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* Posts by Dave 126

4180 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Stephen Fry explains… Alan Turing's amazing computer

Dave 126
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Re: I have an issue with Fry

I don't think he's claimed to be anything other than a consumer of technology, and has made no secret of buying the latest gadget for the sake of it- if I had made myself as rich as he did in his early twenties, I probably would have spent a load on soon-to-obsolete gizmos too. He's had every latest flashy device from the mid-eighties onwards, so as consumers go he's had more first-hand experience than most.

Likewise his friend Douglas Adams, though he took a slightly deeper interest he explained thus: "I'm the kind of person who, if faced with a two hour task on the computer, will spend two days writing some software to do it for me"

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Dave 126
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Beep! -And your challenge is?

Well, he was never the best at Just A Minute.

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Cop an eyeful of that: Moto bungs 5-megapixel cam into plod radio

Dave 126
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It does seem a strange choice not to have a front facing camera, so the officer can snap a picture as soon as they turn up on the scene- perhaps as a crime is happening.

As for video, those are good point- but you've got storage issues, and the editing down to the pertinent footage is complicated by the need to keep an audit trail.

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Ubuntu tapped by China for national operating system

Dave 126
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Re: I don't understand

>Honest curiosity.

Okay, these figure are a bit out of date:

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London, the U.S. currently has the largest documented prison population in the world, both in absolute and proportional terms. We've got roughly 2.03 million people behind bars, or 701 per 100,000 population. China has the second-largest number of prisoners (1.51 million, for a rate of 117 per 100,000),

-http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2494/does-the-united-states-lead-the-world-in-prison-population

> can marry 14 year olds?

Alabama: You can get married at 14, but you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. Both parents must be present with identification, or if you have a legal guardian they must be present with a court order and identification. The state requires a $200 bond to be executed, payable to the State of Alabama. If one or both parents are deceased, proper evidence of such must be provided.

-http://marriage.about.com/cs/teenmarriage/a/teenus.htm

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NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice

Dave 126
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Re: Acceptable losses?

>Popping a huge asteroid into BIG bits, a long way from earth, is a LOT better than a HUGE one hitting earth...

Yeah.... instead of being all dead quickly, we're deaf and starve to death. "a LOT better" as you say.

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Dave 126
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Re: Obama's goals

As Richard Feynman established from Nasa engineers, the estimated chance of a catastrophic Shuttle incident was 1 in 200. According to Nasa management, it was 1 in 10, 000. He refused to sign the report into the Challenger disaster unless it was concluded with "You can't fool nature".

Richard Feynman- physicist, bongo player, educator, amateur safe-cracker, supporter of a strip club.

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Samsung: We're doing smart watches too

Dave 126
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Re: If this is a "watch" I'd be very surprised

>Hack! How old are you? You sound like a 5 year old.

I'm genuinely confused.

I wear a sober, small faced analogue watch. It does strike that for telling the time it is superior to my phone.

Also, for setting a reminder it is superior to my phone- I just rotate the bezel to remind myself of when to take my dinner out of the oven. To do the same on my phone would require quite a few steps.

Being able to instantly silence a ringing phone is a social nicety, for those occasions we have forgotten to turn it to silent.

Many mobile phones are used as audio players, connected to a sound system away from where one might be sat... and people of all ages have used music players with remote controls for decades. I'm not sure why implementing this feature (which can be done without making a wristwatch look like naff gizmo) would mark me out as a 5 year old.

I've been arguing that a 'smartwatch' can be made to resemble a normal watch. A single RGB pixel on the watch face can tell me if that phone vibration in my pocket is a message from someone I need to get back to quickly, or not.

Yeah, my inner five year-old would like Dick Tracey video call watch... but the rest of me doesn't.

What would you like to see in a smartwatch, AC?

