1025 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007
Re: Let's hope LM get the accelerometer the right way up this time.
Most well designed non-low level industrial electrical or electro-mechanical components are designed so that they cannot be fitted in an incorrect orientation. It's always possible to stuff up the original drawings but with modern circuit software and simulations if the part is correctly described then incorrect orientation should be flagged up very quickly. Unfortunately I've come across a lot of custom parts that don't stick with this basic principle and have seen a lot of destroyed components as a result, and have done some of this destroying myself. :)
One off pieces of machinery like these probes are largely assembled by humans and designing from the ground up on the basis that the assembling human will insert parts incorrectly given the slightest opportunity to do so is the right way to design. Unfortunately I have come across "engineers" who when faced with parts that didn't fit in the orientation that they tried bent or removed pins to force the part to fit rather than rotate the component 180 degrees therefore you can't always protect yourself from idiots but I'd hope that the NASA team employed better assemblers than these.
Competition is definitely good.
Improvements to IDEs for Android are also good as well, and while Intel's development tools don't have the wide scale use of others, they are very competent in places.
Re: Planned for 90 days, still going after 9 years...
Sounds like most "temporary solutions"...
Re: Seriously, PHP?
Hmmm... So because you don't like PHP and/or can't write neatly in it then nobody should?
Not that PHP doesn't feature a lot of stupid, especially in the various attempts at classes and objects, but like any flexible language you can choose to hang yourself with your code or write code neatly.
Bring on the idiotic holy language wars...
Maybe it should be: If you can't grasp assembly then you shouldn't be writing code...
Re: Nokia was right
Where does it show that other Android mobile makers aren't making money? They may not be making as much as Samsung, down to volume of sales for the quantity and volume benefits, but they can still make money.
Re: Hang on...
Completely. But sanity has nothing to do with this, but every one of these 3.2% definitely, absolutely, cost the media industry $millions each. That's $millions in sales they'd never have got in the first place.
Not to justify it, just to quantify against some form of reality.
There's an interesting disparity between fair, moral and the letter of the outdated (or caught out) law.
For example, I've downloaded ebook copies of the series "A Song of Ice and Fire" (Game of Thrones). Why? A friend lent me the physical books, in the way that we've borrowed and lent books for years, however I really didn't want to lug a dead tree or two around when I can have the convenience of them on my mobile device. I still have the (lent) pile of books on my shelves, I'm not lending them out to anyone else... but I'm still a pirate.
Likewise I've downloaded copies of most the movies that I own. An entire floor to ceiling cupboard of DVD size boxes takes up a lot of space and having them all on one central media server (XBMC) makes a lot of sense and we've watched some great movies that we'd previously forgotten that we owned as a result of losing them in the piles. It's interesting to remember that the whole point of creative media is to be consumed, it's no good sitting there on a shelf - although the media cartels seem to think that it's all about making them richer. Why download? it's quicker and less hassle to download than rip them myself and I can usually download them in better quality than I can rip them myself as well. Once ripped we don't have to sit through the unskippable "piracy is theft" lies that are fronted on all the DVDs (and unskippable adverts on Disney films) and can go straight to the movie itself - who really cares about the extras? To extend this there's the annoyance of Blu-Ray and the useless further extra features and the extreme tedium of waiting to get the disc to the point where you can actually start watching what you bought it for. But technically I'm still a pirate.
Re: Oh Dear
Look at the current world's top smartphone manufacturer...
Does this company produce phones for different OSes, hedging their bets? Yes. They might not have a wide range of devices but they do have a wide range of OSes, therefore keeping knowledge and skills they might otherwise have lost. It also keeps the suppliers on their toes as they know they need to continue improving.
Does this company somehow manage to promote their brand over the brand of the Operating System? Yes. The platform / Operating System is the enabler, not the crutch.
Now look at Nokia. They have one smartphone OS and they trumpet this as a sales ploy.
Re: If only there could be "Silvermont"-based netbooks
Wasn't it Intel that purposely hamstrung netbooks by restricting what was allowable when using it's chips and chipsets? They could have been good...
From the marketing junk I was subjected to, the ribbons were in place to replace toolbars, not menus. The MS hack demonstrated just why the ribbons were so good and every user was an idiot by enabling every single toolbar in MS Word and going "voila", look at the lack of space this gives the user for documents, this is why we "invented" ribbons. A sane attendee (who was shouted down as if he was an idiot), pointed out that no user enables every single toolbar simultaneously, that many of them appeared on demand and that the ribbon and other new UI crud took more space than toolbars and menus.
