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* Posts by Dave 126

4319 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Xiaomi taps the HYPEGEIST with 10 pence DIY Wi-Fi router

Dave 126
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Re: the closest thing to Apple one can find beyond Cupertino. ®

Have you seen their other offerings?

Their MIUI version of Android looks to be genuinely well thought through:

http://en.miui.com/features.php

But yeah, their stated business model is to sell hardware at close to cost, and make profit by selling services on top of it - a model that is closer Amazon's than Apple's.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Dave 126
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Re: Censorship is alive and well in Britian

How the hell can I watch The Daily Show now?

Re politics, this week's Have I Got News for You made a reference to Ed Balls throwing a hissy fit in the House of Commons, but they couldn't show it. British broadcasters are not allowed to show clips from the House of Commons for satire purposes... John Stewart on The Daily Show is.

If Channel 4 actually broadcast it, I could understand, but they don't and yet the UK residents can't watch it on-line without a proxy.

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Bluetooth Smart dev board hits US, UK for sub-$100

Dave 126
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Re: As opposed to an Arduino sheild at <£20

This kit includes CSR's xIDE development environment on a disc - it is this that requires Windows, not the actual hardware.

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Station to station: Ten DAB-Bluetooth combo radios

Dave 126
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Re: Question time

Because the circuitry has to do loads of things, things that have long names. From Wikipedia:

"the technologies used on DAB inhabit the following layers: the audio codec inhabits the presentation layer. Below that is the data link layer, in charge of packet mode statistical multiplexing and frame synchronization. Finally, the physical layer contains the error-correction coding, OFDM modulation, and dealing with the over-the-air transmission and reception of data. "

Basically, there is just much more going on than in an FM receiver.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a tad odd

Once you get up the first steep hill, it's (on average) a gentle downhill to London all the way. : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Who needs presets on a DAB radio?

I use them, albeit in a car where scrolling through a list of stations isn't a good idea - being able to switch between a few favourite stations without taking your eyes from the road is an essential feature.

A good number of televisions allow you to either edit the channel list, or to create a list of favourite channels - why would you want to scroll between all the QVC shopping-type channels just to get from the entertainment channels to the news channels? DAB is much the same - you may find yourself mostly listening to just a handful of the available channels, in accordance with the Pareto '80/20' principle.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems a tad odd

I'm normally at the forefront of expressing disdain for DAB... or at rather championing the importance of a reliable, low tech, battery efficient and widely received standard such as FM. I still stand by that.

That said, I've been using a second hand Pure Highway (a neat DAB to FM transmitter, or in my case Aux-out to my car stereo) these last few weeks. It is nice when it works, but in too many places it just does't. A run down to London was fine, but the M4 and M5 near Bristol was a gurgly mess, let alone amongst the hills and valleys near me. Still, for £6 I don't mind, and I can fall back on a loaded SD card or stream from my phone.

I almost took it to France last weekend, but it won't receive DAB+ without a software upgrade, which requires a serial number that is strangely missing, and the use of an Australian proxy server (since otherwise Pure ask you to pay the license fees for the AAC codec)

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Dave 126
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Dock prices

Speaker docks have always seemed expensive compared to, for example, a Cambridge Audio amp and a pair of Wharfedale Diamond speakers. On an even smaller budget, good speakers from a charity shop (£5-£20) paired to a Tripath amp (£20-£40 new) will produce a very solid sound.

Some clever so-and-so has created a little rechargeable Class-D amp with Bluetooth, designed to give a new lease of life to older loudspeakers:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1238747394/the-vamp-bring-back-the-sound

Hopefully the MKII will bring stereo, but I don't know how easy that is to keep in phase over Bluetooth, if each channel is received by a different unit.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Dave 126
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>DId someone turn the power down on all those FM transmitters?

Yeah, I sometimes get that feeling... the car tuner doesn't seem to pick up Radio 4 when scanning, though I can manually tune to it no problem. I now have it across a few presets, to cover its frequency where I live, and areas North and South of me.

The tuner will automatically tune to music stations no problem.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes, make Radio 1 DAB

>Radio 2 you can leave alone please

You could change its jingle to something less nauseating, and axe Jeremy Vine - we don't need three hour listener polls about, for example, whether it's okay to hog the middle lane of the motorway (it isn't, don't do it, it's not up for discussion).

