffolk, England has been updating his Facebook page while on the run. The article notes that Facebook is now "working with Suffolk police officers to try and track him down"."
Link to Original Source
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Field of Glory uses Gimp where Photoshop fails

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Andrew Smith (55346) writes "I recently covered a story for our regional paper about the computer version of the board game Field of Glory being made with a lot of help from friends and relatives of the development team. As part of the process they had to photograph over 350 military figurines, each from 12 angles, and then painstakingly "cut out" the characters from the resulting 4,200+ photographs. Something that surprised me was that, although developers HexWar do have Photoshop, they had to dump it and use Gimp instead as its Intelligent Scissors tool is superior to Photoshop's comparable offering. The team has already started on expansion packs for the game, an undertaking which will see over 70,000 photographs edited in Gimp in this way, with most of the editing being done by 12- and 14-year-old sisters earning some pretty decent pocket money."
Link to Original Source
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DRM pushing me towards piracy

Andy Smith Andy Smith writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Andrew Smith (55346) writes "I stopped buying PC games about a year ago due to DRM technologies such as SecuROM and StarForce because of the faults they can cause when burning CDs, which is an essential part of my job. Last month I bought a new mid-spec laptop and went shopping for an "old" game that would run on it, and I settled on Civ4. However, after buying it, I discovered that it too uses SecuROM so I will not install it. Instead, I think it's morally (and legally?) acceptable to download a pirate copy without DRM. Yesterday my girlfriend and I both bought The Sims 2. Neither copy worked! I've since discovered that the copy-protection on the DVD is known to cause installation errors, and one of the recommended workarounds is to install the disk imaging software Alcohol, and this indeed allowed me to install the game. Alcohol can of course be very useful for people who want to pirate games. I feel like games publishers are pushing me towards pirating their products. I don't want DRM to harm my system, and if the only way I can play a purchased game is to pirate it then how long will it be before I skip the purchasing?"

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