3492 posts • joined Wednesday 21st July 2010 13:57 GMT
Re: Berlin Wall
Ever since the most recent Royal Institute Christmas Lectures ( a TV show aimed at children, but hey, I still learn things) I've desired an acid-etched slice of an iron nickel meteorite called an octahedrite. They showed a large specimen. The etching brings out Widmanstätten patterns, which are beautiful and can't be faked- for them to occur, the rate of cooling through a certain temperature range is no more than 10ºC per million years.
Small samples are around £30 per gram.
Re: Drones don't take pictures
Okay JDX, what about legitimate uses, such as building inspection? Would you be happy with some sort of licence for them? And why shouldn't some Oregon farmer use them over his land? What is wrong with just banning them in residential areas?
>I guarantee a single round to center mass of the operator will bring down the drone.
And how do you find the operator, if they no longer need line-of-sight? If you had the kit to triangulate their position, I'm sure you can find an easer way to disable the drone or its camera.
Re: Tricky one
>I'm surprised you're in favour of people spying through your window.
FFS We're not in favour of people getting stabbed, but there are many uses for a knife.
Re: Dear government...
Just use curtains?
When I was watched Blue Peter, every rocket I drew had the Stars and Stripes and a NASA logo on it, not a Union Jack... just as every car I drew had all manner of unlikely gadgets poking of it, like James Bond's. Vans looked like the one from the A-Team, and most cars had the Confederate flag on top of it like the Dukes of Hazard. The coolest electronic goods were ghetto blasters, especially if they had a massive graphic equaliser on the front- and were all designed in Asia, the best ones Japanese. Monster trucks were ace, as were Ferraris.
Just because we grew up with cool things from other countries doesn't stop us being supportive of British companies when we grow up.
The important thing is that Blue Peter is telling pre-teen children that there is such a thing a product designer, and they might choose to be one when they grow up. I don't know why you would want to sully their innocence with talk of corporate shenanigins, or choice of gadget OS.
Re: I'll jump to Linux when...
Steam might set a precedent for commercial software on Linux. It will be interesting to see what happens, and if productivity applications follow in the wake of games. The attitude that 'we don't need commercial software, you must be a snob if you do' is not helpful to the adoption of Linux. Professionals and business will happily spend a few hundred pounds per user if it saves them time over a free alternative.
The other possibility is that more commercial software gets used 'as a service' or 'in the cloud' (useful for software that benefits from team collaboration and rented compute resources, such as engineering design and simulation) and the user's OS becomes irrelevant.
About five years ago the main argument the Linux fold were putting out was that it was a good way revitalising older laptops... alas, some of them could be quite esoteric machines.
Rather than just asserting that it works out of the box with most hardware (it might nine times out of ten, but Sod's Law is what it is) , a more useful approach would be to promote a list of distros for specific machines. Just a website that's asks you what machine you are using and then gives you a choice of suitable distros that have been tested by other people in the community.
CAD vendors do it the other way round, and publish a list of specific machines that have been tested with their products.
Re: The Truth
Some people are born geek, some people achieve geekness, some have geekness thrust upon them.
Re: I for one welcome our new KDE overlords
I wouldn't say that Unity is useless, but just that it isn't the best for mouse and keyboard machines. In the future there may well prove to be a place for a GUI that works for both mouse+keyboard and touch, if it can be made to work. Arguably, it hasn't yet:
MS have tried using a mouse+keyboard GUI for touch devices (albeit older single-point touch devices where to stylus is akin to a mouse cursor) and more recently for multi-touch PCs tried the approach of bolting two GUIs together. Others have tried the other direction- using tablet versions of Android with mouse and keyboard. Apple haven't really tried combining the two- maybe because they would rather you own a Macbook and an iPad. XP Tablet Edition wasn't a complete flop- it was adopted by people with specific needs- car mechanics for example use 'ruggedised' laptops, and 3rd party engine diagnostic software is designed to be used with people poking at the screen or a mouse.
The trouble is, the mouse gives you a single, accurate point with modifiers (either different buttons or a keyboard key), multi-touch gives you less accuracy but different modifiers (number of contact points and 'gestures'). These differences extend beyond the GUI of the OS and into the applications used with it. Reconciling these differences in a coherent, efficient and easy to learn way is no small task.
