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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

shellbeach Re:Pass - Had major issues with Nexus 5 (from LG) (201 comments)

Sorry to hear that ... my N5 that was one of the first batch ever made (purchased in the first minute after launch) has never had a mic issue. I know it's one of the problems that got reported on forums, but all the other N5 owners I know (all five of them -- it's not a huge sample!) haven't had any issues with the phone and I suspect the batch of phones affected was relatively small. At least you got a refund!

In the almost-year I've owned the N5, I've been pretty happy with the build quality of the phone. The buttons still work and don't wobble, the case doesn't creak, and the soft-touch backing hasn't worn off. The screen's stayed scratch-free, too, and I'm still getting great battery life. The only issue I've got is that the USB port has become a bit temperamental for charging over the last month (it now seems to work reliably with only one particular cable -- I should probably get it replaced while I still can!)

I still think it's one of the best phones available -- right up there with the iPhone6, Sony Z3/Z3c and the Moto X; and for the price, the Z3c is really the only competition I can think of.

about a month ago
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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

shellbeach Re:Pass - Had major issues with Nexus 5 (from LG) (201 comments)

I assume you had it replaced free-of-charge under warranty, and ended up with a perfectly good replacement? Google are very good with replacing Nexus phones bought through the play store -- you get sent a replacement phone before you ship your old phone off.

And if you didn't, you're still at least two weeks within the warranty period ... it's not too late :)

about a month and a half ago
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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

shellbeach Re:Meh (201 comments)

I'm not so sure there's a big market for 6" phablets yet -- that's going into uncharted territory, somewhere not even Samsung dared to go (this year's Note 4 has the same screen size as last year's Note 3, at 5.7"). At some point, phones are simply going to get too big for people, and this phone is going to be very hard to fit in a pocket or use one-handed.

It's also worth pointing out that Google's previous Nexii have had very mixed success sales-wise, so I'm not sure you can really assume that they've got the phone marketing thing down pat, or even that they care about sales that much. With a $650 price tag, the N6 seems more like a developer niche thing to me -- just as the Nexus One, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus were (which also all had similarly high price tags).

But, I could be wrong ... maybe it'll sell like hotcakes, and we'll be seeing a 7" phone next year.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

shellbeach Re:Meh (201 comments)

The 2nd gen Moto G isn't 1080p, and it's not exactly a flagship phone performance-wise (although it's very nice). Thankfully, it looks as though Google is keeping the N5 around for another year ...

about a month and a half ago
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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

shellbeach Re:Meh (201 comments)

It's available in Europe and seems to be selling pretty well on Amazon UK right now. I don't know why Sony ignores the US ...

If I was looking for a phone right now I'd be seriously considering the Z3 compact. Seems pretty much the perfect size to me, and the battery life is insane.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

shellbeach Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

No one was using their "smartphone" (or super duper feature phone like the N95) because they were a disaster to use.

Hey, don't you go insulting Symbian! "Feature phone" my grandmother! The N95 was very much a smartphone. The number of 3rd party apps for Symbian back in the day was enormous, it was easy to develop for, the OS had a history reaching back to the days of the classic psion PDAs, and you could customise just about any aspect of the OS. And if you think about what a Symbian phone could do with crappy processors and no memory to speak of, it was even more impressive. Plus, the N95 had a superb camera -- far superior to the iPhone's shooter when it came out six months later. Your /. userid suggests you should be old enough to remember the N95 and its kin -- I'm surprised.

I also remember the first iPhone, and while it had a lot of promise and iOS was ground-breaking in its use of a touchscreen, it really wasn't that power-user-friendly. There was no cut and paste (remember how you had to jailbreak to add this?), no multitasking, no 3G, and there were very limited numbers of apps when it was released. Yes, it was a preview of the future and the sheer beauty of the graphics of iOS was amazing; but that first iPhone was a gimicky toy in comparison to what you could do as a power user with Symbian.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

shellbeach Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

CyanogenMod. I have a six year old HTC Dream running the latest version of Android.

Seriously? You're running KitKat on 192Mb of RAM and a 512MHz processor??

