1428 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009
HDMI was deliberately crippled with HDCP to stop you mirroring
Plus Windows goes mad and literally blacks out the playback area or cripples the resolution if you try to clone the laptop display onto a projector. (At the time HDCP projectors didn't exist, now they are merely almost impossible to buy.)
This all drives us mad, and I took a sneaky joy in reminding a MS exec that the reason they couldn't see their video on their presenter's screen was Windows copy protection.
It would be great to see the things we used to be able to do easily come back, though I somehow doubt that happening.
Re: He may have some valid points
I'm with you on the writer front. The guy might be a good musician but he can't write prose for toffee.
TBH It reads like a series of commentard postings, not all by the same person.
There is some interesting info on how artists currently (do/don't) get paid, and how they (did/didn't) get paid in the past, but it is fairly buried.
Fundamentally I suspect that the problem is very few people respect copyright, and the general reasons for that are fairly clear. The 'big media' don't respect it much either, and they've successfully lobbied for ridiculous copyright length - the latter stifles creativity because you can't bounce off existing works until they're truly ancient.
The fundamental problem is one of respect - it's basically been lost.
@Sean - it's called compression.
The "normalisation" you mention is more properly knowns as "compressed to hell and back", and has nothing to do with spending more or less on recording or mastering.
Leaving the dynamic range in would cost no more, possibly a bit (though not noticeably) less as it's a step you can leave out.
It's a deliberate choice by the producers of the track.
My guess is because every track wants to be the 'loudest' on the radio or the various music TV channels, for the same reason most adverts are also compressed to buggery.
Though compression does cover a multitude of sins, not least an the artist's inability to sing. Rather like autotune, but less obvious.
Autotune and sampling is where you look for the corner cutting. Sampling cuts out the musicians, autotune cuts out the vocalists, doing both cuts out most of a recording studio.
There are one heck of a lot of tracks using massive amounts of both, to the point where it could have been anybody 'singing' in the first place.
Re: android already does this
Not really. Inter-application communication has very tight granularity, but application-to-phone permissions are still quite big buckets:
It's a little odd as there are a few very fine-grained permissions, while most are very large buckets. eg location info has several different permissions, while others let the app do pretty much whatever it wants to "X".
It's still not possible to deny an application a permission while still running it, or alter permissions after installation - for example, almost every social network app seems to want GPS location. What if I don't want it to have my location but am happy for everything else?
Or even more common, I'm happy for it to use the Internet but not for it to use my phone or SMS/MMS. When abroad it's easy to kill Internet, but not possible to kill phone/SMS/MMS.
The problem with such walls is that they need holes
Say you write a picture-munging application. It clearly needs to be able to read the pictures already on the phone as well as take photos with the camera, and it needs to save the results back to the picture gallery.
Equivalent examples exist for a lot of things.
The obvious solution is for more granularity in permissions - you may see my picture collection but not my sounds library etc.
More importantly, we need the ability to deny a particular permission to the application, eg It gets an empty and volatile persistent storage.
That's a very difficult area.
The fun part is that we don't have any living models for a bird or reptile anywhere near that size.
Mammals are clearly a bad model, and living things generally don't scale so birds and reptiles are of limited usefulness. For example, the size of the digestive tract varies immensely among animals of similar dimensions. (Compare horse to cow. Or even horse to hippo!)
All in all, it makes figuring out the likely physical build of a fossil creature incredibly difficult and often subject to bias - the Victorians went with 'slow and fat', hence the very high original weight estimates.
Smaller dinosaurs are much easier - birds are a close model, and we've even got a few skin impressions which helps immensely.
Re: What a great video
This cow is very small.
Those are very far away.
Small, far away.
Meanwhile, quality has gone through the floor
Warranty periods cut (so clearly they know they're rubbish), and so many more failures post 'infant death' than before.
Yet nobody to run to, because they're both as bad as each other.
SSDs appear to have more suppliers, but remain rather expensive and still have rather variable reliability.
Electronics are going to be much more reliable
than any heath-robinson contraption you could reasonably build.
Two very simple and extremely reliable options:
1) A clock. After a given time, fire the rocket. Calculate the likely maximum flight time to altitude and add a bit, such that it will fire after balloon burst.
2a Strain gauge joining truss to balloon not via the parachute. When strain drops to near-zero for longer than 5 sec or so, fire the rocket.
2b) If you want to wait for the parachute to have opened and thus stabilised the truss, use two strain gauges - one on the parachute cord, one on the balloon cord.
