61 posts • joined 19 Aug 2009
Its time for Notch to write a new game
I cant imagine Minecraft ever getting better. Minecraft reminds me of the greatest game of 1989 Populous. Populous went through 3 iterations and then it was time for Peter Molyneux to move on and write the completely new game Fable. Presumably Notch is planning to do something new soon and so he may as well do it out of the company (with money in his pocket) as within.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Do you ever wonder how much other people's possessions are worth but are frustrated that you do not have the technology to find out? Do not worry, The Amazon Fire Phone includes a feature called firefly. What you do is take a photograph of each your neighbor's possessions. The phone then identifies the possession and automatically adds it to your Amazon cart. It has never been so easy to keep up with the Joneses.
Putting a tablet to your ear is not cool
Any phone bigger that 5 inches in size looks ridiculous against your ear. What you need is a sub-5 inch phone and a tablet. If you want to go on the internet outside the range of wi-fi then you can tether your tablet from your phone.
Apple fanbois will buy anything with an Apple logo on it
Jimmy Kimmel put an Apple sticker on the back of a $20 Casio watch and Apple fanbois said that they thought it was great:
Re: Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks
"You linux fanboys are hilarious"
The only Linux programming that I have done has been for embedded Linux systems. My desktop PC and my Netbook are Windows systems. To me the value of desktop Linux is to stop Microsoft becoming too controlling and greedy. I have a Windows 7 Netbook and I am grateful to Linux for forcing Microsoft to cut the cost of Windows 7 on my Netbook from $100 to $10.
Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks
I have noticed that Steam Box suppliers such as Alienware have been shipping PCs originally designed to be Steam Boxes with Windows 8. I suspect that Microsoft will charge next to nothing for Windows 8 on Steam Boxes. Gamers will then have a choice between running 100% of their Steam games under Windows 8 on their Steam Box or only 25% under Steam OS. This is what happened with the Netbook where Linux was killed off by Microsoft offering Windows 7 virtually for free on Netbooks. Windows 8 Steam Boxes are not completely bad news for people wanting cheap games. A steam game can cost 90% less running under Windows 8 than it does running on an Xbox One.
Its not difficult to wipe 99% of the data from a device
The best way to wipe an Android device is to do a factory reset, completely fill the device with music or video podcast files and then do another factory reset. There may be fragments of old directory information left left but the majority of the data will be gone. This works because each location in flash memory can only contain data from one file and so when a device is full then to all intents and purposes the old data has gone.
Sony eReaders display technical PDFs better than any other eReader
I bought a SONY eReader from my local Tesco supermarket 18 months ago. It was discounted because sales were poor. I bought it because I had read that it displayed the A4 pages in technical PDFs better than the Kindle. Diagrams are not distorted and each half A4 page of text can be read clearly in landscape mode.
If you have another eReader then please tell me if it successfully displays the following free tutorial about TCP/IP:
Buy a phone that runs standard Android
I will not be buying an Xiaomi phone because they have a custom User Interface (MIUI). I will stick with my Nexus 5. The problem is that when a manufacturer branches from the standard Android software build to produce a custom UI then this makes it unlikely that the phone will receive Android security updates. My tip for buyers is to buy a Nexus phone or one of the new Google One standard phones because they run standard Android. Samsung, HTC, Huawei and Xiaomi all think that customizing their UI helps to differentiate their phones in the market place and so improves sales. It does not.
Old games are often very well suited to portable hardware such as mobile phones and the PSP. The games I most like to play on my PSP are those on the Activision Hits Remixed UMD. Playing games like River Raid and Pitfall 2 is much more enjoyable than playing COD Ghosts.
No need to upgrade your hardware if you buy a Nexus 7
I also have a (2013) Nexus 7. It is well supported by Google. I am already running Android 4.4.4, which not many other tablets or phones are running. I understand that my Nexus 7 will get all of the security updates that I need for the next 4 years or so. My Nexus 7 will run any current game well. I imagine that there will be games that my Nexus 7 will not run well within 2 years time but I will delay upgrading my Nexus 7 until it no longer supports the current version of Android.
