68 posts • joined 10 Feb 2009
Re: Obsession with cost engineering
Not to mention, quality control and attention to detail.
European companies, French and Italian included, may offer innovative industrial design, but their reliability is rubbish. Glad finally to have two built like a tank Nissan's in the family. (Year 2000 Micra and 2002 X-Trail.) No rattles, everything works, engines drive like new. (Same for my former 1991 BMW that lasted 21 years, and is still on the road I believe!) BMW get quality too. It's in their DNA.
BTW, I was involved externally in the design concepts for the One Per Desk, about to contact the author of this article. Started with me winning a competition in August 1982 to predict/conceive ideas for the - ZX-82! My prize was a Spectrum from Sir Clive himself. Scanning in all my correspondence and drawings right now, most from 1983.
Re: NESTA bad
Socialism and unchecked capitalism are the same. Here we have the former.
So I wasn't the only one!
(Got to this article via the Daily Mail.) Approx 10 years ago I applied to NESTA too and this is pretty much what I discovered at the time. 1. I contacted them about something similar, IE, a high tech invention that my company had actually developed (related to online mapping etc), and only now has Google maps even come close. 2. The staff sounded like rail workers/traffic wardens/council jobsworths, not very well educated, and more like the sort of grumpy insecure self hating old fart you would find in a pub at 4pm. 3. I was advised that I only stood a chance (this is not a joke, and the examples in the article above validate this) if I was a black lesbian wanting to open a hair salon. In other words, a minority. (Not sure how the gov would get their money back from that!) Toxic damaging left wing prejudice at it's worst, and like Mr. Fentem, a loss to this nation. I'm taking my technology to the US where there is considerable interest. Mr. Fentem, if you are reading this, track me down via twitter, my ID is 'oflife'. You have my utmost sympathy. Socialism, what's it good for huh?
100 mHa = eInk display
Apple have the late arrival advantage here, watching as others get it all wrong, or almost right - (Qualcomm Toq is the best to date), and battery life is the issue, as is usability and what you use it for. Notifications and remote control of your phone are the most obvious, but having key information available ALL the time, not just when you press a button or are in sunlight can only be achieved with an eInk display with an automatic (Kindle paperwhite like light) for low light readage. Why do I say eInk? (Colour of course.) Because it draws no power when static, draws little when active - and provides excellent daylight viewing angles, so it won't even be necessary to twist your wrist to 'take a reading'.
Unless of course Apple are working with Qualcomm on an improved version of their Mirasol tech, which currently doesn't do colour as well as LCD or AMOLED.
Most who I know who have a Pi...
...are in the their late 30s to up to 50!
The very people who coded on the Sinclair or Acorn machines here in the UK or Apple II etc in the US during the early to mid 80s.
No one I know who is under 25 has any skills to even code in Basic or html never mind develop with something like the Pi. Today's youth appear to be any of the following: Baristas, Burger flippers, Hair dressers, Media studies students, 'working' for overseas charities (effectively, an unpaid expenses covered holiday) or hanging around McDonald's or shopping Malls.
People have too many things to enjoy today that provide instant gratification, so there is no incentive to create a machine or program ('app') that provides a sense of achievement in the same way as we entrepreneurs of the 80s did. (I designed and co-developer AMX Pagemaker etc on the BBC Micro etc - and did it because I wanted it myself, and fortunately, so did a lot of other people.)
Either way, Pi is a superb initiative and you can bet the educated Chinese will lap them up to use to (eventually) create the very products that will compete with us (Apple, Samsung etc) in the future, just as the Sinclair and Acorn machines created the IT professionals of the 90s in the West.
For something closer to home
A visit to the inspiring new National Trust building in Swindon is recommended. Nice café inside, superb outlet clothing arcade across the pavement, and best of all, the (NT) building is 100% solar powered.
I bought the 11" MacBook Air when it first came out. Very soon after it suffered total SSD failure losing me data, although being a good boy, I was using Time Machine and the loss was limited. Apple replaced it. The second machine suffered an even more catastrophic SSD failure and I lost more being i was travelling without my backup drive. I learned that Apple were switching from (I believe) Toshiba SSD to Samsung. They gave me a third machine, but I sold it to upgrade to a 13" late 2011 MacBook Air and the buyer says it's still working today. So my 3rd 11" MBA must have had the Samsung SSD. I bought by 13" MBA in March 2012 from Chicago and as I type this, it has behaved superbly, despite being thrust into my bag every day countless times and taken all over the UK since. It is the best Apple product i have ever owned, and the only product of their's that comes close in reliability is the Mac mini and iPad.
