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* Posts by Nick Ryan

1380 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

iPHONE 5S BATTERY: It may NOT just be you, it may be RUBBISH

Nick Ryan
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Stop

They built millions of the things...

They built millions of the things... and like almost every other business they try to do this building as cheap as possible to keep the costs down. Quality is always going to be a problem eventually even for systems that are almost entirely machine assembled - iPhones being what they are have a lot of manual assembly and this involved people who will make mistakes sometimes.

Rigorous testing probably catches most of the assembly problems, but for devices that (for whatever reason) don't charge or hold their charge as well as they should over a relatively long period, this type of problem won't be picked up. Hopefully the exact problem will have been fathomed out by now and the Apple engineers will have something in place to change their designs to make it less likely to happen in the future. Apple probably can't say how many are affected or may be affected due to the nature of the problem so arguing numbers probably won't work and given the lawyer-friendly nature of the US would open them to class action suits at the drop of a hat if the exact numbers or percentages are predicted or known.

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Cisco: We'll open-source our H.264 video code AND foot licensing bill

Nick Ryan
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Re: site license

As noted above, I can see this is good for Cisco in the long run as having a widely available standard * video decoder library available is good for interoperability with their video conferencing, and as video is moving (aka being pushed by suppliers) into more mainstream systems then not having to provide bespoke plugins for every damn device is a good thing. The side effect is that it opens up the usage for other players, but IMHO that only strengthens the technology in this case.

Also, don't forget - this seems to apply to the decoder... encoding is likely a different licence altogether.

* standard in this case is commonly used / available, not necessarily an agreed upon open standard - just something that is available almost everywhere and works almost everywhere. Such as Flash or PDF (ignore the details and problems of these two, but the concept is the same - you can produce a PDF document and generally expect somebody else to be able to read it)

ooooh... El Reg... I like. An "Edit" button for posts. Just had to try it! :)

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It's NOT an iPad - but that's FINE: I learned to LOVE Microsoft's Surface 2

Nick Ryan
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a f*#k 'em attitude?

Definitely what won't work, what they need is an "innovative" integrated "open" solution. :)

For example, rather than cloud file storage being tacked on as an Operating System afterthought and botched in the same ghastly, quasi-usable way as "libraries" in earlier full Windows OSes, actually properly integrated. The important thing, is it must be fully, 100%, utterly open, not MS's traditional half baked, only available fully internally with agendas to "support" MS technologies that 95% of users really don't want or need.

Consider an OS that could just open a DropBox file and save it back seamlessly, with no external interfaces, no further messing, just a user-facing persistent storage area that is seemlessly available across their devices. Now consider that other Cloud storage providers could supply their own "cloud file system drivers" and compete on the same platform, providing the same services. No separation, no segration into "MS" vs "non-MS", just competing at this level on performance, quality of service and cost. With this arrangement organisations that don't want to throw their own, privelidged data into the hands of others would be able to manage it on their own servers or private cloud and users would still get the overlaying applications and interface the same as before, just the end storage repository would be different.

However this pipe-dream would never happen at MS, as they only seem interested in doing something other than proving an Operating System, are only really interested in foisting their own marketing plan driven "solutions" on unwilling users and switch them all to a more expensive subscription plan and make it hard for them to switch solution providers.

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Surface Pro 2: It's TOOL-PROOF and ultimately destined for LANDFILL

Nick Ryan
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Re: Battery Life

You're operating the charging of your devices correctly, as this is how the designers and manufacturers expect you to operate.

There is definitive information on how to look after devices, however this it can be hard to get to with all the white noise, voodoo, superstitions and every other bit of rhetoric there is out there.

Here's the basics:

The quality of the charging circuit makes all the difference, a better quality charging circuit charges at the appropriate rates for the overall capacity, current capacity and other performance indicators. Using no-name external chargers to charge your device batteries is often a bad idea as they often include poor quality charging circuits. Mobile phones have the charging circuits built in to the device (they're not in the AC/DC>USB converter), however when you have removable batteries you have the option to circumvent this (unless the charging circuit is built into the battery itself). For reasons like this you can see why Apple keep their batteries largely unremovable.

