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* Posts by Dave 126

4207 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Play Elite, Pitfall right now: Web TIME PORTAL opens to vintage games, apps

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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!

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Dave 126
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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!

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

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Dave 126
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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!

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A steam punk VDU ?

Dave 126
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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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUa7oBsSDk8

- clip from the BBC programme Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams, Professor Simon Schaffer examines a clockwork creation of Pierre Jaquet-Droz ((1721–1790))

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Jaquet-Droz

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'. )

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Apple CEO Tim Cook v Microsoft's Ballmer: Seconds out, round two!

Dave 126
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>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:

AMERICAN BARBARISM

The Apostle of Estheticism Exposes Our Sins.

INARTISTIC CRIMES OF COMMISSION.

The Aristocracy of Minna Street

Gratuitously Insulted by a Disquisition on Mortar.

-http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist5/wilde.html

But yeah, what Wilde's view of fox hunting have to do with Apple I'm not sure.

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Naughty Flash Player BURIED ALIVE in OS X Mavericks Safari sandbox

Dave 126
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Re: golf clap

Hehe! Opera is more usable than Chrome... ...if you're stuck using an XP machine with 512 MB of RAM!

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Smartwatch deathmatch: Rivals battle for total ARM DOMINATION

Dave 126
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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.

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Oz racehorse shod with 3D-printed titanium hoofwear

Dave 126
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Re: Impressive

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.

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Surface Pro 2: It's TOOL-PROOF and ultimately destined for LANDFILL

Dave 126
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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...

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Dave 126
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Re: Fans?

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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Pimp my office: 10 cubicle comforts

Dave 126
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Re: Phillips monitor

....or the monitor asks you "Why can't I see your right hand?"

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Dave 126
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Re: Jerky

Too true.

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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Did anyone else think

>some of the Luidia pens look like something naughty?

Given they started out as tools for teachers, I'd have thought issues like that would have come to light in a room full of teenagers! : D

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Dave 126
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Re: My office comforts...

>I have tried and tried with wireless mice and find that they always go to sleep, leading to a couple of seconds of shaking it to wake it up, or worse having to press a button to wake it (which of course registers on the pc wherever the mouse happens to be)

Seems odd, I haven't experienced that with any of my Logitechs. I would say that not all optical or 'laser' Logitech mice are created equal - one of the cheap Laser models can't track for toffee, causing inefficiency, frustration and wrist pain. The 'LS' range seem to behave, and the 'MX Darkfield' models are blissful; though pricey at their RRP of £90, they can occasionally be found for around £35. The battery on the Darkfields only lasts a couple of weeks (though they give you a rechargeable AA battery, a microUSB charging cable and a wall charger), compared to over a year for the plain laser 'Marathon' mice.

The 'Hyperscroll' wheel is also very nice to use when scrolling long pages - it's a weighted scroll whell mounted on ballbearings, so continues to scroll after an initial flick. This can be switched to rotate in discrete 'clicks' like normal, if the application benefits from scroll wheel staying put.

I haven't used a Microsoft mouse for years so can't really comment on them, but I'm sure they're perfectly good.

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Dave 126
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Re: Shock, horror, gasp etc

>An average mouse - £10-15: a reinvention of the mouse - £265.

A lot of ergonomic kit is highly priced; there just isn't the volume of sales to divide the R&D and manufacturing costs.

Anyway, are you comparing its price tag to another mouse (in which case it is expensive), or comparing it to the cost of surgery on your wrist tendons (in which case it is a bargain)?

A cheaper way of avoiding wrist complaints is to vary your input method... for example, switch between mouse, trackpad, stylus and touch-screen on a regular basis - and learn some keyboard navigation / short-cuts too. Another trick (YMMV) is to train yourself to be ambidextrous with the mouse... some people can use a mouse with either hand after about a week- then just switch hand every twenty minutes or so.

Look after yourselves : D

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Dave 126
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Re: Phillips monitor

Rather than have the monitor nag the user to "sit ten centimetres closer", the monitor should move towards the user.... The monitor is failing to grasp who is serving who!

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It's NOT an iPad - but that's FINE: I learned to LOVE Microsoft's Surface 2

Dave 126
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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.

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New MacBook Pro: What's actually new, here?

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

- http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/imac-aluminum-tapered-edge-faq/how-to-upgrade-imac-ram-aluminum-2012.html

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Dave 126
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Re: No upgrades... ever

You can upgrade the RAM on the bigger iMacs easily via a panel, but not on the smaller iMacs.

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Dave 126
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Re: @wibble

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).

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Dave 126
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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.

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Top architect: The TRUTH about dead Steve Jobs' new spaceship Apple HQ

Dave 126
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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!

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It's the '90s all over again: Apple repeats mistakes as low-cost tablets pile up

Dave 126
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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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Dave 126
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Downvoters: show us your links.