Using a direction pad ('D-pad', game controller, IR remote control) is a another input method, one that is given in its own GUI in most OSs (Windows Media Centre, OSX Front Row, XBMC), so the 'multiple GUI' approach seems sensible to people in some situations.
Re: Test 'em first in VMs if you can.
Plus, if you try a VM you can have it on one side of of your screen, and use a web browser with a guide (or forum thread if you encounter issues) to hold your hand through the process.
To the novice, the concept of a Virtual Machine (a computer inside a computer) might seem strange, but the practice is very straightforward and unintimidating.
Re: guide for
Yeah, those were the little barriers when i first tried Linux- I didn't know what I didn't know. Lots of little things that were new to me and made sense individually- SUDO, shell, mounting disks, package managers, strange names- were a bit much to swallow all at once. Fortunately, my friend and I were just installing it (Mint) for fun, to see what all the fuss was about- this was about five years ago when people recommended Linux as being a good way to get more life out of older machines- in this case an old donated Thinkpad with audio hardware that the Linux forums had warned us was tricky. We got it all working in the end, and got a sense of satisfaction out of it- though in the end he hacked a boot loader onto a PS2 and used that as media player instead.
Re: "Comfortable with the terminal"
>For the last griefing time - You do NOT need to use a command line to install or use most modern Linux distros.
Yes, but you might, just as you might in Windows or OSX. Just the other day, I thought I would try the approach that is often recommended to novices- installing Ubuntu on a VM Ware virtual machine. I clicked 'Easy Install', and the virtual machine got stuck in a loop (VM Ware's fault- it was trying to install helper tools, but Ubuntu 12.04 was too new for it.) It took three lines of command line text to fix the Linux installation
-What makes a virtual machine suitable for novices is that they still have access to help on the internet during the installation process if they don't have a second real machine to hand. What took the time is that first few pages I consulted said "It's buggered, reinstall it" before I found one that told me how to fix it).
I usually have a Linux installation on a second partition and GRUB, 'just in case'. There are tools available for it that aren't easily found for Windows, and I thought it would make a better platform for on-line banking (if only because its exposure to nasties would be lower because I wouldn't use it as much). It is also reassuring to have an OS outside of your primary OS, for images and recovery, diagnostics and virus scans etc- though modern hardware can boot off a USB stick so partitioning the HDD isn't essential. Ironically enough, my practice of dual-booting stems from when one MS OS wasn't enough (at uni I needed both NT.40 and Win 98)
Re: Really bugs me
>Apple did NOT invent...
And Henry Ford didn't invent the internal combustion engine- so what?
>Perhaps rather than giving a badge to a guy who ran off from his own country and setup abroad
British companies could have employed Ive, but their management didn't see the benefits of doing so. Maybe Ive's example will serve as further encouragement to do so.
>But oh no, the BBC has joined in with successions of British politicians and other 'stars' to rubbish absolutely everything that British people ever do while praising and worshiping anything foreign.
Really? I though they were celebrating a son of England, and saying to Britain PLC "C'mon, we have the talent, lets use it'. You seem to have forgotten that Blue Peter is a children's show, famous for encouraging children to make functional objects with modern materials- why shouldn't some kids be able say "I want to be a product designer when I grow up"? Interviewing coders and engineers from the nineties is not going to hold the interest of the Blue Peter audience.
Psion were great, a proper integration of superb hardware and and useful software, the Psion Netbook well ahead of its time, and Psion might have made the first decent HDD MP3 player... but it didn't work out that way. The reasons why would make a fascinating Reg article, but isn't something for six-to-twelve year olds.
Re: American beer
Turbodog, Abita Springs, Louisiana. From some one who has known the head brewer of Budvar, back in the day when his pride in a Ford Capri was dented by the up and down antics of my dad's Citroen BX (the great thing about the autobahns is that you don't have to stop in Germany for lunch).
Anyone else notice the similarity of the artwork on the side of these cabinets to the magnificent poster for National Lampoon's Vacation?
Re: Why get back in the car?
>I would be taking the bus, train, walking, anything rather than getting back in that demon vehicle.