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Apple iWatch due in October 2014, to wirelessly charge from one metre away – report

Dave 126
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Re: Magnetic fields just sound questionable

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimagnetic_watch

That said, I do wonder ho many Rolex Milgaus are sold to people who just want to look like they are a physicist, in the same way Rolex Submariners are sold to people who just want to look like they are divers, Heuer Monacos to people who want to look like racing car drivers, Omega Speedmasters to would-be astronauts etc.

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Dave 126
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Re: Efficiency?

Even if were only 50 or even 25% efficient, it would still be a piffling amount of energy compared to running a PC or television, let alone lighting and heating.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Now if I could have a Thunderbirds video watch (remember them?

Vaguely... though I suspect I saw it on the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Thunderbirds spoof in 'Not Only But Also...' It looked a bit like the Holly Wristwatch from Red Dwarf, IIRC (now that was a smartwatch - it had an IQ of 6000!)

Searching Google for Thunderbirds Watch just returns pictures of Rolexes customised in celebration of a USAF outfit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not convinced

The credit card would have to resonate with the coil... a bit like how an opera singer can shatter a wine glass, but not a beer bottle or spectacle lenses.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Right, so I cannot believe Apple are going that route, I mean, Samsung have made idiots out of themselves with their sCrapWatch, why would Apple follow [?]

There were mobile phones before the iPhone, and MP3 players before the iPod.

The iPhone is an interesting case, since it is telling what Apple left out - 3G. If they had included 3G, the battery wouldn't have lasted long enough to be practical, and bad press would have followed. This was mitigated by having an app to fetch, for example, train times, which more data-efficient than having the user hunt down the same information on a browser.

Samsung's smartwatch has taken the 'throw everything in it' approach - it can even run normal Android apps -but it doesn't really know what it is for. Apple are likely to focus in on a few core applications - simple alerts and media remote control, perhaps - and then expand the capabilities over time as improved chips and batteries allow it.

Oh, and a geek watch doesn't have to look like a geek watch. Tissot make a model with thermometer, compass and barometer which is indistinguishable from a a normal 3-hand wristwatch; touching the face at 12, 3, 6,or 9 causes the hands to display that information instead of the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

>Who in their right mind wears watches^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchronographs these days ?

People who don't want to fumble in their pockets every time they wish to know the time.

People who wish to turn their phones off, from time to time.

People at work who need to time an operation, but don't want a manager to think they're texting their friends - or reading The Reg.

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Dave 126
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Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

>If your keyboard could act as a charger

The Reg reported on an Apple patent about a year ago for magnetic charging, including daisy chaining and a way of switching between which device to charge first (i.e prioritise a phone over a mouse or keyboard).

The Reg has also reported on Apple patents for a micro-deflection control surface that looks like aluminium, but can be used as a display thanks to tiny perforations.

Add to that their investment in sapphire manufacturing, and the ingredients for a smart watch are coming into focus.

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Dave 126
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Re: When I were a lad ...

You can still buy wristwatches with tritium markers, but the tritium is usually contained in tiny glass vials on the hands and hour markers. The half-life of tritium is such that your grandfather could read the watch in the dark, but you probably can't. In addition, the radiation degrades the phosphorescent material into dust, which isn't good for the watch mechanism, or for anyone who services it without a fume cabinet.

T Swiss Made T

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Twitterers rally round #CensoredUK - to demand MORE PORN

Dave 126
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>There is enough of that available, the market is pretty limited though as no one wants to watch it

I know it is available, but teenage kiddies don't watch it *because* of the easy availability of the more extreme stuff - it's all jumbled together on the same sites. If you are going to put a barrier -which teenagers can always get around if they put their minds to it - between the teenager and the extreme stuff, they are less likely to do so if nicer stuff is easy to watch. A teenage boy doesn't need much visual stimulation to get himself off- the extreme pr0n is just overkill.

An analogous concept would be the idea allowing children to drink wine with meals and supervision from 12 years, allow them to buy beer at 16, but not allow them to buy spirits until they are 18.

