4135 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010
> because someone seems to have started making machines that cannot be user serviced, or upgraded at all, so they go obselete very quickly
Obsolete? Really? Through the nineties and into the early 2000s it was sensible to buy a new desktop for around £1000, because the software and new uses would mean that more CPU, RAM and HDD was always desirable, not to mention having to add stuff like soundcards, CD-ROMs and scanner cards (IRQs, joy). In the mid 2000s, there just wasn't that much that more power would do for the general user, since by then a £500 (or cheaper) machine could happily do all the email, DTP, image editing, web-browsing and DVD playback that a general user would need.
My laptop was bought several years ago, and still performs excellently for CAD and the like. It could always be faster on a render or whatever (and an SSD wouldn't hurt it), but it is very far from being obsolete.
Re: The only weird thing is this article.
>And ZevenOS, really? 'Get weird' with just another Ubuntu remix (as if there weren't enough already)?
Read the article again; the reference to ZevenOS was contained within brackets, i.e it was only mentioned as a passing remark, a footnote to the article.
AC was probably using the brand as shorthand for the OS's perception amongst both consumers and developers. You can tell he didn't mean for it to be taken literally because he placed quotation marks around it.
The Android logo has been used prominently on some hardware packaging in the past (if only to indicate that it was a 'smartphone' and not a feature phone, or that the device was more than just a portable media player), when it wasn't as well known amongst consumers as it is today. Using a logo in that way is what people usually take to be 'branding', being as it is akin to marking symbols on the rear end of cattle with a hot branding iron.
That said, wasn't there a recent Reg article about a survey that found they general public had a greater awareness of Samsung than they did Android?
Re: they really have nothing
>Show me an Apple product with a design like that.
Here you go!
They do look very similar, albeit from just one specific angle. The placement of a power button at the end of a cylinder probably didn't originate with Apple though... some older Sony VAIO laptops had a similar design (though the power button was green). Like this Lenovo Yoga, the VAIOs used a cylinder since it was a part of a hinge mechanism (whereas the cylinder shape on the Apple wireless keyboard comes from the shape of the AA batteries it contains):
However, Mr Bough is incorrect to say that Lenovo have nothing beyond copying Apple... The original Lenovo Yoga looks to be a good design, simpler and more sensible than some other laptop/tablet hybrid designs. That is not their only interesting laptop... the beastly Lenovo W700ds mmobile workstation with two screens is unlike anything Apple have ever made:
Re: BAD idea
C'mon Mr Campbell
There are people with restricted use of their hands through arthritis, just as there are people have less motor control of their hands for a variety of reasons, some with less strength in their fingers.
Even if your phone never slips from your fingers, you might trip and fall down... in which case you would want to be able to call for help even if you've fallen on your phone in your pocket. (I do hope you don't fall over!)
Other people have young children who might drop a phone onto the ground.
Personal experience does have a place in product design, but taking the experience of others into account can often result in the better product.
Re: BAD idea
The video shows the pins have a cut-away... after assembling your phone LEGO-style, you turn a screw in the base that locks them in.
Still, all those pins and that mechanisms is going to add to the total weight.
Re: Crazy theory...
Hehe, back from when DACs were so pricey it seemed a good idea to use the one on your PC's soundcard, IIRC.
There's no shortage of pirate stations in London... in fact it's hard to find a slot in the spectrum to use an FM transmitter in your car to relay your own choice of audio to a stereo that lacks an aux input.
That's another area where perceived progress was actually regression: Many tape-based car stereos had aux-inputs marked 'CD'... when CD playing head-units became the norm, the aux-input became rarer.
Re: simple solution
>surely is just to make all future radio sets (particularly those in cars) have to support dab as well as fm. Then when you want to switch in a few years it won't matter because everyone will have dab capacity.
Why would I buy a new radio in the next few years? There are lots of FM radio sets that have worked for a very long time, and will continue to do so for many years. It be a shame to throw out a Roberts or a Sony after decades of faithful service!