Some of which options aren't available to all disabled people.
Can any Russian-speaker here provide the gist of what was being in the car in the first video? The man sounded so very calm about what he was witnessing. My reaction would have been along the line of "Wha duh fu?!"
Re: I'm sure I can beat 37 out of 37
I'd like to add to the wish-list of desirable features in this dream plug and socket combo: some method of inherent waterproofing so that little rubber thingies over the ports aren't required. More devices are being designed to be waterproof.
In addition, it should go in either way, and have rounded corners to make it suitable for docking station and the clumsy user.
Re: They ARE fiendish
>And don't get me started on micro USB where the difference in shape is so minute you can spend EVEN >LONGER trying to find which way fails to snap off the little thing in the centre of the connector...
Micro USB.... and the little buggers have sharp corners, so if I've cack-handed I scratch whatever I'm plugging it into. As it happens, this has scratched the black coating off from around the socket on my phone, making it marginally easier to spot in the dark.
Why can't an industry standards body develop a plug that it happily goes in both ways, has rounded corners and is mechanically strong enough to support a device in a dock? It isn't difficult to see that these are desirable qualities, yet it is only some company known for proprietary kit manages to grok this.
And yeah, whoever made the exterior of USB A plug symmetrical, but not the insides was daft. At least the old PS/2 plugs could be located by touch, and then rotated until the plug went in.
Re: I want dumb TVs
The only downside to dumb screen + external box(es) is that my father can't grasp the procedure to turn on the tv from the PVR remote control. I guess a universal remote with macros would resolve this issue.
Most people I know don't have rooms so minimal that they get upset by an extra box or two- indeed some boxes hide behind the screen on the Vesa mount- so integrating features to the screen itself makes more sense for second TVs in kitchens and bedrooms.
Re: nice pixel density. if only PC OEMs would follow.
Gaming laptops don't tend to have very high res screens because of the constraints of the graphics card and battery. That said, there was a Reg column last month advocating gaming laptops (specifically Alienware) as mobile workstations.
>I suspect Oracle is hoping that the appeal judge they get is a computer illustrate fool that will buy their arguments
Illiterate? I'm not judging- I've found myself, in the last couple of years, typing similar-sounding words in place of the ones I actually mean.
I must admit, the article left me feeling computer-illiterate. All I know is that in my head, Java = annoying for its insistence on being updated every fortnight and attempting to install some shoddy browser 'toolbar'. If there is more to it than that, Oracle have not encouraged me to find out more.
So much for Eadon's assertion that consumers are "demanding Android".
Re: Using Nexus 10 as USB drive from XP
Have you tried the latest Windows Media Player for XP? Sounds strange, I know, but it might work.
Re: Buyers are getting full?
> I don't understand how 'intense market competition' could weaken sales.
If you're competing against rivals, you've also competing against your future models. You won't want to release a phone that is going to wear out too quickly, because people won't buy from you again. Sony are making more of their range waterproof, making durability mainstream rather than reserving it for niche models. My last few phones have had compromises, but this one is alright- think I'll stick with it til it dies.
Re: Camera watching me, watching them...
Exactly- tape or Blu-tac would take less time to apply to the camera than it does to moan about it here. The chances are, in this house, that all it would see is a cat anyway - starts streaming Heathcliffe and Rastamouse.
No big deal.
Re: Way-out hypothesis
It's not for us, it's for Russian politicians. Move on.
http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/2012/6/7/vladimir-putins-watch-collection-worth-six-years-of-his-decl.html [Putin's watch collection worth six years of his declared income]
I get the impression that it is not a good idea to mock Mr Putin, for any reason.
Oh, not sure sure about the phrase about sapphire being "said to be very scratch resistant". Is is. The only way you're likely to scratch it is if you let you trophy girlfriend handle it when she's wearing daimond rings, or if you've just done some DIY with a diamond cutting disk and the dust has got in your pocket. Sapphire is routinely grown for watch crystals.
Re: Momentus.. the shape of things to come?
>fitting hybrid drives into "Joe Public's" laptop or desktop is like feeding caviar to pigs.
