* Posts by Dave 126

4340 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

Dave 126
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Re: Why let truth get in the way...

You'll be next be suggesting that there aren't actually rules to the game we know as Mornington Crescent! What a ludicrous idea!

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Dave 126
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Hmm, IBM and ICBMs are very different things.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why let truth get in the way...

Since we are pointing out the bleedingly obvious, Alan Davies isn't actually ignorant. As the producers of the show found out in the first pilot for QI, having Alan just give the correct answers resulted in a boring show.

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Dave 126
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Re: The thinking man's grandma

@mastodon't

Exactly.

Whereas Fry's friend Douglas Adams described himself as the sort of person who, when faced with a two hour long job on a computer will instead spend two days writing some code to do the job for him.

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Dave 126
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Re: The thinking man's grandma

If we're going for accuracy, then let us note that the error probably lies with the researchers and scriptwriters on QI, and not with the man reading the autocue.

We've seen this before: "And I'm Ron Burgundy. Go fuck yourself, San Diego. "

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Globe grabbin,’ sphere slammin’, orb-tossin’, pill poppin’... Speedball

Dave 126
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Re: Joystick Killer

Back in the days when joystick packaging proudly stated 'Microswitches' as a selling point!

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Dave 126
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Re: The Bitmap Brothers

>Although I can't actually remember the game being all that good...

Gods looked great, but it was a bit ploddy, flip switches to open doors, and relying on every health and weapon upgrade you could get.

Platform games were a bit scarce on the PC at the time, with Sonic and Mario of course being exclusive to Sega and Nintendo. Heck, even the 8-bit Master System seemed to have better platform games, such as Wonderboy III.

Flight simulators and strategy games aside, the PC felt to me like the poor man of the gaming world until the rise of the First Person Shooter.

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Dave 126
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The Bitmap Brothers

I loved their art style across all of their games.... Xenon 2, Gods, The Chaos Engine, Speedball 2... I owned a PC, so I missed out on much of the audio richness of the Amiga / ST versions, though. I never played 'Z', (I must have been too busy with Doom and Carmageddon) but I see it's been remade by the community: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_(computer_game)#The_Zod_Engine_.28Remake.29

Along with Team 17, Codemasters and Sensible Software, it was a golden age of gaming.

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Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer

Dave 126
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Re: Missing the point

>anyone not wearing one when riding a bike is an absolute idiot of the highest degree.

The statistical evidence in favour of bicycle helmets is not as clear cut as one would assume, though it does appear that, on balance, wearing a helmet is a good idea.

I would recommend the film 'The Crash Reel' to anyone. For a film about the consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries, it is surprisingly uplifting. That film, and also the movie 'Senna' were on my mind when I heard the news about Michael Schumacher's crash last month.

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Dave 126
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>Me thinks this needs to be opensourced back into the community, after all their business wouldn't be anywhere without the opensource reprap.

Where did you get that idea, rmwebs?

Stratasys have been selling commercial 3D printers to paying customers since the early 1990s. The open-source RepRap project, based on Stratasys's Fused Deposition Modelling (as opposed to alternative rapid-prototyping techniques such as Laminate Object Modelling, Selective Laser Sintering or Stereolithography) has been running since 2004.

Disclosure: Stratasys sent me a sample, a 4" long 3D-printed adjustable spanner in 2001, made of a nylon-like plastic. Only yesterday did I manage to print (mostly successfully) a 3D object on my own RepRap Ormerod printer (the one being sold by RS Components). The trick of coating the bed with a 50:50 water/PVA mix and allowed to dry seems to have solved my warping problems. It's been (mostly) fun to assemble, but don't believe the "Kit takes two hours to assemble" claim on the RS website! For a honest and broad overview, you can of course check the Reprap Forums > Machine Variations > Ormerod: http://forums.reprap.org/list.php?340

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Dave 126
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Re: So can they print rainbow ice-hockey helmets

It would be easier to graduate granules of different colours in the hopper of an injection-moulding machine.

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Dave 126
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Re: A 3D printed cycle helmet?

In industrial design, people understand the difference between an appearance model and a functional prototype.

