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* Posts by Dave 126

4171 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS

Dave 126
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Re: let me be the first to say that

Those who don't had better invest in a box of drawing pins.

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Dave 126
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Re: while it may look cheesy

>it would be even more impressive if these bots could sense, communicate, coordinate and execute autonomously

That has been looked into already - see the TED Talk 'Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate' below. It shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate Prof. Kumar's techniques into these ball robots. The sensing hardware is almost at the 'off the shelf' level - (i.e MS Kinect et al), plus mesh networking...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ErEBkj_3PY

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A BENDY iPhone 6, you say? Pah, warp claims are bent out of shape: Consumer Reports

Dave 126
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Re: Headline should read "Note 3 Twice as Strong as iPhone 6"

>You can be certain that Apple will wriggle out of repairing / replacing these sub-standard efforts.

How do you square your assertion with the results of customer service surveys conducted by the UK's Consumer Association (see above), which, like Consumer Reports, is subscription funded?

i.e 'Links please'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Laboratory Street

The Consumer Association in the UK is similar - its monthly magazine is called 'Which?'. It has no advertising, and is financed by its subscribers.

They test all sorts of consumer goods, and they explain their methods which often involve a lot of real testing in controlled conditions. Recommendations are made, but the results of the tests and specifications of all tested products are always shown in a matrix.

Its subscribers give Which? a group of consumers with varied and broad interests who are willing to participate in surveys. They know that this information will not be used to sell stuff to them. Instead, the information will be processed and given back to them.

Such surveys include customer service from retailers, or the reliability of products.

It would be very difficult for any one company to 'game' these surveys, due to the range of products and services the subscribers are quizzed about.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Dave 126
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Emotional response

1.

Sometimes it doesn't matter a damn. Recordings of Fats Waller will make me dance and smile, despite the limited dynamic range and technical clarity of the original 1930s recordings. However, the arrangement of the music and the role of the band (piano, gypsy guitar, trumpet, vocals) are more than clear enough to impart the emotion of the music.

2.

Big speakers. We don't just listen with our ears. We can feel music through our bodies at louder volumes. In addition, we can sense frequencies below 20Khz through our skeletons. Witness deaf percussion players, and the presence of church organ pipes at sub 20Khz frequencies (Stephen J Gould notes this in his essay 'An earful of jaw' since our inner-ear bones evolved from our jaw bones). Generally, I find that with larger speakers, it is possible to hear the music clearly, and at the same time have a conversation without straining.

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Dave 126
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Re: One thing which hasn't been mentioned re MP3 encoding

>Third point: the DAC on a phone or laptop is unlikely to be anything other than the cheapest the maker could get away with.

Some versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 had Wolfson DACs, and the LG G2 is said to be good, too (and LG contributed to the Android Open Source Project the ability to play 192Khz 24bit FLAC natively)

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Dave 126
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Re: Records and WAV

Storage is cheap, but so is processing power- you may as well encode to FLAC, since the output is bit-for-bit identical to WAV, and you get meta-data too.

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Dave 126
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Re: May The Source Be With You*

What Craig said: Storage is cheap. Rip to FLAC because you might as well. Transcode to another (possibly not yet invented yet) format as and when required. Go to pub. Simple.

Oh, it goes without saying to ensure CDs are clean and scratch-free before ripping. Perhaps a £10 disc cleaner would be a worthwhile and inexpensive investment?

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Dave 126
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Re: Big boxen big bucks

Just to clarify, Class D doesn't mean 'digital'.

The Tripath Amps have enjoyed good reviews, especially given their price. There seems to be people who buy the inexpensive ones, and then upgrade the capcitors themselves.

For more on Smartphone Audio, Anadtech have one of these http://www.ap.com/products/apx585 and have produced graphs and everything:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing

For each set of tests we can add a load, simulated or real, to see how the device handles more demanding headphones. For this article I am sticking with only a set of the updated Apple Earbuds. They are probably the most common headphone out there and easy to acquire to duplicate testing. For future tests the other loads will be AKG K701 headphones and Grado SR60 headphones. Both models are popular, and I happen to own them.

There are a few main tests we are going to use for all these reviews. Those key tests are maximum output level, Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N), Frequency Response, Dynamic Range (as defined by AES17), and Crosstalk.

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Dave 126
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Re: Find your own threshold

Spot on, AC.

Its a sliding scale:

Low bitrate: 'Metallic goblin laughter' artefacts clearly audible to everyone.