When parachute cord has higher strain than balloon, fire.
2 a/b can be done entirely with discrete solid-state electronics (wheatstone bridge, op-amp, monostable, mosfet) no software or moving parts. (Avoid electrolytic caps)
Use two identical strain gauges in both cases to compensate for temp - both should respond the same.
Can easily test this in the freezer as pressure has no effect, only temperature.
Re: National survey
The actual weight measurement wasn't the issue.
The problem was them asking for large amounts of irrelevant data - both parent's full names, dates of birth, full address and phone number?
Is all of that really required for the described intent? Could you justify all of that data to a judge?
Put simply, the school can contact the parent(s). The 3rd party agency doesn't need to know anything at all about the child or parents outside of the data strictly necessary for the study.
They need weight, sex, year and month of birth and that's it. If they really want to do fine-grained geo-location on the data, the full postcode is already too fine-grained for useful statistical analysis.
The phone number is certainly far too much - and even the name is unnecessary.
They probably sold the data on to some other party to use - imagine the phone calls "We sell weight loss plans for your children!" (And we already know they need it...)
So did you report them to the ICO?
What did the ICO say about it?
Re: I agree with you that the version numbering scheme is a bit daft
That's the sound of you missing the point by a few AU.
I agree with you that the version numbering scheme is a bit daft
There were pretty good reasons for the MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.BUILD version numbering systems used by almost everyone (with various company variations on the BUILD bit).
Going away from that causes confusion and digs holes for both users and developers to fall into.
For example, if the devs crank up the PATCH when they make a fairly big change, users become nervous about any upgrade because "the last minor patch changed everything!"
Pretty soon it ends up in a situation like 1.20.50.xx because now there is nothing big enough to justify crank the MAJOR. That then confuses people and support even further - when somebody says "1.2.5", do they mean 1.2.5, 1.25.xx or 1.20.50?
Alternatively if you crank the MAJOR every single time, nobody has a clue whether a change is actually significant.
That means some users don't want to upgrade because they think something big must have changed every time and they don't want to learn it. (yet)
Once they realise most are not big changes, they get scared because they cannot easily tell whether anything "big" is there and thus put off every upgrade until they have a week of nothing much going on to test the new version.
So they end up behind, because this major version was really just a patch while that one was major, and the other was minor, and they all happened way before the user got the time (or courage) to try any of them.
For most of the above, for "user" read "Corporate IT Dept".
Most home users will just leave the auto-update at defaults, and then get very surprised if anything changes - my mum always phones me when her "internet" changes, and I doubt she's alone.
Authenticating proxies are painful
There are so many hoops to jump through to get those to work it's unreal.
I never did figure it out properly and it appears that nobody else has either.
My software can detect the proxy and authenticate itself, but cannot use the system authentication, the user has to re-enter login details.
Firefox and many other applications are the other way around.
Even more applications (eg Dropbox) don't do either, requiring you to manually set all the proxy details.
So how are you supposed to do it? The only application that mostly manages is IE8, and that fails if there is a different proxy for HTTP and FTP.
They have been privately traded for a long time, that's what set the IPO price.
And yes, it's a record low as far back as I can be bothered to check (2010)
Re: The Kruger-Dunning Effect strikes again
I disagree, company management can easily cause a business to fail.
There are many examples of a CEO or management team destroying a previously successful business.
Success is rarely directly dependent on management. In some cases it happens because management gets out of the way, in others they genuinely lead. (The latter is usually only in SMEs)
This is probably because destruction is both easier and faster than construction.
Re: Ask the consumer what they are expecting...
Sounds about right for the average man in the street.
I regularly see people trying to touch non-touchscreens and being surprised when it doesn't work.
Re: Should've gone to screensavers
1920x1080 is quite simply too small.
My previous laptop had 1200 vertical pixels, and I really notice the missing screen space in many applications.
Higher screen resolution also lets you make writing easier to read - compare this text drawn with 5x7 pixels to the text on your current monitor.
Now make the dots smaller while keeping the text the same physical size (using more dots) - again, it becomes nicer to read.
When we look at a 1080p movie, the upscaling of movie pixel to screen pixel again affords the possibility of nicer pixels - when in motion you can estimate what the 'missing' pixels would have been, increasing the effective resolution and making for a nicer movie experience.
Secondly, if the film is instead digitised at a higher resolution we'll get the real detail in the film - maybe even as high as the digital projectors used in the cinema.