I love Radio 6 Music, and I won't deny that FM stations are limited. That was taken into account in my argument, and I did state that DAB has more stations that FM.
Basically, the cons outweigh the pros.
Today you can walk into any supermarket and walk out with a £3.99 device that will let you hear the news, some comedy and some music, and continue to do so for many many hours on a single battery... making it £25 for a device that only lasts a few hours is just silly. Really, it's like the difference between a CREE LED and a Xenon flash-light in terms of battery life. One of the genuinely useful technological advances in the last decade is that when you pull a torch out of your glovebox today, there is a very good chance the damned thing is ready for use.
- inexpensive sets,
-very good battery life (weeks of occasional listing on two AA batteries)
-audio is in sync between sets in different rooms (not true of DAB sets)
-speech remains largely comprehensible when reception is poor.
-sets turn on instantly
-Expensive sets (of which I would need two at home plus one in the car and one for the jacket pocket)
-terrible battery life,
- only a slightly wider selection of content than FM
-Audio quality rapidly becomes intolerable when reception is poor.
-audio quality not fantastic, even in ideal reception (poor codec)
-Thousands of stations and podcasts, plus streaming services from Spotify et al.
-Many people already own the required hardware
-Sound quality can be very good.
If I wanted the things DAB offers, I'd be better off using the internet. I already possess the hardware, and there is literally a whole world of content available. Leave FM alone - there is a place for easy, cheap, low power listening. DAB shares the disadvantages of internet-enabled devices (expense and poor battery life) but offers only a shadow of their advantages.
I'm not sure what is difficult to grasp here.
Re: It's a shame more people don't give BB10 a second look
>Finally, as far as I can tell, it's unbrickable, perhaps a legacy of supporting non-technical corporates for so long?
Being based on QNX - a Real Time OS with a long history of being used where reliability is paramount, such as industrial machine control - probably has something to do with it.
Re: 13 inch maxi-pad
>13 inch maxi-pad... Surely that's a very limited market.
It is, and so you'll £1200 for the privilege:
...but you do get a market-leading digitiser for your money.
I think Apple could be serving their traditional core of users (graphic designers and digital artists) by teaming up with Wacom, but then there is always a Modbook Pro, starting at $2900 - again with a Wacom digitiser.
Re: "So what do you suggest, Mr Clever Clogs?"
Thanks for joining in! I just wanted to express my ignorance because whilst toys (educational or otherwise) are marketed between girls and boys differently, I didn't want to start a nature / nurture / cultural influences type debate.
How the cultural pressure can be challenged (and in this thread, with respect to programming and technology more widely) is an important question... but that's getting into sociology, which is a bit too fuzzy for my particular brain to deal with!
Re. Gears and things, I find solid-state audio players very boring compared to some of the beautifully engineered disc/tape ejection mechanisms found in Walkmans, camcorders and Minidisc players. Many people have a preference for mechanical watches over quartz models, for much the same reason.
I think the idea is to make these things so fun that mummy and daddy will want to play with them, and use little Johnny as an excuse.
This is in contrast to leaving to leaving little Johnny in front of a screen and mummy and daddy opening bottle of wine in the next room.
Re: Great expectations...
Steve Crooks' point about smartphones is interesting because smartphones already have motion / light / sound sensors built in. Okay, the lack of standardisation between models would cause some issues, but I could imagine a class project to make a 'burglar alarm' from a smartphone ( IF no light detected AND foot steps detected THEN make a alarm sound and flash light )
Okay, there is a case to be made for not giving young children smartphones (they don't need to text each other and play games in school) but a phone is a mobile package of CPU and sensors...
On another note, does anyone else remember those RadioShack / Maplins kits that were a board of electronic components (transistors, diodes, relays, a transformer, a CCD etc) that allowed circuits to be created by just clipping pieces of wire into spring-terminals? I made smoke come out of mine...
Re: Great expectations...