[Middle ground]

High bitrate: indistinguishable by ear from source.

Of course, storage is so cheap that is is a no-brainer to rip CDs as FLAC, if only to be able to transcode them to any desired future format without cumulative compression artifacts creeping in. This is much the same philosophy as scanning photographs at a higher than required resolution and saving them in a lossless format (so to avoid any possibility of jpg > edit > jpg > edit > jpg etc jaggedness occuring).

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Dave 126
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Re: Digital Clone - billat29

>Had memory been cheaper when the CD was invented, it might have been that reclocking the data - through a first in-first out memory buffer - would have been used; it would have made a noticeable difference to the audio output.

It was featured on Sony 'Discman' portable CD players as 'ESP' - electronic shock protection. It was featured on all MD players because, like a computer HDD, the data was always stored sequentially (you could delete or rearrange tracks on a MD). The amount of buffer varied depending upon the model of Discman / MD player you had - the pricier models tended to have more solid-state memory, expressed in 'seconds' of anti-shock protection.

The Sharp 722 MD player (which has a scroll wheel in 1998) would play reliably in a pocket whilst walking - the cheaper 702 player would occaisionally have to catch up on itself.

This was a year or so before the £600 5GB iPod, and before 32MB (yes, MB) MP3 players were seen in Currys.

[Side note: If Sony hadn't been so awkward about copy protection and propriety formats, a proper High Density Data Minidisc (later versions could do around a GB, normal MDs were about 100 MB) could have pre-empted the iPod's impact on the market. Instead, we had SonicStage software and beautifully designed 20GB Sony HDD players that could only play ATRAC - not even MP3! - years after the iPod. Silly Sony.]

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Dave 126
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Re: Why even bother with that?

>Even easier still, just put the CD in the drive and listen to it.

Er, on a Mac? I have always found them to be well behaved and reliable machines, except for their optical drives which sometimes exhibit a tenacity for holding onto CDs rivalling that of a neurotic spaniel with a tennis ball.

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Dave 126
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Let's see now.... 2 miles, 1500 gallons / hour, 15 minutes to get there...

I was going to make a rough estimate of pipe diameter, but I don't have a back of a beermat to hand.

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Apple 'Genius': iPhone 6? We've had NO COMPLAINTS about our BENDY iThing

Dave 126
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Re: Anyone with half a brain...

The irreversible bending appear to occur around the volume keys - the cut-outs act as 'stress-risers'. A small flange around the cut-outs - either internal or external - would help alleviate the issue by better distributing the strain.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phat Aluminium?

>It's actually an alloy.

Well yeah. Most structural metals are alloyed rather than used in their pure form. There are many types of aluminium alloy, to fine-tune the desired properties. Adding magnesium tends to make for easier casting, for example.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phat Aluminium?

>Aluminium isn't really that strong. It's usually fairly soft. Properly made plastic casings can actually be quite a bit stronger.

Aluminium is quite soft and not that stiff for a given cross-section. However, because it is less dense than steel, the actual cross section used to achieve the required strength is larger than that used for steel. As a consequence, aluminium structures tend to be stiffer than steel ones- look at bicycle frames as an example.

(there are other things going on here though - the choice of material defines the process used to shape it - so ribs might be stamped into steel sheet for stiffness, whereas you might choose to cast a mag/alu alloy, or machine it to achieve a stiff structure)

Of course the primary concern on a bicycle frame is light weight (it doesn't matter if the tubes are thicker), whereas on a phone it is the physical dimensions (W x L x T) that people compete on.

Now, you might choose to use one of a number of plastics instead for a phone- and you might arrive at an engineering solution where the device does bend, but can then return to is original flat state. Aluminium, unlike steel and titanium within their elastic limits, exhibits 'fatigue' where eventual catastrophic failure can result from a succession of small bends or vibration over time.

Another solution would be to build strain gauges into the phone, triggering an audible warning if too much strain is observed, or perhaps a message "get off me you fat bastard!". Or a sound like a mouse being crushed (simulated on a synthesiser of course, not recorded from life in a studio)

Anyway, looks my next phone will be the Xperia Z3 Compact, with flexible glass front and rear, and nylon corners to protect against shock. And it will be in a case. And I don't wear hipster skinny jeans.

I am quite butter-fingered though.