Hmm, still not sure what USB connectivity the OP thinks is missing:

24bit 192 Khz DACs for iDevices:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/audiophile-play-ipad

via USB

SD card reader and USB host:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Quality-digital-Connection-connector/dp/B00AXC5MBW/ref=pd_cp_computers_3 5in1 digital Camera Connection Kit USB/SD/TF Card Reader For iPad - £5.99

High quality headphones with iDevice remote controls and microphones:

http://en-de.sennheiser.com/iphone-headphones-headsets-earphones

http://www.klipsch.com/in-ear

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Headphones/Headphones/P5/Features.html#madeforiphone

High quality microphones for iDevices:

http://tascam.com/product/im2/

There may be valid complaints about the iPad, but being unable to connect stuff to it is not one of them. True, the USB host isn't built in, nor is a microUSB port, but then they aren't on the Samsung Tab, either. The Nexus 7 requires an adaptor to be USB host, and the Nexus 4 won't support it at all.

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Dave 126
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Journalists advising Apple, hahaha

This classic is from 1997: Wired's '101 Ways to Save Apple'. I remember reading it at the time in a, gasp, dead-tree copy of the magazine.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.06/apple_pr.html

Wired's first two ideas?

1. Admit it. You're out of the hardware game.

2. License the Apple name/technology to appliance manufacturers and build GUIs for every possible device - from washing machines to telephones to WebTV.

Some do seem prescient, though:

14. Do something creative with the design of the box and separate yourselves from the pack.

19. Get rid of the cables.

39. Build a laptop that weighs 2 pounds.

52. Return to the heady days of yore by insisting that Steve Jobs regrow his beard.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ Wibble - iPads are expensive?

>The iPad misses some hugely basic pieces of functionality, such as being able to hook up USB devices

You can connect an SD card reader or a USB A host (and thus even an external 24 bit DAC ) to an iPad if you want, not to mention a wide and commonly available range of 'made for iPad' 3rd party peripherals. What more do you want?

If you want a serial port to connect your oscilloscope then get yourself a cheap netbook.

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Dave 126
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Re: Resale value

I'm not a Mac or iTunes user either, but I would have thought you'd just Google for some software to copy the music off the device, allowing you to then experiment with iTunes without risk.

The first iPods and iTunes had DRM, but that was necessary to get the music publishers on board with the concept. Once iTunes was a big enough force to dictate terms they abandoned DRM, thus paving the way for other online music retailers.

I don't use iDevices, but I wouldn't deny they work well for a lot of people. Other MP3 players support DRM as an option too, everything from an iRiver to a Sansa (until you stick Rockbox on them)

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Surface 2 MYSTERY: Haswell's here, so WHY the duff battery life?

Dave 126
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Re: Battery life under Linux?

Well, if you are primarily running Windows (perhaps the applications you use require it), it isn't a bad idea to be able to dual-boot Linux too, if only as recovery environment.... though to be fair, you could just run it off a live CD / thumbstick in those circumstances.

Another reason might be to purely use the second OS for applications such as online banking... a Linux guest OS wouldn't be immune if it its Windows host OS had contracted a keylogger, for example.

And then Steam are pushing a Linux-based OS for gaming performance reasons. Since these days many people have a second internet device to hand (phone, tablet), then restarting your main computer to boot into a gaming OS isn't the inconvenience it used to be (especially if booting from an SSD).

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Dave 126
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Re: @Quxy "occupied by competitors who both have OSes....."

It was good of you to try different OSs, Quxy. Which browsers were you using?

Apple are claiming that Safari in Mavericks has been designed to extend battery life (such as suspending activity in browser windows that can't be seen) so it seems reasonable to assume that they might have made some efforts in that area in the current version of Safari.

Windows browsers vary in their use of system resources, too.

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RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Dave 126
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Quick question:

Does anyone have experience of using a 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard that is sold as working with iPads with an Android device?

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Dave 126
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The press invitation for today's Apple event reads:

"We still have a lot to cover"

which could well be a hint at new iPad covers (as well as updated iPads), if you compare past Apple event invites with what was actually announced.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/21/4852132/history-of-apple-event-invitations-and-hints

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Dave 126
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Re: Surprised they haven't already

>Surface looks so much thinner and slicker than other Windows tablets

Well, no 3rd party has put that much effort into Win RT Tabs, and as for full-fat Windows tablets 3rd parties have been concentrating on tablet/laptop hybrid styles that lean more towards the laptop side - i.e devices that can look like tablets but don't have detachable keyboards, such as the Lenovo Yoga, some Sony effort.

Windows without a keyboard is dependant on software that only requires a touchscreen, and most (but not all*) people will find their needs met in that regard met by a cheaper Android tablet.

*Windows tablets have been around for years; my mechanic uses one in the workshop for diagnosing vehicle systems, I've seen surveyors use them, and Wacom have just released a Win 8 tablet incorporating the best of their digitiser technology (want).