That's ... well, I'm not sure whether that's insane, masochistic or extraordinary. But you definitely earn my respect for trying (and for saving the world's resources by not upgrading your phone in six years.)

about 2 months ago
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Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos

shellbeach Re:Parallax. (425 comments)

Perfect example: Apple Pay. Google has had NFC payments via Google Wallet in Android for years. They could have built a huge business there, but they completely fucked it up. They put out the feature with almost no retailer support, minimal bank support, even worse CE vendor support, only in the US, and a half-assed marketing effort even for Google's usually low standards.

This article might be an interesting read. Timing is definitely on Apple's side, but you shouldn't underestimate Google's attempts to trail-blaze.

Personally, provided neither ecosystem destroys the other, I'm happy. The iPhone6 is at least some serious competition against an Android juggernaut which has really stagnated in the last year. Similarly, it was the larger displays of Android phones and their market dominance that spurred Apple to finally break away from their tiny screens. Competition is always good.

about 2 months ago
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Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

shellbeach Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (399 comments)

$350-$500 puts you into the range of cheap trash and knock-off timepieces.

Well, the watch I'm wearing right now is a Seiko automatic that cost well below that price range; yet it has a fully in-house movement (right down to Seiko's own oil formulations) and it's accurate to within half a second a day (technically it loses 8 secs every 30 days on average, after regulating it myself). As you may be aware, Seiko's movements are so good that Tag Heuer famously used one of them as the basis of their own "100% in house" movement several years ago :)

Getting back to topic, though, I agree that real watchmakers aren't in any danger from smartwatches. Mechanical watches are highly fashionable elite items that are valued because they are rare, handmade works of art. It's like suggesting that oil paintings will be threatened by digital photo frames -- the markets for the two products are pretty much non-overlapping.

about 7 months ago
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Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr Released

shellbeach Re:@AC - Re:*Yawn* I'll Wait for the Mint Edition (179 comments)

I still miss sawfish. So customizable, and the undo feature on window move/resize was awesome.

Yeah, but -- lisp! :( (Personally I was rather fond of IceWM back in the day, and contributed a bit of code to it. Customisability wasn't it's strong suit, but it was so damn fast on the crappy hardware I had fifteen years ago ...)

FWIW, Ubuntu still has both sawfish and icewm available as packages, not that'll stop the clowns here complaining that Unity took away all their desktop choices ...

about 7 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:For the people who can't see past their nose (103 comments)

I couldn't see riding without it...

... ah yes, but can you see the road, riding with it?? :P

In all seriousness, when did /. become so goddamn conservative? I can't believe how dismissive people are of wearables around here ...

about 8 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:I kind of wouldn't mind a less fancy one... (103 comments)

And there's other problems that really sound lame. I'd hate having to charge my watch every night.

Have you actually seen battery life estimates for the Moto360? I really hope it's not a charge-once-a-night scenario ...

I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

I have, and it's not pretty. I've got higher hopes for this Moto watch -- at least it's actually stylish.

about 8 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:Round and square screens? (103 comments)

This means apps won't risk showing important information in the corners of the square watches.

Not a bad thing if it pushes manufacturers away from the fugly square smartwatch screens, but it'll be interesting to see how they're handled in the software. And to be fair, important things like message text will wrap in the space available just fine, whether that's round or square.

about 8 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:so what does it do? (103 comments)

other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

Was this a serious question? It tells you the time (that's the watch bit) and it displays notifications and information (that's the smart bit), all without you having to dig your phone out of your pocket/bag and unlock it. Presumably the intended market is executives in meetings -- something like this allows you to remain connected far more discretely than playing with your phone. (Although FWIW having a feed of a hyperlocal weather source such as forecast.io would also be significantly more useful than looking outside the window ... and navigation whilst cycling would also be kinda handy.)