Sorry mate, I wasn't being clear.To be honest, I was rambling a bit because my head was buzzing with how great it would be to 8 years old again with some of this kit! (For years I resented my primary school for possessing a BigTrak but not letting me play with it!)
I didn't mean to advocate the Pi (nor dismiss it), I was just trying to step back from the issue and think about how programming might be used in education by writing down some unordered thoughts : D
Upon reflection, I think that teaching some programming and then having it integrated into other subjects where appropriate (much like mathematics is) might be a good idea... but it is only my opinion and I have no expertise or credentials in education (other than I have been subjected to it!).
Disclosure: I should be considered a complete beginner in programming. I read about BASIC when I was in primary school, but hardly wrote more than a few lines. I did a bit of Hypercard a few years later, and at university I used a little bit of VB with Powerpoint, in order to create a mock-up of a MP3 player interface (in the 'information ergonomics' module of my Product Design course.
Re: Great expectations...
>been brought up on a diet of XBox and Playstation, near-photo-quality 3D graphics, realistic physics and immersive audio,
So, use those attributes to teach things. Something like Gary's Mod, for example, allows for Python Scripting. Class project? Design a Rube-Goldberg style mousetrap. Physics. Cause and Effect. If X happens then do Y.
Whilst you're at it, teach them to record and edit audio. Take it into the music class. Let them mess it up by setting the recording levels too high - they'll learn from that. Have them re-create their school in a virtual space. Use a Kinect (low cost low res 3D scanner) and integrate into Design and Technology. Some of them might become engineers.
A crazy amount of biological research (a science subject that attracts more females than some other science and technology subjects) involves programming and computation these days. Let's have some 3D proteins and enzymes floating around and interacting. What happens when we turn up the temperature? Do they interact faster, or do they become denatured?
Zoology, have a virtual ecosystem. What happens to the population of herbivores when I remove all the apex predators? (hint: it doesn't grow steadily)
I had a graphical calculator when I studied calculus. It was an aid,
However, hand skills are very important. Mental arithmetic, laying out engineering drawings by hand, laboratory skills. I had a graphical calculator when I studied calculus; it was a great aid to visualising, but it didn't replace doing things by hand on graph paper.
"So what do you suggest, Mr Clever Clogs?"
I agree with the last section of the article. How to engage children with programming? Some unordered observations follow. I'm concious that I was once a young boy, and that these points would benefit from someone who was once a young girl:
The LEGO 'Mindstorms' look excellent (i.e my 8 year-old self would have given his Tonka truck for it!) but are expensive. LEGO Technic taught me about gears, screw threads, differential gearboxes and pneumatics, for example. Destroying some LEGO lights by using them with a 12V model train controller taught me something too...
These days, a IR controlled mini-helicopter can be bought for 15 quid, containing a silicon gyro and a chip to keep it level... a programmable autopilot function wouldn't be much pricier. The "ten minutes play, 50 minutes recharge" nature of its battery seems ideal for programming its actions in advance and then observing the results.
Children like inventing and designing things, look at computer-game inspired 'fan art' or new levels drawn on paper.
What is programming? Just a formal way of expressing "if X happens, then do Y". If car leaves track on left, steer right.
What young boy could watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ErEBkj_3PY 'Robots that fly... and cooperate' without going 'Wow!'?
I'm having trouble separating programming from other 'tech' orientated disciplines, such as CAD modelling and 3D printing (Design an action figure, print an action figure. Add motors, sounds and actions) in the education space.
The enemy of these creative activities might be the polished nature of pre-made video games and branded toys.
Being able to solder is a useful skill.
The government is trying to get more men to become primary school teachers. The government is also trying to recruit more Design and Technology teachers of either gender. By law they cannot offer bigger grants to men studying to become Primary school teachers, but they can and do offer a bigger grant for Design and Technology (as well as for Science subjects). Why is this relevant? Just look at the gender make up of Reg readers... ...it would seem more of us men have an interest in these things.
Re: I have yet to buy a Blu-ray.....
