2701 posts • joined Wednesday 21st July 2010 13:57 GMT
Re: Things to come
And in other news, Stratasys (3D printers) and HP are parting company, without the collaboration bringing any dramatic reduction on the price of the machines. My old school's first laser printer, an Apple, cost them £5000... I was hoping HP might get the unit cost down to that sort of price.
This might help, a discussion on the open source 3D printing site RepRap about the very question you ask. They are talking about 'Bronze Clay', particles in bronze suspended in a binder. After modelling (usually by hand) the 'clay is placed in a kiln to give you fairly dense parts. A silver version is also available.
Even these guys haven't found a way to print the material directly, you could print your self a mould. Your shapes would be limited by the usual mould design considerations, except you could consider your mould to be expendable.
Re: Thank you .....
And here is one with a bill of materials totalling $500, a 'Delta' robot, - imagine an upside down camera tripod, and the XYZ position on the head is controlled by the lengths of the legs. This is another open-source (make it, improve it, let us know) 3D printer, and the link will give you 3D models, schematics, BOM, and software:
An obvious example of something useful would be the spare parts that white goods manufacturers charge for... A door latch component on our tumble-drier failed, it has warped in the heat (poor material choice). The Whirlpool website was very slick, and smoothly offered to take £18 off us a replacement latch, a part that really could have cost no more than 20p to make.
Were 3D printers more common place, this business model (be competitively priced at retail, charge plenty for spares) could be dented.
I gave a shout to Ben Heck the other day, (in relation to an article about Valve exploring new games controllers) and I will do so again: he routinely uses 3D printers and CNC machine for a variety of projects that I am sure Reg readers will approve of (such as a C64 style case for a Raspberry Pi), and produces videos about his exploits. You can do worse than Google his name and check out his website.
Not only that, but SLS (selective laser sintering) can produce parts with superior properties to those made by traditional processes. You can even achieve 'property gradients' if you require them- for example, a beam that varies in stiffness along its length.
. It is used, as you would expect, in the fields of aerospace and motorsport.
It would probably want at least the option of being bluetooth, this hypothetical standard controller- some people will be using their phone connected to a TV via HDMI, and won't want to get up and cross the room to answer a phone call. Plus, when using their phone to put movies on the big TV, the game controller can act as a media player controller, much as XBOX/PS owners already use their wireless controllers to do.
I know Bluetooth controllers for Android already exist, but they are lacking the critical mass of adoption. i think it needs a big player to get the ball rolling, though. Sony are being too short sighted in trying to use the idea to shift specific handsets, Apple aren't bothered - the mere fact that they already sell plenty of units seems to have reduced their motivation to innovate - Google could get the idea out there (acting to co-ordinate its hardware licencees- and also, whilst it has the people in the room, get a standard Android dock connector sorted out!), MS definitely should look into this.
There always used to be news stories about people queuing for the News Years sales on boxing day... and one friend of mine had to queue eight hours for a cash machine at the Glastonbury festival and declared it great fun- helped in no small part by a bottle of whisky that was being being passed around, and the by general camaraderie.
It's not my idea of fun, but seems, as an activity, fairly similar to fishing; just sitting in a camp chair waiting for something.
It's not a new phenomenon, and its not limited to fans of Apple.
The Thick of It is back on TV... when the chai-drinking new-media Tory spin doctor Stewart receives bad news about his standing with the PM, he looks shaken and walks out. One of the other characters remarks:
"I've never seen him lost for poly-syllables before. He took a morning off when when Steve Jobs died, but otherwise it's been seven years of ear-piss"
Yeah, in education or client presentations would seem to be areas where this might be used. It does seem rather a waste of an IPS panel for anything else, though I imagine it could be made to ape that Ambi-light trickery that Phillips TVs have.
I prefer the look the Lenovo solution - have a conventional-looking laptop, but with hinges that allow the screen to be facing up whilst the keyboard faces down (presumably with a mechanism to disable the keyboard whilst it is in this position)
Re: Not sure about 4GB being enough
Your point seems to be that software could be much better if it used more RAM, but that the software that needs more RAM is already 64bit. Umm... I don't quite understand what is being stunted here. I must be misunderstanding you.