The big problems with the Win 8 shell (UI) is that it's an aborted mess of touch-screen optimal controls, half baked with a few non-touch interfaces thrown in and an overriding feel of "how the hell do I do something?" as everything is hidden away. The missing Start Button is just one of these idiocies... users need visual prompts that they have options (functions) available, designating random portions of a display that a user needs to thumb to bring up some functionality never has been, and never will be, good intuitive user interface design. There is no such thing as a fully intuitive user interface (it's not possible), but there's no excuse to not try and the next best thing is a consistent interface.
Re: Not exactly...
Agreed. They are leaps ahead of what they were before. It's no longer a case of "argh, integrated Intel chipset with obscure set of digits that'll take a day to track down" and now "that's not so bad, it works ok now".
They're not speed demons, but at least now they are perfectly adequate for the majority of computer users' needs. i.e. Using a computer in place of a typewriter and browsing the web a bit.
...and at the very least put a disclaimer on the article stating that it has been "sponsored" by XYZ vendor who happens to foist / sell BYOD management services.
Re: Ahhh I wondered why Flash had gone!
A few years ago I had the misfortune to have to deploy the entire Adobe suite to a small design studio of 12 people. That's 12 people, 8 pieces of software, each of which had a 24 (or so) digit key to type in.
To make the job much more interesting, Adobe didn't bother to indicate which of the 96 keys was to be entered into which product. That's right - all I was given was a list of 96 keys and a couple of these were upgrade keys.
I rang the fuckers up and explained, carefully, why pirating their shit is such a good idea compared to trying to do it legally.
Re: IP profits lawyers and extortion style law suits
I hate feeding trolls, but...
Trademark: Usually designated by the symbol: TM. Otherwise known in industry to really be an abbreviation for "Totally Meaningless". Now Registered Trade Mark, well that's something else entirely which is why it has a different symbol: ®. Registered Trade Marks are meaningful and are worth something.
I have the copyright on a very large number of works. In fact, until now(ish), it includes absolutely everything that I have produced for myself and not for somebody else.
It's a step in the right direction - not the ruling, the principle behind being more open/honest about the overall charges. Very much like the finance industry has been made to do with loans.
Now if inkjet manufacturers could just do the same with their "accidentally" DMCA riddled cartridges and "accidentally" integrated designs that integrate vital components with the disposable ones to force users to only use genuine (aka extortionate) cartridges from them then the world will be an even better place. Platinum is cheaper than inkjet ink.
Re: So. Jobs was wrong.
From what I know from discussions with real designers of products like it, the exposed antenna was a pretty bad design in the first place. While there's always a need to not shield an antenna by casing it in metal, exposing it was a way round this however this meant that it could be grounded by contact with the user's hands. The models that didn't suffer from reception problems appeared to have a good quality coating that covers and insulates the antenna, the models that didn't either didn't have this coating or it was poorly or patchily applied.
Oh dear. It's early Friday and already laughing at folk on t'Internet :)
“The amazing thing is that nature seems to have found ways of blowing up a wide range of stars in the most dramatic and violent way.”
That has to be the quote of the day :)
Apple have followed the stable, don't rock the boat, path with their phones for a little too long now. While the hardware is generally good, barring the obligatory build quality failures that plague production to a cost and a few other poor design choices, are well engineered as well. Unfortunately iOS itself is really not looking the whizz shiny interface that it used to be, it's still smooth and still works but now lags behind everything.
Microsoft have a much more fresh looking UI, although (subjectively for me, I find it ugly as sin), the UI is plagued by more inconsistencies than other phone OSes and while very good for a few tasks tends to really fail for others and fails on quite a lot of counts for basic UI principles. Again, and subjectively, I find the look of the some of the devices quite disappointing, but this is probably down to the sheer lack of choice as too many users and manufacturers have been burnt by the 6 to 6.5 to 7 changes. The lack of a wide range of devices and app support really seems to be hampering uptake and the Microsoft brand is not one that screams "trust" or "reliability" which is very bad for consumers. While the range of devices is wider than Apple's, therefore the lack of variety would seem an off argument, there isn't the cult of Apple or "cool" factor driving uptake.