Planning to get the new (Oct 2013?) MacBook Pro being the latest MBAs don't have retina displays and my current 13" SSD is full. If it wasn't for the memory being full up (256GB), I would keep it.
Anyway, this issue with the SSDs is probably why Apple try to make their own chips when they can, but I imagine economies of scale mean they could never produce their own SSDs. Memory is a commodity and mass production is the only way to keep prices in check.
One more thing: PLEASE USE TIME MACHINE 100% OF THE TIME! #YouNeverKnow
What's really sad...
...and if you watch most of Jame's Burke's Connections (1970s BBC science series, similar to V-Sauce on YouTube) you'll appreciate this, is how all our discoveries, developments and learning will all have been for naught. Unless of course we can document and archive the best of our work in such a manner that it is legible by other species and will survive drifting through space for millennia on the autonomous space craft we will be launching prior to our demise. #2032ThisWasUs
He is spot on
As a UX designer and the guy behind AMX Pagemaker on the BBC Micro (yup, way back then!), I ran the company using two outstanding wordprocessors, whose UX (or GUI as we called them back then, not that the Beeb had a GUI until our product!) was superb, namely Computer Concept's Wordwise and Acorn's own wordprocessor, whose name I forget. (It's been a while.)
Wordwise, being embedded in the ROM, was instant (like most BBC Micro software that wasn't on a floppy), had a cursor that remained in the same vertical position - the text scrolled smoothly up and down about the cursor position and so it was a pleasure to use.
MS Word was always unusable and bloated to me and we refused to adopt it in the company, sticking to the aforementioned, and more recently, various Mac based text editors, and now, Google Docs or Google sites, where are content can be shared and is therefore by default cross platform and device. (And no doubt read by the NSA etc - the one downside to the cloud computing paradigm.)
I have always liked Excel, but it didn't really have any competition, although likewise, we have of course now adopted Google Docs Spreadsheet whose collaboration features are excellent!
Re: Surely there is a market now for devices that put privacy first?
Working on it!
Re: Phone for grown ups
We're working on it (as in, my ultra stealth team), and I'm willing to guarantee here and now, no one else will deliver such a product before we do, because few 'get it' with regards product design - else it would have been done already. The last person to get it was Jeff Hawkins who created the Palm Pilot.
Hang in there, we care!
I have priceless Hypercard stacks on my Mac, but cannot view or edit them! No emulators exist at all.
It's probably been said, but...
...I've been able to control my chopper with my mind for quite a while now. Comes naturally.
I came up with the same idea a whilst back for my employer and tweeted about it. (Something along the lines of "One day, there will only be one copy of each item of content.") Why replicate when you can stream?
Simple, buy from Amazon
I buy ALL my cables from Amazon or their suppliers - never paying more than £7 inc the shipping. Yes, the shipping is a rip off, but that applies to all the small items they sell - and you can consolidate your orders sometimes to save on the total shipping price.
I have purchased a mini HDMI to HDMI cable for my (albiet) pricy Panasonic GH2 camera, for what, £3.95 or something, and it is excellent quality. Why should a few strands of copper and rubber cost any more when mass produced in China? Same for all the USB cables etc I have, each cost no more than a few quid and still work.
The high street stores are desperate for cash so are forced to flog all these extras, warranties etc. The solution is to buy your expensive items, such as computers, TVs, monitors from the high street (Richer Sounds, Curry's etc), where the really isn't much difference in price (+/- £50 mac), but you get the peace of mind of being able to try before you buy, support the high street retailers AND have somewhere to take it when it breaks - but then save money by purchasing all the extras online from Amazon, Play.com, Dabs etc.
Works for me!
Remember the tag 'polomarco'
That's all! ;)
Which begs the possibility...
Let's hope it 'takes off'!
