* Posts by Dave 126

6481 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Helping autonomous vehicles and humans share the road

Dave 126
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>There are so many things wrong with the idea of autonomous vehicles...

No doubt. But there are tens of thousands of deaths each year which serve as granite monuments to the problems with our existing system.

Your phrasing is interesting... you say the problem is the 'idea' of driverless cars, and not any possible implementation.

> from the economic one of how many jobs will this tech destroy

Some might say that is actually a problem with the idea of economics, or at least our current implementation of it! :)

But you're right - just think of how many doctors and paramedics will lose their jobs if we stop killing and maiming each other on the roads. Oh, the humanity! /s

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Dave 126
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Re: Price hikes on the way.

>"You're insurance premium is going up this year sir, because we think you'll be acting like a dick!"

Exactly. Here's the thing: Driver speed isn't the chief cause of accidents, but it is the driver behaviour that is easiest to police. So we have the situation where driver safety campaigns solely on speed, and not on other bits of driver behaviour - such as correct lane discipline and use of indicators - where safety would benefit from being educated. ( http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/why-speed-isn't-the-only-factor-in-the-road-toll/6831300)

A black box could help with such things. "You're insurance is going up because you are... "

- driving blithely down the middle lane of the motorway when you are not actively overtaking another vehicle

- not turning your lights on when the whole motorway is a grey fog of road spray. And you're driving a grey car.

- only using your indicators when you reach a roundabout instead of beforehand. FFS, they are called 'indicators' and not 'describers'!

- going all the way down a hill with your brakes on, instead of choosing an appropriate gear.

- etc

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Dave 126
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It does seem that the articles is written, reasonably enough, about just dropping a few driverless cars onto road systems akin to those we have today. Here's the thing thing though: If driverless cars were widespread, there wouldn't be any schoolchildren walking along busy roads; the schoolchildren would be chauffeured to school instead.*

If driverless cars can be made much safer than human drivers (tiredness, drunkenness, distraction) then these 'trolly problem' dilemmmas will be more niche cases. The choice won't between running over a young criminal and old doctor, but between keeping a transport system that kills tens of thousands a year and striving towards a system that could be much safer.

*Just an example. And anyone concerned with a lack of physical exercise for the children can consider the lovely outdoor playspaces that residential streets could become if they weren't merely used to store parked cars as they are today. I was once in a city during a transport workers strike - busses blocked offthe roads, and the children were all out on bikes and skateboards, and playing hopscotch-type games and football.

Obviously there would be transitional period with lots of challenges.

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Antivirus tools are a useless box-ticking exercise says Google security chap

Dave 126
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Re: Everything can be a program, if the OS is a PoS

>Programs deleting data:

>Shadow copies / snapshots. Why are they not enabled by default on all computers, and why are they deletable?

Yes. I've made a comments here before about how every PC sold to Joe Punter should come with redundant storage and an OS configured to use it by default. It would save their IT-literate friends a lot of faffing about. Not only could the machine be rolled back to known good state, but a known clean state could be loaded at every startup, if desired.

Incremental backups don't require too much bandwidth after the initial backup, so a network solution is fine when at home - most of the time. For laptops, being semi-permanently attached to an external HDD by cable is less than ideal, but we're getting to the point where a small SSD array could be left in a USB-C port (either USB 3 or ThunderBolt) all the time. I can't see laptops including XQD card ports in a hurry (unlike SD cards, XQD uses PCIe) - oops, I'm straying away from Joe Punter to professional considerations.

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Mac book, whoa! Apple unveils $300 design tome

Dave 126
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Re: FTFY

- You can't just rip off a Braun design for a different product and have it work.

- You can adhere to Dieter Ram's design principals, but to do so takes time and effort. This is analogous to coding - just because good principals can be concisely written down doesn't mean that it is straightforward to produce good code.

- Rams wasn't working in a vacuum. He was part of a lineage, as contemporary designers are today. See the 'Zeiss Werra' camera from the early 1950's.

- The designs that made Ive's name didn't look anything like Braun's products.

