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Letters So, do we want form over function, or function over form? Are we a nation of style kings and queens, or does geek (un)chic still reign supreme? The answers to these probing (ahem) questions are probably not to be found in the letters below, but your thoughts and opinions about iPod phones certainly are. Light may also be shed on some of the other stuff mentioned:

Well I dunno about the success of an IPod phone, but as far as the success of mp3 phones go, you don't need to look any further than South Korea, where I'm currently living. I don't know about statistics or anything, but I know that there's a lot of people out there with mp3 playing phones, using them on the bus with headphones, or walking down the street with it on speaker like a really small ghetto blaster.

If you want to always have music with you, and always have a phone, then why carry two gadgets, if you can get one that does both. So I think their eventual success is a given, actually.

The camera/mobile is the ubiquitous combo in Korea. You've gotta have a mobile, and Koreans love to take photos of themselves with their friends.

I'd own a mp3/mobile myself, but I don't like mobile phones!

Sam


>>what makes the iPod different from other music players isn't the cool design; it's that clever navigation "wheel" plus (maybe less crucial) the big storage capacity.<<

I'm not convinced - one works against the other.

My 60GB iPod has 43GB of music: about 8000 tracks from 535 artists and 860 albums.

The wheel doesn't work well with this volume of menu items. With a phone keypad, I could get to KraftWerk (!) in 5 button presses (55777) in a couple of seconds, rather than about 10 seconds of wheeling. Can also be done without looking, useful for in-car (decent bluetooth integration could also mean I could find music using voice commands without taking a hand off the steering wheel).

Ironically, the iTunes interface is much better, but needs a large screen and keypad. I'd ditch my iPod in a second if a 60+GB Nokia-communicator form factor came out with an iTunes-style app on it, regardless of whether it had any phone functions!

John


When will you people in the press wake up????

The Ipod interface is not the fantastic thing you guys always claim and it is certainly not the reason i got an ipod.

The ONLY reason for ipod success is the vast storage, which is not often matched, apart from by some quicky brands.

If all mp3 players had 6gb - 40gb hard drives, then i expect ipod would be less of a market leader!!

Jeremy


I just can't help but think the iPod phone will turn out to be the phone industry's equivalent of the motor world greatest failure - the Alfa Arna - glorious Italian mechanics coupled with the beauty of Japanese styling.

If there's anything that phone consumers really want now - is a quick, intuitive robust user interface [read clickwheel] - something that Nokia's Series 60/Symbian's/Microsoft's/Motos designers designers designers mentality GUIs are utterly useless at.

Regards,

Richard

Consensus. Such a rare thing...


Dastardly spyware writers are apparently getting more sophisticated. We assume this means that as well as writing nasty code to bug us all, they have started wearing black and drinking in exclusive Soho cocktail bars. No? Oh, apparently it was something about a bug in something Microsoft wrote:

A Microsoft representative said [..] "this attempt to bypass these features is not a software security vulnerability, but a function within the operating system that could be misused"

Ah.. Classic. It's not a bug, it's a feature..! I haven't seen that uttered with such brazen cheek in a while.

Thanks for the smile.. :)

Gareth


Truly an informative article. Not because it shows yet another exploit in the Windows operating system, rather, because it shows Microsoft's attitude towards the problem.

Given Microsofts drive to produce ever easier to use computers and; therefore, produce less tech savvy end users I believe they have a duty to protect customers from all such threats as said customers may no longer understand what the threat is. The only real questions, for me at least, is how that is accomplished.

Releasing patches in a timely manner is important, yet the real solution, again for me, is to release more secure products to start with.

Cheers, Robert.


"Our early analysis indicates that this attempt to bypass these features is not a software security vulnerability, but a function within the operating system that could be misused," the company said in a statement. "Microsoft is reviewing the report to determine further details and whether there is any potential impact for customers and will provide appropriate customer guidance if necessary."

Heh, and I thought you wernt allowed to use the old "its not a bug, its an undocumented feature" gag anymore.

Anthony


Professor Robert Winston, fertility expert and opinionated academic extraordinaire, held forth on the over-hyping of the benefits of stem cell research this week:

It's reassuring to see that Professor Robert Winston is worried about over-hyping scientific developments. But is this the same Professor Robert Winston who last week appeared in advertisements for St. Ivel's 'Advance' fish-oil laced milk?

According to the company; "Anecdotal evidence from teachers and parents indicates that increasing intake of Omega 3 may improve learning and concentration for some children."

Gotta love a peer's scientific credibility when a single sentence includes the words 'anecdotal', 'may' and 'some' without a trace of irony.

It's not just the cod liver oil in the milk that's hard to swallow.

Mike

Yep. And he is the same Professor Winston who was recently giving forth on the overhyped-ness of Chlamydia, too.


After we ran the headline: Wanted: seasoned w**nkers for online ejaculation pole, we got a few questions. Some questions just deserve an answer:

Whilst I appreciate your usual sarcasm and cheeky humour, I have to ask: was the tenuous pun on the misspelled "pole" in the title *really* intentional?

Daniel

Sadly, yes, it was.


Cancer detecting nanobelts. A nice idea, you said, but you had one quibble with what the scientists were saying:

From your article "Boffins build cancer-spotting nanobelts": "We would like to use these materials for in-situ, real-time, non-destructive and remote monitoring and detection of cancer cells at a sensitivity of a single cell"

I think we'd all prefer to see that reading "...HIGHLY-destructive...".

Regards John

A good point...


A startling twist has been revealed in the purported plans of UK spooks to go trolling through chat rooms in a bid disrupt the radicalising of young Muslims. Now we need to worry about penguin insurgency as well:

I was amused by your headline "British spooks hit AQ bulletin boards" - were you aware that AQ is the country code used for Antarctica? It is not widely used - most Antarctic operators use their respective national codes - but it is out there, and it is used. A Google search on the domain gets 11,800 hits, though.

Perhaps we workers in Antarctica are regarded as closet revolutionaries? Or maybe the grand ideals of the Antarctic Treaty (Antarctica is a continent for science, territorial claims held in abeyance and much more) are regarded as seditious in some quarters?

Paul


And finally, it (the War on terror etc) may all be utterly irrelevant. Terrifying evidence of an invasion force the like of which has never been seen has been spotted in orbit around Saturn:

>> ... you can make out small clumps in the ring structure. But what are >> they ? <<

Hmm. Possibly a Dalek craft ?

Regards, Mike

And the mystery is solved. Exterminate...exterminate...®

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