Re: I am very satisfied with my Huawei Y300 phone
I bought an unlocked Y300 phone as an upgrade from Carphone Warehouse. It is normally £59 but has twice been reduced to £39. To qualify for the upgrade I bought a Pay As You Go Virgin SIM for an old candy bar phone which I topped up up by £10 every 6 months. Virgin may not be the best network to use for upgrades at Carphone Warehouse because it is not usable in all upgrades. I recommend O2, Vodafone or Orange PAYG SIMS for Carphone upgrades. I think that the best Android upgrade deal at this moment might be £79 unlocked Moto Es from phones4U.
I am very satisfied with my Huawei Y300 phone
This only cost me £39 and seems as fast as a mid-range Samsung phone costing four times as much. It also runs standard Android rather than the annoying Samsung touch-wiz interface,
iPhones are boring
About 2 years ago I walked into my local Tesco store and to my surprise saw a large display of old black small Samsung phones. I then looked more closely and realized that these phones were new iPhone 5s. IPhone 5s look really dated.
I like smart phones, but the real purpose of a phone is to make voice calls
Microsoft should not be stopping the production of S40 phones because smart phones are unusable for making voice calls because of their very low battery life. I have recently bought three Nokia 105 feature phones, which have a one month battery life, to guarantee that my family can still phone home even when they have been camping for two weeks. I generally use an Asha 205 as my main phone because I only need to charge it every few days. Also I can answer more quickly by pressing the green button on my Asha 205 than by using a swipe. I do sometimes use my Android HTC CHA CHA as a talk phone because it has a green button but still find I miss more calls than I would on my S40 phones.
Only buy stock Android phones
Sadly all of these Android phones with the exception of the Moto E are destined for landfill long before they break. The reason is that because they run customized versions of Android they generally only ever support one version of Android. They can not therefore benefit from Google Security fixes such as the many that were introduced with Android 4.4 Kit Kat. I have a Nexus 5 phone and a Nexus 7 tablet which means that they will be supported by Google for at least 4 Years. The thing to look for over the next Year if you can not afford a Nexus phone is a Google One certified phone. In a Years time an Indian designed and manufactured Google One phone with stock Android will be a better investment than the Galaxy 6 or whatever Samsung is trying to sell you then.
Pantech seems to only sell low end Android phones. I can how the Google One standard Indian Android phones will wipe out these phones. People are prepared to pay for all of the fancy features of a high end none upgradable Samsung phone. What people do not want is an unremarkable Android phone which can not be updated to the latest version of Android.
Buy a Nexus phone to get security updates
This is very true. However, the answer is to buy a Nexus 5 phone for £280 or Nexus 7 tablet for £190. Nexus devices are guaranteed to get all Android security updates. The new Google Silver branding program will overcome this issue. Phones will only receive Google Silver certification if they run standard Android.
What about phones4u?
Presumably the phones4u franchises will now be closed in all the Currys/PC World stores.
@AceRimmer. I actually think that Carphone Warehouse and phones4u are briliant. They are the only stores that sell unlocked phones and they give you a £20 discount on every phone if you upgrade from an existing PAYG SIM. I have six 99p candy bar phones with Virgin PAYG SIMs in them that I top up once every 6 months so that I can always take advantage of Carphone Warehouse and phones4u upgrade offers. I bought two Huawei Y300s for only £39 each that way.
Re: PCs are much faster than they were 3 years ago
I think that everyone in a work environment deserves a new PC. If I can run software tests in 10 minutes instead of 40 minutes then it makes sense to buy me a £200 i3 PC to do my job. An important question to ask is "what would the PC on my desk cost on eBay". If the answer is £40 then your company think that you are only worth £40.
So far as games are concerned the Xbox One and PS4 were built using standard low end PC components. If you want to to run the latest games at a decent resolution then you need a £600 i5 gaming PC. Many PCs (such as my £200 i3 work PC) will run games better than the Xbox One if you buy something like a £280 Nvdia GTX760 graphics card for it.
PCs are much faster than they were 3 years ago
Intel's marketting have totally failed to explain to the person in the street how much the performance of PCs has improved over the last 3 years. 2 years ago I started a new job and was routinely given the cheapest PC money could buy to do my work. What I was given was a HP Sandy Bridge i3 PC costing about £300. All my colleagues who had similarily bottom of the range Dell Pentium 4 PCs were shocked to discover that the software tests that we were running ran 4 tmes as fast on my PC. No one (not even the IT department) appreciated that a dual core i3 processor was much faster than the single core Pentium 4 processors that they were running. Also the Sandy bridge interface to DDR3 memory on the i3 performed memory reads and writes much quicker than memory reads and writes on the ageing Pentium 4 PCs in the office. The fact that my i3 PC had a SATA disk interface also helped.