Movie houses aren't going to sell those discs/licences until enough people have these 'above-HD' resolution screens for it to be worthwhile.
Re: Metro is not aimed at us
So who is Metro aimed at on the desktop or laptop PC?
It's not us "Power Users", because we run multiple applications simultaneously.
It's not novice users because "hot corners" and "charms" are undiscoverable and nothing looks "clickable".
It's not the intermediate users because they are used to how things look now. They are confused by minor changes (like "Start" becoming a blue blob), and find major changes genuinely frightening.
Re: Mousing over for progress?
What use is that?
Right now I can glance at the taskbar, or see it out of the corner of my eye and know that my video rendering task is less than half done.
Thus it can be safely ignored, I don't need to go there and can keep on writing this bitchy post.
If I had to move the mouse on top of it to see that same information, I've got to move my hand over to the mouse, move the mouse pointer, place it over the application's icon, wait for the popup and find that it's less than half done so doesn't matter yet, then move the mouse back to my actual bitching task and my hand back to the keyboard.
In the meantime I could have bitched about many different things on the internet, or even done some actual work.
Woah, they threw away the taskbar completely?
Bloody hell, the sky HAS fallen. From a usability perspective, ITaskBarList2/3 is by far the most useful API in the whole of Windows 7.
The idea of being able to tell how far gone that massive download/upload/rendering task was and when it/they finished is simply beautiful.
Re: [$application] is a Metro app.
WTF is it with you and this "multi-touch trackpad" malarkey? I'm really starting to think you don't actually know what a trackpad is!
TrackPADs are one of the worst pointing devices known to man, the primary limitation being that you cannot move the pointer very far before you have to pick up your hand, move back to the other side of the pad to move further.
Multitouch for a trackpad means that a few shortcuts can be built into the pad - eg right-click, scroll wheel - as it can tell the difference between one, two, many and lots of fingers and a limited number of gestures.
Metro is optimised for a touchSCREEN, and is possibly the worst interface ever developed for use with a trackPAD, multitouch or not.
That's because the Metro 'start menu' requires you to move the pointer further across the screen to get to the thing you wanted than the Windows XP/Vista/7 one, and is therefore considerably worse for trackpad users.
Re: phone chargers
I don't mean they are necessarily very significant, just that they're probably the biggest hidden consumption in an average family home.
What power consumption is there in a home?
Lighting, fridge/freezer, hob/oven/grill, kitchen appliances, white goods, computers, TV/STB/HiFi, chargers, heating/HVAC, garden appliances, CNC milling machine...
The average home will have more chargers than TVs/STBs, so if you assume they all consume the same quiescent power, the sheer numbers mean that they draw more in total.
In reality, they have lower-quality PSUs than TVs and STBs, and draw a bit more. The various proper measurements I've found imply they are between 450mW and 900mW when not charging.
Thus assuming the chargers are idle for 20 hours a day (4 hours to charge the phone), that's between 3.3 and 6.6kWh wasted a year by each charger!
That's between one and two kettle-hours per charger.
Re: Switch it off..
You are aware that modern TVs draw under 0.5W in standby?
Considerably less than a smart meter, and probably less than a dumb one as well.
Standby is irrelevant these days.
The biggest 'hidden' consumer is probably phone chargers. They are built tiny and cheaply so have relatively high quiescent consumption, and are easy to forget about.
Some set-top boxes are pretty terrible though - some of the 'Top-up TV' ones draw a good 20W in standby, becuase they never actually power down.
None of these will be even visible on a smart meter display if course, as they will be hidden by the fridge or freezer, which draws small bursts whenever it warms up inside.
Re: @Lockwood: XP/Fisher-Price, Win8/Metro
That worked in Windows XP, and you can do the same in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
However, you cannot turn Metro off in Windows 8.
Microsoft deliberately made that impossible - it was possible in the early developers preview, then the ability was removed and there's no sign that it's going to come back.
Qt Creator is pretty damn good
I've found it much nicer to use than Visual Studio 2010, notably it's much easier to bring up a program written on somebody else's computer and I've found its code modelling to be excellent.
It's free and open source.
The only annoying bit us that code panes are stuck in one window, once that is fixed it will be damn near perfect for C++ dev.
Re: So your lawyer asks for costs, which includes time taken off work.
Equally, the other side has the same duty to avoid running up unreasonable costs.
Multiple delays are clearly running up avoidable costs.
So your lawyer asks for costs, which includes time taken off work.
