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* Posts by Mage

2895 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Mage
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Agree totally with Author

Not only about Netbooks,

But it's almost impossible to get 1600 line high lap top with 4:3 Screen. I don't watch videos on the Laptop or netbook. I have a TV for that, or a 4.3" WS 160G Byte PMP for long flights etc.

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Apple to stop European shipments of Mac Pro on March 1?

Mage
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And the replacement will be

An Intel chipset laptop.

Meanwhile ordinary iApple "laptops" will change to ARM and app install via iTunes only. but not iOS as such.

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Surface left on shelves as world+dog slurps up small slates

Mage
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Also

Too expensive. They will never be Apple.

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Mage
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Surface tries to be a Tablet and a Notebook and Windows and using ARM. So fails at everything. It might have succeeded if NOT trying to be Windows and a Tablet.

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Who ate all the Pis?

Mage
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Re: Slash

On really old DOS (2.11?) you could define switch char

then paths became / instead of \ They dropped it on Ver 3.x something

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Mage
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Re: "I mean, who would know?"

Nano I think might be easier than Vi or Libre Office (for different reasons)

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Japan promised Ultra HD TV broadcasts two years early

Mage
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Coat

Re: So what?

Depends on the DVD and BD and if film remastered / rescanned and film quality.

Some DVDs are actually BETTER than some BD.

For GOOD DVD typically film is scanned at 1440 x 1152 or higher and down-sampled to 720 x 576 which results in higher apparent resolution and less artefacts than a 720 x 576 camera or scan. Subsequent upscaling will be better than 720 x 576 native video

For GOOD BD typically film is scanned at 3840 x 2160 and down-sampled to 1920 x 1080 which results in higher apparent resolution and less artefacts than a 1920 x1080 camera or scan. Cheaper BD releases just use the scan for DVD at 1440 x 1152 or higher and resample to 1920 x1080. For decent BD you need really to scan and restore the negatives, not use a distribution copy print (less sharp and noisier), so often only new releases in the BD era and premium cinematic content, not "budget" releases benefits from BD.

Older US TV shows might be 720 x 480, so poor on DVD. Also 30fps to 25fps conversion blurs the image. HD versions will be much better, though conversion from 30fps or 60fps to 25fps or 50fps degrades the image,

So it's quite possible to buy DVDs and BDs that are not much different in apparent quality on 40", especially since 42" is almost a minimum size for many people in an average room to benefit from HD.

.Mine the one with a book explaining "kell factor" in the pocket.

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Mage
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Boffin

Re: Oh yes

Well at average UK living room size you need 42" to appreciate HD, HD is for BIGGER screens, not really for more detail.

405 lines at same distance on a 9" screen (typical in 1937) is just as sharp. But by 17" you needed more resolution. Again you needed at least a 21" or larger set to appreciate 626 lines.

So unless you are watching UHD on your desk on 42" you need 84" for it to be "worth while", or to put it another way, ordinary HD will look poor in a normal size room on 84". So UHD / 4k x 2K is for adopters of 84" TVs in small rooms.

I'd prefer a 6:1 zoom projector. make it 28" to 36" for SD depending on source quality, 42" for 16:9 and 64" to 84" for letter boxed Cinematic content typically 2.40:1 aspect ratio depending on quality.

If you get 2.4:1 or 3:1 Cinematic content in a 16:9 frame then you do need a bigger screen and more resolution just to have the SAME sharpness.

Similar with 4:3 vs 16:9. Native 28" 4:3 needs a 36" approx 16:9 screen to have about the same picture size.

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Helium: Can it prevent the onset of Shingles?

Mage
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Alert

Lifetime

Given the nature of Helium I can't see these having any kind of reasonable life. Of course air can't easily leak in where Helium might want to leak out and it won't deflate like a balloon.

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Lotus 1-2-3 turns 30: Mitch Kapor on the Google before Google

Mage
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Supercalc

Visicalc on Apple and Supercalc on CP/M. 1980

I don't think you could buy an IBM PC in UK before 1981

Supercalc IMO was superior to Visicalc. Surprised the Article and Comments didn't mention it.

The last command line Spreadsheet I used was "Cracker" in 1988 to 1991 on PCW CP./M along with Wordstar Clone NewWord.

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Apple loses 'Most Valuable Company' honor to ExxonMobil

Mage
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Holmes

Peak

Everything has a peak.

