* Posts by Dave 126

4455 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

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

Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Not convinced

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

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

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

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

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

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

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

>If your keyboard could act as a charger

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

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

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

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

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

T Swiss Made T

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

Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: The *other* G4 Cube feature

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Rounded corners

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

No, it wasn't.

1984's Mac desktop featured rounded corners.

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

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

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Dave 126
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The *other* G4 Cube feature

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Not just beautiful, quiet too

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Time they bought it back

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

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

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

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

Dave 126
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Re: Fuck Off!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Handspring Visor Deluxe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Never mind Big Trak

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple QuickTake 150

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

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Dave 126
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Re: covet is the right word

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Cheap geek toys

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Cheap geek toys

@NoOnions

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

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Dave 126
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Cheap geek toys

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Strange

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

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

Dave 126
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I genuinely do not understand...

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

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

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

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

Dave 126
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Re: Toothpaste

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

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

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Dave 126
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Re: sheikh

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

"I heard that some Sheikh

Bought New Jersey last week

And you suckers ain't gettin' nothing"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Sorry, but here's a serious(ish) question.

I don't know, but my guess would be yes... I would imagine that some shapes flow more easily from other shapes, just as some guitar chords flow from others more easily.

I'd like to hear from someone who actually knows, though!

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Dave 126
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Re: Dr Seuss said it best...

I've always liked the song 'Labio Dental Fricative' by the Bonzo Dog Band:

"Cannibal chiefs chew Camembert cheese

'cause chewing keeps 'em cheeky

Big Fat Fred sticks fur to his head

'cause he thinks fur makes him freaky

Benjamin Bland and his Bugle Band blow the blues bi-weekly

How many pies can a porpoise poise on purpose if she pleases?"

But any song with the lyric "Back at the boozer" and stunt guitar by Eric Clapton is good by me!

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Dave 126
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Depends on how you pronounce Sheikh.... (Frank Zappa has pronounced it to rhyme with 'Shake', and also with 'Week')

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

>You can either speak the language, or you cannot.

???

So what about people recovering from strokes? Children with a developmental difficulty in this regard? People who stammer or have a lisp? Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk.

Tongue twisters can give an insight into the task of speaking, analogous to how optical illusions can give clues as too how we interpret visual information.

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: modern laptops with single drive bays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Alternative

>Also cloning an HDD is fine but you will find that some software binds itself to the HDD serial number.

Thanks for highlighting that potential hurdle!

That's just a stupid policy... It would save a lot of headaches if it was just easy for the average user to create system images - even if they have to call upon a technical friend to restore the image to a new HDD. It took long enough for MS to include cloning tools with Windows.

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

Dave 126
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Re: What's on the screen?

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

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

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Dave 126
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Re: Plugging it in upside down is impossible

>The only way to put it in upside down is to not be paying attention.

Or to suffer from poor eyesight. Don't know how to explain this, but here goes: Technology is supposed to make life easier.

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Dave 126
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Re: Other desirable features...

Yeah, I couldnt play Doom with a friend until we'd made our own null modem cable...

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Dave 126
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...and your list doesn't even include the large number of proprietary phone connectors over tose years... even single companies would have a number of similar-looking but different connectors, even for headsets! (looking at you Samsung)

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Dave 126
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Re: "500 - 850mAH"

Whoops! Thanks Handle, I did of course mean 'mA', and that H was in error!

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Dave 126
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Re: Couldn't have they just adopted lightning?

>The only place I see a lightning connector being useful is in my Dr Frankenstein re-animation laboratory.

What about powering your flux capacitor when you find yourself in a situation where plutonium is surprisingly hard to get hold of?

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Dave 126
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Re: Wireless optical data transfer?

Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of 'Li-Fi', which can use light in the visible spectrum. It requires so few photos that it can work in a room that appears dark to humans, and it can use light reflected off walls... though obviously it can't penetrate walls (which can be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li-Fi

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Dave 126
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Re: Any details on how the orientaion is handled?

>Does this mean it's not going to be hard wired end to end like a lightning cable?

If I had to guess, I'd venture that any 'cleverness' will be built into the controllers built into the devices, rather than the cable. This guess is based on the idea that both the 'host' and the connected device are using the same port.

However, this guess might be wrong, because of the desire to use adaptors for backwards compatibility.

Just speculation.

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Hear that? It's the sound of BadBIOS wannabe chatting over air gaps

Dave 126
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Re: Still don't get all the fuss on this.

> But as a virus-carrying medium...? Really???

>the idea that this could be used to spread viruses is absurd, and pure click-bait.

The article doesn't say that! Read it again.

It is not a virus-carrying medium.

All the researchers are showing is a method that a previously infected machine can use to communicate with other infected machines, so that small data such as passwords etc can be 'sent home' after the original attack vector is no longer available to it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Even easier to stop...

>It would be easier to believe Dragos Ruiu's claims of infection if he published the make/model of the PCs he claims have been infected,

"The researcher reports that the BIOS malware on a Dell Alienware, Thinkpads and Sony laptops is encountered. MacBooks could also have become infected as possible, but that's not confirmed yet. The malware uses DHCP options encrypted to communicate. Attackers On the basis of the tweets shows that the investigation of the malware is still in full swing. Security.NL Ruiu has asked for more information. We will let you know. Soon as more details are known"

- https://www.security.nl/posting/366329/Onderzoeker+ontdekt+mysterieuze+BIOS-malware

I'm not supporting his claims, just reposting some info about the machines he's used.

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