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Thailand plans to track non-citizens with their mobile phones

Thailand is considering a proposal to track the location of all SIM cards acquired by foreigners, be they tourists or resident aliens. The plan’s been floated as a way to assist law enforcement agencies combat trans-national crime. Thailand borders Cambodia, Laos and Burma, three nations that have reasonably porous borders, seldom score well on measures of incorruptibility or governance and have form as participants in heroin supply chains. Thailand’s military-led government is very keen to maintain calm in the Kingdom and is also very nationalist, so making life a little hard for foreigners is true to form and will not irritate many of its supporters.

The nation’s tourism operators may beg to differ: about 20 million people visit the nation each year. If you’re one of them, the plan’s not in action yet but has been agreed in principle. It’s hoped the scheme will be up and running in about six months, by which time you’ll only be able to buy trackable SIMs when you visit. The good news is that if your phone roams, you’ll be exempt. And with roaming plans now catering to travellers there’s a good chance you can bring your phone to Phuket without taking a bath on roaming charges.

Resident aliens will be moved to the trackable SIMs. Many such folk move to Thailand to invest or bring expertise to the nation and are unlikely to be happy that their every move is observed. One small upside is that the nation’s telecoms regulators aren’t entirely sure how to make the tracking work, with cell connection data and GPS both under consideration.

Sponsored: Global DDoS threat landscape report1

References

  1. ^ Global DDoS threat landscape report (go.theregister.com)

Dolphin manages to return mobile phone from the deep

  • Miami Heat dancer Teressa Cee was in the Bahamas recently for work when she went swimming with dolphins leaving her mobile with her friend
  • Unfortunately said friend dropped her iPhone into the sea, but what happened next was totally unexpected
  • The helpful mammal made a squeal as it returned the cellphone to her in its mouth
  • Teressa was shocked and surprised to get the object back

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An exceptionally helpful dolphin managed to come to the rescue of Miami Heat cheerleader who had dropped her mobile phone into a the sea in the Bahamas. It took just a matter of seconds for the mammal to dive down and retrieve the black plastic object and hand it back to Teressa Cee who was standing by the water’s edge. The cheerleader was stunned as she went swimming with dolphins near Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas before the helpful cetacean named Cacique lent her a flipper to fetch her phone.

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Amazing feat: The clever dolphin emerged with the phone in its mouth and delivered it directly into the hands of a man sitting at the side

Nice surprise: The man hands the phone back to Miami Heat cheerleader Teressa Cee, who smiles with glee after the amazing experiece

Amazing experience: Miami Heat dancer Teressa Cee went swimming with dolphins in the Atlantic off the coast of the Bahamas

It took those standing on the side by surprise as almost out of nowhere the dolphin rose out of the aqua blue waters with the phone it’s mouth.

‘Oh my God!’ the Teressa screamed. ‘ That’s so cute! It’s never gonna work again but thanks!”

The dolphin made an an encouraging squeak as if to say ‘Here you go!’ before flipping around and swimming away with a splash.

Accident: She left her phone with someone on the boat who dropped it in the sea, but they sent dolphin Cacique to search for it on the bottom

Famous friend: Teressa Cee, who is a dancer with Miami Heat, a model and and actor, posted the video on her page and it has now been viewed more than 3.1 million times

Sharing the moment on Facebook1, she wrote:

While in the Bahamas, I had the opportunity to go swimming with dolphins

We were filming on this floating platform in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, against a my better judgment I asked someone to hold my phone for me and he accidentally dropped my phone into water and it sank to the bottom.

Cacique, the dolphin, actually retrieved my phone and brought it back up to me. Cutest thing ever! Cacique is a trained animal cared for by Dolphin Encounters2, who was rewarded for his good deed with a selfie with Cee and her fellow dancers. The video 3has been viewed more than 3.1 million times.

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References

  1. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  2. ^ Dolphin Encounters (www.dolphinencounters.com)
  3. ^ (www.youtube.com)

Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Touch (15")

Despite being one of the most reliable and prolific system manufacturers out there, Lenovo is not typically known for its gaming laptops1, but given its penchant for designing sturdy portable PCs for business, there’s no reason Lenovo should have any less success with them. The 15-inch Ideapad Y700 Touch (starts at $729.99; $1,299 as tested) shows the company’s proficiency in this area, and though it’s saddled with an aging graphics card, it nonetheless succeeds as a solid, respectable midrange gaming laptop that delivers the basic goods with a handful of nonessential frills. And given its excellent battery life, you don’t need to be chained to a power cable to reap the benefits.