Overcharging is one of the worst (normal) things to do to a LI battery. Again, the better quality charging circuits prevent this. While it may sound like a simple problem, definitively knowing when a battery is "full", or more accurately, near full, given that measurements can vary depending on various factors is a bugger. As detection at the near-full end of the scale is harder to be accurate the closer to full the battery is, for battery longetivity many devices employ a scheme where they do not charge at 99%, instead they only start charging at 97% or similar. Completely emptying a LI battery is the next worst thing to do to them (although it can be argued the other way round).

As noted, the other serious headache is trying to work out what the capacity of a battery actually is... :)

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You like iPads, you like things called 'Air'. You will LOVE this puppy

Nick Ryan
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Re: Do space optimisation nerds exist?

Oh dear, that's just too true.

On the other hand, without size optimisation if things were to go the same way that most Windows applications operate with regards to the optimisation of processor time, we'd be stuck with tablets that are about 2 metres thick.

Efficiency != Buy newer hardware

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Wait for it, waaiiit for it: We update an Atom tablet to Windows 8.1 Pro

Nick Ryan
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Unfortunately there are many variables in even downloading and updating files, such as:

Many small files take longer to download and update compared to fewer large files. This alone makes the "total bytes downloaded vs total bytes to download" calculation inaccurate.

In order to optimise the delivery of small files, sometimes they are packaged up in a larger file. This larger file then needs to be unpackaged / decompressed to extract the smaller files, the speed of this is dependent on the contents, encryption and finally the creation of the many smaller files.

Many download systems support on-the-fly compression, the compression of files in this way means the total bytes downloaded compared to the total bytes expected (once decompressed) can vary wildly, and some files just don't compress very well anyway.

This is before the problem of actually updating and checking files comes into play? e.g. a good downloader will do a CRC check of some form of the downloaded file compared to the CRC that it expected. And to double check the CRC as well just for good measure. Again, the CRC check time varies depending on the number and size of the files involved, too many files and the CRC check files become a notable download issue all on their own.

This is before the actual patching of files takes place, which given the ball-ache of anything .net / com / activex nature the process of scanning, registry mangling and horrible version control attempts adds an utterly indiscriminate amount of control to a given process, particularly when many libraries are inter-dependent where a full transactional update is required as a single atomic update just won't do the job.

I'm so glad I don't have to calculate the install times... :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: "Preparing to install"

You missed the other Adobe glorious trick: Start installer, delete installer, fail for some reason (and it's important not to tell the user what the problem is), then leave user having to re-download the installer again to retry the install.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Mickey Mouse

Perhaps Disney and Microsoft are having a technology exchange.

The Disney's Mickey Mouse department seems to have have been involved in some inter-company projects with Microsoft's User Interface / eXperience department.

Yeah, yeah, I know... I'll get me coat...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: On the balance of all evidence ..

And thus crushes the entire "leave it run overnight" witticism.

Answer Files are the "solution" here. However how many of us are going to bother to create a damn Answer File and slipstreaming this onto the update media or to download and apply the updates separately in order to apply the Answer File for <insert random friend or relative's name here>'s computer?

Internet Explorer and Security Essentials are the chief culprits here when it comes to requiring an answer in the middle of an update. I've learnt to exclude these from overnight updates and to apply them, and the inevitable subsequent updates, more interactively.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

I'd rather not be the bleating Linux fanboy but how on earth can you sing the praises of an update mechanism that will download multiple different versions of the same file (because they're encased in binary blobs,) so that it can install them over the top of each other in sequential order?

To be fair, while appearing very stupid and annoying, this is to allow subsequent rollback and patch removal. Or to try to explain a better better: this isn't to allow the current patch in question to be removed, it's to allow subsequent patches of the same file to be removed, reverting to a "known good" combination of files and libraries.

While sending diff's of the various files would be useful, having the version to apply the diff to in the first place is another problem. This problem is compounded with the signing of Operating System (or in MS's terminology, everything they want to bundle with the Operating System) - the signing of these files is a good thing but it does introduce further complexities.