Rubbish. If anything, Joe Public has less patience for his computer. Joe Public is more likely to double click an application shortcut half a dozen times before the application has loaded from the spinning rust, ending up with six instances.
>Of course the market for this type of technology is for those who understand it and the benefits it brings as well as the premium paid for it
Apple have given in a catchy name (Fusion) and made it more or less invisible to the user, if they buy a machine with the correct drives. More expert users can roll their own, since it is an LVM in the OS.
>Surprised at how many software companies have not created an app that integrates with a tablet.
Do you mean Windows/OSX applications that might benefit from using a tablet as an input device? Somewhere to put tool panels and palettes seems an obvious use for a laptop-connected tablet.
Re: Niche independents
>Presumably there are other independent camera shops following the same model.
'Clifton Cameras' is no longer in Clifton, but now in a scruffy (ex industrial, now commuter) town 20 miles North of Bristol, on the picturesque edge of the Cotswold hills. Unlike Clifton, the parking is free, and I'm sure that the rent is far, far cheaper. People don't spend thousands on a body and lenses everyday, so on they occasions they do they probably don't mind making the trip - especially as the scenery is a suitable subject for their new toys. They have an on-line presence, too.
A few miles up the road in another scruffy town is a discrete shop selling some very expensive guitars. It has been visited by a fair section of rock royalty- it's equally accessible from Birmingham as it is much of the South West, areas that many rock gods have made their home.
Both these shop sell the sort of high-cost items that people will travel for. Both are in towns that don't really offer any other major reason to visit them.
Re: new fabs
Well, in recent years we've been reminded of the effects of having a supply chain too heavily based in one geographical area, [Earthquake in Japan, floods in Thailand]
>He needs to shut up and get some decent products released.
Can you expand on that? The specs of their kit look decent enough, even if the price is a little high. Some of their stuff boasts some quite desirable features that are hard to find elsewhere, such as the aspect ratio and resolution of the pricier Macbook screens. Several market intelligence sites suggest they are among the more reliable brands.
>Apple can't sue away Samsung's lead no matter how hard they try.
Apple might not threaten Samsung, but today's news headlines suggest that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (if Sara Palin -yeah, right- those are the 'bad guys' in the North, and yes, I agree their self-given name is misleading) is warming up to give it a go! See icon and a news site near you.
Thank you for joining in, Dazed and Bemused.
Physical buttons, tricky one- my Sony Android phone has three buttons that respond to the merest touch, and so annoyingly get activated by accident. Gr. Still, maybe this capacitive solution is more durable - I had a few phones 'back in the day' that had a real button stop working. Conversely, I would like my camera to have the option of using a shutter release that doesn't require pressure, since it would lessen the chance of bringing motion blur to photos.
If I could make an improvement to my phone, it would be for it to have a millimetre ruler etched down the side - it's such a square lump of aluminium that it's ideal for it.
Re: Outsource your storage..
One way for Apple to reinvigorate the iPod Classic would be to have it act as a WiFi HDD for mobile devices. Or Cowon or Archos, or anyone else who still makes PMPs based on 1.8" HDDs.
Just an idea, don't know how the figures work out.
Re: I can't be the only one...
>Alternatively, run Windows but don't bog it down with boatloads of crapware.
Win 7 is a touch annoying... It will boot in about 30 secs off an SSD, but takes a minute longer if there is a USB HDD attached. Gr.
And the iPod didn't change for several years - so what? It it is better and more profitable to release a new product when the technology allows, not before. Heck, it's good for products to pause in their advancement at times - it allows them to be refined and for any bugs to be ironed out. If flexible displays, super batteries, or a change in people's usage develop, Apple will aim to bring out suitable new products. And so will others, including Samsung if the recent news about them starting a Silicon Valley division for buying suitable start-ups is anything to go by.
All these comments about Apple kit not changing - and none of them actually saying what they would actually like to see in a new product.
C'mon- this is as good a venue as any to exercise your imagination.
Re: LArge Screen TVs
That was my thought - 'Link' suggests the high DPI support could be for a screen (a TV or high-res tablet) connected to the Chromebook.