Design and Features

Its black paint job aside, the Y700 Touch doesn’t actually look much like a traditional Lenovo laptop. To start with, thin isn’t really its thing; although it’s not overly bulky, measuring 1.02 by 15.23 by 10.9 inches (HWD) and weighing 6.4 pounds, it’s also not especially compact. Like the Ideapad Y700-172, its practically identical larger sibling (1.1 by 16.66 by 12 inches, 7.9 pounds), it has a shiny lid that sports isolated ridges on the left and right and a tight but faint crosshatch pattern that projects the image of armor without going too far; the company’s glossy logo, in the upper left, keeps the identification strictly low key. When the Y700 Touch is closed, the only flashes of color come from the raspberry speaker grilles located on either side of the hinge. (The 2-watt JBL speakers, which are paired with a 3-watt subwoofer, have no trouble pumping out good sound for gaming, music, or videos.)

Open the lid and you’ll encounter a bit more excitement. Besides the continuation of the grilles here and the glossy plastic panel between them that houses the Power button, the matte-black keyboard deck is accentuated with plenty of stark red. Similar to the Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro (VN7-591G-75S2)3, you see it in both the colored edges of the keys (the WASD keys get a double treatment of it to make them even more visible) and in the backlighting. (Unlike on other gaming laptops, even in this price range, like the MSI GE72 6QD Apache Pro4, you have no control over the backlighting beyond raising or lowering its intensity or turning it off altogether.) The half-height function keys can be a little tricky to press, though you may not need them much in everyday use the backlight and volume adjustments don’t have dedicated controls, but they are attached to the arrow keys in the lower right (accessible after pressing the Fn button between the left Ctrl and Windows keys), which is a little unusual but okay. The rest of the keys, including the narrower ones in the 10-key number pad, exhibit fine travel. There’s a no-nonsense one-piece touchpad that’s adorned only by a short red line separating the left and the right “buttons,” thus continuing the theme, that is functional but unremarkable. (Sorry, longtime Lenovo fans: There’s no TrackPoint stick here.)

The 15.6-inch LED-backlit In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen is glossy with an antiglare coating, it supports 10-point multitouch, and its hinge connects only in the center; this leaves about three and a half inches of space on both the left and right, which gives the display a vaguely floating and futuristic look. Its full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution is what you’d expect at this price, and all you need for gaming right now. (There are higher-resolution gaming laptops on the market, such as the Razer Blade5 and the Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro, but mobile graphics technology isn’t at the point yet where it can turn out fierce frame rates when it has to push all those additional pixels.) Pictures are crisp and viewing angles excellent, as you’d hope for from an IPS panel. A 720p camera is embedded in the top bezel. The port selection is simple but adequate. On the left edge are the proprietary power port, a SM© USB 2.0 port with Always On for charging even when the laptop is asleep, a four-in-one card reader, and a combination headphone-microphone jack. On the right are the Kensington lock slot, an Ethernet jack, an HDMI port, and two SM© USB 3.0 ports. There are, alas, no USB-C6 ports, which we’re beginning to see on more laptops in this price range (including the Razer Blade and the GE72 6QD Apache Pro and GS40 6QE Phantom7 from MSI), and offer speedier connections to external hard drives and other devices. Of course, good hardware is essential on a gaming laptop, and the Y700 Touch delivers in that regard. Its four-core 2.6GHz Core i7-6700HQ processor is a higher-end part in Intel’s current-generation Skylake8 line, which plays nicely with the impressively high 16GB of RAM. The discrete graphics card is the 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M: appropriately midrange for those who want better performance than integrated graphics can manage, but don’t necessarily crave the higher frame rates Nvidia’s 970M and 980M solutions could provide. Storage comes by way of a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) for the Windows 10 Home OS and programs, and a 1TB spinning hard drive; this is a fairly common combo that’s appeared on, among others, the MSI Apache Pro and the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series (7559)9. (If you want more space, you can configure for up to a 512GB SSD.) For wireless connectivity, there’s dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Lenovo protects the Y700 Touch with a one-year limited warranty.