The reason I'm defending Product Design (and not Ive per se) is that there is so much shit design out there, and it is irritating on a daily basis like a door handle with a sharp edge or a USB-A cable that only goes in its socket 50% of the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: when I were a lad

I had a similar book 'Digital Dreams - The Work of the Sony Design Centre'. It was full of concept sketches, design iterations and interviews - as well as product porn. The Esslinger-era Mac designs are cited by the designer of the PlayStation and VAIO range.

Apple's most famous designs from before the return of Jobs were out-sourced.

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Amazon's cloudy 'WorkSpace' desktops-as-a-service gain a GPU

Dave 126
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Re: Latency?

There have been games systems based on this concept, and the lag was reported to be tolerable. More recently, some CAD vendors have similar offerings. I can't vouch for AWS specifically, but some CAD forums might be able to help you. Try a search for 'solidworks CAD'. :)

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Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs

Dave 126
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Your critical thinking appears to have malfunctioned. In the last decade there have been many stories about laptops and phones catching fire.

You've cited iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models. What you have failed to do is provide context by stating just how many iPhone 6 and 7s there are in the wild. Being conservative, the figure is north of 60 million. Without that number, you can't begin to estimate the risk of any given iPhone injuring you. Just as you estimate the risk of crossing the road, cooking with hot liquids, lifting a box, drinking, going hill walking, taking a swim, owning a Samsung / Sony phone, trying to open some blister packaging without scissors....

>How much is Apple paying you $. Have you no shame? Not at all. Shameful. What a shame! Fraud media. Apple: Please, somebody, stop explosions news...Theregister Pls help me...

Uh, okay. See the above. Calm down, get good data, estimate the risks. It seems that since you don't own an iPhone, your health is more at risk from your fragile mental state than it is any Apple product. There are many meta-studies in the medical literature about that.

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Dave 126
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Re: Decentralized OS?

>Is it possible to set up an independent arms length Tizen/Linux foundation, and have every handset user pay (via bitcoin) to install the OS, where they then get to vote on what new features are developed by the community?

Tizen is mostly open source, with some open-source-ish bits, as far as I can make out. There is the Tizen Association which suggests changes, and the Tizen Technical Steering Group which implements changes.

The idea of users voting on features... this suggest that software features might be mutually exclusive to each other (okay, developer time is finite, I guess) which i don't quite grok. It is often hardware that limits features, and users already effectively pay to vote on hardware when they choose a handset.

Where features are limited in software, it is either because someone can't be bothered to implement it (business model), or the limitation serves the business model of the phone vendor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tizen#Licensing_model

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Low-end notebook, rocking horse shit or hen's teeth

Dave 126
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I guess one can use a second-hand mid-range notebook instead of a new low-end model.

Devil is in the details, battery life etc.

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

Dave 126
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Re: Important Question

>the average person would recognise the feeling of wading through treacle or walking across a ploughed field

Turn the 'bug' into a 'feature': low impact cross-training for pert buttocks.

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Dave 126
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C'mon! Why have the gym rats turn their kinetic energy into electricity, only for the electricity to be turned back into kinetic energy? It is far more efficient for the gym rats to do the useful work (chop wood, carry water) directly.

Actually, I'm thinking of starting a new sort of gym, held outside on building sites. Members will pay me for a work-out regime that involves digging holes and carrying bricks.

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Dave 126
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Re: Still waiting

There is a wireless doorbell button on the market that harvests all its energy from the movement of its button being pushed. Of course the receiving unit still requires batteries or wired electricity, but the latter is easier to wire up inside the house.

Small amounts of electricity can be very useful for remote sensors etc.

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Fake election news meltdown vortex sucks in Google

Dave 126
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Re: Google vs Wikipedia

>I don't believe any single source on the internet and I try to ensure that different sources are independent (not just rehashes of the other).

And that's probably true of most Reg readers. Also, I suspect our average age is such that most of us still grew up with print media, which whilst not perfect, was stable enough for any half thinking person to know their leanings and idiosyncrasies: The Torygraph, the Daily Heil, The Grauniad, Screws of the World for UK readers. Many of us will have read print publications from technical or scientific sectors, too, and and see how a story is presented in the specialist and mainstream media.