Re: Not a single mention of Linux anywhere
ZFS can do this sort of thing (RAM > RAM disk > SSD > HDD), but I don't know its state of play with respect to Linux
Re: Computer misselling
That twerp in Currys who just was showing my old man an i3 desktop... he just kept spurting out what were to my father meaningless numbers, not noticing that his eyes had glazed over almost as soon as he started speaking.
Another was in Comet years back... as soon as we said we would buy the laptop, the 'assistant' started trying to sell us an extended warranty by demonstrating the flimsy build quality of the machine (actually, he was just poking the back of the lid to make the LCD screen ripple- pretty harmless). "Oh forget the whole thing" we said and walked out to buy a laptop elsewhere.
Re: Thing is...
@ The OtherHobbes I've just posted similar ideas to you, but you've put it better.
Our society could do with indoor public spaces that aren't based on a £/hour rate disguised as a £2.50 cup of coffee. Something akin to a university campus for adults, freelancers, hobbyists... a library, mail-ordered parcels can be signed for and dispatched, crèches for freelancing parents, equipment rentals.
[Strange- Chrome's spelling correction has placed the 'e' in crèches in bold- what that all about?]
Re High Street
There was a business programme on the radio this week... a snippet that caught my ears was there are shops in America that are beginning to charge people to try on clothes and shoes- presumably because they are sick of people trying them for fit in the store and then ordering it on-line.
A more interesting question is "What shall we do with the empty shop premises in our town centres?" We don't need more Pound Lands and charity shops. The London Stock Exchange was founded on coffee shops that people could use as an office all day for the cost of a few cups... high rent means that hasn't been possible for a long time, but shared productive / shared spaces could be good thing.
People used to ask "What pub do you use?", but now they too are to expensive to frequent everyday for business purposes- we're encouraged to use FaceLinkd or whatnot. Successive governments bleating on about 'community' yet daily beer is now taxed out of most people's reach, and every day two pubs go out of business.
The Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints, an Abominator-class General Offensive Unit from Surface Detail takes some beating..
I would imagine that it involves colostomy bags, tubes of purée and coffee-dispensing straws.
Maybe the reason we don't see people visit the toilet in Star Trek is that the transporter can be used to displace bodily waste directly from the bowel and bladder.
>Some people, intelligent ones too - have just way too much time on their hands.
It would be nice to think that millennia of technological progress had left us with more leisure time for activities of our own choosing; socialising, art, music and general farting around. Alas, it doesn't work out that way.
Re: Win 7 Vs Win 8 Launch
Yeah, the 'under the bonnet' features of Win 8 seem nice enough, but not too exciting or must-have. Native USB 3 support? I don't have the hardware yet. Storage Spaces? Could be handy, but would want to wait sometime and see how other people get on with it first, and explore alternatives.
If there are other 'under the bonnet' improvements, MS have done a poor job of publicising them.
As regards the UI of Win8, I haven't tried it. If I really don't like it, I'm sure it can be bodged into submission using 3rd party add-ons. It doesn't seem anything to get upset about.
Re: This is a standard tactic...
>...used by Apple, Google, Nintendo et al. Deliberately under supply, then loads of clueless rags will run stories like "ZOMG! Surface Pro sold out!"
You have to think VERY carefully before spending a shed-load of money on extra production lines for what may prove be a short-lived spike in demand (or indeed a product flop)- you would be spending tens of millions of pounds just to get a few extra sales in the first month of release, sales you might get anyway.
The ideal situation from a manufacturing engineer's perspective would be one production line working at a steady rate all year round. In defence of Nintendo, they do have a seasonal spike prior to Christmas.
I'm not saying that these companies are upset by the free publicity, but it is grounded in manufacturing reality.
Re: No desirable 128GB versions and too many 64GB ones
>You have to type the name of your app into a search box
That wouldn't work in Linux... I want a text editor, so I will type 'kate'*. Nothing simpler.
'Kate'... it's short for Bob. Gedit?
Re: iWatch or iPhone ?
I can't agree with the conclusion of that linked article ["the iWatch is the next iPhone"] because of the battery issue- a watch is too small for a decent sized battery, and it isn't convenient to charge.
Apple thought it better to omit 3G from the first iPhone because they didn't want the battery life to be a complete joke.
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