336 posts • joined Friday 16th November 2007 12:30 GMT
Oak or cork seems to work fine for that, it's not much different from epoxy ablative heat-shields at all. Quality control is hard though. But there are much better materials available now.
Re: A note on rockets and parachutes.
"GE was the #1 designer of re-entry vehicles on the planet at that time (they did the designs for ICBM's and knew a lot about real world re-entry heating."
Just that ICBMs have totally different requirements than landing capsules, they hit the ground (well, ignition height) with still several km/s, something you don't want to have with something that you actually want to recover.
Ironically the stubborn engineers successfully solved (and even tested) the tank problems right while the funding was cut and the thing was being cancelled.
X33/Venture Star was a really ambitious project but it could have worked out. And a fully reusable Single Stage to Orbit craft is nothing to sneer at.
By the way, you need an empty/fueled mass ratio of about 1:10 to make this work (meaning that at launch 90% of the mass is fuel). SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage has a mass ratio of 1:30, it could propel itself and quite a bit of payload into orbit all by itself (but of course adding a second stage gives you much more payload for not much money).
This is not the last word on SSTO.
Re: Downside of retro-rockets
The problem is that you need much more powerful engines and much more fuel for a powered landing (compared to engines you only need for orbital maneuvering and reentry). You'll also have to brake speed within seconds (since doing it more slowly would need even more fuel) before hitting the ground. And you need to do all this while having a ton or so of highly explosive and highly toxic hypergolic fuels (which need no ignition but will happily jump into fiery action as soon as they see each other) on board right beneath your seats, along with all the plumbing and valves and tanks and whatnot.
What SpaceX is trying to do here is really ambitious. Their powered landing scheme is very much a planned spectacular suicide that goes very subtly wrong if everything works right. Love it!
Just add a HDMI screen, keyboard and pointing device!
Well, you also could buy a smartphone or tablet and use it with a large screen, which has the advantage that you'd have already an integrated keyboard and a pointing device...
Besides, there really is nothing new about this. You can buy such things today and they all suffer from the fact that you need a BT keyboard and BT mouse/trackpad even for just connecting to WiFI (or doing anything with it actually) since touch screens on TVs and computer screens are still rather rare. Is Dell really ignoring this?
You can buy these today
ViewSonic VSD 220 and VSD 240, Acer DA220...
As cheap, low-power all-in-one devices somewhere between a silly TV and a full computer these aren't too bad. Keyboard and mouse support in Android is good enough to use them now and then as a "computer" and the touchscreen is fine for some browsing, youtubing, playing music and general "terminal" use in the kitchen or so. They also have enough USB ports to hang some serious storage off them (for those with huge music, photo and movie libraries).
This is to a desktop PC what a tablet is to a laptop.
If this is a "watch" I'd be very surprised
I mean, smartphones are phones only by name and a smartwatch won't be more of a watch than a smartphone is a phone. Everyone looking at the world market for watches and thinking this is the cap for a smartwatch is a bit flat.
On the other hand, I have no idea what a smartwatch is meant to do. Using it as a phone is pretty much silly and for most other things the screen will be too small. Interacting with something that is strapped to your wrist isn't really great too, especially with a small screen.
RIM was saying this since 2007
I'm too lazy to look up some quotes, but RIM back then thought that the iPhone was doomed and in no way a competitor. God, were they wrong.
To iOS: Yes, it's familiar in an almost boring way now. But do I seek excitement from a smartphone anymore? Not really. I have a Nexus 7 and will buy another Android tablet soon, but my iPhone is totally fine for what I need it for. Reliable, good battery life, smooth, comfortable. Nothing wrong with that, really. And if I will ever buy an Android phone I will immediately get an iPad to go with it just for completeness. What's more boring than having all your gadgets run the same OS?
Same with the iPhone, drag down the notification drawer from within any app, swipe up again to dismiss. You can even go straight into every email there (other than with Android where tapping on any email just opens your inbox)...
Anyway, there are a few things I like and I wish RIM^WBlackberry well. Although I doubt that it will work out.
Pressing well-known buttons on its readers since ages.
Apart from that: MS selling the Surface Pro with 64 GB is just asking for trouble. You buy this thing if you want to run "real" Windows software and real Windows software is not written with such puny storage in mind. Use it as you use a PC (and that's the point of it, isn't it?) and this thing will run into a quite hard wall in no time.