The problem with thinking that tablets have replaced PCs is that the processors in tablets are roughly equivalent to 10 year old Intel Pentium 3 processors. Tablets run angry birds really well but will not run a serious PC app such as Battlefield 4.
Re: What everyone needs is a £280 Nexus 5
The Nexus 5's camera is very good. I was recommended an SONY Xperia SP when looking for a cheaper Android phone with a good camera. I was told that like the Nexus 5, the Xperia SP includes a quality SONY camera mechanism. I do not know personally if the Xperia SP has a good camera. What I do like about the Nexus 5's camera is that you can take a photo at sunset and on phone processing makes it look like the photo was taken at midday.
Re: What everyone needs is a £280 Nexus 5
The £99 Moto-G is great but the £99 model only has 8 Gb of on phone flash memory, which can not be expanded. Also the Moto-G camera does not get good reviews. From what I can see, you need to pay at least £180 for an Android phone with an 8 megapixel camera (Sony Xperia SP).
What everyone needs is a £280 Nexus 5
I have previously used Samsung phones with their annoying touchwiz interface. When I upgraded to a Nexus 5 running Android Kitkat I was surprised how well thought out the true Android Kit Kat experience was. The camera, together with the camera software is fabulous. My Nexus 5 has a very long battery life. The Nexus 5 is so much better than an old style small iPhone and is also half the price.
Re: Depth of field
The blurry hill behind the outcrop is Mount Sharp/Aolis Mons which is Curiosity's eventual destination and is still about 5 km away. Presumably it is blurry because Curiosity's camera was focussed on a point about 5m away. One thing to remember is that distant views on Mars can be blurry even when the camera is focussed on infinity because of dust in the atmosphere.
PS: If you want proof that Curiosity has crossed the Dingo Gap dune on Mars/Arizona, here it is:
Re: It looks like curiosity is already over the crest of the dune
Here is a panorama of the lovely strata to the left of dingo gap. Notice that is you do no processing at all of Curiosity photos then the sky is blue. Perhaps Mars photos are realy taken in Arizona after all. The conglomerate and sandstone beds in this view certainly look very Earth like.
Re: It looks like curiosity is already over the crest of the dune
"The Sol 533 toe dip went well, leaving the rover's front wheels on the crest of the dune. The Sol 534 plan was to drive over dune into Dingo Gap, but late in the day it was cancelled. The Rover Drivers had some concerns about the terrain and it was decided that delay the drive to Sol 535 in order to give them more time to plan the drive."
It looks like curiosity is already over the crest of the dune
The best place to look for information is unmannedspaceflight.com.
Nokia Hardware Is Very Good
Nokia produce good hardware. The battery life of Nokia S40 feature phones is is much better than most iPhones and Android phones. I carry a Nokia S40 feature phone along with my smart phone so that I can allways guarantee that I can make a phone call. That is after all what phones are for. Also Nokia phones have superior antennas to many other phones and so can often communicate in remote areas that others can not. My hope is that Nokia Windows phones will combine the best of both worlds: good hardware and good software.
Re: What's the point of upgrading
Intel has done a very bad job of explaining how PC performance has increased dramatically in the last few Years. I started working in a new job a Year ago and was given a brand new bottom of the range HP PC. My existing colleagues already had 4 year old bottom of the range Dell PCs. Everyone was shocked when tests that took 25 minutes to run on their PCs took only 5 minutes to run on my PC. Intel has simply not explained to people who buy PCs that in an I/O intensive task a sandy bridge i3 PC with a SATA disk drive has 5 times the performance of a Pentium 4 with an IDE disk drive. If the 64 bit copy of Windows 7 that had originally been installed on the new PC had not been downgraded to 32 bit Windows XP then the PC would have been even faster. Intel please pay for some TV ads explaining how amazing a Haswell i5 and i7 is.
Re: It's a PC
When my family play games we play Steam games on PCs. The huge advantage that PCs have over consoles is that recent PC games can cost as little as £2 in steam sales whilst the cost of next gen console games will take many years to fall below £50. For example you can buy Bioshock Infinite for £11.89 in this weekend's Steam sale.