That said, bicycle helmets are usually made of composite materials (i.e, a composite of polystyrene and a gas such as carbon dioxide) so that the gas can compress on impact. In theory, additive manufacturing can be used to create a structure with pockets of air which can meet or exceed the relevant safety tests. However, I can't think of a reason as to why you choose this process over traditional means, other than the promise of a helmet that is 'tailored' to an individuals head shape by means of 3D scanning.

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Dave 126
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Re: Missing the point

>I don't care what colour my bike helmet is, I want it to be as strong as possible while also being light.

I don't want my bike helmet to be as strong as possible. I want it to deform on impact in order to reduce the acceleration exerted on my brain. That is why they are made of polystyrene or, more recently, cardboard:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25681895

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Apple's Tim Cook: Fear not, worried investors, new product salvation is 'absolutely' on the way

Dave 126
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Re: New product category

> Next step is probably the additional capability to drop the mobile device into a dock and it becomes your desktop PC

There are two main reasons to want to do that: 1, access to files that are only on your mobole device, and 2, saving money by not duplicating processing hardware.

There are probably better (and more redundant) ways of synchronising files, and the cost of hardware required to do a good many tasks is very cheap these days.

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Dave 126
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>Plus the mobile phone market is surely a once in a lifetime deal. To find another device almost everyone on the planet wants/needs, that costs what a smartphone costs and that gets promoted by massive cross subsidy from monthly subscriptions is surely a hard act to follow.

Healthcare products? Apple have already bought a hearing aid company, and health monitoring of our ever-ageing population is a justification for 'wearable' technology.

As noted in another Reg article today, healthcare is an area Sony is looking at.

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Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE

Dave 126
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In cryptography, scrypt is a password-based key derivation function created by Colin Percival, originally for the Tarsnap online backup service. The algorithm was specifically designed to make it costly to perform large-scale custom hardware attacks by requiring large amounts of memory. In 2012, the scrypt algorithm was published by IETF as an Internet Draft, intended to become an informational RFC, which has since expired. A simplified version of scrypt is used as a proof-of-work scheme by a number of cryptocurrencies, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrypt

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm mining Litecoins as we speak...

Iitecoins were designed to not hand a massive advantage to specialist hardware over CPUs, but due to how it implemented the Scrypt proof-of-work GPUs are still faster.

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What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

Dave 126
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Cheers guys! The weight won't bother him too much, and in any case he usually carries a Panasonic travel zoom camera - for landscapes and pub sessions.

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Dave 126
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My old man is in the market for a new phone, his previous small-screened Android phone having irritated him - especially the keyboard and the battery life. A fair few of his friends have iPhones, and they have a reputation as being easy to use, yet my father's chief complaints with his current phone is that the keyboard is too small. I was just about to suggest he get a Google Nexus 5 (good value, big screen, good battery life, virtual keyboard can be swapped out for another one).

However, on Saturday his friend showed us her Nokia 1020, specifically the messaging app in which she had bumped up the font size. Clean, legible, large... it looked very good (Actually, it looked like Rockbox on my old iRiver H320).

So, beyond the lack of apps compared to Android and iOS (which doesn't bother my old man a bit), is there any reason I shouldn't recommend he get one?

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Apple plans to waggle iNormous 4½-incher in fanbois' faces

Dave 126
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Re: Cheapo?

When did polycarbonate become "cheap?"

Er, since always? Injection moulded plastic parts are far cheaper than CNC'd aluminium parts, if you are making enough units. Moulded polycarbonate may be slightly more expensive than moulded ABS, but not by much - and we're only talking about a part that weight a few dozen grams.

Extruded skylight roofng panels and compact discs are also made of polycarbonate.

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Apple’s Mac turns 30: How Steve Jobs’ baby took its first steps

Dave 126
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Re: Oh deary, deary me

Look at the address bar on your browser, and you will see the last characters are 'p1/'

Kindly navigate to Page Two of Part 2 to find what you seek!

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Windows 8.1 update 'screenshots' leak: Metro apps popped into classic desktop taskbar

Dave 126
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Re: Reverse

I don't use Adblock on The Reg, because a, I like The Reg and b, their adverts are not normally intrusive - they get the balance correct. A month or so back there was an annoying Microsoft advert here with audio, but I can only assume that this was a rare oversight. Were that kind of advert the norm here, then yes I would enable Adblock.

