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Bob Dormon

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Buncefield fire scene

Got it taped: The business of tape-based disaster recovery

For many SMEs, tape disappeared from their landscape as a data storage choice ten or more years ago. Domestically, it exists, if at all, as a legacy item with perhaps a car stereo chewing its way through a selection of fondly regarded C-90s. Still, this lack of public visibility by no means indicates that tape has come to the …
Bob Dormon, 18 Sep 2013
LG Ultra HD curved OLED TV

TV's goggle gaggle: EVERYBODY'S first with something at consumer tech feast

If you’re in Berlin and have a tech habit, then IFA, Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show, rages on for another couple of days. On display you'll find all manner of things upon which the consumer tech giants want us to focus our spending – even those that may well soon be redundant. As mobile content viewing explodes, it …
Bob Dormon, 10 Sep 2013
Fritz Pfleumer with his magnetic tape recorder

Reelin' in the years: Tracking the history of magnetic tape

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the first patent filing for a magnetic tape recording medium, though the tech I worked with was a bit more recent than that. Still, it has been quite some time since I last went shopping for tape. I recall the last time as being a deal on a load of JVC miniDV cassettes that I still haven't …
Bob Dormon, 09 Sep 2013
Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet

Sony unveils Tap 11, the world's SLIMMEST tablet PC (for now)

Tablets, tablets, tablets. There’s one out there for everyone these days or so it seems. On show at IFA there are, er, certainly more tablets than you could shake a stick at – or should that be a stylus? Sony was looking pleased with itself after it was confirmed that its Vaio Tap 11 is officially the thinnest PC tablet around ( …
Bob Dormon, 06 Sep 2013
Sony HMZ-T3W head mounted display

Hands on, er, heads on: We take a gander at Sony's gaming goggles

Is it pride or some futuristic obsession? Just what is it that keeps Sony revamping its HMZ series head-mounted display? It’s certainly not to compete with Google Glass, as this experience blots out everything else – you have no idea who’s going to sneak up and take an Olloclip pic and make you look weird when you’ve got it on …
Bob Dormon, 06 Sep 2013
Samsung S9 110in UHD TV

OK, forget the 3D telly fiasco: 4K is gonna blow you away - say tech giants

We have mixed opinions regarding the merits of 4K TV viewing here at El Reg. It's something that we have covered in scientific detail. In short, the 4,000-plus-pixel resolution looks great for still images, but misses the point for moving pictures. Reality check aside, that hasn’t stopped world+dog at this year's IFA trade show …
Bob Dormon, 06 Sep 2013
Panasonic 4K Toughpad UT-MB5

Hands on: Panasonic bakes a 20-INCH tablet for big biz to swallow

At the IFA trade show this week, Panasonic shed more light on the latest addition to its Toughpad range, a 20in, 4K resolution monster that’s only 12.5mm thick. Yes it’s the same tablet it teased the press with at CES at the beginning of the year, but it’ll be available to purchase before the end of it. Panasonic 4K Toughpad UT …
Bob Dormon, 06 Sep 2013
Samsung Galaxy Gear

Wrist SLAP: Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch hands-on

Plenty has been said about the tech behind the Galaxy Gear already on El Reg, here and here, so what’s it actually like up close? It certainly looks a chunky beast but it’s a good deal lighter than you might think. Samsung Galaxy Gear Looks bulky but feels light and that black circle on the strap is a video camera – yikes! …
Bob Dormon, 06 Sep 2013
Tascam CD-A750 compact cassette deck and CD player combo

Decks and plugs and rock and roll: Tascam CD-A750 cassette and CD combo

The recent El Reg feature on the Compact Cassette's 50th birthday had many a reader commenting on some of the format's former glories. Names mentioned among the dewy-eyed included Aiwa (a favourite in UK studios) and the audiophiles’ choice, Nakamichi, with both producing state-of-the-art recorders with three heads and a lot …
Bob Dormon, 04 Sep 2013
Cassette tape exposed