If £11.89 is too much for a game then try www.humblebundle.com, where I bought 9 top EA games including Battlefield 3 and Dead Space 3 on Origin 3 weeks ago for $5. There are 1 or 2 new humble bundles each week and and the 5 oldest games in each of these bundles can be got for $1.
I have bought 15 Humble Bundle Windows steam games which would work in the Steam Box under Linux. These games cost me a total of $10 and include popular Indie games such as Fez.
Re: Intel is therefore arguably irrelevant
Intel do not sell any 8051s of their own any more. What I was talking about was 8051 compatible microcontrollers from companies such as Siemens.
8 bit computers are all around you down on Earth
Not many people realise how many 8 bit computers are all around you down on Earth. For example the computer in your bankers card is most likely to be a Motorola 6805 or an Intel 8051. The touch controller in your Android phone is most likely an Atmel AVR 8 bit processor. The 6805 is very similar to the 6502 microprocessor in the Commodore 64 computer and the BBC micro and the 6809 processor in the the Dragon computer and the Tandy Colour computer. Someone recently estimated that 90% of all computers manufactured are 8 bit microcontrollers and only 2% of all mircoprocessors manufactured find their way into PCs. Intel is therefore arguably irrelevant as a volume microprocessor manufacturer.
Many contractors have had a 10 year pay freeze already
This article makes it clear that it contractor rates have fallen this year. What it does not make clear is that many contractors have had no cost of living increases for the last 10 years AND that overtime pay has disappeared.
Also these figures do not include employer's national insurance, acomodation costs or pensions. True salaries are half those quoted here
Samsung manufactures many iPhone and iPad components
Samsung will no longer prioritise production of components for Apple. Expect shortages of Apple products over the next year. Sell your Apple shares.
Re: If your all in one PC breaks then it will take a fortune to fix
I should also mention that SCAN sell pre-built PCs.
It is interesting to note that although the new MacBook Pro with a retina display costs $2,100, it is partly glued together. It is therefore less repairable than most Apple products. The people who buy Apple products need to consider what would happen if they were to fail when they are out of warranty.
The only way to reduce the cost of repairing both all in one PCs and laptops is of course for there to be international standards for the boards and cables in these devices much as there is for desktop PCs. Then if a laptop motherboard was to fail, it could be cheaply replaced by a third party compentively priced laptop motherboard.
If your all in one PC breaks then it will take a fortune to fix
When you buy a new PC make sure that all of its components (case and motherboard etc) are completely standard. Then when one component breaks you can simply go to your local friendly PC maker and ask then to replace the case or motherboard or whatever for probably no more than £80 per component. You will also probably find that your new component is slightly faster.
I was given a HP laptop last year (which sells second hand on ebay for about £120). After a few months the SATA disk controller on the motherboard failed. I asked a PC shop for a quote for fixing the laptop. Their quote was £250 for the new motherboard and £150 for labour. If my desktop PC motherboard had failed then the repair would have cost around £80 for a new motherboard plus £20 for labour.
If you build your own PCs then costs can be even lower. My son has bought all of the components for the 3 PCs that he has build from SCAN. He believes that suppliers such as SCAN actually sell better quality components than many of the computer manufacturers. He raves about Corsair power supplies.
Most of the enthusiastic young IT graduates in the UK are Indian Nationals
I have met many enthusiastic young IT graduates recently in my travels as an IT contractor. However the suprising thing is that they are mostly Indian Nationals. A conversation with one Indian graduate revealed to me why this is happening. He told me that the ICT teacher he had from age 11 was passionate about C programming. My son's ICT teacher told me has never written a line of code in any programming language. The UK has a lost generation of young people who could have had a career in programming who instead are stacking shelves at Tescos because they were failed by ICT teachers who know virtually nothing about computers.
You have to buy 10000 to benefit from this price.
RS Components tweeted:
RS Components @RSElectronics
Relax @Raspberry_Pi The Androids are not coming yet. Most VIA staff unaware of APC. $49 price applies to 10000 units. Interest expressed :-)
Retweeted by Raspberry Pi
I want an ARM based £80 netbook
When netbooks first came out they only cost £150 and ran Linux. Then Microsoft said "you can have Windows 7 (virtually) for free". Netbook manufacturers then dumped Linux for Windows. Unfortunately although the first batch of netbook ran Linux quickly they could not run Windows 7 at an acceptable speed. This meant that netbooks were given faster processors and more memory. Netbooks now cost £300.