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Dave 126
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>How are kids going to find out about sex? I learned nothing in school and had to go to the internet to 'learn' >about it. #CensoredUK — Laim McKenzie (@LaimMcKenzie) December 12, 2013

He has a point, of sorts...why not make nicer pr0n, that is shows both parties with respect, more easily accessible to adolescents than the more extreme stuff? It would be the bait to which could be attached positive messages about social interaction and sex education.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.3: the Apple G4 Cube

Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

Well, the silent machine I was referring to above used a CPU cooler made from 1kg of copper, housed in a roomy full-sized tower with mesh sides and top. We used an i7 3770S (rated 65W) as opposed to the more overclockable 3770 K (95W) variant. Silent it is, compact it isn't!

However, these days a lot of tasks (video playback, web browsing etc) can be done with much cooler chips - either with different architectures such as ARM, or with smaller silicon processes.

My laptop has been up to 101ºC, and after that I decided that balancing the thing on books with a 12" desk fan aimed at its underside was too much effort just to play a game or two!

The other solution of course is to house a hot, noisy and fast computer in a different room and use it remotely.

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Dave 126
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Agreed, HDMI is handy, and the issue of having a snakes' nest between the computer and the desk has been mitigated by different means theses day - i.e all-in-one PCs, ganged cables and wireless mice and keyboards.

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Dave 126
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Re: The *other* G4 Cube feature

>Vendor lock-in may be a feature but it still isn't one to encourage.

True, but then I didn't see any standards organisations, or consortia of companies, even trying to create something similar. And hey, I made a point of praising the concept, not the implementation.

I am looking at a wired remote control unit for a Sharp Minidisc player, circa 1999. It has a 3.5 mm tip ring ring sleeve jack, flanked on either side by two more contacts. The unit mirrored the complete player display, and most of its controls, via three toggle switches (the equivalent of nine buttons) plus a lock button. AIWA and Sony had their own way of doing the same at the time. Almost a decade and half later, three is still no standard for a wired remote control headset.

The closest that you can get (other than Bluetooth solutions which come with the faff of charging up yet another device), available from a wide range of manufactures (from B&W to Sennheiser) and from any highstreet or supermarket, is Apple's - be it a headset or a speaker dock. You might have have thought that the Open Handset Alliance, or even Google, might have taken a lead on this, but no. Hell, they quite happily never used twice the same power connector until the EU kicked them. There are even Android handset vendors such as Sony and Samsung making speaker docks for iPhones, but not for their own handsets.

The issue is that there isn't the monetary incentive for consortia to design really nice solutions (there is no competitive advantage if your rivals are using the same), so they tend to settle on 'good enough'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rounded corners

>Is that where they first produced something with rounded corners?

No, it wasn't.

1984's Mac desktop featured rounded corners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Macintosh_Desktop.png

In fact, anything that is moulded tends not to have sharp 90º corners- it's hard to get the molten material to flow into the corners.

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Dave 126
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The *other* G4 Cube feature

The Cube also had a cable between itself and the monitor, carrying power, video, and USB.

It's a wonderfully simple concept (Even a PHB might cry "Who will rid me of this effing snakes' nest behind my desk?!"), but the limitations of the implementation (its 100W wasn't enough for CRTs or bigger LCD monitors at the time, including the 30" Apple Cinema Display) meant Apple had to abandon it.

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

It is! Actually, it's a bit disconcerting at first, turning on a computer without the usual whirs, clicks and whooshes. There are totally silent passive CPU coolers available these days, good for up to 95W TDP chips. Combined with SSDs and fanless power supplies, a silent machine is achievable.

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Dave 126
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Re: Time they bought it back

>Apple should have solved the problems they had with it, and refined it,

The question is simple: How do you stop a PHB from placing papers and coffee cups on top of it?

I consider the new Mac Pro to be that refinement of the original Cube concept.

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Dave 126
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Re: Fuck Off!

>Running a Live Linux boot CD/DVD is slow and painful.

Well, there is no reason you can't install Linux on a HDD, make an image of it in it's clean state, and then restore that image prior to each session (shouldn't take long on SSDs, and you could use a USB-booted environment to automate the process at each boot. After each session, make a few random writes to the HDD. I don't know too much about Linux, but I was under the impression that you can put its swap files where you want - onto volatile storage, for example.

This is just a top-of-head idea. I'm sure more thought-through ideas exist.

You could look into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_Hat_Linux as well.

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Dave 126
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Re: At this point, Snowden could reveal that the NSA is run by alien lizards..

There is precedent: The philosopher and drug dealer Howard Marks was asked, after the publication of his autobiography,how a man who smoked so much dope was able to remember the dates and general chronology of his life. He said that since the US authorities had been watching him for years, he simply made a Freedom of Information request, and received back the skeleton of his life story.

