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* Posts by Dave 126

4046 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Man+iPhone versus artificial intelligence: Anki robot racer slot cars

Dave 126
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Re: Anki Panki

There are some fair reasons why lots of hardware and software vendors go with iOS. If you take take a step back from your 'politics' conclusion, you'll have a better chance of understanding the business reasons behind this decision.

Device consistency, Bluetooth LE support, low system latency, limited supply capabilities and market research all play a part.

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Dave 126
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Re: I want one

Richard 120, you have taken me back to a Christmas Day in my childhood, when I couldn't get close to my new Lego Technic set because my dad was playing with it.

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Dave 126
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Re: 6 Years? WTH?

The cars drive themselves around the track, but the player controls the speed of the cars and where on the track they go (e.g take opponent on the inside, or just race down the middle) in addition to when to use weapons to slow rivals down. Do bear in mind that this is only one of many possible game-types, and that modes such as 'capture the flag' can be implemented in future via software updates, or possibly developed by the players themselves.

More details here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/16/4841798/are-anki-cars-the-start-of-a-robot-revolution

There are lots of software developers and hardware vendors who only target iOS devices, so Anki are hardly unusual in this respect. There is zero point generating more interest than you can currently supply, so you might as well develop for one platform first and then move on to a second or third. The choice of going with iOS might be influenced by the low latency of the platform, and Apple's inclusion of Bluetooth Low Energy - the latter of which only some newer Android devices support.

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Dave 126
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Re: I want one

Only some of the more recent Android handsets support Bluetooth LE, so give it time. It's much the same reason that smart-watches from Casio and Citizen only support iOS at the moment.

If the intention is to leave children alone with this, it is better they use a cheap 'n cheerful Android tablet rather than a pricey iPad.

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Dave 126
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Looks like good fun.... wonder if people will create DIY equivalents using Arduino boards. It'd be good if the racing mat had a different texture on both sides- a grippy side simulating tarmac, and slippery side for drifting 'rally' fun.

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Behold, the MONSTER-CLAWED critter and its terrifying SPIDER BRAIN

Dave 126
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Re: The most important question

Who said that land-based creepy-crawlies taste bad? In many countries they are considered a tasty snack- it's just our social conditioning that makes us go 'Urgh!'. Being rational about it, locusts live in nice clean air, shrimps in sewage-contaminated water.

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Give it a wrist, fellas: Sony's back with $200 Android Smartwatch 2

Dave 126
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Re: This looks to be a better idea:

@D@v3

"Upon the fleas were other fleas and so on ad infinitum" - we get it. I was just making the point that whilst a wristwatch is easy to check visually for notifications, it isn't suitable for headphones.

The precedent for this is the Sony Wireless Walkman... this was a 'proper' Walkman in that it played cassette tapes, but it was paired to a matchbox sized receiver into which the headphones were plugged. The receiver had transport controls that were relayed to the main Walkman unit.

This was in the mid-nineties, and it was available in Japan. My assumption is that the UK's transmission regulations prohibited its sale here.

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Dave 126
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Re: This looks to be a better idea:

Er, how does it make you look like dick when it resembles a small MP3 player clipped to your shirt, or when held to your ear a small phone?

I'm sure it can tell you the time, but then if you have it in your breast pocket for smart-phone-companion duties, your wrist is free for a normal watch. Get a mechanical model ('automatic') and you'll be able to tell the time even after an EMP strike.

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Dave 126
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This looks to be a better idea:

http://www.slashgear.com/sony-sbh52-mini-handset-reduces-xperia-z-ultra-phablet-size-shame-25287821/

Basically, it's a small Bluetooth headset that includes an FM radio. It also has a speaker and mike, so can be used to take/make calls as if it were just a small phone.

Unlike a watch it is suitable for listening to music streamed rom your phone, as well as displaying notifications on its screen.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Once, twice, three times - a Very Large Phone™

Dave 126
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Re: Why?

I've never been a flip phone fan either - though psychophysically the placement of the phone next to the mouth and ear is reassuring (though sidestepped by multi-microphone trickery these days), and the possibility for large buttons and a screen protected from scratches makes good sense .

Personally, I have a soft spot for the slider-phones Samsung used to make- a very tactile way of taking a call, and then ending it. When I first used Android, I would tap a hard-button thinking it would end the call, but it didn't work that way...

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Dave 126
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Re: Elegant..