Actually, my employer is toying with the same idea
It is not as crazy as it sounds. This reverses the cloud concept such that we each own our own servers. Don't forget, that is what the Internet was originally all about - masses of disperate machines all sharing data to maintain the integrity of the 'system' after a catastrophe, such as nuclear war. All we're proposing here is what P2P wireless will hopefully do the (nefarious) carriers and that is eliminating the ISP from the equation.
If I told you in 1992 when we were all communicating using faxes and pagers that a few years later it would be possible to electronically share with anyone anywhere in real time any item of content, you would have thought me mad. Two years later, Mosaic changed everything.
Well, the personal 'server' and all manner of P2P comms will be as ubiquitous in a few years as the reverse is today. It is inevitable.
@oflife #p2pwireless #projectprecisely
Yet example of idiotic liberals in action
Having lived in several cities run by liberals, where criminals are treated with kid gloves, I can testify to observing higher crime rates (including murder) than cities with less lenient policies.
Liberals are doing more harm to our quality of life than any enemy of the nation. (Am referring to both the USA and UK.)
Here's to the first solar powered commercial airliner
A slow ride across the Atlantic, not a drop of carbon based fuel used. Nice!
Not Apple's fault at all
Everyone gets to buy an iPad unlocked and can choose their provider and plan. I specially chose Three because they offer a fairly good contract free value package. 1G = £10, 3G = £15 etc. At the end of the month, if you are unhappy you don't have to continue. It is 100% 3G too, so you know when you're connected you will either get quite a speedy connection or nothing at all - in which case, it's time to hit your nearest WiFi hotspot, or survive for a few hours offline by firing up a game of PinBall HD or Meteor Blitz.
(BTW, non of the other airtime providers offer an honest a plan as Three. I would ideally like to use Vodafone, but they don't offer a contract free package.)
Reason is, Android is compelling & versatile
As a developer (software designer) and having had much time to play with or own iPhone and Android devices (not to mention the excellent Samsung Wave Bada handset), I find the iPhone 4 to be what WOW geeks would refer to as 'Meh'. Yes, it's sexy, but the screen is too small and the lack of certain features available on Android and other devices limit it's usefulness. Pickup a Dell Streak, play around with it (including surfing the web, viewing photos & video and using maps) and then go back to an iPhone 4. I am excited by the possibilities provided by Android, even if any apps we develop are limited to specific handsets, that is no different than being limited to a specific platform. Users will purchase the handset or platform that delivers the solution(s) they desire. And solutions is what this is all about. (To be frank, the masses buying iPhone 4 at launch are in it to be first with the blingiest phone, not because it offers much new. It is a very advanced fashion statement.)
The Home Sec is a Marxist
And don't ANYONE forget that. Britain is walking into a very dark and sinister future, blindly by the looks of things. ID cards should be 100% voluntary and the data behind them managed by the individual, with the law purely there to ensure data validity and security. And I should reserve the right to destroy my ID card (and ALL data behind it) at any time.
Socialists don't like small business
1. There is no socialist country that exports anything (name one, oh, ok, Vodka from Russia. Next?)
2. Britain is lead by liberals and trashy women with a massive chip on their shoulders who are undoing all the good that Mrs. Thatcher and the HONORABLE working classes did in the 1980s.
3. Within a few years, Britain will only possess state owned industries that produce dull low quality products, whilst Asia will boom. Talk about a reverse of poles!
Meanwhile, the 'government' (like those in other socialist and communist nations) will live it up and install more and more CCTV and PCOs to monitor 'the people' for fear of losing their grip on power.
A hard working well meaning entrepreneur who likes to hire people who take a common sense approach to life and don't thrive off victimhood
iPhone makes the process seamless
As a recent iPhone user (and previous owner of an iPod Touch and many other phones from other vendors), it is clear that the fact most iPhone apps seamlessly access the Internet without requiring anything more than a one off login drives these statistics. As per the microwave oven and DVD player, if you make something easy (insert dish/disc, press start/play), it will succeed. People have short attention spans today and if they are made to go through hoops to achieve a task, whether for business or pleasure, they will abandon it and move on.
I have not used an Android phone so cannot comment, but the Nokia E71 made email configuration a snap - and the iPhone is the same. Previous devices required complex technical information to be entered first. The same goes for other apps.
