59 posts • joined Saturday 13th December 2008 00:57 GMT
Hard to say...
I suspect the best solution would be to get an external HDD enclosure, and put a high end HDD in it.. desktop USB drives tend to come with the cheapest model that will provide X GB.
Generally, though the bottleneck is more to do with the USB 2.0 specification than the HDD itself.
I'd recommend an eSata card or a fibre channel card and external storage/ HD caddy to match if it's at all possible to add it to your kit. Even firewire 800 would be better. Sounds like you need a better port than than usb for the job.
Esata is probably the cheapest option, cable, card and caddy will come to about £50, then put whatever drive you want in there.
Credit-card size earns points from me.
Never mind transfer speeds or encryption.. the biggest problem I have with small external storage is that I'm constantly losing it.
It's never a case of "grab the usb stick and go", it's always "spend 5 minutes finding the usb stick then go".
For someone like me this would be great as an addition to the wallet, always good to cut down on pocket clutter too.
And there is the reason why it'll never take off.
Despite the fact that I'd quite like it to. Too many different confusing distros and variations.
And nearly all of them have obscure and utterly hideous acronym-based names which are virtually impossible to pronounce or even read in some cases. Compare:
Mac Operating System. Photoshop. Windows Media Player.
Kubuntu. Xandros. GIMP. Totem. GNUmetris (wtf is that? Oh wait, it's tetris)
Only OpenOffice has remotely normal monickers that don't look like they were thought of by a man sitting in the centre of four padded and faeces-smeared walls. The dorky names need to go.
Consider the following:
Wacom Cintiq 12wx: £800.
Ading £380 on top of that to put the 2 together isn't too bad.. the whole package is only 500g heavier than the cintiq. Not bad considering there's a whole entire computer and battery in there, and the screen is an inch bigger. Build quality looks decent from what I can see, too.. could really do with a review by someone who isn't also trying to flog it though. :P
I would love one of these things, my cintiq is great, but not exactly portable thanks to the big thick wire coming out of it running to a clunky great box with 3 other big thick wires coming out of it.
"portable digital sketchpad" is something pretty much any designer would love to have, gotta like the company for at least releasing the product that Apple's fanbase has been screaming at them to release for the last decade or so.
Regular graphics tablets don't quite cut it for sketching. Pencil+paper is still superior, due to looking at where you're drawing, and being able to rotate the page while sketching. Unfortunately pencil + paper also requires the tedium of scanning in and cleaning up before it's useable in digital pieces.
For people like animators who have to convert thousands and thousands of pencil drawings into digital files, hardware like this is brilliant... completely useless for the vast majority of the population.
I smell yet another case of "specialist niche product released" news with "I'm not a specialist, therefore it's useless to everyone on the planet" comments. ;)
Soon to be rendered useless by...
.. the release of the MagnaPhallix *104* inch screen.
£310's a bit much.
When the cost (and additional size/ noise/ wires) of an external hard drive to store all the HD content is also considered. An external dvd drive on top of that would completely kill the compact style.
Considering the alternatives... fiddling around on the mesh site, their media centre with a 4550, 4gb ram, 1 tb hd, E5200 and dvd drive for £450 looks like a much bigger bang for the buck.
Still, thanks for the review.. it's good to know whether or not the manufacturer's claims of smooth HD playback cut the mustard or not. Looking forward to seeing whether or not the ION platform lives up to the hype.
They should have put a 4550 in there instead of a 4350. Have one in my current PC and HD playback is great.. the price difference between the two is tiny.
anti-aliasing, 80's style
Interesting how the CRT image looks better due to the blurriness softening the edge of the pixels.
Kind of amusing how modern games instead have to use a lot of computing power to achieve the same smooth edges as the fuzzy old monitor.
OLEDs are neat, but...
Would be better if they had integrated it into/ behind the key rather than having it next to it.
I'm using a Cintiq 12wx at the moment, don't expect or want to have to replace it for another 5+ years.
For those complaining about price - you get what you pay for. I'm glad wacom's business model relies on high margins and low sales rather than making cheap tat that breaks down, meaning that you have to buy a new one.