I think its good that developers aren't trying to use all my memory- isn't that the definition of 'bloatware'?
for the Red Dwarf references... Okay, it did support a breeding population of human-like bipeds, and used a Hydrogen Scoop to replenish fuel. Don't forget - Thursday 4th October at 9pm on Dave. "It can't be worse than the back to Earth specials"
I was thinking more of a habitat and power source big enough to support a healthy breeding population of humans, though you cut down on the number of people with a sperm bank... designed to last centuries or millennia. I was just wondering if someone had done some rough sums on how big it would have to be, and how much energy it would take to support everyone. Would it be sufficient to grab an iceberg from the rings of Saturn as you pass by?
Though a massive feat of engineering, it wouldn't require any exotic materials...
Re: Just to shut down the trekkers...
Yep, the man said "from impractical to plausible" and I read it as "from impossible to impractical". Still, I'm sure he's smarter than me, and with such a potential reward on offer it would be daft not to investigate further.
Re: Interesting article
And the new Star Trek movie, the 'reboot', elegantly dealt with the inevitable comparisons to Shatner's StarTrek by setting it in a parallel - though linked- universe.
If it works it could save our species over the very long term. But a Plan B
To Outer Space might be a good idea.
Is anyone working on what would be required to sustain a self-contained ecosystem on a journey between the stars?
Just sling a sheet over the bookcase...
You might be missing something - anyone who has gone to the effort of assembling a TV, an XBOX, Kinect and a projector or two will probably make the effort to at least sling a white sheet over their pictures and bookcase before settling into their evening's entertainment- it only takes a minute. Remember, this system is to tickle your peripheral vision, so movement and colour is more important than image clarity. The system can't strive for too much more than this, because the projector can't keep all of even a flat wall in focus if it is projecting at too much of angle.
Android gaming seems to be in its infancy, MS have a chance to overtake it here. No big player has released a game controller for use with Android handsets to allow them to compete with Gameboys and PSPs... vicious circle of software support? Obviously Sony would want you to buy a Vita, and also has 'PSP certified' badges for other phones, but it doesn't seem to have taken off.
Microsoft could release a controller, and it might give Win8 an edge over Android. Opinions differ on which is better, the XBOX or the Playstation controller, but they are both good pieces of hardware- demonstrated by the fact that most users of either system go for the official controller.
Re: brick is the new shiny
You might be onto something... certainly there has been a spate of 'retro' Range-finder looking cameras in the last few years. A laptop built around the same cues might even go down well with the baby-boomers who actually have the money to spend on laptops.
Re: So in plain english...
I think that we are, as a species, prone to judging the insides of things by the outsides. If a potential mate looks well put together on the outside, we take that as an indicator of good insides- i.e health.
There is a way of finding out, or at least giving a good probability... What you do is assemble all articles by each Reg writer into individual ZIP files. You then add all Team Register articles to each archive, and whichever ZIP file increases the least is most likely to be your culprit. Obviously, the accuracy improves the more text you have to work with, and may well be skewed by subject matter, i.e Dabs might use the word 'Apple' than Page does.
Okay, here is an example. The film H2G2 featured a device that cut AND toasted bread at the same time. It didn't explain how it worked, other than it looked exactly like an 8" Light Sabre.
This doesn't prevent me from inventing and then patenting a device to do the same thing using different- and plausible- means. At its crudest, it would be an electric meat slicer with a hot wire bolted on. (I wouldn't expect this to produce a satisfactory piece of toast, and then there are the safety concerns... but i have no doubt that it could produce something that meets the definition of a slice of toasted bread. The slice probably wouldn't be satisfactorily toasted on the inside, given the speed at which people would want to slice the bread, and so it wouldn't be commercially viable. I guess I could have some microwave emitters in array, aligned to that they intersect 3mm into the loaf from the cutting edge, to aid the hot wire... )
Where I might run in to trouble if is someone has invented the same device that I have in mind... for example, some sort of self-cauterising field surgery tool designed for the military.
(before the microwave oven was developed, RADAR engineers used to have their wives prepare them a raw jacket potato... prior to lunch they would place the spud in a RADAR dish for a little while)
Re: Been in use for years...
They aren't patenting immersive 3D, they are patenting a method of achieving it in rooms of varying shape and colour! Why is everyone commenting on patents that they clearly haven't read?