Yeah, but the whole point of good design is to make life easier for us humans (a little more good thought at the design stage gets multiplied by the production run... i.e magnified by millions)... so I'd like every connector to be as easy to use as a 3.5mm headphone jack. (Though even that gets messed up... an example being the original iPhone when the socket was so recessed that not all 3.5mm plugs would fit it, especially fancy thick hifi 'Y' cables)

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Dave 126
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Re: Great stylus, even better sound

A major frustration with being an Android user - the lack of standardisation of headsets and headphones, even within the same phone manufacturer, and few offer headsets with three buttons. Even headsets with the same jacks might use resistors with different values. Most of the 'quality' 3rd party headset makers (Sennheiser etc) only support iPhones/pods/pads.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

Mr Alexander was after a smaller Android phone that didn't compromise on its internal components compared to 'flagship' models.

Reg readers that want a 3.3" Android phone might want to have a look at this Samsung Android quad-core flip-phone with dual-SIM slots:

http://androidcommunity.com/samsung-sch-w789-hennessy-unveiled-includes-dual-sim-feature-20130813/

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

> (the "anything mini" line of phones are crippled, all of them)

If you wait until the new year, you might consider an Zperia Z1 f. This 'f' variant has a 4.3" screen, but the same processor and 2GB RAM as its bigger Xperia Z siblings.

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/124257-sony-announces-xperia-z1f-its-flagship-z1-shrunken-down

I have a 4.3"-screened Xperia P, and whilst being far from state-of-the-art it ticks along quite nicely on a dual-core chip and its copes with HD video and 3D games happily enough- though I seldom ask it to. Good call quality. Battery life could be better. Small text is readable on websites, but I imagine a bigger screen would make browsing easier. I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone with poorer close-up vision or 'sausage-fingers' though.

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Dave 126
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Re: Elegant..

Not just looks... the microUSB connector is a bit scratchy and I still need to give it a second glance to determine which way round to plug it in.

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OAR-some! 18ft SEA SERPENT discovered off US coast

Dave 126
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Alas, they won't be able to accompany their "It was THIS big" with the traditional arm gesture... if they could, a human with an 18' arm-span would be even more of a scientific marvel than a bloody-great fish.

On the subject of men with long arms and sea-dwelling animals, I seem to remember a story from a few years back about China's tallest man being drafted in by an aquarium to help them. They had a dolphin that had eaten something it shouldn't, and they required someone with a very long arm to remove the foreign body. On the back of this publicity, the gentleman, in his forties IIRC, found himself a wife (which I'm led to believe is no mean feat in China).

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Apple's Oct 22 WORLD-SHAKING San Fran party: New iPads or what?

Dave 126
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Re: A lot to cover...

>Only one Apple product needs a "cover"... the iPad.

I like your lateral thinking... maybe an iPad cover that offers functionality in some way (Thinking of MS's new Surface cover that has audio mixer controls instead of qwerty keys [reminds me of concept keyboards]... pity Window's audio subsystem is a mess, though; for plinky-plonky things best off with OSX/iOS, it will save some headaches)

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Expert chat: The end of Windows XP and IE6

Dave 126
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Chrome with little Ram - not great

>And Chrome is about the worst choice for a low powered PC as it eats every last available megabyte of RAM on your machine.

Agreed, one company I help has lots of low powered XP machines (just for data entry, really), usually with 512 MB RAM. Chrome is hopeless, but opera isn't too bad.

Most of the staff don't use anything beyond a spreadsheet and a web browser, so migrating them to a Linux distro should be fairly straightforward.

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Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee: DRMed HTML least of all evils

Dave 126
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Re: You wouldn't steal a car

>You wouldn't steal a car

I love it when that message is displayed before a movie about lovable car thieves.

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Dave 126
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Re: He does have a point

Whoo, that's some expansion. Fair play to Btrower for expanding on his views, we seem to have moved from the Ancient Greeks (who first raised taxes to pay for courts, so that trading disputes didn't result in knife fights) through Bertrand Russell's 'Case for a Leisure Society', and made a detour around Thalidomide.

So, possible alternative means of funding artists and inventors include, but are not limited to:

-Private patronage by a powerful individual, eg Leonardo da Vinci by the Medici family, JS Bach by a bishop.

-Leisure Society - i.e with a 20 hour working week, people have enough leisure time to write, play musical instruments, write the software that they want to use, and potter in the shed.

-Bounty - e.g John Harrison's invention of the bimetallic strip and thus accurate clocks, to claim an award being offered by the British Admiralty

-Employment by an organisation that can bring the individuals work to market quickly enough for it to be a competitive advantage.