I haven't got around to BluRay yet either, but then I haven't got a big TV to make it worthwhile. Watching movies round at my mates' look better for BluRay, though some of them are well enough served by download or streaming video services.
As a back-up medium, the blank discs are about £2 each (25 GB), so about £80 per TB... so don't work out cheaper than external HDDs, and more hassle too.
For shunting big projects (such as raw video footage) between locations, a few USB thumbsticks will do the job nicely.
Re: twilight zone
>rhinos have evolved to be baddasses for a freakin' reason you neutered freaks!
This is an example of sexual selection [of randomly occurring mutations] driving evolution. Male rhinos have become 'baddasses' because if they didn't they would lose out on the mating game to males that have. It's an arms race of sorts. Before humans caused the number of rhinos to drop, the level of collateral damage in the mating game was sustainable... after all, they are not as vulnerable to predation as some herbivores. In fact, counter-intuitively, deaths amongst females and young helped secure long term survival of rhinos, because it reduces the chance of population spikes (which tend to lead to population crashes by means of exhausting resources, a weak point at which a slight change in their environment can then be catastrophic for the species). For similar reasons, creatures that find themselves on remote islands without predators tend to breed slowly (see the Kakadu parrot). However, rhinos' current situation is one in which they are preyed upon upon- by us - and limiting a population spike is not currently a concern.
Taking this male out of the game probably won't affect the species too much; if he's that old and tough, he's probably already contributed plenty to the gene pool. It might be distasteful to shoot him for money, but that doesn't change the nature of the game.
If he's not in the same field as a female he can't breed naturally.
If you're going to use artificial insemination (good luck with that... at either stage of the operation) then you can freeze it for later use.
Park Warden: Well, animals are not like people, Mrs. Simpson. Some of them act badly because they've had a hard life, or have been mistreated. But, like people, some of them are just jerks
Re: Strange Logic
>it's not like the national parcs have a lack of space
Because this is an IT website, it is compulsory to spell 'parks' 'parcs'. More correctly PARCs.
>keep the animal alive but well away from the others.
That would benefit the individual but not the species. Better the resources (land and park wardens) be used for a female.
I dunno. Let the hunter use nowt but an air rifle and he'll be entitled to brag. If he survives.
Re: Weird comment at the end of the article
You're right, that is a weird paragraph about phone cases in the article... it almost reads as if referring to a non-existent sentence in the previous paragraph.
Re: Curved is good
I think the desire to have the mouthpiece near your mouth is mostly psychological- multiple microphone noise cancellation does a pretty good job these days.
Still, I really liked the ergonomics of some 'slider' phones: Slide open to take a call, slide shut to end it.
>That said, being curved in this plane makes more sense than the Samsung version!
I dunno, the Samsung will fit against the thigh if placed in a front trouser pocket in 'portrait' orientation.
I tried that on Orange, but it is a bit more effort than merely forwarding the message, since doing that doesn't attach the number from which the spam originated.
Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?
>Not just that - SLRs also have a sensor worthy of the name.
Fair enough, but it's a sliding scale of image quality vs portability. That sweet spot on the scale will depend on the individual user, and some people will get more from either a larger or a smaller camera.
It's worth noting that much of the bulk of a DSLR isn't to do with image quality per se, but with enabling phase-shift auto-focus and enabling an optical view finder. You can get an APS-C sensor in pocket-friendly (okay, a jacket pocket) cameras such as the Sony RX100, (The trade-offs are not being able to swap the lens, no optical viewfinder, no phase-shift AF, possibly compromised manual controls...).
A nature photographer, walking for day in the wilderness, might choose a micro 4/3rds camera, since its 200mm-equivalent zoom lens won't be as big and heavy as its equivalent for an APS-C DSLR.
Some people will even benefit from using a medium-format camera, which can make a DSLR look positively compact by comparison! Again, its a sliding scale; a studio-based photographer won't benefit from having a more portable camera.