If you need convincing, just think about the static images of Gail Porter projected on the Houses of Parliament ten years ago. It is the same in principle- you place a digital camera on the same tripod you intend to place your projector. You take the photo into Photoshop, and in a new layer take the image you wish to project and apply simple geometric distortion to it (Edit > Free Transform > then hold Ctrl to let you drag the corners independently of each other) so that it appears aligned to the first photograph. You then project your distorted image from your tripod. Simples. Given that the Kinnect is capable of determining where your limbs are in space, let alone your head, it should be obvious that what MS is proposing is fairly straightforward. Its not like games consoles can't do calculations relating to 3D space.
Which bit are you stuck on?
Re: Projector Blind Spot
Modern games consoles can cope with irregular polygons, don't you worry.
Probably a matter of image clarity... if you have the rest of the walls in your room all lit up, then your primary projected image is going to take a hit in terms of contrast.
Re: idea patents
Care to explain exactly which part of this patent is beyond MS's ability to prototype? Before answering, bear in mind it can all be achieved with off-the-shelf hardware, and MS have at least a couple programmers on their payroll to take care of the software.
>Neither does Microsoft's patent application, except in extremely general terms.
Yes it does.
Just as examples of the the twenty claims in the patent:
4. The system of claim 3, further comprising instructions to compensate for topography of the environmental surface described by the depth information so that the peripheral image appears as a geometrically distortion-corrected extension of the primary image.
Easily within the capabilities of the existing 'Kinnect' device.
14. The subsystem of claim 11, wherein the depth camera is configured to detect color information by measuring color reflectivity from the environmental surface.
The claims, put together, explain how the system would work. All of the individual claims seem perfectly possible. The Star Trek Holodeck doesn't explain how it works, and isn't even holograms- in First Contact, Picard 'disables the safety features' so he can shoot Borg with a Tommy-gun.
Re: Jobsian Cult
All the currently low-hanging-fruit has been taken already. Modern smartphones are only possible due to the battery, CPU and screen technologies of the last few years, with the communication infrastructure to support them. So, for the first few years after people first glued them together with software there were many innovative (and many obvious) ideas ripe for picking. What the next disruptive technology is, I don't know. Those who are better informed than I are likely not to say. Possibly a flexible screen that can be rolled up like a scroll.
About 16 years ago I was shown a video in school in which some Californian bloke reckoned the ultimate computer would look like a blanket (or a towel, for you Hitch-hikers out there). It could assume the shape of a keyboard and monitor, or you could just place it over your head for an immersive VR-style experience. When finished, you would just scrunch it back into your pocket or handbag.
>You dont have to the a most cynical opponent of the Jesus Phone to start noticing that there is very little of the famed "innovation" commonly associated with this Holiest of Relics anymore.
You only have to look at their new earbuds to think that Sir Jony is getting bored.
Re: A man down the pub
I think the person who found it sold it to a tech blog. Your deliberate leak theory (in the finest tradition of Yes, Minister) would be plausible, except for the bad publicity Apple got for sending private security staff round to search a citizen's house whilst the uniformed cops stood outside.
Re: See also
The Wii U probably has sold out. The issue is that things like the Wii is that they are subject to seasonal demand. Investing in more production lines would cost a lot of money, and wouldn't really increase profits, since they would only be meeting a temporary spike in demand. After the spike, you have a lot of expensive machinery working at less than capacity. Okay, they make miss out on a few sales, but they are also avoiding the risk of over-investing in production. Plus, as a bonus, they get free publicity in the form of newspaper articles: "I can't buy a Buzz Lightyear/ Tickle Me Elmo / Nintendo Wii / Ferrari for love or money. What will I tell poor little Timmy this Christmas?"
My favourite was Anne Robinson on Watchdog aggressively interviewing VW's UK head, for not making the new model Beetle quickly enough.
"You are letting down the UK consumer by not selling them this new car!"
"I'm sorry, but we are making them as quickly as possible"
"But you are giving them them away! You gave one to Eric Clapton, will you give me one?"
Re: Yeh half-arsed geoIP bollocks...
And I always get internet ads promoting single ladies in Basingstoke. Whilst I'm sure the good women of Basingstoke are as charming as those in the next town, their beauty has never reached the popular imagination in the same way as their Swedish or Brazilian counterparts.
Re: That's actually pretty clever.
>if they've solved the problem of the vibrate alert triggering the accelerometer and cancelling some incomming calls automatically
Not difficult in principal, the vibration is reciprocal movement back and forth, the whack would be a greater distance and with greater acceleration. Just a matter of calibration.