This is not to say that our world views are unskewed and unfiltered, but we try to get a feel for what's going on behind the scenes. A taste for the satirical helps, too.

Also, Wikipedia's accuracy depends upon how it is used... true, most people likely don't read past the main article, but the citations,reference and article edit history are there to be examined by those who want to check.

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WileyFox Swift 2: A new champ of the 'for around £150' market

Dave 126
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Re: It's all in the details

I'm assuming you mean the Moto G4, and not the LG G4 - or indeed the Apple G4 Cube? :)

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Samsung flings $8bn at buyout of connected car biz Harman

Dave 126
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Re connected cars, Autonmous / Assisted Driving:

https://www.mentor.com/products/electrical-design-software/blog/post/5-automotive-megatrends-5cf1dcc3-14a2-4d0d-b8af-da46e42f486c

I came across these when looking into Mentor Graphics (mentioned in another Reg article today). Since a part of there business is in designing wiring looms for vehicles, they are obviously interested in the future of vehicles, noting that every major car manufacturer and technology giant is investing time and money in this sector.

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Pythons Idle and Cleese pen anti-selfie screed

Dave 126
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Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror

satirises this well in its new series.

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Dave 126
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Re: Good for them.

>To the (selfie) people out there: Do you really have such low self-esteem that you need to hijack someone else's to feel some self-worth? Pitiful..

We have evolved to be social creatures. However, much like addictions to substances being subversions of existing behavioural mechanisms, our social tendencies can be perverted by living in an environment that is different to that we evolved in. For these environmental changes, we could use 'technology' in its broadest sense - agriculture is a technology, social structures are a technology, plumbing, literacy, milling flour, crafting tools from flint, using fire - all forms of technology.

A desire to eat fatty and sugary food is a positive survival trait when such substances are in short supply. We didn't do most of our evolving in an environment where fats and sugars are usually abundant, so we might not be as good at regulating our intake as we might be.

An interesting thing: When we are lost in an environment without landmarks, we tend to walk in circles. It's theorised that this means we are more likely to find the rest of our tribe again, a tribe upon we we depend for survival.

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Swedish prosecutor finally treks to London to question Julian Assange

Dave 126
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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/10/edward-snowden-extradition-vladimi-putin-trump-russia

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Dave 126
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Off topic, but...

What happened to the promised follow-up Reg article with Adam Curtis?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/13/adam_curtis_hypernormalisation_preview/

"Ever generous, Curtis is happy to throw open the floor to Reg readers once you’ve had a chance to see it next week; he answered some of our general questions here."

(A link to the Reg's first Hypernormalisation article was presented in the column to the right of this Assange article, jogging my memory).

It's understandable if a commentator on geopolitics has been busy digesting the events of the last month.

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Siemens to mentor Mentor Graphics in $4.5bn acquisition

Dave 126
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Carl Icahn gets everywhere...

Billionaire activist Carl Icahn won a proxy fight in 2011 that secured him three board seats, although he quit his investment in the company in April after six years. Mentor Graphics also fended off a hostile takeover by rival Cadence Design Systems Inc CDNS.N in 2008.

- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mentor-graphics-m-a-siemens-idUSKBN1390Q4

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Google Pixel pwned in 60 seconds

Dave 126
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Re: Cheaper to pay bug bounties...

>You design in the quality and security.

That don't be done absolutely.*

Here's Richard Buckland talking entertainingly about why:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/you-will-be-hacked/7861288

Basically, it is very hard to write bug-free code, even for relatively simple algorithms. And the software we use is far from simple.

*Well, there is some current work on the old concept of formally verifying code, but it isn't widely used yet.

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Google's crusade to make mobile web apps less, well, horrible

Dave 126
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The web is no fun.

It's damned near impossible to just get some info without an advert popping up as you're half way through a paragraph. I just wanted a recipe for Crispy Beef, damnit! It's just hard to read anything without some *event* requiring my interaction to kill it. Ad Blockers are only a workaround.

Since I pay for access to the internet, though mobile or ADSL, I wouldn't mind paying just a little more for a *usable* internet.