The images I've seen independent reviewers produce from the Nokia PureView are damned impressive for its size. Each pixel might be small, but the thing is designed to interpolate the small pixels together, unless you're using the 'zoom' (read: crop). Since a lot of zoom photography takes place in daylight (holiday snaps of landmarks etc) each tiny pixel receive plenty of photons. The '42 mega-pixel' claim might be technically accurate, but is missing the point. Refreshingly, the last few generations of 'premium compacts' largely settled on around 10 mega-pixel sensors - their target market understood why.
Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?
>Lots of software still has a rotary phone icon, or a traditional studio type mic, or even an SLR camera icon.
That's nothing- UK road-signs still have an icon of a bellows camera, a design popular before WWII!
Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?
> she asked what the 'disk' icon for save was supposed to be.
You should have then told her that computers in your day had actual waste bins in them...
My 2010 laptop has a light above the keyboard to indicate HDD activity... the shape of this light? A drum!
Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?
I guess that in this day and age, anyone who had wanted to download Elite illegally would have done so by now... in 1995 games were pirated by swapping them with your mates, often on half a dozen floppy disks!
Re: Lots of scope for imagination here
>that displayed characters in perfect copper plate writing all driven by a 'Heath Robbinson' contraption.
Okay, having 'joined-up' writing (copperplate) is a whole extra level of complication, as we know from computer fonts... that's just showing off! However, automatic 'hand'-written text has been around for a long time:
- clip from the BBC programme Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams, Professor Simon Schaffer examines a clockwork creation of Pierre Jaquet-Droz ((1721–1790))
The recent Martin Scorcese film 'Hugo' contains an automaton based on Jaquet-Droz's.
For the purposes of having a display unit that can be reset, a wax tablet could be used, and a sharp point in place of a pen. You could delete the display by heating it from below- the surface would be horizontally mounted, and displayed vertically by means of a mirror just like an old PacMan arcade cabinet. Obviously the mechanism would be constructed so as to output 'mirror writing'. )
>Strange how you make a link with Oscar Wilde on reading the article.
Well, Oscar Wilde was a part of the Arts and Crafts movement by virtue of being a critic, and an advocate of 'Honesty of Materials' which has filtered through the decades to influence designers such as Dieter Rams. Not only that, but Wilde once descended upon San Francisco and criticise the aesthetic choices and craftsmanship of the residents:
The Apostle of Estheticism Exposes Our Sins.
INARTISTIC CRIMES OF COMMISSION.
The Aristocracy of Minna Street
Gratuitously Insulted by a Disquisition on Mortar.
But yeah, what Wilde's view of fox hunting have to do with Apple I'm not sure.
Re: golf clap
Hehe! Opera is more usable than Chrome... ...if you're stuck using an XP machine with 512 MB of RAM!
Why is it that these smart-watch articles - either here or elsewhere - never mention connected time-pieces from Citizen or Casio? True, they don't have colour screens, but they do provide notifications and have the benefit of looking like normal watches (Citizen's like a motor-racing style chronometer, and like any other G-Shock in the case of Casio).
There is going to be spectrum of functionality in smart-watches, from just doing the basics (incoming message alert) to the silly (side-loading normal Android apps onto the dual-core Galaxy Gear), and the chances are that any widely adopted solution will fall somewhere between the two.
Selective Laser Sintered titanium parts have very respectable mechanical properties, hence their use in aerospace and motorsport applications.
Still, there isn't enough detail in the article to inform me as to why this workflow is better than taking impressions (in clay or whatever suitable material) of the horse's hooves to create a mould.
Re: Thanks El Reg
Surely the importance of being able to repair it is inversely proportional to the reliability of the thing after two years? The thing is covered by warranty for at least that long in the EU...
I built a passively-cooled i7 machine for a friend... the downside is that the copper cooler alone weighs nearly a kilogram, and needs a nice roomy case to sit in... you can't really use the same technique on a tablet.
Using fans instead a way of getting the weight and physical volume down.