Re: New Patent
There was a lad years ago who hacked his Macbook so that he could use its HDD's G-sensors for interacting with it. In his case he mapped it so that whacking the left hand side of his monitor was 'Browser: Back' and the right hand side was 'Brower: forward'.
Still, I think MS deserves some credit, since its software has inspired many users to hit their computers over the years.
A few years down the line, I can imagine us having an NFC tag on our key-rings that can make any device we pick up 'ours'.
Re: That's Not A Chair!
>Just the sort of thing for one of those new let's do things differently business environments.
You're right - especially as it is designed by the same studio as the Olympic 'Cauldron' and the new London busses, Daniel Heatherwick. That would be the 'low cost' rotationally moulded version, though I suspect it ain't cheap.
Re: Why blue LEDs?
>archaeologists scraped some crystaline blue paint from a cave painting
I won't hate you, though I've not heard that one... if true, it is pleasing that cavers themselves aided the development of a useful caving tool- energy efficient, shock-resistant lighting. However, I think you may have got your wires crossed, if the following is what you were thinking of: http://accelrys.com/resource-center/case-studies/archive/studies/maya.html
"ceramics coloured by Maya Blue have not faded over the centuries. What is even more remarkable is that the colour is resistant to extremes of pH, chemical solvents, and biodegradation. "
No less fascinating, though!
I remember a Q&A with Shuji Nakamura in New Scientist- though I've just had to consult Wikipedia- famous at the time because of his dispute with his employers over the size of his bonus for cracking the problem of high-efficiency blue LEDs.
Re: ISOs and rugged
Good points about the bubble wrap- I hadn't thought that one through. I stand by my pipe-lagging modification, though- cut one in half to make two C-sections, glue one piece along each side of the enclosure, thus leaving plenty of exposed metal to disperse heat.
On the static electricity front, I would hope that a portable HDD enclosure would be tolerant of being slid in and out of laptop bags of various materials...
maybe of use
Maplins make me laugh... They have had complete external HDDs in their stores for cheaper than they will sell you a standalone enclosure.
I did spot some 2.5" USB 2 enlclosures - choose from SATA or IDE internals - in PC World for around £8 just last week... worth snagging in case your laptop dies from anything not HDD related. No doubt they can be found cheaper on the web, if deliveries aren't inconvenient.
Re: ISOs and rugged
I'm not certain about this, but you might want to read up on booting from a USB 3 Device. It should be alright if the OS on the SSD already has USB 3 drivers installed, but it will be worth double checking.
If you want to make your SSD enclosure more rugged, then pipe lagging and some silicon sealant will work, applied to outside of the case, obviously. Not pretty, but will work. If you are closer to a post office than a builder's merchant, then bubble wrap and and package tape...
Re: It's real
...and many of these folk don't even have their own phone, but do have their own SIM. For farmers, being able to check market rates has really given them a bargaining tool to use against traders.
Nokia have traditionally dominated the market for phones in the developing world... does a strange market for HP to want to get into.
>The security bod advised users to use more common sense and disabling Wi-Fi scanning until they needed to actually access the web.
Many people already do - not because of security concerns, but rather to eke out their phones' underwhelming battery life. The law of unintended consequences...
@ Michelle Knight
Looks like a handy gizmo you've linked to. But that isn't what this Apple patent is for, since it involves combining your voice command with other information, such as the phone state, or its location. The clue is in the title of the patent- it wasn't mentioned in the article though, hence the comments here protesting about something that isn't even happening, or else citing irrelevant prior art.
What Tom38 said. That and the voice command is processed in conjunction with other information supplied by the phone, such as its geographic location or which app is open at the time... but most comments here give the impression that they haven't even read the title of the patent, let alone its contents. In fairness, the patent title wasn't stated in the article, though Anna did give an example of its possible use.
Re: So basically,
I know what you mean... that Apple patent for iPad covers with extra screens and input devices just read as a description of an entire finished product. It had sections relating to all sorts of things, hardware and software.
Re: Evil Plans
I would imagine that a first step in speech recognition is to filter out those frequencies that play no part in speech. For you to carry out your nefarious plan, you might wish to investigate some sort of directed sound beam.
Re: Prior art!
>they can't possibly have that as a patent!
You're right, they don't. The patent is a combination of using voice commands combined with other 'contextual' data.
Curious that Mr Todd, the first person here who actually appears to read the title of the patent, let alone its contents, has been downvoted.
"Electronic Devices with Voice Command and Contextual Data Processing Capabilities" is the title.