A good number of websites have become almost unusable in the last year or so, with constant in-window 'pop-ups' and elements that break the normal conventions (such as changing the behaviour of my mouse scroll to move between photos, for example). The Reg is not one of them.

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UK smut filter may have sent game patch to sin-bin

Dave 126
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There have been stories like this...

...since the early nineties, when schools were getting t'internet and using crude filters. IIRC, Beaver University had to change its name to Colorado University as a result.

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Pay-by-bonk? YEP, it's an Apple patent now...

Dave 126
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Re: secure wireless connection

Financial data sent over a secure wireless network?

Newsflash: People do that every day, from making Amazon purchases to using a 'chip and pin;' card to get a pint and £20 cash-back in the local pub.

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Dave 126
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One of the wheels is not working properly:

Opportunity’s front right steering actuator has stopped working, so [NASA Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres] identified that as the possible culprit behind the whole mystery.

Each wheel on the rover has its own actuator. Should an actuator jam or otherwise fail, the robot’s mobility can suffer. In the case of this wheel, it can no longer turn left or right. “So if you do a turn in place on bedrock,” continued Squyres, “as you turn that wheel across the rock, it’s gonna kinda ‘chatter.’” This jittery motion across the bedrock may have propelled the rock out of place, “tiddlywinking” the object from its location and flipping it a few feet away from the rover.

http://news.discovery.com/space/mystery-rock-appears-in-front-of-mars-rover-140117.htm

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Apple hires medical techies, raises spectre of iStuff slurping data direct from your bloodstream

Dave 126
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Re: Apple might actually get some money out of me...

>I would very much prefer such a device to have NO connectivity at all.

What, not even USB connectivity so that you can look at graphs of glucose over time?

Fear about 3rd parties having your data are reasonable. Fears about 3rd parties obtaining your data through dodgy security implementation are reasonable. A point-blank dismissal of individuals collecting their own data, to be shared with whmo they choose (and so perhaps saving a district nurse from travelling to the thrice weekly)... a bit daft.

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MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Dave 126
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Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....

If only the Proof of Work could be something that required human 'brain hours'.

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Dave 126
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@Ac

Curiously, I was reading a similar roundup of BC-mining hardware, and it was noted that one supplier had started as a speculator and was now offering hardware, whilst another hardware supplier had since become a speculator.

It seems the two companies have converged upon the same hybrid business model... part gholdminer, part seller of shovels.

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Dave 126
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Re: EC2, Azure, etc

There are Crypto-currenciues (like Litecoin) based on a Proof of Work (such as Scrypt) that doesn't hand a huge advantage to specialist chips... however, it's said that Litecoin bodged the implementation, meaning that GPUs are still faster than CPUs.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm not some kind of hippy or anything, and it's an interesting experiment....

> does the whole mining process not strike anyone else as being an utterly futile waste of electricity and processing power?

Yeah, I know how you feel.

However, the same can be said for the physical mining or gold, or diamonds... at least Bitcoin mining doesn't pollute groundwater or result in hundreds miners being killed each year.

One can almost imagine a swarm of self-replicating machines in orbit, feeding upon satellites for raw materials and turning sunlight into virtual gold... maybe its that sort of disastrous situation that which caused the universe of Star Trek to be a 'post money' society!

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Even 'Your computer has a virus' cold-call gits are migrating off XP

Dave 126
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They rang me yesterday. In the past, I've pretended to play along with them for a while, before reporting the call to the National Fraud Hotline (just for their statistics really), but yesterday I just used some loud Anglo-Saxon.

It isn't the likes of us on this forum who will be taken in, but more the proverbial 'little old lady'.

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Mountain bike mishap man suffers SEVEN WEEK stiffie

Dave 126
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Couldn't they have just tried...

... to turn him off and on again?

[Apologies to Graham Linehan]

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Tech titan Bill Gates: Polio-free India one of the 'most impressive accomplishments' ever

Dave 126
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Re: @Dave 126 - Small Game Hunter

>Shame that the same can't be said about politicians.

You've caught me in a fairly uncharitable mood re politicians... I think it was today's news that the policing bill for last year's badger cull comes to over £1000 per creature... and this reminded me that the House of Commons spent over 100 hours debating the fox-hunting ban, but less than 5 hours debating 2003's invasion of Iraq.