Re: Dashed hopes
Lusty is correct. When it comes to dismantling devices for their constituent parts, as opposed for repair, parts that are held together with glue can be batch-processed by heating them; traditional fasteners are comparatively fiddly and labour-intensive to undo.
I remember reading about this situation over a decade ago - before Apple were using the technique - when it was clear that manufacturers would become responsible for the end-of-life disposal of their products by law, thus spurring some research into how to reduce the cost of breaking products down to their component parts.
ABS plastic, as used for the cases of many electronic products, is fairly easy to recycle, but so is aluminium. The costs come in processing, but there are enough Macs and iDevices out there for there to be economies of scale in in dismantling them.
Of course, the recycling is only part of the equation, and needs to be seen with how much the device is used when it is working, and for how long it lasts without breaking down. There are probably some reports on the internet - drawn from different data sets - about the reliability of various bits of kit.
Re: Phillips monitor
....or the monitor asks you "Why can't I see your right hand?"
However, Top Gear is probably a good go-to test of streaming video... most episodes feature similar scenes (in terms of panning and editing style, fast cuts between scenes etc) of a car travelling around a track... the sort of stuff that can be affected by slow bandwidth.
The BBC output that always looks bad over iPlayer are scenes of flocks of birds in nature documentaries- a whole screen of avians flapping around an estuary or tree always results in blocky footage for me.
The only Android tablet I know of that can function as a second monitor to a laptop is this new Wacom thing, when it also acts as a digitiser for the laptop.
There may be others I don't know of.
Re: And with no fanfare... @AC good riddance
I'm not sure that you would want to trust your 100GB of RAW files to a single spinning-rust HDD - if it goes 'kaput', you've wasted the day of everybody involved (each of them likely on a substantial day-rate i.e financial corner-cutting on your storage is not worth the risk). You'd at least want those files on a second external disk ASAP, so two external HDDs isn't much of an inconvenience.
Re: No upgrades... ever
Er, why the downvote on something that is factually correct? The RAM on the 27" model is easily upgraded, the RAM on the 21" model can be updated but not easily, since you have to take the display off first:
...after the "Late 2012" 21.5-Inch iMac models shipped, site sponsor Other World Computing disassembled one and discovered that it has two internal SO-DIMM slots (and subsequent "Early 2013" and "Late 2013" models are the same). Unfortunately, accessing these slots requires one to gingerly pry off the adhesive-attached display and remove the motherboard. By contrast, the 27-Inch models have a small panel that "pops off" the back with the press of a button. Needless to say, pressing a button to access the four SO-DIMM slots in the 27-Inch models is quick and easy.
Re: No upgrades... ever
You can upgrade the RAM on the bigger iMacs easily via a panel, but not on the smaller iMacs.
I don't have a touchscreen PC, and I don't like when people I'm working with jab my laptop's screen with their finger.
Let's see if these mini-'Kinects' or 'Leapmotion' touch-free devices take off (or get incorporated into laptops and OSs).
Re: And with no fanfare a Macbook Pro was removed from the line-up
>The only models with a DVD drive left are... 1 (one) 13" non-retina Pro.
That is made non-obvious on the Apple website, and it's poor value compared to their other Macbook models. Just get an external DVD drive, it's easier to replace when it fails.
Having an extra bit of kit might not be neat, but a DVD drive presupposes you're carrying DVDs with you; an external drive isn't much bigger than a DVD case these days.
From Wired's 1997 opinion piece "101 ways to save Apple":
28. Don't lose your sense of humor. Build a very large life preserver and display it in front of your Cupertino, California, headquarters.
I don't know if people use the term 'life preserver' for a life jacket, or for one of those orange dough-nut shaped things on a rope that are stationed next to public waterways... if the latter, Wired was being very prescient!
Re: Downvoters: show us your links.
>I connected my Yamaha keyboards MIDI USB port to my iPad using the USB adapter in the camera connection kit.
And all iDevices have supported wireless MIDI since the first iPod, too. It does Apple no harm to cater to a group of people, like musicians, who are in the public eye.
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