And if you want to soften that wall by inserting an SD card don't expect it to be as fast as the integrated flash. Nobody likes to talk about it, but these things are SLOW.
I still hope MS was wise enough to integrate a somewhat standard SSD there, so you can actually put in a larger SSD. If the storage is soldered in here people won't like this a bit, I tell you. An iPad is just an appliance, but a "real PC" with "64 GB of HD and that's it" is a bit poor if you ask me.
Re: Battery life...
I know it may sound smug, but my two years old iPhone 4 is right now at 79% battery after 16 hours off the charger. I usually charge it every other day just to make sure.
I was very interested in the Nexus 4 since my Nexus 7 is a nice (although certainly not perfect) tablet. But after reading the first reviews and detailed battery benchmarks I just lost interest. Just as well it seems, it's unavailable anyway.
I also didn't like the speaker right on the back -- why do they do that? Even the Nexus 7 with its speaker pointing halfway down/backwards is almost unusable for Skype without headphones if I actually want to look at the front of it at the same time. It seems I can either look at the screen or actually hear what's being said but not both.
Isn't the new Apple all about the mass market?
Since the iPod (75% market share) Apple has been trying (quite successfully) to go for the mass market. The iPad had 90% of the tablet market for a while and the iPhone still has 50% in the US. Yes, they are not cheap, but they're not in a premium niche either. And IF Apple will shrink into a 10% segment of the market, mindshare will just break away and people won't be willing to pay a premium for something nobody cares for.
Apple surely wasn't a healthy company when they sold expensive computers to 5%-10% of the market. It nearly killed them.
such a thing with the innards of the Nexus 7 and an 11" screen, running Android, for about $350 and I'll buy it.
It's X Window (or "X Window System"), not X-Windows. Really.
I think in the long run users just will happily adapt to that wall of tiles. Because even in old Windows most people immediately maximize any window they come across and I have never heard of anyone thinking that the start menu is great just because you can flap it out and still see some windows. What for?
Like it or not, but arbitrarily overlapping and piled windows are something most people won't miss that bad or at all.
I'm starting to really miss with such devices since I first saw the Lenovo Yoga: A display that can be folded back all the way. With a touchscreen it's really nice to be able to put the thing up in "tent-mode" and to use it a media hub or watching something off YouTube or put it into the kitchen. It may be not enough to turn a small notebook into a tablet, but it surely makes such a thing much more useful at home.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Windows 8 and touchscreens would lead to such notebooks come more and more often with something like that. Even the MS Surface is rather something in between a touchscreen desktop computer and a (bad) notebook than just a true tablet.
Google is stupid
Something like this seems to have much more potential than the stupid ChromeBooks Google is trying to force down our throats. Even as just a cheap, simple PC or thin client in the office. Especially with MS Office coming for Android in a few months.
Add four full-sized SD card slots (so you can add up to 256 GB of flash for media storage), a better stand so you can tilt it between 90 and 0 degrees and you have a great home media system that also works as a simple home PC with or without keyboard and mouse. HP and Dell should be all over this instead of starving while trying to just sell the same old PCs. But they're stupid as well.
Re: Supermarket shelves
"I thought it was a bit of an overengineered solution but they must have found some benefit to warrant rolling it out."
The "nice" thing about these is that you can adjust your prices on the fly then, basically liquid supply&demand optimization. Some people are thinking this is a great idea.
There will be a retina iPad mini next year. It will be heavier, thicker (because of all the backlight and GPU power draw to drive and illuminate all those pixels and the battery to feed it) and more expensive (because of the more powerful GPU and higher integrated innards and display to keep the size and weight of the thing in check) and the current Mini will drop $50 or so in price. That's the usual way to do it. And totally reasonable, I would say.
By the way, the iPad Mini still has a higher pixel density than the MS Surface. The display is far from perfect, but it's not bad either. In fact it's the first iPad I could like enough to actually buy it. I handled one a few days ago and liked it surprisingly much, it feels almost more like an ebook reader than a tablet. And 163 PPI is *much* better than the screen I'm right now looking at anyway. Doesn't really hurt either.
This thing is not bad
I have a Nexus 7 and tried an iPad Mini the other day. I found that I liked the iPad much better than the Nexus with the exception of the pixel density and the price. As an appliance the iPad is better, as a cheap touchscreen-computer the Nexus is better (and cheaper). So depending on what you actually expect from a tablet it's perfectly reasonable to like one or the other better. No need to rant, really.