Android... a very mixed bag of devices. The wide range gives a lot of choice for the consumer and the manufacturers really are producing a wide selection of looks, feels, features and price points. Unfortunately many of the devices are sub-standard and quite appalling to use and some manufacturers just fling so many models out there that you're left with no clear idea what are the good ones and which aren't. The manufacturer's own interfaces often detract rather than enhance the experience and add horrible delays to the delivery of OS updates, some of which are quite desirable.
...and my take on all of this. The competition is good. Without it we'd be languishing around with whatever crap a few suppliers feel fit to give us. Apple really changed the mobile market with a device that was polished at many levels and while they've stagnated recently it's not impossible for them, bean-counter excepting, to turn things around it does feel like they've lost it on the iPhone.
Re: The widespread belief that lithium-ion batteries don't suffer from “charge memory”
From reading the engineering rags relating to this kind of technology, the most damaging thing to do to these batteries is over charging. There is a very big difference between the cheaper and and the more expensive charging control circuits.
To reduce the risk of charge memory (aka tide marks) the majority of modern software controlled battery management systems have a charge threshold where they don't charge a battery when it's past (e.g.) 97% full unless it started below that point. This prevents the device from charging to 100%, running down to 99%, then charging to 100% and so on.
The other big problem is judging the scale of battery capacity itself. The tech and monitoring for this has is still improving all the time and in itself requires quite complicated management software to track the changes over time and even consider environmental factors in order to reliably produce an even close approximation of the real battery level.
Re: @Anon 12:10
But she didn't "cost the majority of miners their livelihood."
Take an industry that is bogged down by tradition, hamstrung by unions and deeply unprofitable... what do you have? You certainly don't have a viable industry. Despite the opinions of some of the rabid few, these businesses didn't exist solely for the benefit of providing jobs for those workers that, in between strikes, were employed in it. While I understand that there were some mines that were profitable at the time and were predicted to continue being for a reasonable period, most were not.
While there is an element of "greater good" in such infrastructure there are points when it makes no sense to prop up failing industries. It's never nice or pleasant for those involved at the actual working (end) level, but these are the realities of life and have been for hundreds of years. Whole industries have grown and disappeared in this country since even before the industrial revolution, many of them fighting tooth and nail, sporting dirty tricks including laws through friends in power, the whole lot, but eventually things change. The biggest problem is that areas were so entirely dependent on one industry that when the inevitable happened, it caused wholesale change in the area. These problems were predicted far before this time, mines only have finite resources and have run many times before, but with growing specialisation and dependency the risks were higher.
Seeing those funky clones reminded me of all the adverts I used to see in the computer rags of the time, featuring replacement cases for the Spectrums and similar. Giving them hard keys, better angles, all the works really while largely just moving the internals from one case to another.
Self service requires one of two things:
Trustworthy knowledgable users
Systems that are so simple that they can't really be configured wrongly (or if so, where a basic user is able to fix it), or systems so smart that everything is automated.
The last I heard are here there were plans to colour (paint) them more appropriately so they don't stick out like ugly sore thumbs. I believe that alternative shapes and designs were considered as well, as this is just a cover really as the interior will largely be the same.
But then telephone boxes are big red, largely useless (now) boxes, often scratched and damaged but they're a part of the sights of Britain now and quite a few are "protected" structures.
Re: 4G - what is the point...
Not just Scotland, try such 3G-forsaken places as the West Country. Often you're lucky to get a voice signal with 3, and as they do 3G or nothing (no 2G) you just don't get data down there in a lot of places.
It's improving steadily but it's still a pitiful service outside of main conurbations and towns.
Re: 10 billion light years between interactions? Sounds good enough to me
As I understand it this is referring to a photon hitting "something" (solid). The article is relating to the traversal of photons through vacuum space and their interactions with fundamental particles that "pop in and out of existence". It's sometimes easier to think of "vacuum" as a zero state much like the surface of boiling water - taken on a wide average it's flat, but as you get closer to the scale of the boiling there are peaks and troughs.
Re: Upsetting luvvies...
I like Stephen Fry, but that doesn't mean that I accept what he says on technical matters as correct. Sometimes it's said in a tongue in cheek way and is plainly for comedy value, others it seems that he's just bullshitting out of habit which is more worrying as people do believe him - but then this does separate the idiots from those that might question what is said.
However he does have a lot of very valid points and is entertaining as well, which ranks him above a lot of other entertainers and miles ahead of the vacuous reality show "stars".