The adverts on the Reg aren't too bad - though the banner advert at the top of the main page sometimes obscures the articles (Chrome on Android), and a couple of years back the Reg team let an autoplay video advert slip through (to their credit, they quickly killed it and it's not happened since).

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What's that, Adobe? A Photoshop for faking voices?

Dave 126
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Re: The trouble with TV Go Home

>The trouble with TV Go Home is that in the years since it was created it has changed from satire to a handbook.

Ditto Nathan Barley. If Charlie Brooker were to act as George Lucas did with Star Wars and re-release a Special Edition Nathan Barley with Extra CGI Effects, he could digitally place 'ironic' beards on most of the characters and it would look like a contemporary documentary.

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Dave 126
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A beta version of this sotfware...

...was used for Peter Dinklage's voice role for the video game 'Destiny'.

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Dave 126
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One Question:

What would Toast of London say about this?

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Dave 126
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>We suspect this technology is bad news for soundalike voice artistes – and may prompt a shift for owners of well-known voices such as Stephen Fry (pictured below) to move to an IP-based, licensing model.

The Simpsons did it - featured an advertisement for a movie with Marlon Brando as Truckosaurus, then said "professional celebrity voice impersonator" in the verbal equivalent of small print.

But anyway - would someone please donate a Tivo, Chromecast, Netflix subscription, Apple TV or even Kodi box to Mr O? It seems that the only reason he is fatigued by Stephen Fry is that he can only watch BBC, Dave and adverts on ITV. It would be a kind act, and could brighten this Reg writer's Christmas.

Before his income from voiceovers, Stephen Fry was a writer, like Mr O - only more adept, humane, successful and well known. Still, there is positive precedent for Mr O's future career development - Charlie Brooker, the satirist, piss taker in print and on screen, and well received creator of Nathan Barley and Black Mirror used to write for PC Zone (an irreverent tech-focused publication) back in the 90's.

Charlie Brooker knew that there was so much dross on TV that to limit himself to knocking one individual would be just daft. A masterclass on how to rip into the television schedules can be found here: http://www.tvgohome.com/archive.html The humour is very much in the vein the Reg prides itself on. Because we care.

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Trump's plan: Tariffs on electronics, ban on skilled tech migrants, turn off the internet

Dave 126
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Re: First of all, sorry

>Trump's intellect is barely above room temperature, and he has some deep psychological issues to boot.

>> A man who probably thinks a Sarin is a new Dodge midliner..

Here's the thing: Trump evidently spotted something that was overlooked or underestimated by the political theorists, statisticians, mainstream Republicans and much of US press. The editor of the New York Times said as much last week in an interview with the BBC's Media Show - that he, the news editor, and his counterparts in other big city ( New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago) newspapers, were very slow to pick up on a sense of dissatisfaction in many parts of the US.

So, whilst I'm suggesting Trump is shrewd, it does not follow that the simple solutions he has proposed will be the best for anyone once he is in power. Let us just hope that the things he said to get elected were, well, things he just said to get elected. Let us hope, because historically, the people promising simple solutions to complex problems can be dangerous.

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Sega MegaDrive/Genesis lives again, in Brazil!

Dave 126
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Re: Emulation inside

> peripherals like the Sega/Mega CD and 32x won't work.

Are rare beasts indeed compared to the number of Megadrives out there - anyone with them will have had no problem acquiring an original Megadrive to use with them.

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Chinese chap in the clink for trying to swap US Navy FPGAs with fakes to beat export ban

Dave 126
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Re: Not surprised

Apologies for the tangent, but your mention of Polonium reminded me of an advertisement in a 1950's hi-fi magazine I saw recently: Polonium brushes for cleaning your records. I've just had to Google more about them:

https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/staticeliminator.htm

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Dave 126
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Re: Buy rad-hard from the Russians?

You don't need powerful computers to put stuff in orbit, and I'm not sure the Russians have kept up with the stuff NASA has used for Mars rovers and other probes. The chips on the Curiosity rover, for perspective, are rad-hardened versions of what you'd find in an Apple Mac G3 in the late nineties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hardening#Examples_of_rad-hard_computers

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Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable

Dave 126
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Re: How on earth

SD cards are still used a lot. However, compact cameras aren't used as much as they used to be, because mobile cameras have improved greatly over the years. Even though the discrete compact cameras themselves have improved, the difference isn't great enough for the casual user to carry two devices around most of the time.