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

Dave 126
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So you telling me that your family

Has a history of obesity

You got a wire loose in your pituitary

It's just the way that God made me

It's unlikely, statistically

To be a physical thing

But either way it don't explain why you

Are in the cue at Burger King

You can blame it on biology

You can blame your physiology

You can point to genealogy

And your social anthropology

You can say you are an ectomorph

That you just can't get the kilos orf

Well you can be what you wanna be

But stop feeding that boy KFC

- Tim Minchin

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Dave 126
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Re: Flaw in the argument

Vegetable soup makes you calm and happy - 3000 year-old Chinese proverb

Human subjects were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisone after eating vegetable soup daily for two weeks - scientific paper published around 2004

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AVOID the Apple Watch. Buy a drone or robot instead, techies told

Dave 126
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Re: and I believe...

Indeed they did.

However, even Apple users would suggest waiting for the iWatch MK 2.

First iPod: Firewire only, Mac only, 5GB.

First iPhone: No 3G

First iPad. No longer supported. The iPad 2 is still supported (though reports suggest its beginning to struggle with iOS 8).

Wait for MK 2.

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Titan falls! Blizzard cancels World of Warcraft successor

Dave 126
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Re: A ray of light

>possibly some renewed focus on the Warcraft movies

Ah, thanks for reminding of what has been consuming Duncan Jones' time of late. His first two films, Moon and Source Code, were both solid.

Uwe Boll made a bid to direct, but was turned away by Blizzard, who he claims to have said, "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you… especially not to you." Haha!

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warcraft_(film)

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Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

Dave 126
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Re: I've got one in an 8 year old FM radio

Similarly, don't go poking inside valve amplifiers (especially ones built in Jamaica for pumping out dancehall music very loudly) unless you know what you are doing. The capacitors inside can still hurt you, even weeks or months after the amplifier was last connected to a power supply.

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Dave 126
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If the SSD manufacturers are expecting a more heat-tolerant capacitor chemistry to be available soon, they might not consider it worth investing in developing automated soldering techniques for the current generation of capacitors.

That's just a thought, I really don't know.

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Dave 126
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Re: Kaboom?

"Oh, meltdown. It’s one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus."

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My TIGHT PANTS made my HUGE iPHONE go all BENDY!

Dave 126
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Re: Given the amount of effort required in that video

Titanium is stiffer than aluminium, weight for weight. However, the lower density of aluminium means that to achieve the same strength the cross section is wider, so the structure as a whole is stiffer. This is why aluminium bicycles have tubes with thicker wall sections (and thus thicker tube diameters) than steel or titanium bicycles.

Stiffness is not the same as strength.

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Dave 126
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Re: Indeed

My autocarrot always insist that I use 'ducking life'.

Anyway, I'm off down the sub for a riot.

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Apple iPhone 6 Plus: GORGEOUS FAT pixel density - but it's WASTED

Dave 126
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Re: Always Critical of Apple

Like most things IT, I want more more storage, more memory and more speed, but I want those things out of habit. I have a 16GB Android phone and for my uses that is just fine. A few dozen albums, podcasts and a few hundred pictures fit on it fine.

For sure, if it had a larger screen, I might want to stick some movies on it, but no matter. If I spent more time on public transport (as opposed to being in my car with its own SDcard-playing stereo) I might want more storage on my phone, but I don't. So I can understand how some many people would want more than 16GB.

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

There are websites that standardise (as far as is possible) their battery life tests of various handsets.

Anandtech have a reputation for such tests, and though they haven't yet released their full review and test results for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, they have released some preliminary results here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8559/iphone-6-and-iphone-6-plus-preliminary-results

"As with all of our battery life tests, we standardize on 200 nits and ensure that our workload in the web browsing test has a reasonable amount of time in all power states of an SoC." The test is done on WiFi.

NB: The founder of Anandtech left the website earlier this year and is now employed by Apple.

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Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes

Dave 126
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Re: Very good at what he does

Robert Oppenheimer did try to poison his lecturer with an apple laced with some toxin... generally though, I'm on his side.

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Dave 126
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Re: God doesn't think he's X

Not earlier, but tangentially related:

Bernard explains the abbreviations for various Foreign Office honours.

Bernard: “Of course, in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.”

Hacker: “What about GCMG?”

Bernard: “God Calls Me God.”

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Dave 126
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Re: Good cables are better

>I wonder why four people down-voted, there's nothing inaccurate about saying the DMA of firewire is a huge security risk.

The attacker will need physical access to your machine to plug in a rogue FW device. In the environments in whih FireWire is used, any thief will just make off with your external HDDs or expensive video camera before they start faffing around with a FireWire-based attack.