My instinctive reaction is to [ . . . ] the lot of them, but it wouldn't do any good.

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Dave 126
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Re: Small Game Hunter

Viruses, unlike rhinos or pandas, can be kept on the very edge of extinction nearly indefinitely- I believe that there are still laboratories that retain the smallpox virus, for example.

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Dave 126
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Re: Excellent news

>its great for controlling population growth

What Natalie said. Birth rate tends to drop with infant mortality rates. Birth rate also drops when levels of female education increase.

Anyway, in parts of Africa a number of people are protected against the worst effects of malaria, but it comes at the cost of Sickle Cell Anaemia if both parents carry a dominant allele.

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AMD's 'Revolution' will be televised ... if its CPU-GPU frankenchip Kaveri is a hit

Dave 126
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>Litecoin in particular has caused a shortage of many of AMDs GPUs not just Hawaii

Ironic really, since Litecoin was supposed to be based on the Scrypt POF, which deliberately imposes RAM demands so as not to hand an advantage to GPUs over CPUs. Alas, they didn't implement Scypt properly, so GPUs still give a c10 x advantage over CPUs.

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Dave 126
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>Right now Nvidia seems to dominate the market for compute languages with its proprietary CUDA, which isn't going to work on an AMD product

True at the moment, but ever since Apple announced the new (AMD-powered) Mac Pro, some software developers have been shifting their wares to work with OpenCL. Speaking naively, the consumer benefits since in time they will no longer be tied to one GPU vendor - nVidia gear can do OpenCL too, the clue is in the name.

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Hopefuls rattle tin for customisable snap together 3D printer

Dave 126
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Re: No real advantage over a standard RepRap

>Now, something to *really* shake the market would be a scanner that scans an object into the computer and it spits out the design for the printer to print.

Your options:

Affordable:

1. MS Kinect or similar. Resolution isn't tuned towards human-face scale objects.

2. Turntable, inexpensive line laser (sold as alternative to a spirit level) and some-open source software - suitable for smaller objects

3. Intel's RealSense 3D scanner/tracker that they're pushing out to laptop OEMs.

Not affordable:

4. Cameras calibrated for lens distortions, multiple shots processed by some pricey software - manual finessing required.

5. A ruby-tipped Renishaw contact probe (as seen 5 minutes into the iPhone 5 promotional video, and the £20million house of the company's MD was used in the latest episode of Sherlock) - very expensive, suitable for reflective parts that might confuse lasers, possibly not suitable for flexible materials like skin, requires a X,Y,Z transport to be mounted on.

6. A laser scanner. Leica et al can sort you out.

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Dave 126
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Re: So easy to make....

@DropBear

Haha! On the idea of £35 3D printers using £1000 /kg consumables, a la conventional inkjets... the filament could be marked with a barcode along its entire length... if the printer doesn't recognise the filament as 'official' it will refuse to work!

[must stop giving them ideas]

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Dave 126
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Re: Wake Me Up

>Or just port the existing 3d meshes from the videogame

I actually found myself trying to do that once... some architects had supplied a 3D walk-through of a newbuild museum as a Unity executable... we needed the geometry of the building to submit a proposal for a site-specific artwork. A quick assessment suggested that it would be quicker to rebuild the structure from a series of 2D AutoCAD plans than it would be to extract geometry from the Unity file.

If Games Workshop were smart, they might consider 'augmented reality' board gaming... 3D cameras and projectors focused on the real miniatures etc...

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Dave 126
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Re: So easy to make....

> For £50? Yep, it's worth remembering that my old school's first Laser Printer cost them £5000... these days yours for £50.

The RepRap Omerod kit contains 4 x stepper motors (£10 ea on BangGood), 1 x 500W atx PSU (say £50), 1 x custom Arduino + driver board £110, PLA filament @ £20... so that's £200 before you include 2 x aluminium extrusions, threaded rods, belts, plus a handful of laser cut and 3D printed parts, nuts, screws, sensors, dodgy microSD card... RS have them, for £500.

[bloody open source wotsits... had to change my laptop's date to November 2013 before the Arduino drivers would install on Win7 64 due to an update on Saturday... upon return from pub no progress has been made... what kind of name is github anyway? Sounds like my local ConClub to me...]