Apple may make obscene profit margin for the next ten years, but at the end of the day they have very few products and are vulnerable to fashion. There hasn't been a compelling reason to buy an Apple product for maybe 15 years. Video editing, Photo editing, Desktop publishing, Tablet Internet consumption, phone usage, Pocket Music player etc can all be done just as productively more cheaply on many other products, with many manufacturers offering more variation of models in price, features and style.

Apple are arrogant and offer little choice. They have been more successful than their product warrants on ipod, iPhone and iPad, but eventually those will be niche products just like iMac and mac Air, unless there is a change in Apple Corporate philosophy. A change in Apple marketing and pricing philosophy could backfire and cut profits even if market share increased, and could even reduce market share.

There is no doubt a large part of the success of Apple has been to hide complexity and make the products seem simple to use with a consistent GUI that doesn't change pointlessly with each release (Hello MS and Ubuntu!).

Perhaps eventually Apple products will become higher quality and more expensive and they will settle down to a 10% peak market share with high margin. This is probably a better strategy that trying to have a majority share and offer cheaper products where you can easily fall off a cliff (Chrysler, MS Win CE PDA, MS Win phone, Nokia, Sun, Wang, DEC).

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Just what is GOOGLE'S MYSTERIOUS NEW WIRELESS NETWORK?

Mage
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Re: White Space testing?

Someone doesn't agree with reality.

What ever it's for it's not White Space or Ultra wideband testing.

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Mage
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White Space testing?

Nonsense

Run a load of WiFi and Video senders in same band with some extra SW on the WiFi and in a day you can prove that "White Space" even WITH spectrum monitoring and Databases simply hurts video.

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Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

Mage
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Mushroom

Arrgh

Such rubbish.

Obviously never used a proper Anti-glare screen.

Glossy WILL give headaches if the reflections have movement.

Glossy is rubbish for reading and photo editing.

It looks fab in a showroom running a video. Decent matt / antiglare finish is expensive to do, glossy comes for free. No surprise which is promoted and easier to get.

My matt screen is 133dpi and doesn't lack definition.

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Ofcom mulls dishing out a world of hertz for RFID tags, radio cars

Mage
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Flame

Idiots

790 to 960 should be one band and with 862 to 872 as a guard band with SRDs permitted.

Uplink 790 to 862 and downlink 872 to 960

the 2MHz + 2MHz Duplex chunk 872 & 921 is used since about 2005 in various EU countries for an early 4G Mobile Internet system, including UK neighbour, Ireland.

Doesn't Ofcom talk to anyone?

Also the USA ISM licence free stuff is not suitable for this duplex chunk. It ALSO uses GSM channels now migrating to 3G. Originally this was allocated Europe wide as GSM Tetra and the next chunk above as GSM-R (Railways), so it's part of GSM band. GSM -R is hardly used (but used in UK, or was). EU agreed regulators could refarm the GSM Tetra (never happened, Current Tetra is 450MHz ish and different) as Mobile Data Cells on non-interference basis.

Ofcom (and Comreg) are a menace. We need a single democratically answerable Europe wide regulator that looks at the big picture of making Infrastructure efficient and suitable for consumer, not kowtowing to Gadget Makers and Mobile Operators.

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Another new asteroid-mining firm: 'First commercial space fleet'

Mage
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I for one ...

Welcome our "belters".

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Germany's RTL pulls free-to-air channels off terrestrial TV

Mage
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ITV

More like C5 leaving DTT?

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Mage
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Satellite or Cable?

Death of portable / transportable / ad hoc TV reception.

Outside Cities and major towns is rarely cabled

Satellite is precarious.

Why are they allowed to do this?

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Global mercury ban to hit electronics, plastics, power prices

Mage
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Boffin

CMOS "Button cells"?

Button / Coin cells originally were ONLY Mercury types in 1930 when the clever package was invented by Mr Compton I think. Still available up to maybe the 1970s? The Silver types invented during WWII but rather expensive of course.

But Zinc Air, Alkaline, Silver Oxide and Lithium Button & Coin cells have been mercury free for over 20 years. Memory chips have been using Lithium or NiCd (then NiMH) type cells for about 30 years

I had thought Zinc Carbon/Zinc Chloride / Alkaline manganese batteries had always been mercury free (they are now), but apparently some mercury was used to help the Zinc Chloride material or something, which actually seems to be involved in all 3 mentioned Cell types.

LEDs can't come close to CFL for colour rendition (the wavelength is too long) a new LED material is needed. They also can't come close to power level of the higher power high pressure mercury vapour lamps.

Mercury based thermometers and blood pressure are long obsolete. The main issue is lighting.

