* Posts by Dave 126

5870 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Mum fails to nuke killer spider nest from orbit

Dave 126
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Re: She could always have taken the offending banana and throne it in the freezer....

> the bananas were fumigated once they entered the U.S.

In the early nineties, National Geographic reported that one of it's own New York-based staffers had discovered a new species of spider. It too had hitched a ride to New York on some fruit.

Perhaps not all U.S-bound fruit was fumigated then.

A friend of my family's was off work for months after being bitten by a spider at her workplace in England. She was working in the fruit and veg department of a supermarket. Its bite did her leg some serious damage.

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Stealing secret crypto-keys from PCs using leaked radio emissions

Dave 126
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>. It's also NOT interesting to hobbyists who are already aware of it all.

From the very first paragraph of the article:

"This is a well-understood risk, but as these guys have demonstrated, it can be done cheaply with consumer-grade kit, rather than expensive lab equipment."

I would have thought that the low cost of the equipment would make it of more interest to hobbyists

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Yep, it's true: Android is the poor man's phone worldwide

Dave 126
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Re: Apple is a Fashion House

I also know people who have disposable income, and still use their iPhone 4Ss. It does everything they want of a phone, it is compact by Android or modern iPhone standards, it is still in one piece, and for anything more they use a computer or an iPad.

I've never owned an iPhone, but the 4S seems pretty well put together, and the engineer in me suspects that it wouldn't have been felled by the incident that has just trashed my Xperia (which has a thin ABS bezel and not an aluminium one. My main gripe with Sony is the poor design of their official case rather than the phone itself)

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Dave 126
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Re: Rational decisions

>For $75 you can get a new phone that does basically the same stuff as any other phone.

The operative word is 'basically'. I could have a phone that takes a few seconds to register every input, and whist it is basically doing the same as a faster phone, it would be incredibly frustrating to use.

The functions may be 'basically' the same, but the experience won't be.

Of course, over time the phones sold for $75 will be fast and pleasant to use for any given function.

I'm not saying that you should go 'flagship' spec.

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Dave 126
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>This is silly. There are things you can do on Android which you simply can't do on iOS because it is too locked down.

I agree. Conversely though, there is stuff you can do with iDevices that is harder or impossible to do on Android devices. I'm mostly thinking of 3rd party peripheral hardware and 3rd party software.

[Insert link to Reg article about the spending habits of iOS users on apps]

[Insert list of iOS-supporting headsets, speaker docks, electric guitar cables, microphones etc]

I'm an Android user. If I highlight shortcomings in Android and its 'ecosystem', it is because I want Android to be better.

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Feature-rich work in progress: Windows Mobile 10 build 10136

Dave 126
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Truncated text in a developer beta?

Just by coincidence, another OS in developer beta is showing a similar-looking issue in its UI:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9380/os-x-el-capitan-first-look/6

One it assumes its the sort of thing that will get sorted out in time.

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Sunday Times fires off copyright complaint at Snowden story critics

Dave 126
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Re: You know you've hit them where it hurts

>Private Eye

That their website doesn't have much content beyond "Just buy the magazine!" is a point in their favour. £1.80 from all good newsagents.

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Testing Windows 10 on Surface 3: Perfect combo or buggy embuggerance?

Dave 126
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Re: I almost feel sorry for Microsoft

>Hopefully UI designers (everywhere) will draw the obvious conclusion from this expensively won experience: design one UI for touch and a different one for Desktop. Don't compromise.

Yeah, well.... I'm currently using a UI that is designed for mouse and keyboard. It seems to be a compromise, because I need mouse AND keyboard to use it efficiently.

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Beats loudspeaker silenced by Apple after $3bn buyout, report claims

Dave 126
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Apple are already a Sonos competitor

Apple have a presence in multi-room audio - their Airport Express units have a 3.5mm analogue audio output.

It's not a system I have used, so can't comment on the implementation. My sister's fella (BlackBerry, Range Rover, shotguns etc) used a multi-room Bose jukebox thing, and now uses a Sonos system controlled by his iPad. It seems to suit him.