Compact Cassette supremo Lou Ottens talks to El Reg

As a principal member of the R&D personnel at Philips, Lou Ottens has been behind some of the most enduring audio products in both the analogue and digital domains, from the Compact Cassette to the Compact Disc. In this interview with The Register, Lou Ottens, now in his eighties, recalls the development of the Compact Cassette …
Bob Dormon, 02 Sep 2013
Philips Compact Cassette launch 1963

Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

On 30 August, 1963, a new bit of sound recording tech that was to change the lifestyle of millions was revealed at the Berlin Radio Show. The adoption of the standard that followed led to a huge swath of related technological applications that had not been envisaged by its maker; for Philips, the unveiling of its new Compact …
Bob Dormon, 30 Aug 2013
Dave Smith demos MIDI at the NAMM SHow 1983

MIDI daddy Dave Smith: '30 years of version 1.0 shows we got it right'

The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) specification is 30 years old this month and it's still on version 1.0. More to the point, it still works – with more people using it than ever. In this interview, Dave Smith talks about MIDI past, present and future. It was the combined efforts of Sequential Circuits founder Dave …
Bob Dormon, 28 Aug 2013
Canary Wharf at night

Loads of mis-sold PPI, but WHO will claim? This man's paid to find out

When the opening line of a conversation starts, “I read an interesting number the other day”, it’s fairly safe to assume that you’re talking to someone whose business it is to know about "interesting numbers". Perhaps unsurprisingly, these words were uttered by an economist whose ability to find god gold in the numbers is the …
Bob Dormon, 27 Aug 2013
By Christian H. Ellmaier via SXC and http://www.wabbmedia.com/: Must attribute AND notify author for publication. Obtained via SXC: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=584020

Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Slave to the rhythm

In part one, the main focus was on MIDI’s myriad data forms and how it began chattering to synths and drum machines, but it was the sequencer that really demonstrated MIDI’s brilliance. In fact, so brilliant it was, that musicians even began to think they were brilliant too by association. Brilliant! It’s early 1988 and it’s …
Bob Dormon, 26 Aug 2013
MIDI clocks up yet another birthday party

Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years

Back in the early days of computer music, Reg man Bob Dormon was a professional recording engineer and music programmer. With a little help from some of his old music gear, he documents the rise of MIDI from a creative concept to its practical applications – which have ultimately led to its recognition as a Grammy Award-winning …
Bob Dormon, 19 Aug 2013
Google Nexus 7 2 AnTuTu score

Asus will bung 'Nexus 7 2' fondle-droids on Blighty's shelves this month

Asus has confirmed the UK release date of the new Nexus 7 tablet, or 7 2 as it has become known, the latest Android 4.3 fondleslab it makes for Google. The quad-core, full HD 7in slab will be available from 28 August in both 16GB and 32GB capacities at £199 and £239 respectively. Google Nexus 7 2 flanked by the Asus MeMo Pad …
Bob Dormon, 09 Aug 2013
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix convertible Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook: Your new summer convertible?

Make it thin enough with a decent battery life, slap Intel’s latest Core series mobile chippery in there and it seems that just about any design can be described as an Ultrabook these days. Has the marque lost its focus? These days there is a huge range of options from HDD to SSD, slimlime or slab-like - yet all for a price …
Bob Dormon, 19 Jul 2013
Apple MacBook Air 13in 2013

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013: Windows struggles in Boot Camp

For years now, Apple’s MacBook Air has held its own as the ultimate in portability, inspiring the PC market to follow suit with the Ultrabook marque. While not all Ultrabooks attempt to ape the Air’s slimline form factor, they draw from the same line of Intel CPUs and often beat the iconic Apple on cost. Yet Apple has one trick …
Bob Dormon, 15 Jul 2013
Samsung EK-GN120 Galaxy camera

LG's curvy telly and Samsung's Galaxy camera seen in the wild

A hands on with LG's new TV and a Samsung camera that doubles up as an Android phone? Is this Christmas in July? Not really, it’s a PR thing, would you believe. It’s when all the products the hardware makers slavishly promoted earlier in the year are laid bare for the press to fondle, as a reminder of what punters may be tempted …
Bob Dormon, 12 Jul 2013
Fitbit Flex activity monitor