I'm sure they could do something to improve the situation, but sometimes simplicity is best, even if it is inefficient... but when was the last time MS actually did something efficient?

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Behold, the MONSTER-CLAWED critter and its terrifying SPIDER BRAIN

Nick Ryan
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Re: A working brain?

In some ways using matchsticks is preferable to using imaginary money backed up by resources that also don't exist.

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London's Tech City welcomes first Chinese tenant

Nick Ryan
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Rekoo UK ought to have at least one position open for a native English speaker that is also fluent in Chinese as compared to using automated language translation systems.

Childish humour? Probably, but I can't help almost sniggering at their website where one of the pages is:

HOME > Corporate culture > Stuff graceful bearing

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US parents proclaim 811 'Messiahs'

Nick Ryan
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Re: Ironic possibility

I used to know a girl named "Patience". Yeah, that name didn't particularly fit... :)

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Microsoft: Everyone stop running so the fat kid Win RT can catch up

Nick Ryan
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Re: Oh No, someone is picking on Google!

Oh No, someone is picking on Google!

Quick, downvote!!!

I think it's more "oh dear, yet another anonymous troll" than anything else.

If you want to troll to provoke reaction, that's fine... but there's an icon for that :)

if you want to be treated as yet another paid-shill by trolling points without any facts to back them up, then continue posting as AC.

On the other hand, if you want to make a valid point, then don't do it anonymously, explain your point and your reasons and enter into discussions about it rather than name calling or blinkered copy-and-paste statements.

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Reboot the formula: F1 and FIFA tweaked for another year

Nick Ryan
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Re: Witch woman

Eeek. There's some magic going on there alright. There must, be, there's some serious gravity defying, clothing hugging going on (much more than "tit-tape" could ever manage).

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PLEASE let us build Fruit Loop Central, Apple begs Cupertino City

Nick Ryan
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That's an impressive building, and if it winds up looking anything like the mocks up would be an asset to the area. Shame about the R&D "huts" flung to the side and the massive double story carparks for the lesser staff 1/3 of a mile away, but at least the car parks aren't 2 square miles of asphalt.

As for the town, the impact of having a company such as Apple head quartered there is massive, there will always be a huge amount of pressure from the area's largest employer (by far), such that pretty much anything they want they get. The danger, like the mining industries in the UK (and other countries), that dominated areas to the extent they built whole towns for their workers, is what happens to the area when it goes wrong?

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Windows Phone 8 INFLATED by Microsoft ... to satisfy lonely phablets

Nick Ryan
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screen-orientation lock button

Finally. Anybody who's ever tried using a device like these to read e-books knows the absolute necessity of this functionality. And to stop the bloody screen rotating when being jostled...

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Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy

Nick Ryan
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Well... all this and price gouging by the energy companies (shareholder return is the only thing that matters - investment is contra this) and the lunatic Green fringe's sway that means that nuclear power, even though it can be implemented safely and effectively, is largely dead in Europe.

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Foxconn 'fesses up to labour breaches: Made students work long hours

Nick Ryan
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Re: Sigh....

So finally, for the sake of us all on these boards, create a login, makes it easier to spot the stupid posts by just looking at names.

But they do have logins that they have to register for. See the "[ ] Post anonymously?" check box above the edit box? Tick that and you too can post anonymously.

Not defending them, just pointing this out in case you didn't realise it...

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Reg readers rise to Vulture 2 paintjob challenge

Nick Ryan
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Re: How about lettering??

Just paint it black with "NSA" is ominous red lettering on it. It'll be fine...

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Printing the Future: See a few of UK’s 6.2 million 3D-printed ‘things’

Nick Ryan
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3D printing may well be the future of manufacturing, but for now it’s a hobbyist’s toy

It's currently used extensively for prototyping rather than end manufacturing. Being able to knock up interlocking (ish) parts at something like 1/4 scale in a day is a tremendous cost saving and really works to push and develop components quickly and cheaply. Good CAD systems are all very well, but having something that's close to the final product in your hands, albeit scaled down, makes the process of iterating improvements so much easier.