At the the high end, DSLRs and the like have gained faster burst speeds, 4K video, and are generally more data intensive. This means that get best performance, CompactFlash or XQD cards must be used.

SD cards are still the popular option, but they are being squeezed a little from both ends.

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Dave 126
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Re: What a joke

No one will want to call it Lightning because it isn't Lightning. Nor is 'LightPeak' a suitable name for it.

It is USB-C. USB-C is a standard which covers the physical connector, power handling, and communicating which 'alternate mode' (i.e Thunderbolt, HDMI, DisplayPort, MHL etc) it is to use. Thunderbolt, an Intel technology, is a way of having PCIe kit outside of your laptop, and reduces I/O bottlenecks for some workflows. Not all USB-C kit and cables are capable of all the features and power delivery that USB-C can support.

Like you, I don't immediately need the kit. However, the people wanting 32GB RAM and very fast SSDs are often the same folk who want to get data in and out of their machine very quickly. I'm more CAD than video, so don't need to shunt video around - but the idea of external GPUs is enticing for me.

It's also worth noting that a large, fast SSD inside a machine with slow I/O is harder to keep backed up.

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Dave 126
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Very cheap USB-C male> USB A female cables can be had for next to nothing, so cost won't remain an issue. However, I would recommend reading up before purchase - quality varies. Some fella who works for Google bought a load of different USB-C cables from Amazon, and found some to be junk or even dangerous.

http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/5/9674462/usb-type-c-google-engineer-third-party-cables

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Dave 126
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> If it's so PRO then why only a maximum of 16gb RAM?

They could have done, but it would have been a fatter, hotter and more power consuming machine, as it seems Apple might be waiting on Intel CPUs to support Low Power DDR4, which they currently don't. A 'Mac Flightcase' might be useful for some, but then if you have access to power on site and are already committed to lugging flight cases around, you might as well start off with desktop-class hardware.

Indeed, it seems that anyone wanting more choice in their kit would do well to focus their ire on Intel rather than just Apple - for years, Intel have been concentrating in low power rather high performance. Expect greater RAM support in 2018.

http://www.imore.com/why-doesnt-new-macbook-pro-have-32-gb-ram

Editing 4K video is certainly doable on 16GB ram, especially if your SSDs are fast enough.

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Dave 126
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Re: Proven failure of the touchBar

Exactly: Nothing is 'proven' about the TouchBar because only Apple and their software partners (inc. Adobe and Da Vinci) have tried it. It turns out the link was referring to the Lenovo implementation, so that part of the article was disingenuous at best.

There are some valid complaints about ports, but as a non-Mac user they don't bother me. Actually, I welcome the port changes, as I'm happy to let other people work through the always-tricky transitional phase; by the time I'm ready to upgrade my kit* the peripheral market will have settled down.

*My ageing PC still does the job, and judging by PC sales I'm not the only one. Heck, I don't even have USB 3. However, when I eventually do upgrade I will want a single cable to give my laptop power, hi res monitors, external GPUs, fast external storage and a collection of other peripherals. Plus: One day I will be free of the old USB-A issue of only having a 50/50 chance of plugging a cable in on the first attempt!

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Why Apple's adaptive Touch Bar will flop

Dave 126
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Re: Been there, done that, didn't work.

In the Adobe presentation during the new Macbook announcement, the virtual Esc key was present and correct, except for when the Adobe rep was actively using the bar as a virtual slider. It appears that after using the slider, she tapped the left of the touchbar to reinstate the virtual Esc key.

It would appear that the 'grammer' has been retained.

The video of the presentation will explain it more clearly.

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Dave 126
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>Many OSX (and Windows, etc) applications have in-depth support for them. But, they're used a bit differently than a "laptop screen you could draw on". Though, someone would probably be able to make that work.