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Dyslexic, dyspraxic? No probs, says GCHQ

Dave 126
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Winston Churchill...

.. on seeing the people working at Bletchley Park was heard to say "When I told you to leave no stone unturned to get the people you need, I didn't expect you to take me so literally".

Of course Winston was less than polite about women, the Welsh, Kurds and many other groups... his views aren't mine, but he was a witty bastard.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/francis-maude-speech-at-cyber-security-challenge-masterclass

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Apple iPhone 6: Looking good, slim. AW... your battery died

Dave 126
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Re: Excellent Review, Despite Clickbait

Yep, the Reg reviews of new iThings are usually very even-handed, and so are at odds with the dozen or so snarky articles that precede them.

Irrelevant to me as an actual phone user though - I'm more mid-range. The year old LG G2 still holds it own (not the best in any one category, but in the top three in a few areas such as battery, audio and camera) but I'm not sure I want a 5" phone, so very tempted by an Xperia Z1 Compact or Z3 Compact (there is no Z2 compact, and the Z3 C just refines the Z1 - e.g Sapdragon 801 instead of 800, improved viewing angles on the screen etc)

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I sold 10 MILLION iPhone 6es at the weekend, says Tim Cook. What did you do?

Dave 126
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Re: Please, Please, Please

>Will someone make a nice mid to high range phone that isn't stupidly big?

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact or Z3 Compact, both have the same flagship-specs as their bigger non-Compact brothers. I'm tempted, as they are both only 5mm wider and longer than my 4" Xperia P, they have 4.3" and 4.7" screens. A 5" phone would just be too upsetting of my trouser pocket.

In Android-world, anything under 5" is small these days it seems.

Some other vendors release 'Mini' versions of their flagship models, but they tend to have slower internals.

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

Dave 126
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Re: Practice, Practice, Practice

Really? I thought that the team Stanley Kubrick assembled for 2001 did a better job of faking space travel with models than many who have tried since with CGI.

Even the StarWars prequels used a large quantity of miniature physical models (in addition to the CGI stuff).

The director Christopher Nolan tries to use physical model as much as he can, as well. He also used David Bowie to fake Nikola Tesla, too!

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Dave 126
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Re: Good effort but alas

Yeah, conspiracy theories are the mental equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "nanananana I can't hear you na na na na".

People conspire on a daily basis - from surprise birthday parties to price-fixing amongst competitors - hoodwinks at this scale are implausible for all sorts of reasons, from motive to execution.

Sidenote: The first *hardback* edition of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has blurb for Capricorn One on its back cover (and not a plain blue back cover). Capricorn One is film and novel about a faked manned mission to Mars.

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Pop open this iPhone 6 and see where the magic oozes from ... oh hello again, Qualcomm

Dave 126
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Re: More fixable is good

Glue makes items easier to disassemble for recycling - the items are passed through an oven and then come apart more easily than devices that require unscrewing.

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Register journo battles Sydney iPHONE queue, FONDLES BIG 'UN

Dave 126
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Re: About the author

>Can we have some more balanced articles please?

Wait until the full Reg review. They are usually pretty even-handed, regardless of gadget species.

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Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE

Dave 126
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Re: Knee Jerk Off

> If an emergency vehicle is behind, just keep driving until there is a nice safe place to slow right down or pull over, not hard is it.

Agreed, if its intention to pull you over. No harm in gently slowing, and maybe blinkng your lights to communicate that you have got message and will pull over at the first available safe place.

If an ambulance, give a flash of your headlights whist planning your action, as it might help the people ahead of you notice the ambulance behind you and thus move move appropriately too.

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Dave 126
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Re: Speedo?

Okay, lets say all of us here have glaced away from the road at times

All: Speedo

Some: + + our watches to tell the time

Looking at the speedo requires a glance, which is within margin., as is glancing at a wristwatch to tell the time.

Both are information displayed in an expected format. both are unchangiong in the way they disaply that information - there is no 'surprise' information, noe unexpected SMS text.

Except that the Speedo display can surprise: A warning light! However, it is a warning, so it is only telling you to safely slow down and then safely park. It is not telling you "that the timing chain is getting worn so get it seen by a professional now or else risk engine damage soon" - by the time you've read that, you would have crashed.

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Dave 126
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Re: Speedo?

Car stereos that don't have a volume knob, but instead rely on two fiddly buttons.