And while a lot of hobbyists do use them, they are also really pushing the boundaries of what can, or should, be done in the medium and this is a good thing. So what that there's a lot of poor quality dross out there... there are some really clever uses as well and that's the important point.

Would love one myself, but just don't have space in the current house... :)

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RIP charging bricks: $279 HP Chromebook 11 charges via USB

Nick Ryan
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It's useful to turn this specification around a bit and compare it to tablets rather than full blown laptops.

I have the latest Nexus 7 and it's a great bit of kit for the money, really nice screen with a good resolution (not ****ing 1366x768) , fast processing that's easily fast enough for what I need and the battery easily lasts all day of pretty solid usage. It comes with a 2.5A charger (or something like that) which charges up really quite quickly as well.

Why the description of the Nexus 7? It doesn't have a keyboard - add a keyboard and you get something very similar to a ChromeBook. So there's no real reason why a device like this couldn't charge using a "standard" tablet charger.

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Android adware that MUST NOT BE NAMED threatens MILLIONS

Nick Ryan
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Re: And yet....

"Could care less" = Americanism of "Couldn't care lass" - which actually makes sense.

Why do the Americans bring sexism into everything? :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: What hasn't been mentioned....

Whilst the ad app developer has been contacted about the vulnerabilities, no-one seems to have addressed why on Earth the software had this capability in the first place.

Exactly. Command-and-control functionality doesn't get "accidentally" coded and put into an app library.

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Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates

Nick Ryan
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Unfortunately as I read it, the player will (must) always be net connected and will check into a central database somewhere. If that database says that you have every copied a film, then the player will be crippled.

Due process. Heard of it.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: No need to remove watermark

Well, if you decompress the video into full RGB and then compress it again, that alone should probably kill or disrupt any stego that was in the original stream.

A good scheme would survive this as well. Data can be hidden into content in all manner of ways, and much of this would indeed survive the re-encoding process. Think about the basics - on a 100 minute movie running at 25 there's 150000 individual frames. If a 20 character (160 bit) watermark could be encoded in a single spot (not pixel, think screen location) with one bit per frame it could still be encoded over 900 times sequentially. That's just video, IDs can be encoded into audio as well.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: When will these idiots realise

No matter what your employer's repeatedly chant to themselves... and inflict on those of us that actually buy content... piracy is not theft. Piracy is copyright violation... as in making a copy of something without the copyright holder's permission.

I'm not saying that piracy is right, but try to get things right rather than just mindlessly repeat the same old, tired and massively debunked, arguments.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: My message to the movie industry

...you still don't get it? Despite what your employers have told you, and the incessant lies locked on at the start of a lot of video media, piracy is not theft, it is copyright violation: i.e. making a copy of something without the copyright holder's permission.

I'm not stating that piracy, is right, but your incessant (anonymous) protests that it "takes money from artists" does not help in any way. Your argument about "quality" vs "piracy" is flawed as most distributors rather than face up to the fact that they are charging too much for content of dubious quality in a period of massive financial hardship is not the reason for lessening profits, instead "piracy" is the problem. This approach is akin to sticking your head in the sand and with fingers in yours ears shouting loudly that everything is fine and that you can't hear anything and by the way, if anything isn't fine then it's not your fault anyway.

Things change, the world and the financial dynamics that it too much relies on change as well. So rather than chasing one failing strategy time and time again, thus pissing off more and more of your customers that were happy to pay previously, how about thinking different? You may be surprised at how many people will voluntarily pay a fair price for something, sometimes even more, if they know that the money is going to the right place and for the right reasons.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Digital signature conundrum

The techniques will be much more subtle and distributed in nature than this. If I was doing this (which I'm not), I'd start with multiple unique IDs (of varying lengths) that are either keyed together mathematically (also effectively encrypted) or in a database linking them. Some frames would include the entire of one or more of these IDs, other times parts of one or more ID, all encoded within the audio or video streams in various methods. In addition I'd add various white-noise changes to obfuscate the actual IDs within digital "noise".