These things are highly reliable, I know someone who has a still-working 1995 model that's seen constant daily use since it was bought. The only thing that has finally made it obselete is the fact that modern computers don't have serial ports. :P
£149, job's a good 'un. :)
I'll be buying one to use as my 24/7 machine and resigning the faithful tower for heftier stuff. About time we got a computer for the recession.
Makes sense at that price as a replacement for a more power-hungry 24/7 machine - it'll only take a year or so to pay for itself in terms of electricity bills.
Might get one for my dad, too.. he's a pretty simple user prone to wrecking PCs by installing everything off of dozens of computer magazine/ newspaper CDs without knowing what they are and never removing them. And that's without access to the internet... Linux should curb a few excesses, it's a good "save people from themselves" OS.
Regarding small files
Yesterday, I had to write 70,000 tiny tiny files over to a flash stick (and no, couldn't zip 'em). Only a few gig, but took hours before I finally gave up and chucked them on to a whacking great external HDD instead in the space of 20 minutes.
For the hordes of tiny tiny files, flash really can't cut it.
I'm happy enough, with downloads.
10mb download is fine, tends to do the job even after the cap kicks in. More often my download speed is limited by the server I'm connected to, a lot of them still can't deliver content at that speed.
Would prefer it if they worked on sorting out the mediocre upload speeds and telling Phorm to suck a fat one instead.
Neat, cheap linux version. Looks great.
Amusing to see how the comments still manage to tear it a new one despite it having linux/ssd option, HD playback, can run modern games, dual monitor with HDMI support, loads of usb ports, tiny footprint, IR receiver for media centre duties, low power, dirt cheap etc.
It's a complete PC, does pretty much everything that most people will want to use a computer for, and even quite a lot of things that us lot would be interested in.
6 years ago, the powermac G5 was released with similar specs to this little thing.
Top of it's class for the time, cost thousands of dollars and was a hulking great noisy metal monstrosity. Now, just a few short years later, we can get it in a tiny silent box, for 1/10th of the price.
Here's hoping the rate of progress keeps up so I can buy a Mac Pro netbook in 2014 for £200 and use it to read the reg complaints that it doesn't support holo-vision or have a mindmeld 2.0 interface socket on the back. :)
Oh, and the powersaving feature doesn't just have to be for ecotwats, any nerd worth his salt can do rough kwh calculations on everything, can realise that, as a 24/7 machine, one of these things is likely to save over £100/year in 'leccy.
Continuity on this one is a kicker...
.. Time travel reset thingy means that, the events of every single other star trek show and movie never actually happened.
All those many years of memorizing your star trek fact files binders have gone to waste.
While I like the concept of integrating the player into the earphones, I don't think this was the best way to go about it.
Anyone wearing those would look like a right muppet, and get stared at with a level of derision normally reserved for people on segways.
Paris, who is clearly pressing "skip" on her glasses with integrated MP3.
Mac mini killer
There, I said it. :P
This thing looks like the badger's nadgers to me... current competition in the field is the eeebox, and this one adds the following:
HD playback, dual monitor output (with HDMI), can play CoD4, upgradeable to 4gb ram, IR receiver for remote, and an extra 2 usb ports + card reader.
If they keep the price down this thing is going to be as huge as their netbook was last year. Perfect product for the recession.
Also, that little red thingy in the last pic.. that's an esata port isn't it?
It's easy, but they're still stuck in the stoneage.
In-line clickable ads while videos are playing.
Clickable videos to take you to a website.
5-second ads that play before the video does.
There loads of ad features that pretty much every single website in existence, except youtube, has been using for the last couple of years. And they do work, I know because that's where a small portion of my income comes from.
Youtube, however, still has the same old archaic clunky flash player with absolutely no integrated ad support. With AS3 there's no excuse, it integrates XML easily and plays nice with all other languages.
The interface and playback controls are also still below-average, right now I could go on flashden or some other freelance developer sales site and buy the source code for a much better video player for about $40. Wouldn't suprise me if the youtube player was still coded in AS2, it's a real dog.
So much wasted potential, google has basically done absolutely nothing with the site since acquiring it, it's no suprise it's haemorraging cash.