Your lawyer should also have been pointing out that the repeated delays were unreasonable and could only be a deliberate stalling tactic aimed at increasing said costs, which should therefore be punitive.
Or did you have a useless lawyer?
There do seem to be a lot of those.
Re: camera on a stick etc.
These "Smart Pens" with "Smart Paper" have been around for so long that they are the common and accepted way of signing off important documents in some areas of industry.
Two years ago (so before this patent was filed) the shipyard I was at used them for signing off things like "yes, the engine in this ship does actually work" - the kind of thing where rectifying a mistake costs millions so you want to be very sure!
(I never signed with the pen, being a pleb for a subcontractor.)
They'd already been using them for a few years before I saw them - not least for "Yes, that's the right size engine for the ship you'll be building in two years time."
Thus the prior art goes back a very long way.
Reading an early draft of EN-ISO 14819-2, I found a few slightly odd ones:
627 - No Motor Vehicles Without Catalytic Converters (Why would that change?)
628/629 - No Motor Vehicles With Even/Odd-Numbered Registration Plates
28 - Road Closed Intermittently (Huh?)
709 - Blasting Work
37 - Restaurant reopened. (What, no pub?)
1479 - Gunfire on Roadway - Danger (You don't say?)
Possibly the strangest would be: 1477 - Police Checkpoint.
Why would they advertise that?
Of course, the actual standard requires monies to be paid, and I'm not bothered enough to find out what exacting changes happened in the end.
Re: Why this is a stupid idea
The problem you've described is that they cannot see an invisible barrier, which makes perfect sense on account of it being, well, invisible.
Avoiding invisible barriers is clearly not a vision problem, it's a knowledge problem. You have to know that barriers like that could exist, and how to identify them.
Large, vertical sheets of transparent material are a very recent invention - so there aren't any structures in the bee brain that could acknowledge their existence.
There's a video doing the rounds of a dog that won't climb through a yet-to-be glazed glass door. The dog knows that things that shape normally have an invisible barrier, so assumes it cannot pass and waits for the door to be opened.
Re: rate of change
Rate-of-change is far more accurate than absolute if you are using accelerometers.
Unfortunately MEMs accelerometers (basically the only kind you can afford) are incredibly noisy.
This does mean that an accelerometer may be too noisy to monitor a balloon launch, as the linear accelerations are very low post launch. It may be worth looking at this though.
- A lot of people consider trying to use MEMs accelerometers to determine altitude of a platform but double-integrating tends to amplify the noise beyond any sense of usefulness.
Aneroid capsule sounds a very good idea to me.
These are also easily available from old-school barometers, although I'd want to test one in a chamber to be sure it can survive to altitude as those might not be intended for such low pressures!
Re: Balloon radius
Interesting concept, the balloon should be fairly easy to identify, as it's a very different colour to the general sky.
However, vision is very bad at detecting size - even human vision is terrible at it - it's much better at determining shape and attitude.
Casualities arising from renewable power are quite high
Just for wind power in the UK alone, the HSE said its figures showed three fatal accidents between 2007/08 and 2009/10 and a total of 53 major or dangerous incidents in the same time frame.
Wind turbines are inherently dangerous to work on or near - it's a lot of exposed work-at-height, in windy conditions.
There are over 100 deaths known to have been directly caused by wind turbines (most in the USA)
On top of that, they render large areas of the countryside or seabed uninhabitable and unusable because they often throw large pieces of ice long distances, and occasionally throw large bits of themselves as well.
Thus you cannot live or work near them, and to generate any sensible amount of electricity you need a lot of them over extremely large areas.
Sorry, but by doing any research you'd find that wind turbines are not safe.
Re: If these wavelengths can hardly penetrate anything...
You mean like your TV remote?
Fast switching of LEDs is how TOSLINK optical and TV remotes work. The bandwidth is very low as it can only use brightness for data transfer, because the LEDs emit relatively wide band, unpolarised random phase radiation.
That also makes them extremely reliable in terrible conditions.
In proper fibre optics the bandwidth is much higher because the laser diodes are extremely narrow band and in phase - if not polarised as well. So much more possibility for data transfer.
Which of course means they need very tightly controlled conditions - the inside of a glass fibre.
Re: Larry Kim is wrong.
However, if you annoy visitors enough one of two things happens:
1) They go away and never come back.
2) They install an ad blocker and never see another web advert.
Both of these are failures for the advertiser, and the latter is more serious.
Option 2 is more likely on a site that the user finds compelling because they want it despite the annoyance, and becomes almost certain if it has a social element that allows users to talk to each other.