The kit required to embed all these IDs will not be pleasant for content broadcasters as they necessarily make a lot of bandwidth savings from using broadcast techniques (i.e. same version to multiple subscribers). Creating a unique version for each subscriber and transmitting each of these would increase the required bandwidth beyond the capability of most networks to manage, and definitely beyond satellite transmitters. The noted alternative would be broadcasting an encrypted version and having the local hardware perform the decryption and embedding further watermarks locally (the version supplied to the broadcaster would already by watermarked to identify leakage there). Having remote, user accessible systems is where the whole scheme will break down...

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Apple iMac 27-inch 2013: An extra hundred quid for what exactly?

Nick Ryan
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So you advocate cluttering your nice and neat desk with USB extenders because you think that removable media should be hidden away in the most awkward place to reach (with the possible exception of bundling it into the mains plug somehow). That these hidden ports also includes SD, not just USB, which is even more dumb as SD is generally only removable media while USB can attach to other devices where you might want to hide the cables.

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The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Has to be

It is very important that all the controls are also painted matt black.

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Exciting MIT droplet discovery could turbocharge power plants, airships and more

Nick Ryan
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Re: Nothing will make airships viable.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one to wonder this.

AFAIK the principle of airships is that the density of the [filler] is less than the density of the air displaced thereby giving a positive lift, very much similar to the basic principle of things floating on water.

Possibly down to the pressure of the gas used as the filler keeping the containers in shape while keeping the density lower than the surrounding area, otherwise we'd need a very strong container as all the pressure would be from the outside pushing inwards, and such a container could be heavier than the weight of the air displaced.

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Third of Brits now regularly fondling their slabs, say beancounters

Nick Ryan
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Re: Jesus there's room for everyone..

I thought that one of the big problems with BMWs is the shoddy build quality of some components that result in their almost instant failure once they leave the showroom.

Indicators, for instance.

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US spy court says internet firms can't report surveillance requests

Nick Ryan
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Re: err ,,,,

But what do I know, eh? I'm from a country that mostly works.

You are? Just out of curiosity, what country is this?

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500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Nick Ryan
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Re: XP is good enough

Very true, and to extend it... a computer is a tool to help you to get a job done. If a tool continues to work and continues to allow you to get your job done using it, why would, or even should, you need to replace it? This is, quite correctly, how the majority of small businesses and similar users see their PCs - tools to get a job done.

<rant>A lot of the software problems are down to past incompetence on the part of developers. They chose to do stupid things, shun best practices, ignore the well documented correct file usage protocols, embedded suicidal technologies in place of effective design and embedded systems together that had no need to be integrated in the way that they were. Many of these problems were down to lazy coders assuming that all users had administrator access, could create and write files in program locations (i.e. utterly failing the basic concept of separating data files from programs), opening the registry assuming administrator access (or just using the registry at all as it's a ball ache of inefficient nastiness that benefits nobody), using ActiveX in any of its forms, embedding external controls over which the developer had no control or expectation of support state and so on... That's before the stupid applications that start trying to interact with the OS in kooky and unnecessary ways (especially looking at you Corel) and those that "work" through making assumptions about basics such as time zone, locale (date formats) or even screen resolutions. To top it off, then there were the fucktards who developed web applications to non-standard "standards", as in anything "designed for Internet Explorer" rather than using established web standards - it's annoying but not that hard, but many developers were too lazy or stupid to do it. Even now I still see idiotic "web applications" that rely on Java controls that barely work where they could have just put the data in plain HTML and enhanced the core application with Javascript, falling back to less efficient server based manipulation if this failed. </rant>

I think I need to take some tablets now... :)

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Scientists to IPCC: YES, solar quiet spells like the one now looming CAN mean ICE AGES

Nick Ryan
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Re: Muppets

In many ways I completely agree.

There are muppets on both sides... one set with their fingers in their ears swearing blind that we can poison entire eco-systems, wreck global and regional cycles (nitrogen cycle is gone already through massive use of nitrogen fertilisers, the effect of this is a different discussion) and on the other side where some are predicting massive temperature rises or large and (possibly) frequent temperature variations that would become "normal" as a result of the damage and we should throw millions / billions their way to look into it or to mitigate it.