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Damien Hirst, eat your heart out - these guys chop up TAXIS

Dave 126
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Re: Just

>fools and their money....

Er yeah...

if I only had a tenner, it would be foolish of me to be parted from it. Agreed.

If I had ten million quid, and all my shelter, food and booze was assured, what I do with the odd thousand quid doesn't matter a damn. That's kind of the point of having shitloads of money - being able able to spend someof it without thinking very much.

I'm not saying it's tasteful, or right - just that it ain't necessarily foolish.

And heck - if I bought some dodgy artwork, and sold it for ten times the amount ten years later - would I still be a fool, or would I be a prophet or just a jammy bugger?

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iPhone 6: Most exquisite MOBILE? No. It is the Most Exquisite THING. EVER

Dave 126
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National Treasures and National Jokes aren't mutually exclusive (almost the opposite, in fact)... with all the news about British politicians of late, I've been missing Screaming Lord Sutch. And Vivian Stanshall, obviously.

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Dave 126
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Was it Wednesday's Guardian or Independent...

... that provoked this Reg article? One or the other had a half-page piece by Stephen Fry about the iPhone 6 yesterday.

Anyway, last time the Reg had a piece like this, its name was brought by Stephen Fry's blog to the attention of thousands of people who had never heard of it.

I wouldn't be a regular Reg reader if I wasn't cynical, but cynicism cuts both ways.

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iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!

Dave 126
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Re: WebGL Demo

Is it possible that you disabled WebGL in Chrome for security reasons, and then forgot that you had done so? IIRC, The Register recommended doing just that last year.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Dave 126
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Re: TV / Panel / VDU

>D126: "push one button on remote control"

>>That's essentially a 'problem' (Really?) that can be sorted by the use of an advanced programmable Remote Control.

Okay JefffyP, can you train my father to press [PVR] > [Power] > [TV] > [Power] on the remote? Thanks. I've tried and failed.

>you might be asking a bit much (or giving up too much in other areas) to expect all your ever-changing gadgets and all your TVs to be fully integrated

I know market forces are against it, but there is no harm in me putting it on the 'wish list', is there? There is no technical reason why there can't be a 'wake-over-HDMI' function, surely?

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Dave 126
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Re: US media domination ?

The U.S version of House of Cards - notable for being produced by Netflix rather than a traditional cable company. /pedant

Your point stands, though!

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Dave 126
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Re: Stick in the seventies?

"As a <specialist in X> I have long been fascinated <programme topic>. Join me on my journey [groan] as I explore the fascinating story of <programme topic>. Along the way I'll look at [insert five minute montage of all of the programme's scenes]"

[ten minutes later: scene of presenter walking along looking deep in thought]

then [camera fixed on presenter instead of the object they are actually talking about]

There is clearly a BBC documentary style-book, the first page of which says 'nab someone out of academia who isn't too ugly'.

The only BBC documentaries that buck this trend are David Attenborough-narrated 'blue chip' series, and anything by Jonathan Meades.

It is worth noting that neither David Attenborough (natural history) or Patrick Moore (astronomy) had formal education in the subjects the are associated with.

/rant

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Dave 126
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Re: TV

>TV sets now universally need decent external speakers as otherwise they are like a 1970 pocket disposable Hong Kong AM radio with 2" speaker.

Is it a bad thing in theory that you buy a screen and then buy speakers appropriate to your tastes and situation? Many people choose to use their own speakers, which means that the cost of fitting reasonably good speakers in the TV set is often wasted money. (Of course the devil is in the details, such as extra wiring, wall-mounting, making sure the purchaser is aware that they need to put aside some extra money for speakers...)

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Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed

Dave 126
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Re: Why does the Moon have gravity?

>Re: Why does the Moon have gravity?

>>"... to which the answer is "gameplay is crap without it"

>>>No, the real answer is: They were too lazy/short on budget/<insert excuse here> to rejig the physics for the different planets.

With respect, Vector, changing the physics is very easy - it would just be the changing of a value. Bungie implemented low gravity in Halo 2, and mixed different levels of gravity within the same map in Halo Reach.

Basically, if your avatar takes a dozen seconds to return to the ground after jumping at 1/6 G, you can't control its movement easily: thus sub-optimal gameplay.

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Dave 126
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Re: sigh

>I can't stand 1st person shooters, and for me gaming is most satisfying offline and solo.

Bizarrely, Halo started off life as a Real Time Strategy game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN9vO_gRzoI

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