But will it run full OS X?
These customers are assuming the tablet will run a fully fledged version of OS X.
All said, as an iPhone user, I believe the iPhone OS is how computers should work, not OS X. It is naturally intuitive. The PhotoShop app (while of course very very basic) is considerably more intuitive (& fun!) to use than the desktop application thanks to the direct touch screen operation.
Effectively, Apple have to choose - do they scale down OS X to a smaller form factor device, or scale up the iPhone OS to larger devices?
We'll all moan here - and do nothing...
...about it. Don't know about you, but until recently, I had never felt frightened in my own country. Ever. Whether it is technology or politics, those visionary sci fi and political writers were only wrong about one thing, the exact timing of their prophecies which tended to be about 20 years ahead of reality. Almost there now children, almost there.
We could support these guys: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/
But some of what they stand for may not appeal to us all, so what do to?
There are about five El Reg emoticons appropriate to this article. Ah, which to choose?!
@By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 14th Sept
a) It is certainly not fugly, in fact, it is probably the nicest looking Android handset ever launched. While not a style issue, the keyboard is 5 row, a lot more practical too. b) It's 'too' not 'to'. LOL.
iPod Nano is shexy, but what's the point?...
...when one can buy a Nokia 5530, an exceptionally versatile music centric touch screen phone - and because it is a phone, you can upload your video to your blog or YouTube without needing to go home and sync with iTunes first!
I just don't get why Apple don't exploit the lovely form factor of the Nano and build in a phone - the young peeps who cannot afford an iPhone will love it. The scroll wheel is an intuive way to select contacts and then all you do is hit the middle button to place that call!
Logical, capi-tain. No?
Awesome, please contribute....
...any sustainable energy technologies to our forthcoming blog/community site at www.lifemachine.com.
Once complete later in 2009 (currently, just a list of services and products), LifeMachine.com will only be listing devices and services that are capable of being 100% self sustaining. For example, an iPhone charger must be capable of charging the device from zero to full without being connected to the grid at all. Likewise, hybrid cars, while technically interesting, are really just a marketing gimmick, after all, some non hybrid vehicles producing better mileage. However, cars running entirely on electricity (such as Tesla) will be included, because if they are re-charged using services such as that planned by BetterPlace.com, then (like the iPhone charger) the grid is removed from the equation. And that's going to be fantastic for the environment - as long as the batteries can be disposed of safely!
Sorry, but text messaging is for idiots!
You buy one of the most advanced phones in the world, and use it to send MMS? What is wrong with email? a) Email is free. b) Email is a reliable proven standard based on over 30 years of development. c) Email is versatile, allowing attachments of significantly larger size and format than MMS. d) Email is not a dubious money maker for the carriers who are duping billions of people across the world by using technology capable of allowing video conferencing to instead send 140 characters of ASCII plus a small bitmap - and then charging them silly money for the privilege.
Want to stop this madness? Don't text, email. And then Wave goodbye to that too as real time live multimedia sharing replaces email.
$29 - £25, well there's a surprise!
skjqdkqwdhkdk, random text so El Reg accepts my empty comment field posting.
This seems like a flawed concept...
...because: a) If a missile/rocket attack is launched by a foreign power, they will fire a large number of missiles. Just how many of these flying guns will we need? And how much for a large fleet? b) Surely a 747 is an easy target for air to air or ground to air missile? c) Surely the money spent on this could be spent on technology that could take out several missiles at once, such as some form of air burst explosion - based on the shut gun effect? d) And as an earlier poster mentioned, coating a missile in a reflective surface could render a laser obsolete overnight. Or is this thing way faster and more capable than we think? IE, capable of taking out several targets very quickly and able to penetrate reflective surfaces?
@K800i comment - agreed!
I have returned to a trusty K800i after having gone through three (excellent, except the camera and lack of letters on the number keys making punching in passwords a pain in the @*&#!) Nokia E71s, a Samsung ToccoULTRA (great camera & video), a Nokia N95 8G (possibly the best all rounder phone I have ever owned, but a little too bulky) and am managing to do all that I did on these other phones on the K800i - in fact, I own an iPod Touch, and while the apps are outstanding, Apple's web browser is too much work over the nice automated browser on the K800i (not sure whose it is, Netfront? Opera?) that formats the text and forms on the fly - IE, nationalrail.co.uk is all compact and nice and takes way less time to fill in and submit than on Apple's browser.
