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* Posts by Ben Ryves

19 posts • joined 16 May 2009

DIY kit computer goes Forth against Braben's RaspberryPi

Ben Ryves

Small Basic

Microsoft's Small Basic - http://smallbasic.com/ - is an attempt to produce a modernised equivalent to the introduction to programming through BASIC you'd get on a 1980s machine. It seemed decent enough to me when I tried it, though the BASIC dialect was not particularly good (no local variables, for example).

There is the Windows version of BBC BASIC - http://bbcbasic.co.uk/ - which provides a far superior language.

With functional programming languages being all the rage these days Logo is probably a good place to look though it seems most people don't get much further than the turtle graphics part to appreciate it as a decent enough language in its own right!

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Opera embraces Google's open source JPEG killer

Ben Ryves

Re: Slightly confused

The point of WebP in this instance is that Opera Turbo makes use of it to improve the quality and reduce the size of images that it recompresses for the benefit of those on slow or expensive connections.

I find Opera still tends to innovate features that are later implemented in other browsers. For example, you mention Speed Dial looking similar to what Chrome offers - Speed Dial was added to Opera in 2007, over a year before the first version of Chrome was released.

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Apple patents glasses-free, multi-viewer 3D

Ben Ryves

Sounds similar to the Microsoft one.

Microsoft demonstrated something that sounds remarkably similar back in June:

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25524/?a=f

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iPhone customers lay into Apple after iOS 4.0.1 update fails to install

Ben Ryves

S60 too.

S60 jumped from S60v3 to S60v5 as a "polite gesture" to Nokia's Asian customers.

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3D TVs

Ben Ryves
Boffin

Already possible with CRTs

LCD shutter glasses and the like work very well with regular CRT monitors. You can either drive the glasses with a pass-through adaptor that sits between the device generating the video signal and the display (used for watching stereoscopic VHS/DVD for example) or have the device generating the video signal drive the glasses too (Segascope 3D on the old Sega Master System did this). You don't need a special TV set.

The reason this works is because a CRT will display image data as soon as it receives it. When the device generating the video signal sends a scanline to the display, that scanline is shown on the display. An LCD (or other modern flat panel display) may store a frame of data in memory and not actually display it until the whole thing has been received (incurring a delay of at least one frame). This delay becomes worse in sets that perform additional processing of the input signal, and is the reason that rhythm games have a configuration screen that lets you compensate for the lag between the picture and the sound. As the picture on the screen is no longer in sync with the signal being fed into it you can no longer accurately alternate between the sending images to the left or right eye.

If you hunt around online you'll find a variety of circuits that can be knocked together at home to drive LCD shutter glasses. I use such a circuit with an old 17" CRT and some £11 LCD shutter glasses I acquired on eBay to great effect.

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Opera beta bear hugs plug-in-free video

Ben Ryves

@JP19

Dailymotion informs me I have to use Firefox. Hurrah for browser sniffing. (Setting Opera to Masquerade as Firefox doesn't work, presumably as it's spoofing a too-old version of Firefox).

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YouTube saves dumb children from offensive content

Ben Ryves

"Innocuous asterisks"?

The video refers to an indomitable Gaul, surely?

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USB hack connects Droid to printers, video cams, and more

Ben Ryves

*whistle*

Good work, but I can't help thinking there's rather more charm in something like http://hackaday.com/2010/02/01/android-audio-serial-connection/

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Masses marvel at 'Most Useless Machine'

Ben Ryves

These have been around a while.

Here's one from the 1980s - http://www.grand-illusions.com/toycollection/little_black_box/

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Blu-ray Players

Ben Ryves

An even cheaper solution.

If you have a PC anywhere near your TV, you could just bung a BD-ROM drive in there and be done with it. I bought a Sony BDU-X10S on special offer (<£60 including VAT and postage) which came with PowerDVD 7.3, which still receives updates and hasn't had any problems with BD-Live discs. If you're fussy about motion judder (which I am) you can throw in ReClock (free) to synchronise playback with your monitor's refresh rate, switched to an exact multiple of 24Hz by PowerStrip (£20).