ATI card in my vista PC
Biggest hardware upgrade mistake I've ever made.
With catalyst installed, aero randomly crashes.
With catalyst uninstalled, I get other errors like black squares showing up occasionally around the cursor, video upscaling not rendering properly and my dual monitors not staying in place after a restart.
So, current solution is "Windows Classic" theme, which is kind of annoying, since I do actually like the look of aero, and the PC and card is fast enough to run it.
Vista and by extension, this driver problem, has been around for what, nearly 4 years now? And windows 7 also has aero, so the problem won't be going away anytime soon. The excuse of "it's Microsofts problem" is starting to wear a little thin.
Tin Foil Hat angle
So, the IPv4's are running out?
Can someone please tell me how I can stockpile them in my basement next to all the beans and ammo? I think they could be useful as currency once the global monetary system collapses.
About the screen res...
MS only allows XP on low-powered chipsets, like Intel's Atom. It doesn't want to lose sales of it's pricier Vista.
Intel only allows certain hardware specs on laptops that use it's Atom, with 1024x600 being the max allowed. It doesn't want to lose sales of it's more expensive portable chips in tradtional laptops, when the reality is that an Atom could, for the most part, do the job just as well and use less power.
Note that the old HP 2133 didn't use Atom, the new one does and that's why the screen has been gimped.
So XP = Atom = Crap hardware, and you're stuck with it until either:
1. AMD gets their finger out.
2. Windows 7 gets released and turns out okay.
Right now is not a good time to buy a netbook, unless you can get a nice early 2007 model on ebay cheaply. I spent £83 on a used eee701, very happy with it.
Disks really are on their way out.
Can't remember the last time I ever actually needed to use one, I think they'll soon be looked at in the same way as people look at the floppy drive on their new PC i.e. "Why the hell are they bothering to sell it with this clunky great thing in there?".
Give it a couple more years, and we'll start to see a transition to flash drives as the media of choice. Price is currently approaching £1/gig, and seems to be halving every year.
Add in the unlimited capacity (currently 64gb, but will get bigger), the smaller size, the superior read/write speeds, the lack of clunky hardware to read it, the minimal power usage on portable devices, and the lower noise levels and you have a winner of a recordable media format. I can see it overtaking blu-ray in terms of price per gig at some point.
I got a portable DVD player with a usb slot for my mum as an xmas pressie, also included a 16gb flash drive with 20 movies on it. She prefers playing movies from the flash stick as it's quieter and the battery lasts longer. There's the non-techie vote right there.
Of course, I guess we'll have to wait until the industry figures out how to DRM the things to hell before it'll actually take on. Then there's the stuck pig that is blu-ray to consider. :(
It'll get there, one way or the other, possibly through downloads, the music industry has already made the switch to flash storage for all practical purposes, movie industry will follow suit.
The software industry seems to have skipped physical media altogether, a lot of stuff is only available as a download.
The crumbs still build up underneath the keys though, along with oily skin flakes, dandruff, the odd eyelash and bit of stubble... maybe a few nose hairs/mucus, earwax and tooth plaque too if you've got some particularly bad habits. Us humans have a fairly large amount of manky bits fall off us every day.
Eventually all this inevitably congeals into layers of tacky gloop beneath the keys, making them impossible to press, finally requiring the user to go through the tedious process of removing each individual key for a good cleanout. Or chucking the thing and picking up another cheapo one for £3.50. That's the option I take once every 6 months or so.
A bit of light bacteria is good for the immune system, the only problem is when users share keyboards. This anti-micro-gribbly tech would be much better suited to terminals and businesses with multiple users per PC.
Anyway, I cite xkcd: http://xkcd.com/237/
Standard designer problem...
Is that absolutely everyone and their dog believes that they are a graphic designer and can be really good at it, especially the CEOs with nothing better to do than twiddle their thumbs at meetings and nitpick.
Always happens, just look at the London 2012 logo, not the fault of designers who probably created hundreds of different designs, only for the complete goits at the top to decide that one of the worst ones was the best choice, and to then offer their own amateur suggestions (translation - you're changing it this way or you're getting fired) to "improve" it.