All said, it is the view of this here poster that the future lies with Android, as long as Google are able to build upon ALL the sorts of technologies Apple have under the hood of OS X and the iPhone OS, namely, advanced 3D graphics, multitouch and more.
Samsung Jet is a worthy contender
Check out it's specs on GSMArena.com (and soon, a shortform review) at Fonebox.com.
Very sensible Mum/backup phone
A great phone to give to Mum to leave on her window sill all day so she doesn't have to fiddle around with or worry about a charger - plus it looks easy to use. Secondly, keeping a PAYG version on the dashboard, sunnyside up will provide an ideal emergency phone in the event your main super duper do it all smart phone is nicked, breaks, runs out of juice or suffers an OS embolism. Less is more - in particular when carbon neutral.
Our advertisement in PCW
For the time I read it during the 1980s, PCW remained professional and covered all aspects of the industry, while the more focused publications (Acorn User, PCN, various Sinclair mags) appealed to the hobbyist. As evidence of our respect for PCW, we placed our only national branding advertisement in PCW in February 1988. (Ironically, due to a mixup at PCW, they placed our ad in the wrong location! However, they made up for this by re-printing the ad correctly in the April 1988 edition. You can see it if you visit http://www.owonder.com and click on 'History', where we have temporarily inserted a copy of the ad. (We were known as TECNATION back then.) I am saddened that PCW will no longer be around to offer their mature and robust journalism. Guy: This is a sad day. Moving on, we need to go for a beer sometime, to talk about your review of AMX Pagemaker! ;) Alex
Write on! Thinking about it...
...if he could apply this tech to a small (finger) ring, and use Bluetooth to transmit to a nearby storage device, phone etc, then one would not need to wave ones gadget around in the air like Magnus Puke after a double espresso and Red Bull. You could in fact probably wiggle your hand around in your oversized pocket taking notes almost in secret...
"Is that your index finger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me in a wibbly wobbly sort of way?"
Paris, because she likes gadget lads with large flexible objects in their pockets.
All the better for children...
...being diesel particulates are fairly harmful to the wee ones. Re outsourcing the smog to elsewhere (NIMBY), surely it is easier to clean up one or two power stations than X thousand vee-hic-ules. Where I live in Oxford, dirty vans running their engines outside lead to silt building up in our house - and it's back there after being cleaned up every week. Imagine how much of that is in our lungs! Way to go Leccy Tecchy White Van Man*! You're now a Green Van Man*! *Uhm, Person?
I wrote to Adobe many years ago...
...to protest at their decision to stop supporting SVG. (I knew deep down that Adobe were protecting Flash.) Google have it right on, SVG/HTML 5 'are' the web, while Flash and Silverlight are superficial commercial ventures designed to garden wall developers into a license based technology. Adobe should focus on building great content creation and publishing tools, and let Google and the W3C do the infrastructure.
Paris, because she's a Super Voluptuous Girl.
The price is a barrier to entry
If people are to adopt leccy tech then while one can be expected to fork out for top notch e-vehicules like the Tesla, itteh bitteh machines like zee e-car need to be priced according to their size and perceived value, IE, this thing should be about £9500 - similar to a mid range motor bike. No wealthy individual will buy one (probably for corporate insurance reasons), so which demographic unit is this machine targetted at? Other than price, it looks great.
@Ian Davies: I cannot disagree more
Having owned three K800i phones - and back to one of them now, and sharing use of an iPod Touch, and played with the iPhone, the K800 is way way faster to navigate and operate with one hand. Just today, I checked my gmail, while listening to the stereo FM radio - and took some calls, all with one hand - on my bike. One can navigate music on it very quickly. The music navigation on the iPhone/Touch is a pain, just as it is on the iPods. There is no faster way to navigate information than using a DPAD or good joystick. Having owned about 50 phones (sad), where the iPhone and Touch do score is in browsing visual media, like photos, video etc. It is also way easier to browse web pages on the K800i, as it doesn't require zooming in each time, it formats the text perfectly.