Fitbit Flex wristband: What to wear out when wearing yourself out

Judging by how quickly Apple is dashing around the world registering the iWatch trademark, by this time next year I could well have a micro Mac strapped to my wrist. And so might many others, if the craze for wearable devices continues on its current trajectory. You might wonder what all the fuss is about and perhaps a bit of …
Bob Dormon, 03 Jul 2013
Acer Liquid Z2 and E1 Android smartphones

Acer aims low, gets into BT's trousers

At BT Tower in London this week, Acer was all smiles having secured positions for two of its recent smartphones on the BT Business mobiles roster. The Acer Liquid E1 and Z2 are both Android handsets running Jellybean and are pitched at BT biz customers whose pockets are not so deep. The Liquid E1 features a 4.5in 540 x 960-pixel …
Bob Dormon, 28 Jun 2013
Gulfstream G280 jet

Play the Snowden flights boardgame: Avoid going directly to Jail

If Vladimir Putin is to be believed, the PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden is considering his options from the transit capsule hotel at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. A plane full of journalists, anticipating he would join them, flew from the city for Caracas via Havana yesterday, but Snowden stayed put by the …
Bob Dormon, 26 Jun 2013
Belkin Express Dock Thunderbolt adaptor

Review: Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

If the word from the Apple WWDC is to be believed, we’re just months away from hooking up all our peripherals using Thunderbolt 2 cables. Funny that, as I thought this was supposed to happen when the original Thunderbolt ports appeared on Macs back in 2011. Even though this Apple-Intel interface love-in can be found on PCs too, …
Bob Dormon, 14 Jun 2013
Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Review: Acer Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate

Acer's recent tablet bash in London not only showcased its latest A1 Iconia Android fondleslab but also on display was its forthcoming Aspire P3 Windows 8 slate. This model exists in the convertible-cum-tablet twilight zone, as it comes with a keyboard cover as standard. Yet Acer really wants you to forget it's a tablet and …
Bob Dormon, 07 Jun 2013
Toshiba Excite Android tablet

New Tosh 'droid slabs include Newton-like scrawl-pad: We try it out

Among Toshiba’s Haswell-packed laptop frenzy in London yesterday were a few new ten-inch tablets: three Android and one Windows 8 slate for business. The new Android 4.2 fondleslabs adopt the Excite brandname, as used in the US, and kick off with the Excite Pure, an Nvidia Tegra 3-powered tablet which has 1GB RAM, 16GB of on- …
Bob Dormon, 05 Jun 2013
Toshiba Qosmio X70 gaming laptop

El Reg gets its hands on Haswell fondle-gizmos at posh Tosh bash

Intel Haswell fever today had Toshiba showing off its full range of laptops, some of which featuring the new chips - plus some new tablets to boot. The new Satellite laptops and Qosmio gaming models were out in the wild in a swish London hotel, nestling up against three new Excite 10in Android tablets – more on those fondleslabs …
Bob Dormon, 04 Jun 2013
HP Slate 7 Android tablet speakers and micro USB interface

Review: HP Slate 7 Android tablet

The other day Vulture Central was visited by HP with a Google chap in tow. We were treated to a couple of HP products: the new Slate 7 Android tablet and the company’s latest Chromebook, which we’d already seen as it happens. The smart-looking seven-inch, dual-processor-core tablet appeared to have little to distinguish it from …
Bob Dormon, 04 Jun 2013
Pure Jongo S3 multiroom speaker system

Review: Pure Jongo S3 multiroom speakers

I’ll admit, I didn’t think I was going to have much to say about Pure’s Jongo S3 speakers, the latest addition to its growing wireless audio gear range. It connects to mobile devices, but what else is new? Well, there are a few nice touches to this boombox, the most significant being its integration with the online streaming …
Bob Dormon, 31 May 2013
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

When it comes to handing out Windows 8 laptops to the UK reviewers, Samsung has been surprisingly glacial. Whether this is another Apple emulation strategy to become more elusive or a sign of hesitancy to have the brand tarnished by Windows 8’s underwhelming reception, is unclear. The hardware was paraded at CES 2013 five months …
Bob Dormon, 29 May 2013
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