- Academic research, grant, i.e society as a whole funds research / artistic endeavour.

None of the above seem perfect systems either, though the Leisure Society should be discussed more... which is tricky when Gross National Product and Economic Growth are all politicians brag about.

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Dave 126
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Re: Anyone fancy reading that?

I think it was a variation on the adage "It is better to have a piece of a big pie than to have the whole of a small pie", but I'm not sure.

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Dave 126
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Re: He does have a point

>"Patents and Copyrights do not create wealth. They destroy it. The only ones saying otherwise are the parasites who leach off the productivity of others."

Okay Btrower, that's a very sweeping statement. However, you neglected to summarise your system for rewarding inventors and authors in their place. Patents and Copyright aren't perfect systems, but then what are? Have you alternatives in mind?

Is your position informed by certain types of patents which perhaps shouldn't be granted, or perhaps by their application (for example, a small inventor not having the financial resources to defend their work from a large established organisation)?

Please expand upon your point of view.

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'Computer GEEKS' snatch NOBEL Prize for chemistry - without using chemicals

Dave 126
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Re: Sceptical

@Sheluser

If you fire up an engineering simulation application, the disclaimer "This software is intended to reduce testing, and is not intendd to be a replacement for it" is displayed. You still need to test real models in a wind tunnel, but just not as many of them.

The same idea is applicable to software simulation of chemical compounds.

Of course, the real advances in science come when there is a discrepancy between the expected result and the real result of an experiment, a discrepancy that then needs explaining.

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Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

Dave 126
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Re: The sad thing is..

Xperias have LED notification lights, different colours for different alerts. Strange thing is, all I would want from a 'smart watch' is a notification light.

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Dave 126
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@AC that's a touch too subtle, perhaps.

Seems a strange game for Samsung to play... non-geeks don't care about benchmarks, true geeks know that their benchmarks are cooked...

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Dave 126
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Re: LG v Samsung

>Everyone already knew it was pretty much a re-hash of the LG G2.

The G2 has some nice features... none that would cause people to go 'Wow!, but nice nonetheless, such as the screen that saves the GPU power (although others use this too), the bi-wiring that saves on bezel space, and the high definition audio playback. The LG G2 seems to have suffered (in terms of media exposure) from being the 4th entry to a race that already included the S4, HTC One, and Sony Z variants.

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Three BILLION people now potential nodes for the transfer of cat videos

Dave 126
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Fuck you, I'm an anteater.

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Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

Dave 126
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There have been some sites selling legit 24 bit 96 - 192kHz Flags for a while. In addition, LG's New flagship phone can play them natively- and LG have released APIs in the hope that 3rd party audio app developers make use of them. With luck, Google will incorporate it into Android properly.

With storage, bandwidth and silicon ever cheaper, why not?

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra: The quad-core 2.2GHz MEGA SCREEN PHONDLESLAB

Dave 126
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Re: But

I've been wary of Sony in the past (proprietary formats, silliness with CDs, sometimes pricey), but always liked them for trying crazy stuff from time to time (Remind yourself here of why Samsung aren't the new Sony: http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/29/4783132/the-amazing-products-of-weird-sony )

Also, my current phone, a Sony 2012 model) has been upgraded from Gingerbread to ICS and then to Jellybean, so I feel fairly well looked after.

Companies can change over time, though if you feel bitten then I can't blame you for feeling shy.

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Dave 126
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Re: Whip it out in a bar and all your friends are certain to go: “Oooh...”

> Heh, maybe someone will combine a bluetooth headset & stylus

Agreed.

I won't dig through my past posts, but I've written down that idea before (I think when Samsung first announced the Galaxy Note)... I'm no visionary, it's just a sensible idea, especially if the pen/headset also has media playback controls. Infact, Sony could draw upon the style of their early 'Network Walkmans' (they didn't do MP3, FFS!) players which were cylindrical with jog controls.

It could live in a breast pocket, and a little RGB LED pixel would alert the user to notifications etc.

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Apple hires streaming vid bloke: Nurse, the corpse of Apple monster telly is twitching again

Dave 126
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Re: TV is Already Bad Enough, Even Apple Cannot Make It Worse

>TV is bad enough already - we need someone like Apple to revolutionise it.

I thought that devices like Tivo, and services like Netflix, had already made good progress in shaking up the industry... the latter even commissioning original shows (okay, a remake of a British show, but it's good fun to watch a Machiavellian Kevin Spacey).