Performance

Considering its internal components are almost identical to those of the MSI GE72 6QD Apache Pro we recently reviewed, it’s not surprising that the Y700 Touch exhibits similar performance. In our 3D graphics and gaming tests (which, let’s face it, are what count with a computer like this), the two were neck and neck, with the Y700 Touch winning on 3DMark Cloud Gate with a score of 17,332 (to 17,041), and the MSI slightly edging it out in just about everything else (2,039 versus 2,008 in Fire Strike Extreme; 75 frames per second, or fps, in Heaven using medium detail settings, versus 70fps; 25fps versus 24fps in the same test with the details turned up; 82fps versus 79fps in Valley at medium settings, and a wash at higher settings with both nabbing 28fps).

See How We Test Laptops10

You can certainly get higher frame rates if you’re willing to pay more. A current Editors’ Choice gaming laptop, the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro G-143811, armed with a GTX 980M video card, turned in noticeably higher results in more demanding tests: 4,296 in Fire Strike Extreme, for example, and 52fps and 57fps respectively in the more difficult Heaven and Valley tests. (Its medium-settings results were comparable to those of the Y700 Touch). But if you’re okay with turning down the visual bells and whistles, the Lenovo should suit you well enough. The only wrinkle: Because the Y700 Touch’s GTX 960M is a more midrange GPU, it’s likely to fall out of date more quickly when the next (Pascal) generation of Nvidia graphics hits, which is likely to happen soon. In our productivity tests, the competition between the Y700 Touch and the MSI GE72 continued, with the latter again regularly but barely coming out on top (1 minute, 6 seconds, versus 1:15 in HandBrake; a completion time of 2:37 versus 3:19 in Photoshop; and a score of 681 versus 588 in CineBench). We’re attributing the minute but detectable differences to the GE72’s faster hard drive (7,200rpm versus 5,400rpm for the Y700 Touch.) Regardless, the results are perfectly acceptable for a gaming laptop at this price. Where the Y700 Touch most distinguished itself however, was with battery life. Loaded with a 60Wh battery, it lasted an astonishing 7 hours, 55 minutes, in our rundown test. Though that might be middle of the road as far as the laptop category as a whole, it’s almost unheard of with laptops aimed at gamers. The MSI GE72 could only hang on for 2:37 before giving up the ghost, and even a more mainstream machine like our previous recent champ in this area, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series (7559) conked out after 7:28. It even surpasses its own sibling, the Y700-17, which it basically tied or just trailed on our other tests, by 50 minutes. This is definitely the kind of laptop you want for true gaming on the go.

Conclusion

How much you care about gaming will determine how much you’re willing to spend on a laptop dedicated to it. There are screaming machines that can blast through the latest AAA titles almost as well as ultra-expensive desktops, but that privilege will definitely cost you. One of our favorites, the Origin EON17-X12, rings up at $2,692 and that’s nowhere near as high as you can go. The Acer Predator 15 (G9-591-74KN)13 knocks off a couple of hundred dollars from that, while still laying out more robust and future-proofed hardware and storage. The 15-inch Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Touch can’t quite compete with either in terms of gaming performance, but it beats the MSI GE72 6QD Apache Pro and even Lenovo’s own Y700-17 on value and compensates for what it lacks with a touch screen and top-notch battery life. If you’re drop-dead serious about squeezing the most you can from today’s biggest games without squeezing your bank account dry, you’d be better off going with a GTX 980M equipped model like the Acer or the pricier MSI GT72 Dominator Pro G-1438. But if you consider the touch screen and almost-as-good gaming for most of a full day off-plug viable substitutes, the Y700 Touch is worth a look.

References

  1. ^ gaming laptops (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ Ideapad Y700-17 (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro (VN7-591G-75S2) (uk.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ MSI GE72 6QD Apache Pro (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ Razer Blade (uk.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ USB-C (uk.pcmag.com)
  7. ^ GS40 6QE Phantom (uk.pcmag.com)
  8. ^ Skylake (uk.pcmag.com)
  9. ^ Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series (7559) (uk.pcmag.com)
  10. ^ See How We Test Laptops (uk.pcmag.com)
  11. ^ MSI GT72 Dominator Pro G-1438 (uk.pcmag.com)
  12. ^ Origin EON17-X (uk.pcmag.com)
  13. ^ Acer Predator 15 (G9-591-74KN) (uk.pcmag.com)
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