Design is a rough job, and as the head of the team, I suspect this guy is good enough to easily find a less-stressful position where the dorks from management and the labs will leave him alone. :)
Flash developer here
Still not interested. As a platform it has the potential to be superior, but without the development tools and community to back it up, I'm not going to be making the switch. There's tons of little widgets I use for flash all the time, from open-source physics engines to custom cameras... all sorts, just browse somewhere like flashden to see the huge amount of useful thingies floating around.
If MS somehow manages to release a better version of Flash CS4 (very possible considering all the interface flaws), I'll start paying attention. The code is important, but it isn't everything. I need dev tools!
I bet they're also opposed to the .xxx domain.
Any filtering has to be done at the user level, it's not the ISP's problem or responsibility.
As for as the children go, parents need to keep internet access for their kids in the living room, problem solved... bit hard to rub one out to horse porn while your family is watching the telly.
Ah well, at least competition is always good..
The awesomebar is changeable, but changing it needs to be a tickbox option, not simply "instructions for how to change this are buried away in some obscure piece of documentation that involves editing about:config".
I stick with Firefox for the extensions, I still believe that customisation is key for anyone who wants to use a browser other than IE. Being able to customize the theme is crucial, whitehart all the way for me! Being able to customize interface elements is also good... the browsers with fixed input field boxes and tabs at the top with no way to change this bug me, so firefox's drag and drop interface for changing it is great. 2 thin bars: one with file/edit/view etc., search box and address box, the other with navigation icons and bookmark icons (text removed, naturally).
Now that I'm used to that, I could never go back to the clunky great icons and mulltiple useless toolbars. I do think Chrome has gone a bit too far in the other direction though, people like it if there's the usual file/edit/view menus to click on.
Very good to see a healthy amount of competition though, means that all browsers have to up their game if they want to keep or raise their market share.
A better place to put online money...
...is Zopa. I've got a couple of grand in there at the moment and the 10% interest is very nice at a time when banks are offering nothing. Highly recommended (no, I don't work for them).
They would say that...
...after making their fortunes well before downloading became as popular as it currently is, and well before the CD market croaked and died.
Not so sure if some of the more starving artists would be as keen about getting nothing for their work.
In any case, gig money is where it's at, you even perks like free hookers in the form of gushing female fans.
At least they kept the 2G model on sale.
Half the price, with controls, not much bigger than the 3G model, and with different colours to choose from.
Only 1GB of course, but 200 songs is plenty if you're just making a playlist of your favourites to bung on there.
There is a market for this.
That's pretty much it, and it's a big market, ask any photographer, designer, animator, flimmaker, etc.
A lot of the industry is freelance and people are often paid more for being able to use their own hardware, and prefer using their own rig anyway, so whatever they use needs to be powerful and portable, with firewire for camcorder input.
Pricing in this market depends on how much money the gear will save you... I personally spend £1500 on a cintiq graphics tablet and it's genuinely saved me more than that in wages over the last year or so in terms of time saved = money earnt.
Can't see why anyone would want to buy this for non-professional reasons or even just for showing off... the air fills that niche better.
Alright, I'll have to explain a bit more.
Yes, the UK price went up from £780 to £949.
The US price remained the same, at $1199.
Last year, that $1199 would have been worth somewhere around £780 (post-tax).
$1199 = 780-ish 2008 pounds = 949-ish 2009 pounds.
£949 of today's money is exactly the same as £780 of last year's money. Apple is making exactly the same amount of profit and receiving the same amount of US dollars (roughly) from it's UK customers.
Only difference is that this year, the government numpty tokens called pounds that us Brits like to play with are seen as worth less by other countries due to a lack of confidence in our soggy little island's ability to actually create the goods and services that match the perceived value of the notes. Our only real money-maker was the banks, and they've gone bust due to us, as a country, doped up on the musty scent of Kirsty Allsop's jockstrap, deciding that it would be cool if our soggy little houses cost 3 times the amount that the average family could actually afford.
To anyone who still doesn't get it, consider that this iMac would probably cost $6bn Zimbabwe dollars this week, and would rise in price to $60bn next week. Apple wouldn't be making any more money out of it because Zimbabwe's currency is a steaming pile of tapir skids, much like our pound at the moment.