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Dave 126
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Re: So easy to make....

> If you assemble it yourself then it would be your fault that its doesn't work!

Tell me about it! I'm just about to down tools and go to the pub, after a weekend of assembling a RepRap Ormerod (the one they've just started selling through RS). I've completed the mechanical construction, and have begun to converse with it's Arduino-based controller... just enough enough to know that I need to chase down what is probably either my wiring fault, or a dodgy thermistor.

My background is in CAD and Product Design (i.e I'm not quite the 'average Joe'), but whilst I'm intending to have fun with it (and I will be able to use for small production run items, prototypes and jigs), I'm struggling to think of 'killer application' for end-use parts. A £500 machine and days of assembly to create a missing curtain-rail mounting bracket to save £1.99 and a trip to the ironmongers...

Still, I've enjoyed constructing this RepRap - it's like a LEGO Technic set when I was boy (but with IKEA-like issues with fettling parts and unpolished documentation)!

Anyway, did I mention the pub?

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Dave 126
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Re: Wake Me Up

You mean a Von Neumann's 'universal constructor'?

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Woz backs Chinese 'Apple of Far East' in play for US hardware market

Dave 126
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Re: Sorry...

>So his blessing on a product is more of a geek award than a blessing that the product is nice to use.

Sometimes maybe, but perhaps not in this case. This is the same Woz who said that the American consumer isn't getting the best product possible, because of Apple, Saumsung et al won't share their features with each other. He has a point.

As for Xiaomi, they try to sell hardware at close to cost in order to bring people into their services - so more like Amazon than Apple. In addition, they make their version of Android, MIUI, available to other handsets, a version that has some thoughtful features in it.

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Ban-dodging Mac Pro to hit Blighty's shops as Apple bows to fan fears

Dave 126
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Re: Can't afford it

Your bin has lots of memory? Oh well. I don't know about you, but I'd rather my bin forgets why I put in it!

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Dave 126
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Re: Ditched the floppy without supplying a practical replacement

At that time, external IoMega ZIP drives were in the £90 territory. I never could work why Sony missed a trick by not trying a 'Data MiniDisk' portable player/recorder earlier in the format's lifespan. 100MB doesn't seem like much today, but compared to 1.44MB it was lovely.

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Dave 126
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Re: RAM

>Perhaps its different when you are spending someone else's cash?

No, it's his money; he's the MD of his own video production / motion graphics company. He has done the sums, and is buying one. Since his business has grown steadily since he started it, I'm inclined to believe he knows what he is doing.

>I hope he realises the new Mac Pro maxes out at 64GB of RAM which will put a severe crimp on doing anything memory-intensive.

Not really. He currently uses the older Mac Pros and a 32 GB Hackintosh, and hasn't come close to running into RAM limits. His workflow is mainly video - compositing, editing, colour grading etc - but also ray-trace rendering of 3D models and compositing the results into the above. RAM is just not the current bottle neck, and again, he knows what he is doing.

It is not the machine for me - I'm a PC based CAD jockey. My level of CAD work just doesn't require the extreme storage IO that video work does, and intensive tasks like rendering can be distributed across any CPUs/GPUs across the network.

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Dave 126
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>I think the shift that you're missing is that once you decouple the 'expansion chassis' from the computer you can use a number of different his machines to drive your fixed peripherals.

Indeed. Since some of those expansion cards cost upwards of £2000, being able to use the same card in a thunderbolt chassis in the studio with a Mac Pro, as well as with a Macbook when shooting video on site is very useful.

Should a host machine go belly-up, a new machine can be swapped in more easily.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not falling for the hype

My friend is buying one soon, and he isn't bothered for a moment by the inability to add harddisk space. This might be because his workflow (video production, 3D rendered motion graphics etc) is exactly what this machine is designed for. Its a tool that will save him time, allowing him to earn more money.

He'll shunt current projects to the internal SSD from a cabinet of external redundant storage via ethernet or Thunderbolt, and back out again as required.

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Dave 126
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Re: MAC Pro - CPU is Upgradable

>A shipping date has been set for the new Mac Pro, which is the only fruity computer which allows any sort of upgrading.

Why the so demonstrably incorrect assertion?

The 27" iMac allows the RAM to be upgraded.

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