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Entertaining prospect: Amazon Fire TV Stick

Dave 126
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Re: Its all about the SP Factor (Shiny and Pointless)

My friend's Chromecast gets quite a bit of use. Multiple people in the room can use their iOS/Android phones and tablets to queue, for example, YouTube videos to the big TV. He also uses it to display streaming web video being played on his girlfriend's iMac from the next room.

Whether or not it is worth it depend upon your existing kit and your viewing habits. Much of the above functionality he already had, by controlling a PlayStation 3 YouTube app with an iPad. Occasionally his housemate connects a laptop to the same TV to watch football.

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Jurassic World: All the meaty ingredients for a summer blockbuster

Dave 126
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Mushroom

IT Angle

Does this new Jurassic film have a "It's a UNIX system! I know this!" moment?

The original movie also critiqued hardware product design:

Accountant: "Is it heavy?"

Children: "Yes!"

Accountant: "That means it's expensive. Put it down!"

Icon: Nuke the entire site from orbit etc

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Dave 126
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Haha! The 'handsome hunk' character, played by Joel McHale, in Park and Recs' sister show Community spent an episode in mock-bitterness at Chris Pratt's success with Guardians of the Galaxy:

"Chris Pratt is always out there, mocking me with his muscles and success!"

https://twitter.com/prattprattpratt/status/593289709293412352?lang=en-gb

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BlackBerry on Android? It makes perfect sense

Dave 126
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Re: Free OS is the Problem

Let's roughly break it down: What does BlackBerry have:

- Network

- Software

- QNX OS

- BB UI

- Hardware

The Network and Software can be charged for, on any platform if needs be.

BB 10 looks good, but how easy will maintaining compatibility with Android apps be in the future? Conversely, how difficult would it be for BB to bring their security to Android?

The BB UI could be brought to Android.

The BB hardware - the keyboards, basically - can be made Android compatible, or licensed out to Samsung et al.

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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Dave 126
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>the motherboard issues, the graphics card glitches in whole batches of machines.

As happened to MS's XBOX 360, as happened to Dells machines. As happened to loads of makers because they didn't at that time know how to use lead-free solder. Legislators enforce a new material that nobody has much experience of using.

That was then. Now is now.

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Dave 126
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Re: News: "People buy computers that run the software they need"

>Isn't that why coders buy Macs?

Linus Torvalds says he uses a MacBook Air because it is quiet and it is lightweight. He has some opinions about Mac software, but then he would, wouldn't he?

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Dave 126
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-NT4: Great, snappy, fast, reliable. No USB, no drives over 8GB, no DirectX

-98: Crashed a lot.

-2000: Stable enough, but did some weird shit with Zip drives.

- XP: Had ShadowCopy, but no built in application for actually making system images.

-Vista: Would restart itself whether the user wanted it to or not, in order to install updates. No good then for any long render, calculation or simulation.

- 7: I'm liking 7. A few niggles.

I use Windows because I use CAD software - and the reason engineers don't historically use Macs was covered by the first poster on this thread. When I have played with Linux distros, I did notice how much scientific software was available.

Really, if you need a program, then the OS is merely to launch that program. If I was a musician or a graphic designer, I would use OSX.

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MIT bods' digital economy babblings are tosh. C'mon guys, Economics 101

Dave 126
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Re: Tax the robots!

Hi, my name is TX840, but my friends call me 01010101101010010101010101010001010010101001

I work 120 hours a week and earn enough to buy my batteries and have a service twice a year. I treat myself to a manual inspection twice a week. I'm saving for an upgrade...

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Dave 126
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Okay, that's true - after people have their needs of food and comfortable housing sorted, they will spend more on experiences, such as eating out or entertainment. And if robot combine-harvesters gather our food, and robot housebuilders/concrete-printers keep in shelter, then people will have time to spare to take pride in their burger/steak flipping and active leisure activities. Serving others becomes more rewarding and less like a chore. If nobody has to work more than twenty hours a week, and it doesn't materially affect the experience of the inevitably wealthy people, then all good. It sounds better than what we have now.

How can get to there from here?