Get used to a lot of things rising in £, especially with computer hardware. This is only just the beginning, the recession has only just started. As soon as the effect of the current government money-printing spree kicks in (printing more money means the £10 in your wallet is now £9) expect the currency to really go to the dogs.
Historically, the £ has settled at an average of around $1.5. The last few years of ever-cheaper computer hardware has been the exception, not the rule.
Other hardware manufacturers are likely to follow Apple (Sony already has), so my advice to anyone thinking about a big hardware upgrade would be to do it sooner rather than later. All this is before you factor in VAT going right back up later this year.
Alternatively, buy British, buy Amstrad (Elonex), for quality and value. :P
It's easy enough.
Have done it myself. Pop the base off, undo a few screws and it's sorted, as far as RAM goes.
No way in hell would I attempt that 1TB upgrade though, there are too many things that could go wrong when you start having to solder wires to things, and hand-craft your own custom molex connectors.
I bought the mini last year because it was cheap, small, and pretty much silent compared to my "old dinosaur" PC with the vacuum cleaner fans and cranky hard drive.
This year though... mac mini's gone up by £100, not good when you also factor in the fact that, over the last year, big PC companies have finally started to realise that it might be a good idea to design something that isn't a variation on the "great big heavy noisy black box" theme.
@ Martin - Dell's studio hybrid is cheaper, with a slightly better spec, and then there's this little beauty from ASUS:
Lots of good stuff floating around these days. :)
All this has changed pretty quickly.
I'm 21, at age 16 I had no problem getting served in wetherspoons, the staff just didn't care. Nowadays, they always ask me for ID... which I don't have after losing my passport on a night out. Do have an expired student card which does the trick 90% of the time though.
I don't have any problems with other pubs/ clubs... wetherspoons only bother because they're always so busy, other places won't turn away the custom unless you look like a rowdy bugger... which was probably the real reason those marines got turned away.
Supemarkets are the other one that's big on ID... but that varies wildly between checkout staff. A friend of mine works in Tesco and according to her there's only one tesco-evangelist person working there who will be completely and utterly obtuse when it comes to ID (sorry granny, no brandy for you!)... everyone else just wants to keep the queue moving along and waiting for someone to fumble around with their wallet for an ID card doesn't help with that.
dont loose you're cool...
Aoccdrnig to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.
The reset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lterter by istelf, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig eh? And I awlyas tohghut slpeling was imporantt…! And for thsoe of you wtih mroe tmie tahn ohrets, you wlli ntocie taht not olny are msot of the wrosd a mses but smoe of tehm are cpmlpoetley msiseplt awslel…!
Netbooks will need better screens.
.. if they want even a hope in hell of being able to play 720p content (the "not quite" HD standard that television channels, cheap TVs, and "certain websites" offer).
Currently the vista netbooks (HP 2133, Vaio P) are the only ones that cut the mustard... Microsoft is gimping the screen res on all the other ones, as it won't let XP be put on anything with an above-useless screen resolution.
And as for blu-ray.. well, that's a 1920x1080 screen needed.
That's the resolution of the 24" monitor I'm typing this comment on, so I can't see how on earth they're planning to fit it into 9" at a non-insane cost.
Then again, they'e currently making laptops with blu-ray drives and screens that aren't hi-res enough to actually display the higher quality, so who knows how silly the hardware releases will get.
Expect a throughly mediocre netbook market until MS releases windows 7 for netbooks, in 2010 or whenever the hell they feel like it.
More expensive than an iMac!
Would have thought Dell would have at least been able to beat Apple's pricing, but this is lower-specced than an 24" imac that's £50 cheaper, and about the same spec as a 24" imac that's £250 cheaper.
Battery = good.
That's pretty much it. The screen is incredibly poor resolution for 10", but you can blame Intel/ Microsoft for their hardware restrictions on netbooks below a certain price point that use Atom and XP.. that's the real thing holding back any progress beyond the copycat clone specs we see on every netbook out there.