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Ballmer: 'We made more money than almost anybody on the PLANET'

Dave 126
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Re: BALLMER: 'WE MADE MORE MONEY THAN ALMOST ANYBODY ON THE PLANET'

>MS have a history of releasing unfinished products which the masses have rushed in sheep like droves to buy.

Like sheep? Er, People and businesses bought new computers, and those computers came with Windows. That the software they used, office suites, accountancy packages, DTP, CAD and games ran on Windows, was important too. Those are real people you choose to patronise, using computers for tasks related to their job or business, or for entertainment. That doesn't make them sheep.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Dave 126
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And had you got the Atari, you might now be a music studio engineer... : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Handspring Visor Deluxe

> but this whole iMac design was one of the worst things to face the face of earth

Before the iMac was the Newton-based Apple eMate, which was a dark green translucent plastic. Around the same time, mid nineties, I had the limited edition Gravis joystick (transparent plastic instead of the usual black).

I don't mind the look of the original iMac myself (especially when generic PCs often had sculpted curvey beige plastic fascias for no good reason), but I couldn't stand the raft of cheap tat that blindly copied its blue translucent styling (but never got the colour correct). Another influence was that in the late nineties, CAD was mature enough to make curvey products much easier to design and engineer. The resulting design fashion was known as 'blobtech' at the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Which reminds me of the various early 80s scanned argos catalogues...

Yep, I did the same with Argos catalogues as a kid, the toy section, the computer section and the Casio watch section especially. I don't have any kicking around, but I do have a 1983 Hamleys catalogue on my shelf... Sord M5 Computer, an MSX clone, Parker video games, Vectrex, Spectrum, a few others too. Notably, all the computers in the catalogue are cheaper than the dedicated Chess board computers.

Someone, not me, has kindly scanned it. Start at the first image and click 'next' a few times: (Facebook link)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=286058214747254&set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=3&theater

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Dave 126
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Re: Never mind Big Trak

I saw a Computacar in a charity shop a few weeks back, took a picture of the box and then promptly forgot about it until now!

The punched card is a old technology of course, my friend has a pianola with some Fats Waller rolls. A fascinating use of punched paper was in torpedos... two rolls, one in the torpedo, one in the controlling station, were used to switch the frequency controlling torpedo so that the enemy couldn't take control of it after it was deployed.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple QuickTake 150

I've got a Sony Mavica somewhere, bought by old man from the Sony outlet store North of New York in the very late nineties. It took floppy disks, which was convenient at the time. The pictures weren't huge, but the quality was good. My university faculty had a couple as well, though the state of the art was such that they still trained us to use exposure bracketing on film cameras when photographing appearance models.

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Dave 126
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Re: covet is the right word

Lego Technic was wonderful, though on one Christmas day I didn't get much of a chance to play with it 'cos my dad nicked it for himself, under the pretence that he was educating me in the ways of gear boxes. I wouldn't mind, except he was also saying how how much better Mechano was... I had a generic set with a motor, but my mates, two brothers, had the JCB model with the pneumatic systems, and the sports car with suspension and differential gearbox.

I still use Lego from time to time, either to model a mechanism when I've had enough of mechanical CAD, or simply to make a little jig - with a scalpel blade super-glued on to cut foam, for example. In fact, I'm thinking of buying a big bucket of cheap and cheerful Lego clone bits for that sort of purpose.

My first lesson in different voltages was killing a Lego light (6V?) by using it with the 12V transformer that was designed for the Lego train set.

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Ten top tech toys to interface with a techie’s Christmas stocking

Dave 126
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>you'll be lucky to get anything in time for Christmas!

No worries, I'll be spending Christmas day assembling a ReRap 3D printer from RS... a £500 quid toy to make a 50p hanger for a curtain rail. Apparently it doesn't like dust and hair, so some sort of cat deterrent is in order (the dog doesn't do his duty in this respect). That and a trip to the pub and a family meal.

This is why I like the internet: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20131104-turn-your-3d-printer-into-an-instant-laser-cutter.html

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Dave 126
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Re: Cheap geek toys

>@Valeyard - yes, I can confirm that www dot banggood.com/ is SFW!

Except for it's Adult Toys section, of course... like I said, they sell damn near everything!