The following is an interesting look at the commissioning of 'quality' television shows, and the difference between the UK and USA. Armando Iannucci: BAFTA Television Lecture 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmViA8zRhLI

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Screen grab by Google, Amazon could delay Retina iPad mini – report

Dave 126
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>Tabs don't need all that power with intelligently written code. They are not laptops, nor should they be designed to run as such.

...and 640 k ought to be enough for anybody etc.

Why the hell shouldn't a tablet act as a portable Photoshop device (with the RAM requirements that can entail), especially since the damned things usually have more pixels than laptops?

Look at what Wacom have just done:

http://cintiqcompanion.wacom.com/CintiqCompanionHybrid/en/

It's a high quality Wacom digitiser (as opposed to the cheaper Wacom units featured of other vendor's tablets) on top of a 13" Android powered tablet that becomes a dumb monitor/digitiser when plugged into a Mac or PC.

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Bungie ’bois offered ‘early’ access to post-Halo FPS Destiny

Dave 126
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Re: Methinks thou dost credit Bungie too much?

>Hmm, I'd put a few other games ahead in that category,

As described like that, then yes. However, 'Destiny's blend of a massively multi-player FPS in a persistent shared world with no game lobbies set against a ten year story arc is not one I have seen before... if I had, I would be playing it now!

Unlike the people who have pre-ordered, I'll have the option of reading reviews and listening to friends after its release to see if it is as good as it sounds. Meanwhile, I might just have to re-watch 'Cowboy Bebop' to get a fix of hijinks set across the solar system!

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Dave 126
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Re: Wrong platform for a MMOG

Bungie haven't yet ruled out a PC release. If you want to play the game so badly (and give up hundreds of hours in which money could be earnt) then why not just buy a console... a current generation model if necessary, since I'd imagine they will drop in price when their successors are released. Or, put your money into supporting David Braben's remake of 'Elite', or one of the other "decent FPS and MMOGs" of which you speak.

Besides, this game will be going on for ten years, so who knows what a 'PC' or a 'Console' will mean over that time.

Regarding the revenue stream for running a MMOG, clues can be found in the Bungie-Activision contract:

>Destiny will consist of a series of four MMO-style "sci-fantasy action shooter" titles, released every other year beginning in Fall 2013

>Expansion pack-style downloadable content (DLC), codenamed "Comet," will be released every other year beginning in 2014

>Destiny will feature a number of DLCs, microtransactions, and value-added paid services

http://destiny.wikia.com/wiki/Bungie-Activision_Contract

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Dave 126
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Re: stupid

>Selling Beta access like this is NOT a good idea, yet another Marpets brain fit.

>A beta is for TESTING if you do this you aren't testing you are just selling early access. Having worked in the industry I know that this can ruin a game before it is ready.

Betas are for testing, but part of that testing will require thousands of people, though probably not as many as will want to join in. So, how to select which members of the public to invite to the Beta? Simple, you give access to those who show the most enthusiasm, faith, and yes, financial commitment to your upcoming product. It seems as fair a way as any other I can think of.

The last few Halo games have had elements of their on-line game-play tweaked and tuned (or buggered about with, depending on your view) weeks and months after their release.

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'Stupid old white people' revenge porn ban won't work, insists selfie-peddler

Dave 126
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I don't know how copyright law works in the US, but don't the rights to photograph belong to the photographer (so in the case of 'selfies', to the subject of the photograph)?

Just asking.

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Dell ‘xpands XPS line with 'WORLD-FIRST' MEGA-RESOLUTION laptops

Dave 126
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Re: Finally!

>Amazing resolution, but it is just a waste, no one can discern the difference anyway.

Whilst I can't discern any jaggedness to onscreen text when my eyes are further than 12" away from my screen (17", 1920 x1200 = 133 PPI), this test image demonstrates why some people will find a high PPI screen useful:

http://www.bealecorner.org/red/test-patterns/star-chart-bars144-600dpi.png

From a distance of around 30" from the same monitor I can make out jaggedness in lines in a CAD draughting application - which unlike much onscreen text doesn't employ anti-aliasing.

There have been a few high resolution laptops released in the last year (including a very high res Lenovo Yoga), but all the reviews suggest that many Windows desktop applications fail to scale properly (including Adobe Photoshop).

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Dave 126
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Re: Erm..

>" since the USPTO feels that Apple is entitled to a patent on the techniques used to fabricate it."

For crying out loud. Look: it's not a difficult concept. You can not patent the cardboard box, but should you develop a new way of manufacturing a cardboard box then it is fair that you are able to patent the process.