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HTC reflects on Champions League iPhone cock-up

Dave 126
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Re: Happens all the time

I don't believe so. There are less expensive competitors to the ToughBook, but the durability of its name suggests the actual models are the go-to solution for many engineers.

It happens all the time. A TV advert for Nokia phones might be shot with Sony cameras. Until Apple made Intel-based Macs, they must have been using Windows or *nix workstations from other people for product design, since they use Unigraphics NX and AutoDesk Alias.

Source: an Apple job advertisement.

http://jobs.designengine.com/jobs/cad-sculptordigital-3d-modelers-levels-apple-nx-unigraphics-2/

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Glass door to the ancient past FOUND ON MARS

Dave 126
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Re: Rock-boffin?

[ image of Jack Black standing in front of a blackboard on which the words Zeppelin, Floyd, Sabbath and others are written ]

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The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

Dave 126
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Population ddenisty.

I have no opinion, but am curious to explore this. Presumably few UK places outside London could have as many homes and businesses cut off by one single fire. I would also imagine that, for the same reason, few places outside of London would have as many businesses benefit from emergency generators being trucked in.

When we hear of prolonged power cuts outside of London, it tends to be the result of high winds, floods or other events that disrupt daily life beyond just power, and make the trucking of generators both a lower priority and more logistically challenging.

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Caterham 270S: The automotive equivalent of crack

Dave 126
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Re: Hang on...

"R" is for Racing.

from the Caterham website:

The ‘S’ pack is geared towards the casual road driver and includes creature comforts such as a fully-carpeted cockpit, full windscreen, hood and side screens and leather seats.

Meanwhile, the ‘R’ pack is more track-focused and is stuffed full of race-inspired goodies that will make every drive you take an event, whilst retaining its road car status. It includes a limited-slip differential, sports suspension, a four-point race harness and many other race-orientated upgrades.

A few car makers use different suffixes to denote faster-than-standard versions of their cars... the Honda Civic Type-R and Mini Cooper S come to mind.

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Festival tech: Charge your mobe while you queue for a pee

Dave 126
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Re: Knife fail

http://cashncarrion.co.uk/collections/frontpage/products/classic-reg-swiss-army-knife

This is a bloody good knife. The tool for removing stones from unicorn hooves is also a reamer, so can be used to drill holes - so you can attach your Clipper lighter to a piece or paracord, for example, or fashioning a pipe out of a piece of wood if you can't find your Rizla - or used as a crude needle for tarpaulins and the like.

The tweezers are invaluable.

Both blades are as sharp as hell, but the little one will stay unblunted by the cruder tasks you might put the big one to.

It will open tins of beans and bottles of beer.

It is very handy for stripping cable and re-wiring plugs - of limited use at a festival it's true, unless a lighting technician has given you a backstage pass whilst pissed (not unheard of).

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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Dave 126
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I can't find the story you are refferring to. However, I did find a thread on a similar subject from Tesla owners:

http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/battery-losing-1-mile-hour-when-parked

It would appear that with more data about Li-ion in low temperatures, the software will be updated to make better predictions about range, and presumably the software will also become better at advising the user on how/when to charge their vehicle.

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Apple preps summer bonking bonanza for Brits

Dave 126
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>This myth that never ending transactions can happen is ridiculous.

I've used Pay-by-Bonk quite a bit on my debit card, usually in pubs or supermarkets. I've never been asked to enter my PIN, which I had believed I would be every so often. Perhaps it is because I have interspersed my Pay-by-Bonk payments with Chip-and-PIN transactions and withdrawals.

I am cautious with it and insist on taking the receipt. And I usually take some cash-back, so that I only need to use my card once or twice in the evening.

I have heard on Radio 4 that some pubs and nightclubs have decided to stop using Pay-by-Bonk, due to lost or stolen cards being abused to the tune of around £100 over an evening across multiple transactions. This money, in at least one case, was refunded by the issuing bank.

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Gasping for an Apple Watch? You'll have to tremble and shake for two more weeks

Dave 126
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I haven't seen any in the wild yet

but then I haven't been to the wealthy area of my nearest big city for a few weeks.