In addition to their digitisers, Cintiq have made stylus-driven monitors - and indeed ARM and x86 tablets with stylus-driven screens - for quite a few years now. They were always a bit pricey, but the market appeared to be steady if small.

Today the state of the art is such that the apparent distance between the screen's surface and the pixels is smaller - just as we have seen in phone screens - which reduces parallax errors.

But yeah, for sure, many people are happy to use a plain digitiser as a mouse substitute or complement.

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Dave 126
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Re: Many good reasons why it might fail, but this is not one of them.

Indeed, good point about the middle ground.

Keyboards have this too - beginners might use the mouse to navigate to File > Save, intermediate users might Alt-F > S, power users might just Ctr-S. Nutters might configure their system to take an imaged backup every 10 minutes and never manually save a document!

I used to use Photoshop a lot, but only ever bothered learning a few of the keyboard shortcuts. Half the time I would be looking for ways of adjusting linear values more quickly... since there are only so many combos of alt, shift and ctrl I can be arsed to remember, a touchbar looks ideal. Adobe know this - they released an iPad app a few years ago which places OSX Photoshop tool palettes on the tablet.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apples and Lemons?

You can set the function keys to be always on. This might not help the people who are used to finding them by touch, but I dare say their finger will be fall pretty close to the right area of the bar - you hands will already know where they are from typing on the conventional keyboard. That's some users.

Another set of users will find the touchstrip a far more versatile HID device than a row of F keys. For many tasks - such as adjusting volume, or some other variable - it will be faster than using keys and consume less attention.

I'm a Windows CAD user. Your argument does seem to be that because the touchbar might detract from your work flow, those people it benefits don't do 'real work'. No, they are not idiots, they just use their computer for different tasks to you, often audio, video and photo editing work long associated with Macs.

>Does nobody in Apple's "design" group use Adobe Creative Suite anymore?

Adobe showed off their support for the touchstrip at its release. During much of the Adobe presentation, the virtual Esc was present in the normal place, and only disappeared when the touchstrip was being used as a slider. It appears that the virtual Esc key returned when the demonstrator tapped the touchbar. The video is here:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/adobe-photoshop-touch-bar-update-apple-macbook-pro/

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Dave 126
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Re: You really do get the feeling

Product Design is what Ive does, and as a discipline it is concerned with how things are used - function. The 'use' of a laptop doesn't just cover the times it is being typed on, but also how it feels to carry around, what you do when it goes wrong, everything. Cook was never an arbiter of product design, but was very competent at managing supply chains.

Product design, like engineering, is about compromise. More battery means more weight. It doesn't follow that there is one 'correct' balance of battery and weight. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

The Macbooks are good screens and keyboards in a lightweight package (the reason for a laptop's existence) with good enough CPU/GPUs for most tasks. They also expose their PCIe lanes to any bit of kit you want to plug into them. It's not an unreasonable approach, given they'd never be able to produce a variant which suits every user 'out of the box'.

You might remember how adamant Jobs was about not including BluRay support on any Mac. His logic was that Joe Punter would soon be streaming movies (or watching BluRay on a big TV through a games console), and the smaller group of people who really needed to burn Blu-ray discs would just attach their own drive.

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Dave 126
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Re: Worth $300 /400 extra?

>Is the touch bar that much of an advantage over physical function keys considering it how much it adds onto the cost of the device?

It really depends upon the application. On my desk now I have all manner of human input devices - a camera with scroll wheel (relative), D-pad, two jog switches (relative), four absolute dials or sliders, a two-level shutter button.

A mouse with many buttons and a scrollwheel which also moves left and right.

A joystick I found second hand but haven't found a use for yet - 3 analogue axis, analogue throttle, little hat and many buttons. Tempted to waste a few hours making it control my laptop's volume and media.

My car stereo has a proper knob for the volume. When I encounter car stereos which use two buttons for volume control, it makes me want to seek out the person responsible and shout at them.

A cheap Wacom digitiser, gathering dust. Tried to turn it into a MIDI controller, but Windows had other ideas. A friend has a bigger, pricier one, and swears by it for CAD work.