Almost hoping Apple will pull a fast one and enter the netbook market, without those restrictions stunting their hardware, they could bring out a real blinder of a product.
Pricing is good, I'm getting 4.
Just got a firewire drobo and shoved a load of spare old 500GB drives in there to act as a temporary backup for only my most important folders.
However, I've also wanted to be able to keep backups of all my dvds and animation work as well... some of the render outputs (particularly the folders containing 2500+ 1920x1080 TIFF files) are currently too big to be able to backup now that I've had to start making HD content.
Glad to hear it's quiet, too.. would rather not have 4 little rasping dinosaurs spinning away behind my desk when the backups are taking place.
1TB drives were not quite enough to offer a complete solution to all my backups needs, so I didn't bother upgrading.. 2TB does the job nicely.
I can't see myself needing a 4TB drive for a long time... unless something crazy like a new "superHD" standard comes along.
External hard disk any good?
Works for me, no problems - seagate freeagent drive that comes with a bit of easy backup software that automatically backs up any folders I select at any time.
I have it spend a few minutes every night backing up the stuff I've been working on that day, and have a seperate weekly backup of the entire hard disk.
There is always the risk that both the external and internal drives will fail at the same time, but that's incredibly unlikely. Pretty easy, and most external drives come with some sort of backup widget that does the job.
From an "average thickie" perspective...
The main thing that absolutely infuriates me about the entire linux community is the assumption that open-source versions of commercial software are in fact, superior. With openoffice, I would agree, use it all the time.. others are not so good though.
I tried running ubuntu last year, and asked a few questions on a forum that was apparently supposed to offer help to anyone new to linux.. sounds great, right? All huggles and help and open-source love?
Problem 1 - Hardware glitch. Didn't need to ask for help on this one, the online instructions were very clear. Ubuntu, the operating system is excellent to use, brilliant compared to Vista.
Problem 2 - Flash doesn't work online. Now, this might not seem very important, but I happen to like watching a few online vids and playing the odd stupid game. When I enquired about why it wasn't seen as important, I got a big rant about how Flash was only used to spam pointless adverts on the net and that it was a closed adobe piece of bloatware yadda yadda...
Problem 3 - Photoshop doesn't work. No, not even in WINE, unless you want to use a seriously outdated version with no support for the batch image processing scripts and plug-ins that I like to use.
The answer "use GIMP, blah blah Adobe sucks, GIMP is better".
Okay, fair enough... time to try out the GIMP. There are some serious design flaws in that piece of software. The inabilty to select brush width from a sliding menu is utterly insane, yes, I could go into the brush menu and create a new custom brush, but that's just obtuse. The lack of being able to have a seperate brush size at the same time for a brush and eraser is terrible, too.
I relayed my concerns to the GIMP community and was advised "it's just different to photoshop, but it's actually better once you get used to it". More fobbing off rather than admitting an area where their work needs to be improved.
I reinstalled Vista shortly afterwards. Sorry open-source community, but you need to be a lot less patronising and blindly "our stuff is better, lalala not listening" if you want your hard work to go mainstream, and seriously work on program compatibility.
It really was a shame, since Ubuntu was genuinely much better than Windows to use, and the GIMP even has better support for my wacom tablet than photoshop does, with a variety of extra things that can be customized to the level of pen pressure.
Software compatability is the #1 problem. People don't "use" OS's, they use programs. The OS is simply the thing that is there to make the programs work, and right now, Linux does not do that.
Wasn't expecting that to appear so soon.
And in a 2.5" form factor too? Impressive.
The rate of capacity increase on SSDs is crazy, only seems like a few years ago that a 1 gb usb drive was considered really impressive, never mind 1 tb.
There is the crippling expense to consider, but I remember looking up the price of a 4 gig drive about 5-6 years ago, and it was in the 4-figure range in dollars, so fingers crossed for a similar price adjustment on the new high-end of SSD tech.
Interesting design decision
One of the things that takes up space on a laptop is the touchpad... to include the touchpad, the keys have to be made thinner on small laptops.
By layering the keyboard above the touchpad when closed, this allows for a larger keyboard + touchpad on the same "footprint".
Really clever idea.