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Why no one wants to Joyn GSMA's Skype-killing expedition

Mage
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Operators

They ARE bit pipes on 4G.

They need to concentrate on doing that properly. Anything else is a different business.

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McDonalds burger app gives it to you straight from the horse's mouth

Mage
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Lemony Snicket

I like the description in the "Wide Window".

McD is somewhere to go when cold & wet or need a loo and no where else is in sight.

"Happy Meals". Hmmm fail on both words.

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Record numbers of you are reading this headline right now

Mage
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Alert

"fellow sci/tech websites"

There are others??????

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Intel's fourth quarter a bummer, as expected

Mage
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tremendous progress across the business in 2012 as we entered the market

Well, when you have a track record of near zero sales in a market and have more sales, the % growth can look enormous. But in real terms not even on the radar on phones and Tablets.

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US taxman joins UK politicoes on hunt for Amazon cash

Mage
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More VAT?

No, that doesn't work, only the consumer pays VAT. Schools etc count as Consumers.

Purchase Tax as per 1940s to when VAT came in was calculated on the Wholesale price. Retailers often displayed the price ex Tax. Consumers largely paid it.

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Hyperspeed travel looks wrong: Leicester students

Mage
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Re: The weapons are pretty unbelievable too

Hypersonic self guided missiles with multiple Fusion warheads are probably illegal in the Galactic Federation, but no-one told us.

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Amazon puts up CD rack in the cloud, unearths your OLD stuff too

Mage
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Re: Nice

Jessops, Comet, Plays For Sure, Apricot / ACT, Nixdorf, DEC, Compaq, Wang, Polariod, Kodak, Prestel, Ceefax, Geocites ...

Will Amazon be around in 5, 10, 20 years?

Will they ever accidentally lose stuff?

Will they change the Business Model?

What if you forget or can't pay on time?

What if you lose your Internet connection?

Sorry, but cloudy services (= Shared Server + Client, as old as Timeshared Servers and online Access) are no substitute for having your own copies. Can sometimes be an complement. I have loads of websites. Do I trust the "Cloud" / Hosting? Even they recommend backups. I have running copies of it all in the attic., with a backup too.

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Forget 3D: 13,000 UK homes still watch TV in black and white

Mage
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But

The stats don't count people with an Additional B&W tv. But Colour licence as they have at least one Colour TV, nor do they count the fraudsters.

There could be more B&W TVs than stated by B&W licence in use before ASO. My B&W TV is now just used for the radio on it (2" set).

Modulators can be separately purchased.

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Ten affordable mid-sized Full HD monitors

Mage
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Re: Multiples of 1080

Or subtitles

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Mage
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Re: No portrait-mode?

I remember a Xerox about 1977 or so that was Portrait.

I'd love a 133 dpi 1600 x 3200 portrait screen, about 30cm x 60cm visible. Or a 150 dpi 1920 x 3840 would proof A3 nicely with some space left over (slightly more than 32.5 x 67cm visible)

But actually it would be grand on a swivel to do landscape too.

Cleartype etc is sub-pixel addressing. If it doesn't work in Portrait, that's a bug. It should have an option to input the pixel layout.

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German ebook firm pushes cheapo ereaders into US drug stores

Mage
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How did I miss this?

A £10 epaper display to add to my own hardware?

Where?

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Microsoft: We're SO SORRY for Media Center TV guide titsup

Mage
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Re: They had no idea

"now force my children to perform plays"

You should see Hamlet performed with alien creatures made of Plasticine, models made by the kids, models moved and voiced in real time by the kids.

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Polaroid plans retail Fotobars to print out your pics

Mage
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Coat

Er...

People are already offering this as a sideline. Kodak and other machines instore as well as counter based services. They are going to compete in a low margin saturated market with mature outlets.

How is Polariod still alive?

Mine's the one with a usb stick on the keyring.

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Wi-Fi, WiGig Alliances to wed, breed 60GHz progeny

Mage
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Re: Specs: Does it penetrate walls? Useful range?

No, it's almost to data what so called Wireless charger is to Charging (The Wireless charger needs a cable and the client has to rest on it). It won't really do anything a long patch cable can't do. But it does have a few very useful deployments.

It will work in an open plan office, one class room or one apartment room. The school and apartment applications are useful as regular wifi has too much range in those applications resulting in congestion. You really don't want to cable each desk in a Class room or be without WiFi in an Apartment. But the open plan office is less value as each desk will have power and structured wiring anyway.

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Tiny Brit island stranded after £10m undersea fibre plea sunk

Mage
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More Dishes?