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Dave 126
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Re: Cheap geek toys

@NoOnions

My sincere apologies! This mini Bluetooth keyboard I'm using seemed a good idea at the time.

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Dave 126
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Cheap geek toys

I was recently recommended a website, bangggood.com, that sells lots of cheap n cheerful Chinese products, everything from mini helicopters, to CREE flashlights, spare parts and consumables for 3D printers to Arduino boards. I haven't used it yet myself, so can't yet recommend it personally, but I intend to cane £20 or so on just it's '99 cent gadgets' section soon.

Reviews of the site on 3rd party websites seem mostly positive, though some people claim that the buyer reviews might be manipulated a bit. Any one have any experience of this site?

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Dave 126
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If the techy buys a Chromebook for a family member, they might receive fewer phone calls along the lines of "My computer is asking me a question I don't understand, what button do I press?", leaving said techy more time to play with their toys.

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Dave 126
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Re: Strange

Re, the Z1 Ultra, I believe that there is a Google Play Edition available in the US, although Sony's Android customisations aren't too obtrusive anyway.

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Microsoft: Don't listen to 4chan ... especially the bit about bricking Xbox Ones

Dave 126
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I genuinely do not understand...

> I genuinely do not understand... why MS made it so easy to brick.

Quite. Going back a few years, the beauty of a console like the Sega Megadrive (Genesis) was that it just worked, whereas a DOS PC of the period required faffing around with config.sys and autoexec.bat, on top of troubleshooting awkward hardware combinations and IRQs.

The upside was that experience gained as a teenager making games run became handy later when making productivity software behave.

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Oz couple get jiggy in pharmacy in 'banned' condom ad

Dave 126
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Re: Toothpaste

It's a similar joke to one in Rab C Nesbitt:

MARY DOLL: Rab, I don't mind you having a fag before sex, and I don't mind you having a fag after sex. I don't even mind you smoking a fag during sex, but do you really have to go down to the kitchen and light it off the gas hob?

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Dave 126
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Re: sheikh

And on the 'You Are What You Is' album, Zappa has

"I heard that some Sheikh

Bought New Jersey last week

And you suckers ain't gettin' nothing"

The use of words in poetry is actually one of the few tools historians have of estimating how words were pronounced in the past!

I know a rude joke about sheep shearing that only works in an Australian accent.

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Dave 126
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Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

>Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.

D'oh! Sorry people, I'm trying out a small Bluetooth keyboard... though more convenient for me, it is less convenient for anyone trying to read my words!

Still, despite my lack of precision, it would appear you can still grasp my meaning.

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Bigger on the inside: WD’s Tardis-like Black² Dual Drive laptop disk

Dave 126
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Apple was toying with ZFS for a while, and some that file system's ideas have been implemented in OSX's CoreStorage.

As far as I can make out, Windows 8's 'Storage Spaces' isn't capable of presenting two drives as a single volume to the OS if one of those drives is the boot drive... but if I've misunderstood, please do post a link!

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Dave 126
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Re: modern laptops with single drive bays

Some laptops do have an mSATA slot (suitible for an mSATA SSD) in addition to the normal SATA drive bay... but some laptops have a non-functioning mSATA slot, including the Dell reviewed by The Reg today:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/dell-inspiron-dell-studio/734278-owners-thread-dell-inspiron-7000-series-14.html

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Dave 126
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Re: Linux support... well, who can say?

>Frankly the author's comment of "who can say?" is utter crap, and shows a lack of effort.

Do bear in mind that the reviewer concluded that, even for Windows machines, this drive is only recommended for a limited group of users. Throw another circle at that Venn diagram, "People with a Linux installation", and the number can only get pretty small, even if we used a figure of 20% for argument's sake.

If the reviewer's primary OS is not Linux, it is reasonable to suggest he might not be the best person to get the drive working under Linux... indeed, he might spend some trying, and even then merely reach an inconclusive conclusion, such as "It might be possible to get it working, but I personally couldn't make it behave".

Why not leave it to users on a Linux forum to provide an answer?

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Dave 126
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Re: What's on the screen?

On closer inspection, those artefacts appear to be reflections of light fittings, or similar. These days, a lot of product promotion images are computer-generated renders - it saves time faffing around in a photographic studio, adjusting the lighting, wiping fingerprint smears off the product etc.

Of course this is a review, not a product promotion.

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