It's "just" a replacement back cover
Surely there could be a couple of different replacement back covers, supporting whichever tech is in use. It would allow both to run and we'd see what actually works in reality.
That's usually down to the different fonts. Microsoft have invested heavily in producing optimal fonts for their shell and applications and this work pays off as the rendering of the fonts and the fonts themselves are designed to work together.
If you own a recent copy of Windows and run Linux (for instance, dual booting), then you should be able to copy the system display fonts from Windows to Linux, set the font preferences and see the difference these make for yourself.
Win RT updates
I don't have a Win RT device, but am wondering - what's the patch experience like with them?
Re: RS232 is still relevant
You always need some way to get access regardless of how successfully you manage to stuff things up. RS232 is especially useful when you knacker the TCP/IP stack or somehow mis-type the configuration or not-so carefully mis-type it's IP address.
Been there, done that, probably have a few medals somewhere. It's actually quite hard to permanently brick modern embedded systems.
Re: @Nissemus & MdB: : ((
Too true. To deny that life exists elsewhere, in whatever form, is to deny that life exists here.
There are very reasonable hypotheses that Mars once sheltered life but the planetary environment wasn't stable enough to support it as a lack of an atmosphere is usually considered bad for life so it didn't last long nor was likely to have developed much past "slime".
As for Intelligent Life: Well, we're no closer to finding any of that anywhere... :)
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown, and things seem hard
and people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
and you feel that you've had quite enouuuuuuuuugh...
member that your standing on a planet that's evolving,
and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour...
That's orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it's reckoned,
the sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
are moving at a million miles a day.
in an outer spiral-arm at forty thousand miles an hour
of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars,
it's a hundred thousand lightyears side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand lightyears thick,
but out by us it's just three thousand lightyears wide.
We're thirty thousand lightyears from galactic central point,
we go 'round every two hundred million years.
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions,
in this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
in all of the directions it can whiz.
As fast as it can go, that's the speed of light you know;
twelve million miles a minute, that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember when your feeling very small and insecure,
how amazingly unlikely is your birth,
and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'cause there's bugger-all down here on earth!
How about discussing the realities of just how many real users would really like to spend £100's on computers and software "just" to do their job and how this is being carefully ignored by the pushers of BYOD management infrastructure who have their own agenda - i.e. sell their services.
Staff using their own mobile devices, such as phones, to access corporate resources is one thing. They own these devices already and it's extending usage of an existing resource.
It reads like he's trying to re-invent the original premise of Ultima Online. Little things that didn't work such as players policing the virtual world themselves, dilligently trying not to accidentally "grief" each other, somehow magically persuading those that were "griefing" other players to stop. All the magic, lalalala land things that never worked and had to be replaced by game mechanics - which due to the shoddy coding were usually exploitable in some way.
Only one thing worse than this.
Re: First C Compiler
A while ago I had to take over code from somebody who thought that compiler warnings and hints were just a nuisance and therefore turned them off. It took me weeks to get his damn code clear of access violations, accessing objects after deletion, invalid type casts, memory trampling, out of range errors and doubtless a few other nasties as well. This was before I had to deal with merging the operational code with the user interface, a complete non-understanding of threading, serial bus protocols and error handling and a testing side of the application that used entirely different paths of code to the live side.
On other projects I have come across a couple of genuine cases where the warnings did need to be turned off for a small section of code, as the compiler was producing an invalid warning and coding around the compiler just to remove a warning is not an entirely sensible technique. This requirement was clearly documented in the code, which at least excuses the practice for the small section of code that it was required for.
Good. The more interoperability these services have the better. Then they can compete properly on service quality, cost and ease of use rather than just vendor lock-in.
Hmmm. It's a good list but missing a few: Missile Command, Galaxian, some of the overhead multi-player racing around the track games (can never remember the name - you get spanners and such to power up your car after races), the afterburner type pseudo-3d high speed shoot em up, and there are no examples of vertically scrolling shooters either, such as "battle for midway" but I'm sure that wasn't the first and possibly not the best.
There was also a ground breakingly different one where you got to drive a tank using two vertically aligned joysticks...
Most problems like this are down to using inefficient data formats. Longitude and latitude are good for many purposes but there are other (I'm under NDA on this, just Google them!) methods of storing spatial co-ordinates other than cartesian coordinates and some of these make it much easier to locate the closest N records out of a large dataset.