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The USB Lego, bluetooth coffee cups and connected cats of Computex 2015

Dave 126
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Re: Hmm...

a Real Cat, as promoted by Terry Pratchett in place of the Fizzy Keg Cat.

A Real Cat, often referred to as Yergettoutodityabastard!

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

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What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

Dave 126
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Re: Can it handle...

All reviews suggest that it can edit 4k video in native resolution, with clips queued up and the timeline visible. And that was last year's model.

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LG G4: Be careful while fingering this leather-clad smartie pants

Dave 126
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Re: Nice LG advert...........

Why assume? The results are clearly labelled "AnTuTu benchmark".

If you read the article you would have read the author say: "Samsung's own chipset in the S6 wins out on those rare occasions you need raw speed".

If you want a breakdown of the S6 performance and battery life under best efforts to level the playing field, you could do worse than look here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9146/the-samsung-galaxy-s6-and-s6-edge-review/3

Its got graphs and everything.

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Dave 126
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>n Android land Sony reigns supreme for battery life. Largely because it's much more aggressive about turning down background tasks by default.

Just to clarify: Sony's Stamina Mode is an option with a quick toggle. IIRC, exceptions on an app-by-app basis can be made, but I haven't played with that. I don't need to receive emails the minute they are sent - If I'm expecting something urgent I can toggle the Stamina Mode off. There is also an Ultra Stamina mode, which effectively restarts the phone with only a few core apps and 2G comms only - one for possible emergency use, whilst hill walking perhaps.

I was impressed by the LG G2 - one of the first Snapdragon 800 phones - but was convinced by the decision to give the G3 an overkill screen at the expense of battery life.

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Siri, dim the lights and warm us up: First gizmos for Apple HomeKit love-in emerge

Dave 126
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>Awesome. Now we can all look forward to hours of mainstream media coverage of how Apple invented smart homes.

You could just turn your TV off. Or ask Siri to do it for you! :)

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Dave 126
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Do you have a remote controller for your television set?

If you answered 'yes', then extend that to your lights.

Bedroom blinds that are timed to open before your alarm clock.

A music system that becomes quieter when you recieve a phone call.

A television or lights that blink when the door bell is rung - handy for the hearing impaired.

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Intel adopts 40Gb per SECOND USB-C plug for Thunderbolt 3.0

Dave 126
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Re: $$$$$$$$$$$

Thunderbolt cable was pricey because a, few people had need to buy it, b, those people who had need of it were using it with very pricey kit, and c, it requires chips in the cable.

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Force Touch tweak: Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Dave 126
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Re: Difficult to justify the upgrade expense

> I can remove the hard disc if the machine needs to go in for a service -- I could then mount the disc on another machine in the meantime.

That would be useful for some people, but of the total users who ever take their machine for service:

X% wouldn't bother swapping their HDD; it's not critical for a few days.

Y% would have their HDD backed up hourly/daily via Time Machine. Their data and desktop environment is important.

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Woman dumps ultra-rare $200,000 Apple 1 computer in the trash

Dave 126
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Re: $200,000 each?

That would be a fun thought exercise: what would one have to do to make a fake antique computer?

1. You would need a known-genuine Apple 1, for reference.

2. You would have to hunt down components. That sounds very possible.

3. Materials... is that PCB substrate still available? You would probably have to find some original unused stock... tricky. The solder composition, likewise... probably easier to have solder from a real Apple 1 analysed and replicated.

4. Forge Woz's signature.

Guess it depends on the lengths people will take to determine if your fake Apple 1 is real or not.

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BRAIN STORM: Nine mislaid cerebra found near railway line in New York

Dave 126
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A lawyer questioning a doctor during a trial:

Q: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?"

A: "No."

Q: "Did you check for blood pressure?"

A: "No."

Q: "Did you check for breathing?"

A: "No."

Q: "So, then, it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?"

A: "No."

Q: "How can you be so sure, doctor?"

A: "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."

Q: "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?"

A: "It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere."