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Dave 126
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Re: Flawed Market Analysis

Apple's bottom line suggests they are smarter than you give them credit for. Do not mistake what they say in public (which is always well stage-managed) for the inevitable conversations that Apple have had internally.

You say that 'no one is liking the new Macs', but at the moment their pre-orders are high. Now, you and I might both suspect that is in part because of the long over-due CPU upgrades. In addition, I suspect that Apple have waited until now to bump the specs because they want to maximise adoption of USB-C over USB A, DisplayPort, HDMI etc, and adoption of the touch strip. Both the port selection and touchstrip will be better in the long run with 3rd party support, so it is a good strategic decision for Apple to draw people in with the long-awaited CPU/GPU upgrades and thus create a larger pool (a critical mass) of touchstrip/USB users. This interpretation might be incorrect, but it is plausible.

Make no mistake - Apple employ a lot of very bright analysts, and supply them with expensive-to-aquire data to work on.

>Someone somewhere is going to have to make a usable, affordable PC class computer.

That's never been Apple's game, yet here they still are. Windows laptops have come ion leaps and bounds in the last decade. A £300 laptop only feels cheap and slow in comparison with its pricier peers - taken on its own merits, it does all the simple tasks without much fuss.

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Dave 126
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Re: It's not JUST the toolbar

I have a Dell with a barrel connector for power - I've seen friend's Dells fail in this area.

Magsafe is nice, but its benefits aren't as useful as they used to be - simply because batteries last longer, people are less likely to be charging their laptops as they use them. I'm not saying this doesn't happen - it just doesn't happen as much as it used to.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hopefully Apple will listen...

once their sales collapse so hard that they carve a hole in their basement.>

They enjoying a lot of pre-orders, though much of that must be ascribed to the over-due CPU upgrades. However, I really don't think their sales will collapse. Let's agree to disagree until this time next year, Lisa :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Reminds me

>The "We've tried it before and couldn't make it work, so nobody can"-comment is so absurd and so overused, that you can hardly believe anybody making it these days.

Aye. I'm tempted to go through the Reg forum archives and see who here thought the iPad would be a flop upon its release - there were quite a few commentards who said it would. It would be even more fun if this process could be automated and suitable icons placed next to our handles!

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Dave 126
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In addition to better software support, the Apple touchbar has more capable hardware - it has ten points of multi-touch, and can be used as a slider or video scrubber. To compare it to Lenovo's virtual buttons is like comparing a scroll wheel to cursor keys.

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Dave 126
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Re: Been there, done that, didn't work.

>To be fair though, if it's implemented properly by the software manufacturers, rather than by the hardware manufacturer, it could work.

It seems Apple have got a few devs on board - Adobe, representing photoediting, Da Vinci representing video work and some music software. This is on top of the software Apple themselves make for internet, office tasks, photos, email etc

>However, so much software makes use of function keys, it seems arbitrary to change something just for a niche of users with MacBooks.

Here's the thing: by default, Apple's function keys haven't been function keys for years. They perform the functions that on a Windows PC normally require the 'Fn' button to be held down, such as screen brightness, volume, mute, media controls. They can be made function keys, but that is not the default OSX behaviour.

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Dave 126
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>Touch bar - pointless gimmick, I'm one of life's ESC users,

Fair enough, that's your use-case. Will you concede that Photoshop users can benefit from context-sensitive virtual sliders? Not only Photoshop, but many an application in video, photo and music.

I'm not a Mac user, so I'll keep on using keys or extra mouse buttons to modify the scroll wheel. I hear that some more modern Windows PCs actually have decent trackpads, but mine dates from the era when PC trackpads are just horrible - barely good enough to get you by when you've forgotten to pack your Logitech mouse.

Yep, like you I find my ageing laptop still up to the task! :)

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DRAMA ON MARS: Curiosity bot fires laser at alien metal object

Dave 126
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https://xkcd.com/1723/ Meteorite Identification

And the link to a real flowchart in the alt text: http://meteorites.wustl.edu/check-list.htm

https://xkcd.com/1504/ Opportunity

http://xkcd.com/1091/ Curiosity

https://xkcd.com/695/ Spirit

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