No help. One dish or 450 Dishes is same total speed, The limit is the Satellite, about 45k km above the Earth. Actually one larger dish, say 3.7m is far better efficiency and capacity than 100 small dishes. The Satellite bandwidth is shared. As you have more dishes sharing the efficiency drops.

Even in Europe, Ka-Sat which has TWENTY times the highest previous capacity satellite in Europe only has about the same capacity as a small rural exchange and less than one UPC or Virgin Media or BT Open Reach fibre fed street cabinet.

Apart from the useless latency, satellite capacity is rubbish. One Terrestrial Fixed Wireless Access mast (not to be confused with Mobile) can have as much capacity as an entire satellite (the bird, not the dishes, which MUST share out the capacity).

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Windows Media Center EPG has SWITCHED OFF, wail Euro users

Mage
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Black Helicopters

DVBViewer

XP Media and Vista Media centre are rubbish for European DTT or Satellite. The Windows 7 Media centre (built in MHEG5 too) was quite decent.

But still not as a good as DVBviewer and MHEG5 plugin. Evidenced by fact than it's still bought by Windows7 users.

DVBviewer or MS Media Centre on Win7 is though easier to set up than MythTV.

A Freesat+ HD PVR set box is best, but quad tuner (2 x DVB-S2 and 2 x DVB-T) set boxes with real Freesat and/or MHEG5 don't seem to exist. Important for people not actually in UK wanting Local DTT and the Freesat channels. Then a PC based PVR is best.

You can run HDMI over 2 x shielded CAT5e for quite a good distance by cutting a £1.50 HDMI cable in two and splicing.

However I expect the missing EPG is a mistake!

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SECRET RIM patent cheque to Nokia revealed at last - and it's a big 'un

Mage
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Re: Who is then the real innovator?

Maybe in the past. With HW.

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Anti-virus products are rubbish, says Imperva

Mage
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Educate the User

occasional use of Silent Runners (Windows) and Root Kit Detection etc to check the education.

Almost all infections in my experience of cleaning others messes are self inflicted. Mindless opening of mindless attachments or stupid installs. Mindless clinking on "OK".

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It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

Mage
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Coffee/keyboard

Intel chip?

What sort of Intel Chip?

I'm expecting Mac to switch away from Intel. Maybe Intel does useful chips apart from CPUs.

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The amazing magical LED: Has it really been fifty years already?

Mage
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Boffin

Re: Home & Work Light?

"Colour rendering is very much better than CFLs and about the same as halogen"

Nothing like. LEDs have gaps in the spectrum. You are confusing "Colour Temperature" or how Neutral the colour appears looking AT it or neutral surfaces to the accuracy of colours seen with the light reflected from objects.

Certain shades of Cyan will go green or blue. Other colours will go "muddy" or even grey.

CFLs and Florescent tubes have spikes and some gaps, but due to the direct plasma and mix of UVA and UVB wavelengths a mix of phosphors can give much better light than the Blue/Violet/Near UV of an LED. White LEDs don't exist, they use phosphors. R G B LEDS can "mix" to give illusion of almost any colour, but are the very worst illumination source as it's near monochromatic Red, Green and Blue. Coloured objects will appear the wrong colour and it's possible to have a brightly coloured object appear dark grey or a darker spurious colour under RGB light than under CFL or even phosphor based White LED. It will be most natural in overcast sky mid daylight and next most natural (but orange enhanced) under Halogen. Only Halogen and Tungsten can be colour balanced later in Photo Editing. With RGB or White LED the colour information isn't in the photo or video, it's lost.

Cameras use three or more broad overlapping responses to generate the RGB data for later colour image (which can then use monochromatic RGB). But you need broad spectrum lighting with no gaps to create the viewing illusion accurately.

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Mage
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Boffin

LED is fantastic

But one thermionic tech refuses to die, the VFD used in Media players, Set-boxes, car dash boards and Tills/POS. Invented as Computer Indicator in late 1950s, Japanese 7 segment displays in 1960s calculators (one digit per valve) and pocket calculators in 1970s (single tube with all digits)

1952 Triode magic eye, DM70 & DM71

1959 VFD, works on 9V HT and with TTL drive DM160

The russian iv-15 a DM160 clone

Some history of indicators including LEDs and a Timeline

Nortake/Itron, Futuba, Samsung still make them Some nice Russian NOS and Asian ebay types here

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Mage
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Home & Work Light?

It's rubbish for those as the spectrum is too poor. Missing colours. It's not even as good as CFL in which the phosphors work better. CFL even is poorer than Halogen for colour rendition.