INSIDE GCHQ: Welcome to Cheltenham's cottage industry

For staff at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, there’s an air of Fight Club about the place. The first rule about GCHQ is you don’t talk about GCHQ. It’s a well observed tradition, even though there are road signs and a bus route directing you to this highly secret establishment, the nerve centre …
Bob Dormon, 24 May 2013
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 in the shower

Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 WinPro 8 tablet

In the UK, Panasonic is not known as a high-street PC player - but the company’s Tough range of products makes quite an impression in the world of business. Out in the field you’ll spot them in the hands of BT engineers and the like where the manufacturer's rugged laptops, and now tablets, survive the rigours of white-van man …
Bob Dormon, 01 May 2013
Disgo 8400G Android tablet

Review: Disgo 8400G 7.9in Android tablet

A 7.9in Jelly Bean Android tablet with 3G connectivity for £150? There has to be a catch, right? Absolutely. The catch with the Disgo 8400G is that you’ve probably never heard of the company before... Now, this could mean you’ll be ahead of the game with the next big thing in affordable fondleslabs if you bought one. However, …
Bob Dormon, 22 Apr 2013
NetAtmo Urban Weather Station

Review: NetAtmo Urban Weather Station

Do we need a new obsession? Isn’t Facebook and Twitter enough for most folk? Some argue the British are obsessed about the weather. It’s hardly surprising we talk about it all the time, the weather here changes so much, it never fails to be topical. Well that’s how it used to be. Lately, Blighty has been blighted by a godawful …
Bob Dormon, 19 Apr 2013
TomTom Runner GPS watch

TomTom brandishes new strap-on in Amsterdam: The wristnav

Satnav maker TomTom guided the press - along with automotive and retail partners from all corners of the globe - to Amsterdam on Tuesday for the launch of its next gen satnavs and a new sporty lifestyle product range. The company has form with fitness gear, having teamed up with Nike to deliver its strap-on range of Nike+ GPS …
Bob Dormon, 18 Apr 2013
Kobo Aura HD E Ink reader

Kobo strikes new match against Kindle: The Aura HD e-reader

Kobo gathered the great and the good from publishing and distribution in London yesterday to launch its new high-res e-ink reader, the Aura HD. Michael Serbinis, Kobo CEO, said the company asked 10,000 book lovers for the features a perfect e-reader should have. While the Kobo Aura HD probably doesn't match all the survey …
Bob Dormon, 16 Apr 2013
Oblivion, the movie drone

Movie review: Oblivion

When the film Oblivion was mentioned in the office recently, my first thoughts were that it was a prequel to The Hangover series. I couldn’t have been more wrong... or was I? After all, this Tom Cruise sci-fi caper has loss of memory as one of its key themes, which, booze fueled forays aside, immediately has me thinking of some …
Bob Dormon, 13 Apr 2013
Kobo Arc 7in Android AnTuTu results and format warning

Review: Kobo Arc Android tablet

As pocketable Android tablets gather momentum and e-reader manufacturers look to offer a more flexible platform, the twilight zone where both meet is certainly looking lively. A criticism of Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-book-meets-Android offerings is the company’s imposition of a walled garden for installing apps: you have to …
Bob Dormon, 10 Apr 2013
HP ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Pro tablet

Review: HP ElitePad 900 Atom tablet

If HP’s ElitePad 900 is anything to go by, not everybody expects a business Windows 8 Pro Atom tablet to be a pocketable wafer. You only have to hold it in your hand to get the impression that this model has been built for endurance rather than designed as a fashion accessory. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look good, quite …
Bob Dormon, 08 Apr 2013
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Modern UI

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

I’ve tried out quite a few variations on the Windows 8 theme just lately – touchscreen notebooks mainly – but I’ve been dabbling with Boot Camp and virtual machine incarnations on the desktop too but without the finger friendliness. So trying out Lenovo’s business-centric ThinkPad Tablet 2 seemed like it would be an easy …
Bob Dormon, 28 Mar 2013
Cisco El Reg TelePresence