A large problem is that predictions can only be accurately be tested (verified) after the event. At which point it's (a) too late to do much about it and (b) often nobody will believe you as they'll think that you adjusted your figures to match reality and besides, one accurate prediction needn't mean future ones will be accurate.

A major stumbling block is that the ecosystem is a hugely complicated, and even studying the current interlocked cycles and feedback systems is a monumental task, predicting what would happen as a result of even subtle changes to one of more of these systems is vastly more difficult. For example, while a huge amount of impact could be predicted as a result of one action, another previously insignificant cycle could counterbalance the impact and the net result is minimal. However the upsurge of that balancing cycle could mean that another cycle is now unstable and one more tip could break something else... or not. Basically, I don't particularly envy the poor souls who have go through all of this and then stand up to the "scrutiny" from the deniers or the advocates of apocalypse.

All we can really say is that poisoning our environment is bad. The level and extent of the bad, well that's something very hard to quantify.

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Windows Phone market share hits double digits in UK and France

Nick Ryan
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Re: 1020

They do need to market the phones considerably better.

When the adverts are framed in Microsoft Blue with the name Microsoft all over it... that's not a selling point. Take a brand that is almost universally hated (we all hate MS at times, certainly don't trust them) and is often used in equivalence with unreliable and use that as the main branding of a phone advert? Hmmm

Samsung don't advertise their devices as GOOGLE GOOGLE GOOGLE or ANDROID ANDROID ANDROID, and forget what the phones do and what they're there for. Apple don't go iOS iOS iOS, blah, they similarly tell you what the device is promised (except it's all beta software) to do... And yet almost every Nokia phone advert I see is predominantly "Microsoft".

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Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

Nick Ryan
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Re: Paint

3D printers can be fed with different colour stock, and while this is sometimes useful, on a project like this a "natural" colour would be better as the addition of the colour dyes can quite significantly change the mechanical and thermal tolerances of the plastic.

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Nick Ryan
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IIRC non-smooth surfaces on air bound surfaces do work due to the way they change the effective air density around them through the micro-vortices created. Something like that anyway :) A linked effect can be had from blowing air out the front of a air-bound object.

It was only a few years ago that sharks were found to employ a similar effect in water explaining in part their comparatively rough skin and just how fast and efficiently they can move in water. An artificial surface similar to it was used on some yacht or other in the Americas Cup, which led to all kind of secrecy and marketing / publicity shenanigans going on.

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Nick Ryan
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Re: reset while windows was running ...

I'm still waiting for a fully journalled version of NTFS...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: The one key idea...

I used to do that as well. It was one hell of a fucktard idea, putting sleep and power keys onto keyboards. After all, it's not as if keys on the keyboard get leant on, mishit, papers put onto or anything else is it?

Almost as good an idea as installing games and 3D screensavers onto server systems by default...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Ignore the obvious choice

It was worse when MS decided that Windows keys should be added to PC keyboards. But no ****ing help key, instead an arbitrary function key was "commonly" used instead. On the other hand, prior to this time the VT100 style system keyboard had specific Help keys... probably from the earlier as well, but I daren't try to remember pre VT-100 layouts.

So along with the left and right windows keys and the menu key, they really missed the boat on specifying something useful, the Help key. And the "Any" key as well, that would have saved a lot of time hunting around for it... :)

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Office 365 goes to work on an Android

Nick Ryan
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Eh?

"still doesn't even have a word processor that can compete with Microsoft Word 2.0 running on Windows 3.1."

While I'll admit that many of them were hopeless even a couple of years ago, they are getting better and better all the time. Genuine competition does that. Kingsoft Office (there are three or four others that I've tried as well) is one of the gems and really does compete with Microsoft Word and other parts of the Office suite. It's not perfect, but then there are still hundreds of very long standing bugs and annoyances in Microsoft Word that have been in there for years. The point is, applications such as Kingsoft Office, even now, are likely to fulfill the editing needs of 99% of users. Although I ought to qualify that as "Western" as I have no idea how will it handles others text orientation systems or alphabets, something that Microsoft have invested a lot of time in.

