Tony Smith

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Tony Smith has been writing about computers and tech since the late 1980s and sees no good reason he can'™t carry on for another quarter of a century. He has been involved with The Register since 1998 after stints at consumer Mac magazine The Mac and trade paper MicroScope. He has written about technology for all the national newspapers and a broad range of non-specialist publications. He's been on the telly too.
Kano computer kit

HURRI-KANO: Raspberry Pi kit for kids STORMS past funding target

You don‘t know the POWER of the Dark Side Register. Yesterday morning we happened to mention that Kano, a UK-based company that wants to make a rather tasty Raspberry Pi-based DIY computer kit for kids, wanted $100,000 (£62,200) to make it so. At the time, it had garnered pledges totalling just over $34,000. Kano computer kit …
Tony Smith, 21 Nov 2013
Apple iPad Mini 2013

Dear-ly beloved: Apple’s costly iPad Mini with Retina Display

Review Last year’s iPad Mini really was playing second fiddle to the regular iPad. Not merely smaller than its sibling, the Mini had a much lower resolution display. It had a less powerful processor too. It felt like a product Apple was obliged to make rather than one it actually wanted to. Twelve months on, and the Mini’s first …
Tony Smith, 21 Nov 2013
Kano computer kit

Citizen Kano pitches easy-build Raspberry Pi for code-hungry kids

Anyone can toss together a Raspberry Pi and a bunch of accessories and call it a computer learning kit, but Kano has a more joined-up approach which it’ll put into production if it can raise $100,000 by the middle of December. Launched on Kickstarter yesterday, Kano the computer is described by Kano the company - named after …
Tony Smith, 20 Nov 2013

Samsung says knickers to poor Gear sales claim, eyes pants to sell more

Samsung has scoffed at claims that it has sold hardly any of its shiny, pricey Galaxy Gear smartwatches. And it has clutched Miley Cyrus’ knickers to its corporate bosom to help it shift even more. The company’s UK wing yesterday tweeted: “Hey, Miley. You should have a look at our Gear,” and attached a picture of skimpy …
Tony Smith, 19 Nov 2013
Qualcomm Toq

TOQ of the TOWN: A second screen for the second screen. Third screen?

Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch – something of a vanity project for the company’s display division – will go on sale on 2 December direct from the mobile processor giant’s website. On the day, Android smartphone owners will be able to order a Toq for a whopping $350 (£217). Qualcomm Toq Qualcomm began talking Toq back in …
Tony Smith, 18 Nov 2013
The Master

What a plot of nonsense: Ten Master master plan FAILS

Doctor Who @ 50 “I am the Master, and you will obey me.” He was the Professor Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes, another renegade Time Lord and always out to conquer the universe - or destroy it. The Master The vicar of diaboly Source: BBC There’s a fan theory that the Master was no megalomaniac at all, but an agent of the Time …
Tony Smith, 18 Nov 2013

Tablet-types drive demand for all-in-one desktop PCs

More than a third of desktop computer sales in Britain are all-in-one machines, up from a quarter during the first half of the year. So says local market-watcher GfK, which noted a sudden jump in over-the-counter sales of AIOs in August and September. AIOs grew by 27.4 per cent in sales value, driven by a 6.5 per cent …
Tony Smith, 14 Nov 2013
Buncefield fire scene

First the Yanks, now us: In-flight mobe use WON'T kill us all, say Eurocrats

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to ease the rules limiting the use of electronic devices in aircraft passenger cabins. Phones, tablets, ebook readers, MP3 players - all the kit we’re currently told to turn off during taxiing, take-off and landing will, the agency said yesterday, be allowed to stay on provided …
Tony Smith, 14 Nov 2013
Research Machines 380Z

The micro YOU used in school: The story of the Research Machines 380Z

Archaeologic If you’re a British techie of a certain age, there’s only one microcomputer that defines your first memories of computing at school. No, not Acorn’s BBC Micro – the Research Machines 380Z. While Acorn was still knocking up the Proton, the machine being designed as the successor to the Atom, and while the BBC was pondering how …
Tony Smith, 13 Nov 2013
Doctor Who

Ten top stories from New Who

Doctor Who @ 50 We’ve already listed the stories that mark the very best that the many production teams behind the classic years of Doctor Who during the 1960s, 70s and 80s brought to our TV screens. It seems only fair, then, to do the same for the rebooted series’ run. Doctor Who returned in April 2005 with the story Rose, and there have …
Tony Smith, 12 Nov 2013
Fuze Raspberry Pi kit

RETRO-GASM: The Fuze electronics kit for the Raspberry Pi

Review Back in the day of the board computers of the late 1970s - your Scrumpi, your Nascom 1, your UK-101 et al - it was customary to build a case for it out of wood. If you were a better equipped "constructor" - what we used to call "makers" in those days - you’d build a box out of metal. Folk like Tangerine offered optional cases …
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 2013
The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Doctor Who nicked my plot and all I got was a mention in this lousy feature

Doctor Who @ 50 There’s no question: blocked Doctor Who writers and Script Editors - or Story Editors as they were in the very early days - frequently turned to movies and books for inspiration. They regularly resorted to, ahem, "borrowing" plots and ideas from famous flicks and notorious novels for the basis for their Doctor Who stories. …
Tony Smith, 11 Nov 2013
Doctor Who McCoy titles

Classic telly FX tech: How the Tardis flew before the CGI era

Doctor Who @ 50 These days it’s all done with computers, of course. CGI – short for Computer-Generated Images, or Imagery – was a well established visual effects technique long before Doctor Who was rebooted in 2005, so it was never in doubt that on-set mechanical effects would be duly combined with CGI visuals during post-production. Both …
Tony Smith, 8 Nov 2013
Dalek Attack

The CURSE of WHO: WHY has there never been a decent videogame with the Doctor?