Whatever happened to telepresence? From $2.5m deals to free iPad apps

Cast your mind back nearly 10 years and high-end videoconferencing with its eye-watering price was being touted as the substitute for the corporate jet. At the time, having remote video streams to view your conference room was a big deal that involved an awful lot of looking after and a continuous investment each month for the …
Bob Dormon, 20 Mar 2013
Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Whatever you might think about Windows 8, when it comes to taking the top down on the new ranges of convertible laptops, it’s certainly not boring. Every single one I’ve encountered so far has a different take on how to make the laptop-tablet duo dance work and Toshiba’s Satellite U920T Ultrabook offers yet another approach. …
Bob Dormon, 05 Mar 2013
Sony Vaio Duo 11

Review: Sony Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook

The other day, a friend sent me a Picasa link to photos he'd taken at a recent vintage motorcycle show. It was a wide ranging display of classic engineering imagination put to work to power a rider on two wheels. Similarly, it’s those variations on a theme that Windows 8 has spurred among mainstream computer makers, as they all …
Bob Dormon, 26 Feb 2013
BRIT Awards 2013 pass

From stage to stream: The unseen tech at the BRIT Awards 2013

If you think you know all about the O2 Arena having visited it when it was called the Millennium Dome, then think again. When the site was sold to entertainment biz AEG in 2004, it was gutted and turned into a concert venue; all that remains of the original structure is the tent. Today, its owners claim it’s the busiest live …
Bob Dormon, 20 Feb 2013
BT Openreach van

So: 6,500 Win 8 laptops later, how are BT's field engineers coping?

An unheard-of decline in PC sales figures since launch, a grumbling press and a user base that struggles without a touchscreen: Windows 8 is easy to take a swipe at. Yet BT announced in November last year it was deploying 5,900 Win 8 Panasonic Toughbooks for its "last mile" Openreach division – the engineers who walk the line …
Bob Dormon, 30 Jan 2013
Steve Jobs and the Apple Lisa

Happy birthday, Lisa: Apple's slow but heavy workhorse turns 30

Read a press release from Apple in the 1990s and it'll end with something along the lines of: “Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.” All of which is true up to a point, but the statement does overlook the product that …
Bob Dormon, 18 Jan 2013
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook

To be fair to Lenovo, reviewing the IdeaPad Yoga shouldn't really be all about Windows 8. After all, this touchscreen Ultrabook – that bends over backwards to become a fully fledged tablet – is a well crafted piece of hardware with engineering merits of its own. So what, if it runs Windows 8? So do a lot of PCs these days. The …
Bob Dormon, 11 Jan 2013
Landmice Aston Martin wireless mouse

Ten... tech stocking stuffers

Stuck for ideas for someone who has everything or just in need of inspiration to top up a stack of gifts you already have? It's certainly tricky sorting out gifts that are going to please over those that will be destined for eBay come the New Year. So here we have a bit of mixed bag – or should that be Santa's sack? – ranging …
Bob Dormon, 19 Dec 2012
Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

Review: Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

I'm a sitting behind a 2010 iMac. You know, it's one with the dodgy Seagate hard drives that Apple is replacing en masse. I must get this sorted soon, but it hasn't died ye—. Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012 Long time no see: Apple's late 2012 21.5in iMac Now I'm sitting behind a very late 2012 iMac. It's the super slim one that's …
Bob Dormon, 12 Dec 2012
Licence graphic

Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

I'm not a very good liar, I haven't got the memory for it, which is why it always pricks my conscience whenever I tick the yes box to the prompt "I have read and understood…" when installing software. I am, of course, fibbing. I never read a word. In fact, even though we all tick yes to these agreements every day, unless you're …
Bob Dormon, 04 Dec 2012
iConnectMIDI

MIDI: 30 years old... almost

Despite rumours to the contrary, MIDI is not 30 years old today. The concept is older and its actual adoption as an industry standard gets its birthday next summer. Yet as industry standards go, it’s certainly been a robust one. As with a lot of technology standards – remember draft-n Wi-Fi? – manufacturers don't want to hang …
Bob Dormon, 28 Nov 2012