Somebody will discover ad blockers, and then everyone will get one.
Re: not really the same thing
They've got to get the GPU firmware into it somehow, I thought that was a pretty elegant solution that allows later updates to GPU firmware quite nicely.
- and keeps the price down as no need for any extra onboard Flash or seperate BIOS/bootloader silicon.
Re: Software tweaks?
They have had quite a long time to be doing and testing those tweaks, IIRC it was the final approach and dock.
Given that docking takes a few minutes, they can do a hell of a lot of cycles of hardware-in-the-loop tests, and even more sim-only tests in the time they've had.
My guess is they've been testing what to do if it's gone to hell in as many different ways as NASA can think of.
Re: Something missing from this analysis, surely?
The CAP is a truly insane little treaty, with a great many examples of this kind of stupid waste.
It really does need to be completely abandoned, as although there probably are some good parts, they're lost in the mire.
It's what happens when you put a load of politicians together and tell them to solve the problem of food production - they invent a bureaucracy and give it the most complex rules they can come up with, forcing farmers to game the system in order to make a living.
Then as soon as they do that, the rules are changed to stop that particular way of gaming it, some farmers go bust and the rest have to find another way.
MuckyD's is where you go if you want to eat more of the cow.
All that lovely mechanically-reclaimed "beef product"....
@ShelLuser - Not sure what you're trying to say there.
At the time of posting, a Blackberry sits at number 8 and the LG Xpression feature phone at number 16, followed by Nokia Lumia 900 at 17 and 18.
Everything else in the top 20 is an Android - most are Samsung, and there's a couple of Motorolas and HTCs.
The real question is whether they're actually making any money.
Re: The drive needs to be re-formatted?
It's usually EXT2 or EXT3 as almost all STBs and Smart TVs run on some form of Linux.
FAT32 doesn't allow big enough file sizes for most HD recordings and quite a few SD recordings.
- Though on a Sony TV it's probably something completely proprietary that is impossible to mount on anything else (including other Sony TVs) by design intent. Or have they learned that lesson yet?
Re: his engineers have found batteries that could power a flight for 100km (62 miles).
More to the point, they never said how big the flying thing was.
Perhaps a 60 mile range TacoCopter?
Re: An operating system is what it's creators want it to be
It's not a God-given right, it's a law-given right.
Monopolies are universally known to be bad for the consumer in the medium to long run, for exactly the same reasons that they are good for the monopoly holder.
Namely that you can sell rubbish at very high margin, refuse to improve the product and still the consumer is forced to buy it.
Thus there are laws to limit monopoly powers.
You may disagree with the extent of these laws, but they do exist and must be followed. At least until the lobbying arm gets them changed, anyway.
Microsoft are hoping that Apple and Android save them from charges of abuse of monopoly, whether that will work is yet to be seen, but the more they lock it down the more likely that is to get tested in court.
WinRT (WoA) does not have a classic desktop, it's Metro only, and locked to the hardware that uses technical measures to ensure you cannot run anything else.
Thus if it actually takes off, we're back where IE6 came from - unpublished APIs that only MS code can access, preventing 3rd parties from making competing apps.
That can only be bad.
It would, except that almost everywhere now has or still needs wideband antenna and amps.
Originally because of Channel 5, later due to the various Freeview shuffling stages as even if the final result was a given band, the muxes went through others to get there.
Most of greater london has no need of amps anyway, it's once again people in the countryside (notably Scotland and Wales) that will get hit the worst.
That last part implies a computer driver would be safer, because it would not drive off the cliff.
It might still hit the deer, but it should be better at braking and steering accurately than an average driver so is more likely to avoid an obstacle as long as it can detect it.
Probably not Stig quality, but most drivers are not that good.
Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs
Modern lifeboats take quite a lot of people.
100-man boats are easily available, so that's a possible 1800 lifeboat capacity - before you even start to consider the liferafts.
Of course, you've forgotten to include the crew. There are probably going to be 1000 crew members to run the vessel - it's not just serviced apartments attached to office premises.
They have to generate their electricity, maintain the propulsion (you can't just anchor that far out), plus all the general maintenance of a steel vessel in an ocean and the sailing.
I think there are two real killers of this project though. Latency and fuel.
Latency of satellite internet links can easily top 500ms. Laser is only viable in good visibility and within sight of shore, so any laser link is going to fail much of the time.
Then there's the fuel - they are going to have to bunker a lot of fuel simply to run the ship.