Re: Repeating Windows mistakes of decades past...
Google probably just won't care for removable SD cards since no Nexus device has them.
Looking forward to that
Although I'm really curious if they just add a load of features or finally fix some very annoying bugs that very nearly caused me to trash my Nexus 7 into very little pieces more than once. Like the numerous editing bugs in text fields in Chrome.
Would also be nice if Android would finally support other layouts than just US English on external keyboards (USB or BT).
When you're not paid for tinkering with such things a pure appliance like the iPad just makes more sense than anything else.
I will never get this kind of "this device, which is well designed and has great software, has no place anywhere because I hate Apple".
(Typed on a Nexus 7 that AGAIN deleted characters several lines above the cursor when trying to edit the last sentence. If Google won't have fixed all these editing bugs in 4.2 I'll just go and buy an iPad after all).
Re: Really? *Can* you use USB mass storage in WP8?
Since iOS 5 iTunes is purely optional.
Ebooks: Just use Dropbox, if both devices are on the same network it syncs locally. You also can fill iBook via FTP or email attachments. Other readers usually support their own ways of slurping up epubs.
I have both an iPhone and an Android tablet and automatic or rule-driven sync of photos and music is a huge advantage compared to manually dragging files around. The only advantage of doing it the old-fashioned way is when you want to initially dump lots of things onto the device, but after that all that file-dragging becomes very boring and tedious very fast. And of course if you want to be able to dump loads of music and ebooks from your mate's computer onto your phone.
Anyway, if Google would bother to come with a similar software to manage your phone or tablet including backups and restoring I would very much like that.
Isn't it ironic?
The Register for a change has an article here that is not straight about an Apple product or Apple as a company and still the comments are -- all about Apple.
Positive or negative, I'm about to end my subscription to the feed since there's much too much Apple going on here. People seem to be obsessed with Apple. Nowadays I can tolerate the most silly, naive and glowing Apple fanboi almost better than all this hate, since he's at least positive and harmless, while what is going on here is purely negative obsession and hate. And so much of it.
If you don't care for Apple, just ignore them and their products, please. Care for what you like and use and buy. I really can't stand it anymore.
Re: "the inability to install desktop apps will protect users from many threats"
"But in reality, how many meaningful Windows threats ever needed to be installed like a desktop app, rather than just run as a simple executable (or, for the better exploits, opened and loaded like an ordinary document, with or without macros, or even just simple unauthenticated remote access buffer overflows ).
Those attack vectors are not in any way being blocked by being unable to install apps in general."
Of course they are blocked. These things won't run any unsigned code not coming from the store. App or executable or whatever.
And yes, I think it's a good idea. If you don't like it, get a proper computer instead of an appliance.
Desktop apps or not?
It's confusing because it has a desktop mode that runs Office and Explorer and the system settings and tools, but nothing else. It looks very much like ordinary Windows with a touch-friendly layer on top and the desktop beneath it but it isn't. It looks as if you COULD install "normal Windows software" but aren't allowed to. For the mere mortal it will look like another licensing fence. Lately I was asked quite a bit about "the new Windows iPad" (really) and whenever I started to explain WinRT and ARM and Intel versions eyes clouded over, eyebrows rose and heads shook.
Re: thinking ahead
And if you want to photograph a document lying on a table (for me the most common use for a camera on a tablet when I don't have a scanner handy) you have to angle it away from you to have the camera pointing straight downwards.
Idiotic idea, really. How often do you need the camera on the back pointing exactly horizontally when you have the thing propped up on a table? What for?
Re: Not enough?
There's also the OS on there and apps and their data and photos and whatnot. Put 3 or 4 GB of music on it (and many people aren't very good at pruning their music library and dragging files around all day) and it already gets very tight very soon. No, 8GB with no extension is just not enough these days for a smartphone. My phone has 16GB and I have to clean things up now and then already to make room.
Can't believe that
8 GB? I mean, my Nexus 7 gets away with only 8GB because I don't have any music on it and it has no camera either, so no photos piling up. But on a smartphone I would want to carry some music and photos and whatever.
Technically I can understand that Google shies away from SD-cards for storage. But no SD cards and only measly 8GB of Flash? Never.
Re: Apple Share Price ....
I don't care at all, but just to inject some facts: It does this every time. There's hype, people are buying Apple stock, then the facts are out, people are selling and then it slowly goes up again. Check back in a week.