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Baldness fix from foreskin follicles

Dave 126
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"Warning: Do not put on knob or bollocks"

The Amazon customer reviews for 'Veet for men' are a comic goldmine, and occiasional poetry:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B000KKNQBK

Like a lot of reviewers, I decided that a tidy up was in order after noticing Stephen and the twins looked not unlike Gandalf in a thunderstorm. Being somewhat worried about waving sharp blades near my gentlemens mechanicals, this stuff seemed like a good bet.

Should anyone wish to experience a similar level of pain, I suggest lowering your love spuds into a pan of boiling cillit bang, whilst getting a friend or colleague to roughly insert a pineapple into the suntanned cyclops using a six pound sledgehammer and a good run up.

or

Excellent product. Most prisoners confessed within five minutes of the first application. Can recommend.

Yours,

Ali Muhabarakah,

Secret Police, Damascus

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SUPERSIZE ME: Nokia unveils Surface rival and 2 plumped-up phablets

Dave 126
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The WinPho feature that allows children to use a device for games without then deleting contacts etc seems very sensible, based as it is on how people actually use tablets and phones in the real world.

Children seem drawn to expensive and fragile bits of kit, and instinctively know when they are being fobbed off with a cheap toy instead of, say, a DSLR, a smart phone or a pair of spectacles. Why toy manufacturers haven't cottoned on to this, I don't know.

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Hey coders – get a sense of hUMA: AMD to free GPU from CPU slavery

Dave 126
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Re: Just more marketing b*ll

If all AMD were doing was promoting the technology, that would be important in itself - since the technique requires developers to adopt it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sounds very interesting

You've mentioned before that the applications you use are CUDA-accelerated, Mr Wilkinson. Has anything changed? (I know that some previously CUDA-only assisted applications are incorporating OpenCL in light of the upcoming AMD-powered MacPro)

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Apple's first iPhone now COSTS MORE than golden mobe 5S

Dave 126
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Re: Looks at £5 given for last samsung phone

Nah, you just bought the wrong alternatives to Apple devices... look at the eBay prices for an iRiver H320 (an iPod competitor, used the same battery and HDD but with a colour screen and line-in recording). : D

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Dave 126
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>Im a fan of real buttons on my phones.

Yeah, even on an Android phone I prefer the three system buttons to be physical... its irritating to be kicked out of an app because my clumsy finger has slid over the virtual 'home' button. How Google think this serves game developers on their platform escapes me.

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ITU to Europe: One charger for all mobes good. One to rule them ALL? Better

Dave 126
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Re: The EU

AC, I was talking about the 13-pin connector, since it was contemporary with the mess the EU sought to fix. The Lightening connector came out afterwards.

But whatever...

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Dave 126
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Re: good

I've read somewhere that microUSB (unlike microUSB) is designed so that any mechanical failure will occur in the cable and not in your expensive gadget.

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Dave 126
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Re: Excellent news.

I like Panasonic cameras, but they don't charge over microUSB- and annoying use batteries of much the same size but with millimetre-scale differences so that different chargers are required.

So I bought a Hana universal LiOn charger- just align its pins with the battery contacts, and voltage and polarity are automatically set and charging begins. It will also charge a couple of AA or AAA cells, and has a female USB A socket too. Obviously it doesn't work for gadgets with built in batteries, but is a handy bit of kit to have around.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ dmartin - Only in the EU

Agreed, an old-style 'Nokia' plug is much quicker and easier to use than microUSB.

The only ray of light for the people with reduced dexterity is the promise of wireless charging mats (aside from various proprietary docking solutions such as used to be featured on old Nokias or some new Sonys)

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Dave 126
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Re: While I like the unified charger idea

Agreed, having a near-standard (if not perfect) connector is preferable to holding out for something perfect.

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Dave 126
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Re: 2 requests

C'mon, it was the likes of Sony-Ericsson and Samsung who had almost as many power connectors as they did models of phones. It is them that created the daft situation that the EU sought to rectify, not Apple.

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Dave 126
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Re: The EU

Yeah, but over same time period that Apple stuck with their old 13 pin connector, my assorted gadgets used around nine (?!) different power connectors:

2 different Nokia plugs

3 different Samsung plugs

A weird Sony-Ericsson thing

A fairly generic fat round 5v jobbie

MiniUSB

MicroUSB

...and some of the above gadgets even used their proprietary connectors for headphones, FFS!

It seems the EU's hand was forced by manufacturers like Sony-Ericsson and Samsung being so daft as to never twice use the same connector; I'm sorry, I just don't see Apple as being culpable in this instance. Forcing something on them for the sins of their competitors is just silly.

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Dave 126
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Re: USB: This side up

A connector that can be drastically improved by the user by adding a dab of Tippex wasn't properly designed in the first place.

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Dave 126
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Re: Good idea

>I can see a gap in the market for a double UK socket sized unit to replace a double socket with one 13A socket and a collection of USB charging sockets.

Maybe, but it would need to come with some 3' long microUSB cables to be left in semi-permanently, so you don't have to get down on all-fours to plug the cable in.

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