What is better, and already mentioned above, is that because there are competing apps out there, they are genuinely competing with each other and producing better and better applications as a result, each revision with more efficiency, better usability and more features. This hasn't happened with Microsoft Office for a long time where prior to making it ugly and almost unusable for "Metro" the main changes have been re-skinning some of the front screens of the application and somehow making every application considerably slower and more bloated than the earlier releases.

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Nokia Lumia 625: Quality budget 4G phone ... but where's UK's budget 4G?

Nick Ryan
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The other side of it is... what were the early iPhones made of? It certainly wasn't metal...

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Nick Ryan
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What's interesting is that here (and in the other Lumia reviews), the use of plastic is considered acceptable or a "good thing" yet when a iDevice is reviewed it's a terrible feature or material to use?

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Peak Apple: Has ANYONE at all ordered a new iPhone 5c?

Nick Ryan
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I don't think it's so much as embarrassing or an admission of failure. Why? Not everything pushed out there will be successful, or as successful as hoped and Apple have made quite a few of these in the past.

It's not that the iPhone 5C is looking like a bad phone, but it's disappointing that it's touted as new device despite being effectively the same as the previous one but in a different cover as there's the natural distrust and bad feeling when coming across something that's essentially just repackaged but sold at a premium as if it were new. More importantly the market was hoping for a cheaper device that would help Apple make inroads into territories where Jo Public doesn't have a huge stash of cash to spend on luxury devices.

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How do you choose your vendors?

Nick Ryan
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Nice list. How about how much the vendor's sales staff annoy you? For example, making multiple calls every week to check on progress...

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How to get a Raspberry Pi to take over your Robot House

Nick Ryan
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Re: Reg ongoing feature?

In the luxury market there are a lot of successful, and interesting / innovating things that have been done. While some of these things will stick to the luxury market, many of them are becoming easier to implement in a more normal environment and kit like this helps.

Lighting control is one of the main solutions that's in use as it's both relatively simple to implement and immediately useful. I know of a house where there are sensors on the floor under the carpet on each side of the bed in the master bedroom. These are linked to clocks (for sunrise / sunset information) and various sensors in the house. When the occupant triggers these sensors at night (weight sensitive of course), small lights near the doorway are automatically turned on, but with a steadily increasing light profile to a low level rather than a sudden on action. Subsequently opening the door by these will also trigger low level hallway lights to turn on at a low level and steadily increase. The hallway light levels are also dependent on the time of day. Sensors on the bathroom door will turn the light on when entering and sensors in the room keep the light on. The more troublesome and more interesting side of this was that it also had to work in reverse so when the occupant left the bathroom the lights would be turned off, as well as the lights in the hallway and finally the room lights when the occupant gets back into bed. There were a lot of ways that this process could go wrong therefore timers and secondary sensors were in use as well.

Until you work on one of these jobs it's hard to comprehend just how sophisticated and complicated these home automation arrangements can be.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Nick Ryan
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Re: 14 days to pay?? How lucky!!

Don't forget the other lie / trick that many companies use. They put an arbitrary date on their letter, e.g. "6th of the month" to you where they write to inform you that your account is overdue and that you must pay within 10 days of the letter... and you will inevitably receive this letter on the 15th of the month. Letters like this are never postmarked or any other coding so you can see when they were actually dispatched.

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You thought NFC tags were Not For Consumers? Well, they're in Maplin's

Nick Ryan
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Re: short range is good, but...

"Smart" patient tagging has been available for quite a few years now. While asking a patient's name is the correct, human, way to interact with a patient waving a reader at their wrist does not dehumanise the interaction, instead it's both a labour saving action (as the patient's records can be automatically looked up) but also reduces the likelihood of mis-identification (e.g. multiple "J Smiths"). Anything that double checks a patient's identity to reduce the incidence of potential very unpleasant, or fatal, mistakes is generally a good thing.

However (passive) NFC is hampered greatly by the wireless signal being blocked by common things such as water (and humans consist of a lot water) and the short range range.

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