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It's the Internet of Feet: Lenovo shows smart shoes, projector keyboard phone

Dave 126
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Re: Smart shoes are a bad idea as pointed out...

There are a few applications for smart insoles. First up, they are a natural for using piezo-crystals to generate their own electricity.

There has been research that looked at using vibrating insoles to imp[rove the blance of elederly people, for whom a trip or fall can be a very serious matter. The concept is that their nerves are less sensitive, so by vibrating the insole they become more sensitive to their posture through 'stochastic amplification' - basically the original stimulus plus the movement of vibration exceeds the wearers detection threshold.

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Dave 126
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Re: I have a use

Quite a few classical musicians use iPads for displaying sheet music, used with a foot pedal to change page. Given the size of many instruments, carrying a 10" tablet isn't much of extra burden, especially since it can replace piles of dead-tree manuscripts.

The problem with a projector is that you might be asked to play outside in sunlight, or inside with moving stage lights.

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Dave 126
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There are a few ways of creating virtual keyboards and trackpads on desks. One way is to use infra-red. Another way is to use two cameras, a la Kinect or LeapMotion. A third way is to use a couple of microphones or transducers, and processing to ascertain the location of finger taps from sound.

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Who's the big Swiss bunch that wants to take Sir Jony's lunch? It's... SWATCH!

Dave 126
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Re: Internet Time?

Plus one for the memory.

I remember too that Swatch made watches with numeric pagers back in the mid nineties, enjoying some success in some territories. Teenagers didn't often have mobile phon/ Nokias back then.

Instant messaging on your wrist 20 years ago? Whoda thought it!

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Dave 126
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Re: Didn't know they still existed

The role of Swatch in the creation of the Smart car brand is worth bearing in mind when considering stories about established companies exampning into market sectors that are new to them.

Say you're a company who makes phones and you have a track record of successfully selling them at a high margin for nearly a decade. It stands to reason that you have data about your customers - gleaned from your existing marketing department and from the user's devices and buying habits - that you can bring to bear when you enter a new market sector. Like the Apple Car rumours.

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Dave 126
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Re: Business Choices - Nick you are going to fail big time....

>Either you have a quality product or a cheap product and I can't think of many things worse that cheap electronics....

And your point in regard to this article is what? £10 buys me an accurate, reliable and resilient Casio watch with a elegantly simple 'analogue' display.

I take your point that poorly designed electronic goods with horrendous user interfaces are horrible, but if sold in volume that design cost is shared amongst a large number of units; the cost of that thoughtful design becomes only a small percentage on top of the Bill of Materials.

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Elon Musk's SpaceX: Now we help do SURVEILLANCE for the SPOOKS

Dave 126
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Re: Hmmm. . .

>At this rate we'll soon have enough material orbiting the planet to make Dyson sphere

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."

Anyhows, Dyson Spheres are built around the star, not around some lump of rock that orbits it.

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'iPhone 6S' to push fanbois around with 'Force Touch display'

Dave 126
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The Holy Grail...

...would be a touch screen that can assume the feel of any raised surface, such as a BlackBerry keyboard or even just an old Nokia keypad. I've never used a Blackberry, but there are some operations that are just quicker on an old Nokia (remember, all the menu and sub-menu options could be accessed by number) than on a touch-screen device.

It goes without saying that the benefit to blind users could be huge; a screen that can morph to convey Braille.

That said, sometimes the best solution takes work on the part of the user - a MicroWriter-style chorded keyboard is a more natural fit for a phone-sized device than a QWERTY, yet it is not commercially available. Similarly, I wonder of coded vibrations can convey words to blind users as quickly as raised dots. Any ideas?

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Sir Jony Ive, chief Apple doodler, promoted – into job he already has

Dave 126
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Re: Design ...

There is a bit of cross over between Sony and Apple:

- Both companies didn't like focus groups for the same reason that Henry Ford gave: "people would just tell me they wanted a faster horse!". Empirical studies over decades tell us that what people say they want isn't isn't what they will actually buy.

- Portable audio players. Both 'Walkman' and 'iPod' have become near generic, like 'Hoover'.