It still does often come down to the required level of accuracy, smart filtering such in the boundary box of the example given in the article and other manually prescribed optimisations.
Re: Sounds good in theory, but...
I think it's very good that these things are being tried. Features like this have been thought about, written into SciFi and just plotted for quite a while. Actually implementing it is something different entirely, and only through trying can you work out just how well it works or doesn't.
This is similar to the eye tracking feature that prevents the S3 from sleeping when you're looking at it. It works quite well on most occasions, but by putting it out there on real, live devices the performance can be judged, tweaked and improved based on real life usage rather than lab tests with those who are used to it. This feature can be disabled as well, so I see no reason why this couldn't be either.
You're definitely not the only one that finds WP outstandingly ugly (fisher price, poor UI design, lousy repeatability and consistency). Which is a shame really, as some of the underlying concepts are quite good.
If they had actually put a good looking UI on the phone (a skin really), tidied up the inconsistencies, not foisted sodding Bing and Xbox Live everywhere you looked it would be a good phone OS (not that Apple or Google are angels on this regard either). Yes, there are crashes and odd things that happen, but as long as you get a good build quality phone then these don't happen too often so they appear to be more spurious hardware related issues than direct OS problems. There are fundamental holes in the OS functionality compared to other phone OSes, as have already been pointed out here, and unfortunately the locked down nature prevents most of them being resolved by 3rd party apps, but this is also true of some other phone OSes as well. While Android is pretty open, some things need the kernel to handle and not at the application layer and while you can install complete custom versions of Android, this is beyond most users.
Re: #1 Reason to Upgrade From XP
Alternatively we could run software that wasn't so mind-numbingly bloated and inefficient that it doesn't need 3GB of RAM.
I now have a picture in my mind of extremely heavy, electrically controlled breast implants. Thank you.
Re: It's best to target each UI
Very good and nice and simple example.
And it's exactly why there should be a clean separation between presentation and content as this simplifies this process. A bit, anyway!
Precisely. I've specced and fitted switches like these with small businesses such as design studios. They need fast communications but don't need to spend the earth on corporate carrier class switches and their maintenance contracts.
There's a big difference...
There's a big difference... between those who never go online and those that can't be bothered with it.
I know a lot of people who just don't particularly see what's in it for them as they're happy watching TV and reading glossy magazines or working in non office jobs and really don't see what the fuss is all about. More and more are getting railroaded and forced into being online as often TV or print related items read "for Ts and Cs go to our website" or just "to enter this competition, go to this specific website and sign up for junk mail" (actually, they probably don't quite say that but it's what they mean).
Maybe I'm missing something here... but why would 72 cores "allow" HDR? AFAIK that's a function of the camera sensor and its control chip and not graphics cores as such. The graphics cores if the processing or camera software is written to take advantage may make the raw image processing more efficient, but that's it.
It appears to be yet another fall out from the utter bullshit corporate (and government) fallacy of perpetual growth.
Markets always hit saturation point at some point, they will usually then shrink a little and stabilise. They will not deliver growth of 10-15% year on year for ever as this is neither feasible, realistic or even mathematically possible. It seems that the only people who seem to think that this is possible or desirable or the only stake to aim for are blinkered governments and stock traders.
Many devices don't even bother supporting the fixed, locked internal ID number as it's not a mandated part of the specification and adding it programmatically and then locking it is just a further PITA process during the manufacturing process that adds cost to very low margin devices. Even for the supposedly locked devices (such as HDDs) there are usually tools somewhere to change these IDs as they are not hard locked.
You can edit it and set it to whatever you want in a virtual environment, at least on VMWare. I don't remember seeing tools specifically for setting the IDS, but the configuration files are straight forward enough. IIRC VMWare itself uses these IDs to track copying and cloning of Virtual Machines.
Yes there were / are. It's a great idea in principle however getting lower level access to GPU hardware is frought with security minefields, particularly given just how capable and powerful modern GPUs are.
I believe the Win 7 driver model helped a bit with this, as more drivers, or more accurately their interfaces, run in user mode than at kernel level but this isn't something I'm particularly up on.
- Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 spewed online a MONTH early – by Microsoft
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?
- Review 'Mommy got me an UltraVibe Pleasure 2000 for Xmas!' South Park: Stick of Truth
- The land of Milk and Sammy: Free music app touted by Samsung