And the camera is still one of the best.
Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is amazing (as is the App Store), but tactile navigation is (I hope) never going away.
A great example of market forces over law
The gov's scrappage plan, while well meaning, only attracted 35,000 takers (so far), however, with innovators such as Tesla and others offering appealing leccy vehicles, the people are obviously willing to speak/vote with their wallets, no politics required. The greatest immediate benefit of leccy vehicles will be the reduction in local particulate and noise pollution - as anyone who lives near a road can testify too! Great for children whose bodies are being flooded with muck from birth thanks to our reliance on carbon fuels, plastics and useless drugs.
Finally, after all this time, change is in the air! Happy times.
Google first to demo, not first to conceive
I proposed real-time shared document space(s) in 2003 and possibly earlier - originally to run our own projects - and then to commercialise. Called them 'Chatboxes' or 'chatspaces' and all my team know of it. The reasons behind the chatspace idea were also identical to Google WAVE, and I also specified using distributed content to reduce the need for a central 'provider' / host. However, kudos to Google for doing it and best of all, they have the resources to pull it off and scale it - in particular thanks to their faith in the open source community to extend the concept. Their translation system may well be amazing, but is it wise to substitute learning a language, something that is part of the challenge of life? On the other hand, learning Chinese to discuss something for a few minutes with a distant collaborator may be an argument in favor! This is all very Star Trek either way.
@The Mole: Way back when...
...back before teh multimedia intensive intertubes, I used a teeny weenie but very capable Nokia 8210 in conjunction with it's infra red port to get online anywhere using my lovely Titanium PowerBook. It was in fact quite reliable and of course, no silly second line worries. More recently, vendors and carriers have done all they can to make using your phone as a RELIABLE modem difficult. All so they can charge for another line. It's a complete waste of time. 3G phones with their modern multi-tasking OSes are more than capable of carrying out a voice call while simultaneously using the Bluetooth or Infra red to get online using a laptop.
The solution to this big rip off is simply to cancel a dongle account (as I'm about to do) and buy a slightly older phone that has not been knobled - or do the reverse, junk your mobile and use your laptop as your phone by firing up Skype. (Keep a small PAYG mobile in your pocket for those essential walking around town calls.) My 3G equipped Sony Ericsson K800i gets me online via my MacBook and Bluetooth. It's not as fast as a dedicated dongle (Vodafone in our case), but to be frank, using cloud apps such as Google docs on ANY wireless dongle is too slow (unless permanently at 7.2MB) - cloud apps need a very fast and consistent connection, and currently, that's only possible when on a good WiFi signal or connected direct to teh interwebs using a cable. I only use mobile wireless for checking email now. Rest of mobile time is used for reading and thinking. Ah yes, those where the days! :)
Less is more. I particular when it's your phone bill.
Lord Of The Flies
People, not wanting to sound old and crusty, but if you just study the history of Facebook and do some (deep) research, you will clearly discover that this is not a company founded on good will, but like an oil company, it will do anything to make money. (It's very origins are dubious.) Just as Google got burned with their Street View feature, these companies are run by people who while very savvy, are too young to be aware of their station. Meaning, they don't know the difference between right and wrong. Microsoft, for all their flaws, are run by wiser people who probably shudder at the blatent missuse of public trust by their younger competitors or partners. (Microsoft's service was proven to be the most reliable at deleting files.)
The decade of appalling (and embarassing) voyouristic celeb culure, 'reality' TV and worse has sadly created a generation of self serving people (and politicians, in particular here in the UK) who should not be in any position of power.
@Midas Touched: Spot on
Values, like fees, are cleverly promoted to hook people. IE, "Our service is free - for the first 6 months." Likewise, "We do no evil - until we have enough of you hooked." I have to say, as someone impressed with some of Google's technology, it amazed me how stupid they are when it comes to some issues and their failure to monotise some of their offerings, when it would be quite simple, then they would not need to use these outlandish 'threats' to obtain yet more of our personal data. For example, there are now advertisements at the base of some YouTube videos, so why isn't Google making money of that? And how about improving Google Docs - and making it so good, people will pay for it? And then Google can encrypt all our data so it's as secure as we dignified freedom loving humans like it.