Only a couple of my discs display a loading screen (both Universal), all of the others go straight to menus or the film after the studio logo. One of the beauties of Blu-ray is that they haven't stuck on those awful unskippable anti-piracy ads or trailers - yet. You'll probably be getting to your film quicker than you would on the DVD version thanks to this!

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Microsoft's browser ballot bodge gets the nod

Ben Ryves

@Doc Dish

Just enable automatic updates? That doesn't require IE at all.

Hunting through my server logs I can only find a handful of browsers other than the obvious six or seven (IE, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, Mozilla, Chrome) and most of them are not running on Windows (the usual Linux suspects plus iBrowse on the Amiga, Nokia Browser on mobiles etc). I'd be hard pressed to find 12.

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iPhone app grabs your mobile number

Ben Ryves

Easy fix?

Couldn't this be fixed by doing what "dumb" phones do when running regular Java apps, which is to ask permission before the an application tries to access potentially private information (contact lists, files in local storage) or something that could end up costing the user money (sending SMS, using the data connection)? You can usually reduce these prompts on a per-app basis to "first time only" (or "never" for signed applications), so it works quite well (then again, I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't find Vista's UAC irritating). ;-)

Unless the iPhone already does this (I wouldn't know), in which case it's user error, surely?

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Texas Instruments aims lawyers at calculator hackers

Ben Ryves

@Custom firmware to do what?

These are programmable Z80 or 68K-based graphical calculators. The following applies to the Z80-based TI-83+, I'm not too familair with the other models: user-installable Flash applications (so-called as they reside in flash ROM) need to be signed with a key to be accepted by the calculator. TI have released the "freeware" key so this has not been an issue so far. The operating system also needs to be signed to be installed, but TI has not released the key for this so any third-party operating systems have to be forced onto the hardware in a rather hacky manner (eg pulling out the batteries at the right time during an OS upgrade). By factoring the keys, a third-party operating system can be signed properly and can be installed easily to the calculator without any special hacks.

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British TV firm dumps Silverlight

Ben Ryves

@Jess

You had problems with the performance of the Silverlight player... and Flash is any better? Silverlight at least supports hardware video acceleration, Flash doesn't and so any HD Flash "video" turns into a slideshow when viewed fullscreen for me. I don't have any such problems with Silverlight, nor even watching Blu-ray content.

In any case, the 4OD service is also Flash-based.

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Firefox 4.0 flashes lusty leg at Windows lovers

Ben Ryves

Increasingly like Opera

Inline progress bar, tabs at the top (address bar and controls correctly made a property of the tab), combined stop/refresh - all rather Opera-like. Whilst I personally see that as a good thing, given the complaints that people tend to have with the Opera UI I'm not sure if it'll end up being popular with the Firefox crowd. :-\

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Toshiba to back Blu-ray Disc with player launch?

Ben Ryves

@Michelle Knight

£400 for a Blu-ray drive? Blimey, I bunged a Sony drive in my desktop for just under £50, and that came with player software. I love the increased quality, but high-street shops charging you £25-£28 for Blu-ray is crazy when the same film can be found for £3-£5 on DVD. Buying them online is much more sensible, with Amazon's offerings usually being about £8-£10.

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Vulture Central plans Brit-Yank dictionary

Ben Ryves

@Dave in the States

"Router" is "rooter", in the way that "route" is pronounced the same as "root". There's an "l" in "solder", too.

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3 has no place Like Home

Ben Ryves

@Kevin Johnston

With regard to setting the network manually - my last two handsets from 3 had been modified to remove this feature. Even if you do manage to set the network manually temporarily it will automatically switch back to what it thinks is best (which, in my experience, means the one network that doesn't seem to offer a data connection at all). They also remove the option to disable the data connection (the "connect when needed" option either has no effect or has been surgically removed from the menu).

This may not apply if you buy a handset for use on 3 rather than using the 3-provided one, of course.

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Mozilla invites all comers on post-tab future

Ben Ryves

@Sampler

> "but I also like what google have done with chrome where you can take a tab out of a group and into it's own instance or another instance of chrome"

As alluded to by previous posters, this is something that has existed in Opera for yonks before Chrome was a twinkle in Google's eye.

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