I'm not sure why the above commentards think they are experts on architectural construction techniques all of a sudden.

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Samsung: Sod off Apple, we've made gold mobes for way longer than you

Dave 126
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I had a few of the later Samsung slider phones (better than their Nokia equivalents at the time) from around 2006, then a couple of their touchscreen efforts (well featured, but some annoying design decisions)... I don't think they ever twice used the same connector for power, data transfer and audio headsets (!). The first one, a very thin slider phone, wasn't bad at all though.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not unlike real gold

Theoretically a pan with a solid diamond base would the best way to fry an egg. Apparently it is the best known conductor of heat... though of course impractical for most (all?) conducting applications.

[Edit: John Sager beat me to it, and deserves double points for giving figures]

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Dave 126
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Re: Yawn

>Can I table a motion that comments like that should, from now on, be called "jakeisms"?

I tabled that motion back in 1987.

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That's a money spinner: iPod wheel patent bout bags bod £2m from Apple

Dave 126
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Re: Boy was that cheap

It is hard to comment without more details about the patent - which appear to be behind a paywall. For all we know, the patent might be relatively minor, and it would have been fairly easy to build a non-moving 'click-wheel' without infringing upon it. There again, it might cover a mechanism that is core to the workings of a click wheel.

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Office 365 goes to work on an Android

Dave 126
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Re: Apples and oranges

"Bluetooth or USB. Suddenly a keyboard and mouse appear. That wasn't hard. Now, software, support it. Oh, it won't? Chicken and egg."

Exactly the same can be said for the adoption of 'traditional' gamepads for Android tablets when playing appropriate games (or even for controlling media playback if the tablet is connected to a big TV).

I heard a BBC producer (of children's content) on the radio the other day... her information was that 60% percent of households with children in the UK own a tablet.

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Dave 126
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Re: Related topic...

Thank you for responding Mr Pott! If ten keyboards (to fit in with the usual Reg format) is too costly, then perhaps just a couple of choice ones and a cheap and cheerful (?) unbranded model for comparison.

Was there ones a cunning fold-up yet full-size keyboard available for Palm devices, or did I just imagine it?

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USB 3.1 demo shows new spec well on its way towards 1.2GB/sec goal

Dave 126
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Re: Thundercats

>Remember how long they clung to the admittedly reasonable FireWire standard even though it was clear the whole world was walking the other way towards USB?

And do you remember how long FireWire was around before before the mass adoption of USB 2.0? And FireWire stuck around for a long time afterwards, because people had invested money in scanners, digital camcorders and high quality sound cards.

Anyway, USB 3.1 isn't a rival to ThunderBolt - it isn't much use for expanding the capabilities of a laptop, tablet, or indeed a small desktop (new Mac Pro) - OCuLink is.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/13/pci_sig_discusses_m_pcie_oculink_and_fourth_gen_pcie/

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E-book him! Entire Judge Dredd back catalogue gets iDevice treatment

Dave 126
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Re: that's excellent, but...

I saw it in the cinema and bought the DVD (without waiting for it to drop to a fiver in a supermarket).... I don't know what else I can do. Ah well.

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WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?

Dave 126
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Black Helicopters

Re: Well, if you're taking photos at a concert...

>For someone my height, holding up a phone at arm's length is the only way I will ever get to see the band.

There are also the following...

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

http://www.screwfix.com/c/storage-ladders/step-ladders/cat831476

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

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

http://www.ultimateshoulderrides.com/

... but since this is a tech site, it can only really be:

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Completely Arse-faced

Er okay... True, most digital cameras lack a 'chamber' [camera], much less a dark one (many having an electronic 'shutter') so in those terms then yes, you have made a statement of fact.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe you could get a phone with a decent camera?

I guess one might use the camera on a tablet if they can't find their phone (or dedicated camera), but taking pictures isn't the only application for them... Barcode and QR reading apps, for example, make use of tablet cameras, as does the OCR part of Google Translate.

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Dave 126
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Re: It's in da nose, stoopid!

Some useful tips there rh587, thanks!

Alas, if the subject itself is moving then you'll probably need a faster shutter speed anyway (requiring a compromise on ISO (noise) or aperture). That said, it can be fun to 'track' a moving subject with camera at a lower shutter speed, so the background shows motion blur; an technique that perhaps reading 'Ways of the Rifle' can help me improve on.

For those with nothing to do this weekend, Instructables.com has a guide to making a gyroscopic camera stabilisation rig from two desktop hard-disks...

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