Personally I like mechanical watches and I'm not going to buy one of these. But this (or at least the Moto360 version) is at least the first smartwatch that's actually appealed to me, and the interface Google's dreamed up (swipe-based without apparent multiple touch targets) seems sensible and intuitive. Even if you didn't care for the "smart" bit at all, it's a good looking watch in its own right ... and that's a first for the wearables industry.

about 8 months ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:Crazy tech? (177 comments)

The real point behind having a large camera is to restrict the focal depth of field. This allows you to highlight a subject in the foreground whilst blurring the background (think portrait photography). And the laws of optics aren't going to allow a pinhole camera to ever manage that, sadly.

Incidentally, the laws of optics also mean that most of these camera phones are diffraction limited around 8mp (and that's being generous). I'm not sure why more manufacturers don't stick with a decent 5mp rather than throwing away dynamic range on silly sensors packed with unnecessary pixels ...

about a year ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:We need more memory (177 comments)

Well, 32Gb isn't exactly acres of space these days, but I think it'll be enough for me. 16Gb definitely isn't anymore.

I do wish they'd use SD cards (ext-formatted, of course) mainly because I'd know at least some of my data was safe if my phone ever died or bricked. But I realise it's never going to happen with a Nexus, and I'm more-or-less happy to pay that price.

about a year ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (177 comments)

Without digging into it for more than 30 seconds, I see a phone with a different screen, different camera, different battery, different physical button layout, and different UI, and with significantly different physical properties (e.g. wireless charging on the Nexus)--these might be distant cousins, but they are most decidedly not "mildly revamped" versions of the same thing.

But the screen, camera, battery and buttons are all extras; the point is that at the core of both devices is the LG G2's mainboard with a Snapdragon 800 sitting on it. If I take my desktop box here at work and change the monitor, keyboard and mouse, it's still the same box, and that's pretty much how most of us are viewing the Nexus 5.

I see this as a good thing, mind you. LG does the low-level stuff well; they just have no idea how to make an interface (either physical or graphical) to save themselves. Mate LG's tech with Google's design sense and you've got what should be the best phone of the year.

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

I wouldn't begrudge paying for ebooks, if I though the balance of the money went to the author instead of some publisher who is doing what exactly? Editing? Possibly.

Editing is a huge job. An education editor will spend a lot of time working on the layout of the work as well as on the writing; a trade (i.e. popular fiction/non-fiction) editor will also interact with an author at every stage of the writing process and help sculpt the finished work. Just look at how much thanks fiction authors give to their editors in their acknowledgements to get an idea.

I'm still amazed that most authors don't self publish. Especially well known ones. What do they need the publishers for? To set up book tours?

Amongst other things, yes. Publicity is pretty vital in getting your book noticed. But I suspect most go through the major publishing houses to (a) get the services of a good editor and (b) get an monetary advance ahead of publication to support their writing.

Yes, I'm sure that publishers are making a bit more profit on ebooks than on p-books. But I'm not sure it's as much as you think it is, and most authors don't have the ready cash to be able to replace all that infrastructure and support through hiring freelance staff.

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

shellbeach Re:Mint Update Hell? (627 comments)

Well, at least with linux we have the choice to switch to whatever we want :)

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

shellbeach Re:Mint Update Hell? (627 comments)

When I have several Firefox windows open and want to access one, there is no way to go directly to it.

Fair enough. Personally, I like that behaviour (I have so many windows open all the time that I'd never have any space for a description left in a taskbar if I had one (hell, I often have so many PDFs open at once that even when they do their expose-thing I can't find the window I want ...) But I can see why it would irritate. FWIW, I believe the latest incarnation of Unity allows you to scroll on the dock icon to cycle through the windows of that app (but since I haven't upgraded from 12.10, I can't verify this ...)

Hell, want to launch more than one instance of the Calculator? It cannot be done.

Actually, you can do this one -- just middle-click on a dock icon to launch a new instance (the middle-click-opens-new-window paradigm is standard in many apps, so it shouldn't be a surprise). It's a minor point, though.

I guess I'm lucky/unlucky in that Unity fits my brain absolutely perfectly -- it's by far my favourite WM ever (and I've used pretty much every WM that was ever written for X over the years). Both the dock and the dash make my life so much faster, it's not funny. But I agree it's not a very customisable WM (and I'm not sure why either -- Shuttleworth and his design-gurus are clearly very particular!)

about a year ago

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