-Esslinger. Designed for Wega before Sony bought it. Developed Apple's 1980's design language. Sony's Playstation was a deliberate homage to it.

- Propriety interfaces. Buy a Sony TV and the remote control for a Sony DVD player will control it. Great. If you only own Sony kit. Umm.

-Steve Jobs used to just walk in to Sony HQ. When he ended the MacOS clone programme, he was willing to make an exception for Sony VAIO laptops and desktops (designed by the Playstation lead designer). However Sony were too far down the MS Windows path by then. Jobs also suggested to Sony that they stick a GPS receiver in their digital cameras.

- Sony, and later Apple, kit is used in broadcast and video editing.

- Shuttle controls in Sony's video editing kit became the iPod's scroll wheel, via a Bang and Olufsen telephone.

- Sony had all the pieces to create a iTunes online music store and hardware player, and they had done the studies and tests... but they tripped themselves up.

-Digital Cameras. The Apple QuickTake camera.

-FireWire

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Dave 126
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Re: Design ...

I think he was more form than UI design, though of course the form of many devices is a part of the user's interaction - i.e, the Big Green Button on photocopiers, the moulded line between the eject button and the disc lid on the original Sony PlayStation, the position of volume buttons on mobile phones.

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Dave 126
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Re: Design ...

> I guess FEA is used on Apple's cases, too. But I have a suspicion JI is not involved in that side of it.

No. Ive isn't programming the FEA directly. But then, he's not much of a CAD jockey in general, preferring working with materials by hand. The standard disclaimer on FEA software is "This software is not intended to replace real physical testing, but only to reduce it". Apple will still build prototypes at all stages of the design process (Ive's studio has a couple of CNC machines at one end of the room) and test them. In any case, you can think of a product designer as a project manager - co-ordinating individuals from a wide range of disciplines.

However, Ive is very interested in what FEA and real testing can tell him about materials and manufacturing processes. This is evident in the variety of manufacturing processes that Apple employ - machining, extrusion, forging, deep drawing, laser cutting... and that's just their aluminium parts.

This isn't unique to Ive. The good product designers have never been the ones who hand a magic-marker pen drawing to an engineer and say "Now - you build this!"

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Dave 126
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Re: Design ...

First up, I'm glad you've heard of Dieter Rams. I would encourage you to seek out some interviews with him, though, and perhaps study more about product design - I personally find it a fascinating area because of the wide range of disciplines it incorporates. A good place to start might be the career of another German designer, Hartmut Esslinger, who founded FrogDesign and consulted for Wega, Sony, Apple and NeXT. That will take you into how design featured in Sony's products of the 1990s, with some clear parallels to Apple's subsequent story.

Dieter Rams didn't call himself a 'designer', because he knew a lot of people mistook the term as referring purely to the appearance of an object. Rams prefers a German phrase that translates as 'Form Engineer'.

Good design is time consuming; following Rams' '10 Principles' takes a long time. Analyse the problem, create solutions, build prototypes, test, redesign, repeat many, many times. You have to balance the engineering, the users' needs, the economics, the technology... Good product designers do understand the manufacturing processes that they will choose from.

Side note: It wasn't Steve Jobs that hired Ive. Ive had been working as a consultant for Apple for a couple years, before joining them in 1992 - they tempted him in with a fake tablet computer project. Ive nearly quit before Job's return to Apple. Esslinger suggested to Jobs that Apple had some talented individuals in its design department, that could do good things if given the power to do so.

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'The Google execs, the journalists, plus Brit and US spybosses in a cosy mansion confab'

Dave 126
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It makes you feel uncomfortable? Surely one assumes that many of the attendees have already met in secret.

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Huawei announces tiny 10 KB IoT kernel

Dave 126
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Re: 10KB for the OS?

>"A tailored Linux kernel would be much better"

How so? And how are the Real Time variants of Linux doing these days?

>"has much better support, been developed and gone through testing for 20+ years," applies to some RTOSs more than it does to Linux. For IoT applications, the tried and tested OSs from the fields of Industrial Control and Avionics are a better place to look.

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