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Gerald Waters
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+Darren Steel mentioned the issue of apps to read messages out loud.

I've been using a simple app for SMS reading for years now.

I expect this is just one of many in the store by now. I like how it stays out of the way until a press or two of its widget makes it active. It turns into a "killer app" when I'm driving to the airport to collect someone and it then speaks out their message of which pickup point to use.

Caveat, yes this means that I only rely on SMS as in my circles there is no dominant other messaging platform (and which of course is a whole other topic).

As I've had this app for as long as I've had my SGS2, I'm mainly surprised when other people seem surprised by this simple (and free in this case) functionality.

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Was just reading an article at The Register, and was very surprised by this line about Android navigation buttons:

"Samsung's runaway success with the S and S2 (menu – home – back – search) proved you didn't need quite so many."

I have the Galaxy S and the S2 - and both definitely have a button sequence of (menu – home – back) - i.e. there is no Search button.

So is the article simply wrong on this point?

I do know that here in Australia we get the "International" editions of these phones, but I've always assumed that just meant a non-USA version.

As much as I don't like posting "please help" questions to the community, I have a need for guidance.

My partner is in the process of changing over from one iPhone model to another. She had used iTunes to "back up" her old phone a week or so ago. In only changing over to the new phone (an SE) today and having been taken through a process on iTunes (which I'm presuming did a restore from the backup) there are messages and photos that she took in the meantime on the old phone that are not showing up on the new.

So, my question is: will the missing items eventually reappear by themselves or will I have to perform some kind of third party extraction from her old phone?

As an outsider to the Apple world I do find that very little of what gets actually arranged or enabled is ever very clear. When I've asked questions about specifics of backups, restore, synchronisations and iCloud I don't find that the users can answer them.

Anytime I research these kinds of issues, all I ever seem to find are solutions in the form of more products to buy. Are there resources for clear and solid information about how these things actually function?

In now having a home wifi setup that has both 2.4 and 5 GHz features, I've been a bit surprised by which of our devices can use the 5GHz. I certainly didn't expect that my ageing Samsung Galaxy S2 would be the only device with it. Even a quite new Lenovo Ideapad doesn't have it. Neither of my partner's Apple devices have it.

So my question is: how important is this feature now and why doesn't the topic seem to come up in reviews?

This morning on the tram to work I saw someone using a phone app with a black background and a bottom row of soft buttons. So at first glance I thought I was seeing an Android device but in looking to note which brand it was, I realised that it was an iPhone.
As I'm not that familiar with iOS, my open question is: are there many iOS apps that mimic the Android bottom button row layout? Was I right to be surprised?

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I don't normally do "vale" postings so this is one of my rare exceptions. With news coming through that Sylvia Anderson has died, I'm reminded that many years ago she toured Australia doing cinema showings of the movie "Thunderbird Six". Alas, I now don't remember when that was and a quick web search failed to fill in my memory gap. I remember seeing it in a Perth cinema (probably the Paradiso) and I think I remember a Q&A with Sylvia afterwards. Or maybe I am inventing that part of my memory? It seems ironic that my only reason for writing this is to share a memory and I can't be sure that it is one.

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Australian Open 2106 Day One in Margaret Court Arena - we are in our seats waiting for play to start.


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I've already mentioned the free current ACMI exhibit "Manifesto" but it's worth an entry on its own. I think it's a standout presentation of a work and a perfect example of how unique ACMI really is. I popped in again today to watch another segment in full and it will take me quite a few more to get through all of it. There are thirteen screens criss-crossing the large space. Each has a simple seat and a highly directional speaker straight above so that for the most part you can watch each mini-film independently. All feature Cate Blanchett in some way and they each run on a constant loop. At several points in each loop her character's speech, while looking like part of the scene is actually a reading from various "manifesto" texts -  generally about art or politics. There's enough sound leakage that you can partly hear the other pieces - and I've now realised that these have matching counterpoints at times. So far I've fully watched through about six of the thirteen. I'll continue to re-visit during coming weeks.
If you're in Melbourne - it's free, go see!
To get an idea of how it looks/works, on the linked web page, scroll down to the photo sequence and click through them until you see people sitting before the screens.

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I went after work to the basement theatre space of 45downstairs and witnessed a reading of the play "Bottomless" by Dan Lee. The story was set in a sober up centre in Broome and six actors did a superb job of voicing the roles with the playwright reading out the stage directions. For a play that is yet get a full theatre company performance I was quite impressed - and at the end like most of the audience, didn't want to stop applauding. For me it certainly conjured up a sense of Broome, including the inherent tension between those who live there and those who visit - and yet this was just the backdrop to a well structured and humorous story about recovery. If it gets to theatres then I'll certainly be lining up to see it. We were told that this was the last play to benefit from the R E Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development Award.

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As a counterpoint to the usual chatter about the latest this and that, I'd like to say that I've just rebuilt my Samsung Galaxy S2 with a Lollipop edition of Cyanogenmod and so far it seems to be working fine. I'll elaborate the context of that below, but the question that came to mind after doing that was: what features and functionality am I missing out on by not having a more recent model phone?

So, the particular phone context is that I got my S2 - not when they first came out, but when they appeared on a $35/month contract here in Australia in December 2012. It replaced a Samsung Galaxy S - prior to that I had a Nokia E63. The main reason I got the Samsungs was that I'd seen how popular the Galaxy phones were and reasoned that meant it would be fairly likely that alternative firmware would be available later on.

I only ever put Cyanogenmod on the S after I moved to using the S2 as my primary phone. It thus became a test/backup phone, mainly used just at home.
I only ever put Cyanogenmod on the S2 after the stagefright bugs came to light - i.e. quite recently.

Another reason I thought I'd post this was to point out that there are those of us who tinker who never spend hundreds of dollars/pounds on getting a "premium feel" or lots of accessories. I don't mind that other people do, it's their money to spend how they want.

The other - I think obvious - point to make is that the path I followed was all possible because I knew that Android+Linux was FLOSS. By comparison I just see closed-source systems as doomed by design. For example, my partner's similarly aged iPhone 4 is now locked out of Apple's OS upgrades. 
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