Doctor Who @ 50 Doctor Who has not done well as part of the videogame industry. There have been a fair number of professionally-made games based on the series, but few with the BBC’s official blessing and of them an even smaller number that were actually worth playing for any length of time. "Good" in this context doesn’t necessarily mean …
Tony Smith, 7 Nov 2013
Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars

Ten top stories from Classic Doctor Who

Doctor Who @ 50 ‘Classic’ is a word that was already worn out back in the mid-1980s when fanzine editors and contributors couldn’t help themselves attach it to any Doctor Who story they were particularly keen on, whatever its merits. Thirty-odd years on, the word is no less overused, but the release of stories on VHS and, later, DVD has helped …
Tony Smith, 5 Nov 2013
Motorola G at GSM Arena

Is it TRUE what they say about the 'Moto G'? We FIND OUT on the 13th

Google-owned Motorola’s rumoured lower-cost alternative to the top-of-the-range Moto X looks set to arrive in time for Santa to drop it down a few of the world’s chimneys this year. A suitably seasonal promotion card scanned and then posted on GSM Arena by a punter who claims to have found a batch about to be sent to Phones4u …
Tony Smith, 4 Nov 2013
Lenovo Yoga Tablet

Lenovo stands up rinky-dinky new Yoga tablet

Lenovo is extending its foldable laptop-cum-tablet Yoga line with an even more flexible model. The Chinese computer giant claims this one sports three usage modes to its predecessors’ two, but we think that’s, er, stretching the point. Past Yoga devices could sit on your knees or a desk as a laptop or, with the display folded …
Tony Smith, 30 Oct 2013

Everything's going to be all white: Google Nexus 5 mobe expected Friday

Google’s LG-made, plastic-backed Nexus 5 smartphone, possibly one of the most leaked as-yet-unannounced handsets ever, will be available in white as well as black, as yet another leak has revealed. The Nexus 5 - of either hue - will contain a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chip running at up to 2.3GHz and equipped with 2GB of …
Tony Smith, 28 Oct 2013
Intel Smart City

Intel on Europe: The Internet of Things could SAVE US ALL

Feature How will Europe lift itself out of current and future economic woes - and help save the planet while it’s about it? According to chip giant Intel, with hi-tech carrots rather than government sticks. So said the head of Intel’s European R&D operation, Martin Curley, this week at the chip company’s European Research and …
Tony Smith, 25 Oct 2013

Intel: Our first five parallel-computing schools are open for business

Chip giant Intel has begun funding research into ways to make applications easier to write for parallel processing systems, and to teach those methods to future generations of computer engineers and scientists. The first five institutions to qualify as Intel Parallel Computing Centres are: the Konrad Zuse Information …
Tony Smith, 24 Oct 2013

Open-source hardware hacking effort 'smacked down' by USB overlords

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the organisation that oversees the USB standard, has apparently sent the director of a small British electronics firm away with a flea in his ear for daring to suggest how it could make the lives of open-source hardware developers easier and cheaper. Arachnid Labs’ Nick Johnson decided that …
Tony Smith, 24 Oct 2013
Enterprise 64

Phantom Flan flinger: The story of the Elan Enterprise 128

Archaeologic Despite its name, Intelligent Software also had a nice little sideline designing hardware. Founded in 1981 by international chess champion David Levy and chess writer Kevin O’Connell, the company was best known for its chess programs, in particular Cyrus and SciSys Chess Champion. But it also developed chess computers for toy …
Tony Smith, 24 Oct 2013

Hey coders – get a sense of hUMA: AMD to free GPU from CPU slavery

AMD is to manufacture microprocessors that connect their on-board CPU and GPU components more intelligently than ever before. The upcoming chips will utilise a technique AMD calls Heterogeneous Queuing (hQ). This new approach puts the GPU on an equal footing with the CPU: no longer will the graphics engine have to wait for the …
Tony Smith, 22 Oct 2013

Hybrid Windows laptop-slash-tablet fails to halt toilet-bound PC market

The PC market may be in decline, but demand for hybrid laptop-cum-tablets will nearly double this year and again next, market-watcher Gartner has forecast. Validation for Intel’s new approach to notebook computers then? Not quite. While Gartner reckons some 18,598,000 “ultramobile PCs” will have shipped during 2013, almost …
Tony Smith, 21 Oct 2013
Volvo car power store

Volvo: Need a new car battery? Replace the doors and roof

Volvo reckons it has a better place to locate an e-car’s power storage: in the vehicle’s body panels. The technique throws out traditional lithium-based batteries in favour of a carbon fibre and polymer resin sandwich. What Volvo, boffins from Imperial College and researchers from seven battery and materials companies together …
Tony Smith, 21 Oct 2013

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