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* Posts by Dave 126

3885 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow

Dave 126
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Re: Right.

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.

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Dave 126
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Re: The Truth

Some people are born geek, some people achieve geekness, some have geekness thrust upon them.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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)

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Apple design bloke Ive finally honoured properly - with Blue Peter badge

Dave 126
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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.

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Civilization peaks: BEER-dispensing arcade game created

Dave 126
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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?

http://www.impawards.com/1983/posters/national_lampoons_vacation.jpg

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Satanic Renault takes hapless French bloke on 200km/h joyride

Dave 126
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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.

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HYPERSONIC METEOR smashes into Russia, injuring hundreds

Dave 126
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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?!"

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Any storm in a port

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Fashionably slate

Dave 126
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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.

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Apple refreshes MacBook Pro range

Dave 126
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Re: nice pixel density. if only PC OEMs would follow.

@Andy

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.

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Oracle wants another go at Google over Android Java copyrights

Dave 126
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>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.

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Android? Like Marvin the robot? Samsung eclipses Google OS - Gartner

Dave 126
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So much for Eadon's assertion that consumers are "demanding Android".

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Spotted: Android 4.2.2 update for Google Nexus devices

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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>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.

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Perky smartphone figures can't stop droop of worldwide mobe sales

Dave 126
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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.

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Intel's new TV box to point creepy spy camera at YOUR FACE

Dave 126
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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.

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Vertu-alised Android revealed at an all-too-real €7,900

Dave 126
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Re: Way-out hypothesis

It's not for us, it's for Russian politicians. Move on.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2009/10/russian-officials-sporting-watches-worth-up-to-1-million/

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.

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Only way to stop the iPad: Flash-disk mutant SPEED FREAKS

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Time to rid ourselves of the tech channel zombies

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Maybe it was in protest at those shops that replaced Gary Larson cards with those by that cartoonist whose work looks like Larson's but just isn't funny.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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?]

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Dave 126
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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.

/end rant

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Dave 126
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Be bloody careful with your description of the condition- those on-line vinyl buyers are an exacting lot!

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Apple CEO Cook: 'Bizarre' shareholder lawsuit a 'silly sideshow'

Dave 126
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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]

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Dave 126
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Mushroom

>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.

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Dave 126
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Re: ha

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.

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Dave 126
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Re: ha

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.

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Chrome OS code suggests Chromebook Pixel could be real

Dave 126
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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.

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Cache 'n' carry: What's the best config for your SSD?

Dave 126
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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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS#ZFS_cache:_L2ARC.2C_ZIL

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Rogue Squadron: Unit of X-wings Kickstarts in response to Death Star

Dave 126
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Re: says

The Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints, an Abominator-class General Offensive Unit from Surface Detail takes some beating..

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Dave 126
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Re: Supraluminal?

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.

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Dave 126
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>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.

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Microsoft Surface Pro launch: It's easy to sell out of sod all stock

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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?

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Apple said to develop curved glass iWatch with Foxconn

Dave 126
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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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Dave 126
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Re: A watch to make calls through your phone? How i-nnovative

>Of course with an iWatch, you'll have to charge it too

Since we're talking of hypotheticals at this stage, don't narrow your thinking so!

It depends on how much power it requires to do what it does. A few weeks back on the Reg, we had Zigbee light switches that took all the power they needed from the user throwing the switch, by means of piezo crystals. If that is too simplistic, then Apple have patents on certain aspects of wireless charging (namely a mechanism that prioritises which devices on your desk are charged first).

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Dave 126
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Swatch tried introducing 'internet time' many years ago, subdividing the rotation of the earth into 'beats'. It didn't take off. But then, Swatch had a fairly normal-looking (by Swatch standards) watch with pager back in '94.

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Review: HP Spectre XT TouchSmart

Dave 126
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And dolphins 'copied' sharks? Mimicry isn't the mechanism.

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Dave 126
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Re: The marketers released pictures without shots of the OS

And if someone uses the machine to watch movies, they really don't give a flying fornication about what OS it uses- though reliable Flash hardware acceleration and clients for popular movie streaming services might help.`

Stop abusing the Boffin icon, Eadon - you've not convinced anybody you're qualified to use it.

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Men's rights activists: Symantec branded us a 'hate group'

Dave 126
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Re: Not the only filtering offender

Only if you take care of personal hygiene and are lucky.

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Dead Steve Jobs 'made Tim Cook sue Samsung' from beyond the grave

Dave 126
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Re: The problem Apple has now.....

Salvidor Dali doing design?

It worked for Chupa Chups:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chupa_Chups#Marketing

(One of the craziest films never filmed was to be an adaptation of Dune, with Salvador Dali as the Emporer, music by Pink Floyd, concept art by H.R Giger and spacecraft by Chris Foss, cast including Mick Jagger, Orson Welles and David Carradine)

I think goths would like a Giger-designed phone (would work in reinforced resin materials), I wouldn't mind a Chris Foss designed phone- though to be honest some HTCs begin to resemble his work once the anodising has chipped off them.

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Dave 126
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Re: the pair of firms would be better off burying the blunt hatchet

>More proof that Jobs was using a publicly owned company contrary to the shareholders interests.

I think that any proof would be better expressed in numbers. Profit? Apple doing okay. Share value? Very difficult to prove that it isn't as high as it could have been, or to prove causation after it has been filtered through the market- which is based on risks, projections, analysis and gut-feelings.

If you bought your shares in Apple when they were still on the ascendant, you should be happy. If you bought them afterwards, without looking at the company and Mr Jobs, tough titty. The whole basis of shares gaining value is that you are being rewarded for assuming some risk.

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