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When your squash partner 'endorses' your coding skills on LinkedIn...

Mage
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Thumb Up

"thumbs up"

Sadly it's true.

Though most of my linkedin recommendations are valid as mostly I only accept connections from people I have actually worked with or in similar fields of expertise.

But many on LinkedIn seem to be "connection whores", or like Stamp collectors.

Why do only average eBay sellers think they should get 5 stars? IMO only exceptional should get 5, so mostly I give 4 on each category.

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Crushing $1.17bn Marvell patent judgment could set record

Mage
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Flame

This is Nuts.

Universities don't exist to benefit Universities or Shareholders, but Humanity , The Nation and Business development. So even if this is valid (the patent infringement) the penalty is crazy. There should be MANDATORY "FRAND" licences on anything University developed.

Secondly, yet again it's unlikely that the patent is really valid or that Marvell really violated it. But this is not a new problem. It dates back to 1900s when Lodge and Marconi got patents for "Radio" techniques already in mathematics by Maxwell, Hertz and Braun.

Marconi and later RCA was like Apple. Patent everything, fight everyone. Marconi came up with some good possibly patentable ideas about aerials. Almost everything else should have been thrown out by Patent Office. At least then a Patent only lasted 14 years. Also The WORLD had to create an International Treaty to break the power Britain gave Marconi, as he only leased the Equipment and Operators to ships and in classic walled garden fashion Marconi operators forbidden to communicate with Ships or Shore not using Licensed Marconi Equipment.

So the "system" is broken since late Victorian era when US and UK entrepreneurs (i.e. Edison and Moving Pictures too) simply "gamed" the Patent System to prevent valid competition, not get temporary exclusivity on real inventions. RCA prevented anyone using the Superhet without their licence. Armstrong is actually credited with "inventing" it in 1918, but in reality the idea was obvious to many and of no interest till valves (tubes) cheaper as it needed an Oscillator, Mixer and Amplifier with 7 coils to replace one regenerative amplifier and 2 coils.

Most technology patents in the last 120 years are fake. Written to obfuscate and hide the lack of novelty, or obviousness or fact that it's mathematically described many years earlier.

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Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet creator Gerry Anderson dies at 83

Mage
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Left out...

Supercar

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Steve Bong's 3D printing special Xmas showcase

Mage
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Thumb Up

Fimo

Fimo/Sculpy for Geeks?

Industrial quality 3D printing is useful for prototypes. It can be useful at home maybe for the sort of person that has a computer controlled Mill.

I think Steve is right, that the "impact" is somewhat hyped. I have seen good 3D printed stuff.

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Boffins build elastic wires with liquid metal

Mage
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I presume

That this is safer than Victorian era Rubber tubing and Mercury?

Lighter too.

I guess it might be handy to connect something vibrating and moving?

Speaker voice coil connections?

Engine mounted electronics

Cables on a Lift (elevator).

I can't see it being useful for headphones really.

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What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks

Mage
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Re: Money, actually...

I've been working with programmers since 1978. I'm not convinced very many skilled programming staff exist.

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Mage
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Re: "nearly every sample program in every textbook is a perfect"

Macros are evil. Period. One thing I've agreed with Stroustrupp since 1987 on first reading his stuff. Actually most of the bad stuff in C++ may be due to AT&T insisting on as much C compatibility as possible. The first C++ compilers I used actually only pre-processed C++ text to C text creating the magic pointer "this" as a first extra parameter in the C text.

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Mage
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Mushroom

The budget isn't the problem

Maybe 9 out of 10 "high graded" Graduate "Programmers" (there is not just Comp Sci) can't really program well and never will be good programmers.

You can easily teach a computer language, has anyone ever discovered how to teach programming.

Comments are a double edged sword, they can become out of sync with code and most people are worse at good comments than programming.

A decent description of the function, what the parameters are, what the valid range for each is and what the function returns/modifies is of course a minimum. Include tests on each parameter, even if for performance they have to be commented out on final production version.

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BT's 4G bid WON'T lead to mobile network launch

Mage
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Flame

Yet Still!

They want to squeeze TV spectrum even further AND allow "Bonkers" so called "White Space" (effectively un-policed) to destroy reception of 100s of thousands.

Ofcom is

a) A regulator protecting licensed users and maximising nation effectiveness of spectrum

or

b) An arm of the Treasury tasked with maximising Licence Auction revenues and no interest in protecting consumers from Operators' predatory practices (e.g. high SMS and voice charges subsidising Data and exorbitant EU roaming charges.)

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