No idea. The Nexus also is heavier, thicker, has a smaller screen and hardly any apps apart from scaled-up smartphone apps that make you use the menu and back buttons all the time while the screen is half empty.
And yes, I own a Nexus 7. It made me appreciate the form-factor just enough to lust after a similar sized tablet with decent apps quite a bit. I would agree though that the iPad mini is a bit on the expensive side. Still, I don't doubt a second that it will sell very well, and for good reasons.
Re: popular with kids
Funny enough they didn't lose the mp3 player segment at all, even with hundreds of much cheaper players in the market against the good old iPod.
The iPod touch isn't a media player, it's basically a pocket-sized iPad nano. And for many people even iTunes support is a good thing (and judging from the interest in Android media players with some kind of iTunes sync support this isn't even limited to Apple fanbois -- dragging files around to manage your music is a bit like filling the tank of your car from pint-sized bottles you have to uncork first).
Anyway, if the leaked pricing lists from Germany a few days ago are any indicator, there will be a WiFi-only 8GB iPad mini for LESS than the iPod touch.
Not so easy at all
I mean, a 10" tablet is easy, but on the Nexus 7 the usual smartphone Android apps are already a bit of a letdown. A handful of tiny buttons squeezed into the top-left corner, lots of empty screen and hitting the menu button for just about everything won't get more fun on 10".
After using a Nexus 7 for a few weeks now I can fully understand why the larger Android tablets didn't sell. There are hardly any tablet apps for Android. It's just about bearable on the (still rather small) Nexus 7, but on a larger tablet? No, thanks.
Re: Target market
Yes, if there is one thing Chrome OS is fine for than it's simple office tasks. But why a small notebook then? Make it a smallish all-in-one desktop with a 19" screen and this thing will sell. No problems with the requirement of reliable net access there either.
Yeah, but rubber boots are also less prone to damage than smart leather shoes and still people prefer leather.
This is no different as with many other things. Plastic cups don't shatter that easily, people still prefer glass and china.
It's only people who think that smartphones are nothing but tools or small computers or office machinery who think that plastic is the best choice. For most people though they are more like furniture or shoes or clothing or a nice car. Ugly, cheap plastic just isn't going to win them over.
Re: Innovation @uhuznaa
The difference between Apple and MS is that MS has/had about 95% of the market while Apple has much less. Apple just can't afford to be that lazy.
I totally agree by the way that Apple has shown a very visible lack of pushing iOS (and OS X) forward. I'm not so sure about the hardware, there's not much they could do here apart from small things. The iPhone in 2007 was a Big Bang and you can't have these every year.
"Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways. This is accomplished through different or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. "
Apple may not invent very much at all and still be bloody innovative.
The truth is...
that the 5 is still a bloody good smartphone. It has its own share of disadvantages, true, but still: Its a nice, stylish, very responsive and fluid, easy to use smartphone with a great, quick and easy to use camera, the panorama feature works extremely well and with no fussing around at all, there are lots of very nice apps for it that don't reek of "computer" at all (as opposed to many Android apps)... Basically it's a joy to use if what you want is an appliance and not a computer. The maps suck a fair bit, the cables and adapters are bloody expensive, but these are things you can live with.
And I even don't own one. I also don't like Apple as a company. Still, nice phone. Don't pretend everyone buying one is an idiot.
Re: To stop us all posting the usual buy/no-buy/walled garden comments...
After using a Google Nexus 7 for a week now I can very well understand the allure of an iPad mini. It's a fabulous device, but it's more of a PC than an appliance. Great if you love to tinker around but less great if you just want a polished way of getting some things done without having to care about what's actually happening on a technical level.
Ridiculing people who have no interest in dealing with the computer side of all this is just idiotic.
Re: Come on, let's have a real advance ...
An e-ink screen with a screen refresh rate of twice a second if you're lucky? Not really?
Re: Apple has peaked
I don't want to praise Apple or the iPhone, but I'm sick of all this "style over substance" crying. Because style is important. People buy clothing, shoes, cars, furniture, houses, EVERYTHING by style and beauty instead of just by "substance". You're wearing rubber boots all day?
Smart phones aren't just tools or office machinery or computers. Not for most people. They're much closer to clothing and shoes: They have to do their job, but they also have to look and feel good and make you feel good. Not understanding that doesn't make you clever.
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