What I am hoping is that manufacturers will produce a new batch of compact netbooks which run Linux on ARM processors and only cost £80. The demand for the Pi has proven that there is a market for very low cost compact Linux only netbooks.
@Bingo I am sure that Google/Motorola are only suing Microsoft to demonstrate that "these patents are getting way out of hand". Google was forced to buy Motorola (and its patents) as a defence against Steve Jobs desire to "declare thermonuclear way on Android".
A level playing field for developers
One question that I have is how can people have ported a Linux software package to the Raspberry Pi when no hardware is yet available? The answer is presumably that around 500 Raspberry Pis have already been shipped to serious software developers around the world.
The problem is that Open Source development is supposed to be a level playing field. What I think should happen is that people be allowed to request that the Raspberry Pis that they have on order be shipped to them without magnetic jacks now on the understanding that they are sold as seen. I can not see how a large amount of educational software will be available in the middle of the year when the model A ships unless incomplete model Bs are shipped to developers now.
Re: Prototypes are never CE marked
I was not suggesting that they sell the first 10k. I was suggesting that they probably have a further 10k sitting in a factory in China awaiting the delivery of magnetic jacks that serious Raspberry Pi developers would be prepared to use.
I have an Atmel AVR development system sitting on my desk in front of me and I can assure you that it does not have a CE mark on it. It is ridiculous to suggest that the first few batches of Raspberry Pis will be shipped to anyone other than serious developers such as myself.
Prototypes are never CE marked
I am sure that the first XBOX 360 prototypes shipped to game studios were not CE marked. Developers need systems that are good enough for development, not perfect systems. There are problems with the current Raspberry Pi that will presumably be fixed in the model B+. The alignment of the magnetic jacks on the cicuit board is a bit crooked and perhaps the Boot ROM in the Broadcom microcontroller will be updated to support class 8 cards, but who cares? When these problems are fixed I will simply go out any buy a cased retail model of tbe model B. What I need is a development system now. I would like to suggest an experiment to Farnell, collect 10,000 part built Raspbery Pis from the factory in China where they are sitting awaiting delivery of magnetic jacks and put them in ebay. My prediction is that they would sell for £100 each.
Sun Microsystems estimated that half of all programs written were written for embedded systems. The purpose of the Rasberry PI is to teach people how to write these embedded programs. Writing real time software for a PC is a very difficult proposition. It is far easier to teach embedded software development on a bare bones system such as the PI.
Every nerd in the World wants one
I read a tweet by an employee of JPL a few month ago in which he stated that he wanted a Rasberry PI. The PI has also been mentioned in CNET podcasts. Every geek in the World wants one. Even if people are just curious, the PI costs so little that they will buy one to see what the fuss is all about.
I ordered 2 from Farnell at 5pm. The web site suggested at the time that I should expect my PIs in 30 days. I have no idea when they will actually arrive. This is almost as exciting as when I ordered a ZX80 for £99 in 1980.
I predict that within 6 months sales of the PI will exceed total sales to date of the iPad. Given the certainty that there will be sales at this level, my recommendation is that computer game writers who want to make a little money start porting their games to OpenGL on the PI.
Electrostatic cleaning may be considered for future mars missions
The designers of the Opportunity Mars Rover tried to reduce the effects of dust by making Opportunity's panels larger than they needed to be. This combined with providential winds when needed has kept Opportunity going.
Electrostatic cleaning may be considered for future mars missions. Here is a link
Note that the Curiosity Mars Rover currently headed for Mars has a nuclear power source and so needs no such technology.
Real Steel game advertises the XBOX 720
An ingame advert appeared for the XBOX 720 which gives some credence to the name:
Apple did not invent the mobile phone
Apple did not invent the mobile phone. All they did was to implement a touch based Graphical User Interface (GUI) that people like. Most software in a mobile phone is not part of the GUI.
Apple was banned from selling iPhones in Germany in November because the iPhone was found to violate two Motorola Mobility none GUI related patents. The first, European Patent (EP) 1010336 (B1), covers a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system", while EP 0847654 (B1) describes a "multiple pager status synchronisation system and method".
Over the next Year I expect the real inventors of Mobile phones Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson and Microsoft to ask for payment for the many hundreds of their patents which may have been violated by the iPhone.
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