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Dave 126
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Re: If this is a "watch" @Dave 126

Hiya Ledswinger

Sorry for my clumsy post if it gave the impression of indignation... though I am wary of the mention of Apple since sometimes it can cause Reg posts to deteriorate : D

I know it does look Apple's rivals are merely responding to the Apple rumours, but I think that has more to do with how things have been reported than it has history. (And also, people who feel Apple refined/defined the MP3 player and the smartphone will of course believe Apple have a better chance than anyone else of doing the same for the 'smartwatch'... previous 'smartwatch' efforts have hardly set the world alight)

I suspect Samsung's efforts in this area, though no doubt partly inspired by the Apple rumours, are more related to their own previous efforts, Kickstarter projects such as Pebble and I'm Watch, and also emerging technology (Corning saying that flexible Gorilla glass will be available in a couple of years, battery and charging tech etc) that might make such a device a useful item and not just a toy.

Sony and Samsung have made connected watches in the past - and they are more useful in cities like Tokyo where the severe overcrowding on public transport makes pulling a phone from your pocket a chore.

All the phone makers keen to move on to a new sector, where they can steal a technological lead of their competitors... phones have become too mature to do so.

I agree with you that Apple wouldn't deign to merely create the small feature list I outlined (they need to regain the 'Wow!' factor)... but it is within the scope of Samsung, a crowd-sourced effort, or perhaps a sober and respected wristwatch maker such as Seiko.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rolex?

Just a thought: As our population ages, more medical devices will be worn- either transmitting data to doctors or relatives in real-time, or logging it to provide more data points for the quack to work with.

This ageing population may be the reason why many posh watches (in the £1500+) are now often around 42mm in diameter instead of the traditional smaller faces... changes in taste might explain it, but it might also be a consequence of there being more wearers with presbyopia- especially since a posh watch has been a traditional retirement gift.

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Dave 126
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Re: Working on it for so long...

>Yeah, 30 seconds after information about an Apple watch - sometimes i think Apple make stuff up, leak it to see what Samsung does. Quite funny really.

Not really: Samsung and Sony have both made smartwatches before. On top of that, all firms are finding that their smartphones are getting more mature and thus less exciting each year. Add to that the 'just around the corner' promise of flexible components such as displays and batteries, and advances in wireless charging and processor efficiency... and you'll see why these watch stories are emerging at the same time.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm pretty sure neither of them were first to smartwatches

>So who's patents are they?

Full-blown watch-phones were sold years ago (but they just weren't worthwhile for fairly obvious reasons) and the concept itself can't be protected by patents- see Dick Tracey. What might be covered by patents are the clever things you do to implement the concept.

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Dave 126
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Re: ...

@ Mr Hagood

- Indeed, the first working watch-phone was made years ago- it didn't catch on for the very reasons you outlined: Ergonomics.

@ Eddy Ito

I've seen that design in concept form over ten years ago (it was featured in 'Spoon 100', pub. Phaidon) - the strap was like those wrist snap toys - when removed from the wrist it was rigid, and placed the mike and earpiece in the correct place). Whilst it neatly answers most of the ergonomic points raised by Mr Hagood above, it was before the raise of the 4"+ screened smartphone, and I suspect that people will be happy to keep a handset in their pocket for the screen-based functionality it offers.

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Dave 126
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Re: If this is a "watch" I'd be very surprised

>A real GOOD watch will go for £300-£400, anything less and the shops consider them 'fashion' watches they expect to last only a few years...

The Casio G-Shock with low power Bluetooth remote control for iPhone is to be released at around £111, and like other G shocks is designed to last upwards of ten years http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/49247/casio-g-shock-gb-6900-watch-other-colours. Other specialist functional watches - like those for hikers with barometers and altimeters etc are rarely more than £150. In fact, there seems to be a bit of gulf between things like the Seiko Kinetic at around £200, and the brand-name sapphire crystal mechanical watches at around £1500.

You do raise a good point, though- more than even a phone, a 'smart watch' will benefit from year on year improvements in electronic energy efficiency and battery improvements.

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Dave 126
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Re: If this is a "watch" I'd be very surprised

>Well, we'll see, but I wouldn't have thought there was much in that idea to justify a company as large as Apple getting involved

This was a thread about Samsung, not Apple. I only reiterate that because they have a much larger product portfolio than Apple. Haven't Samsung made a smart watch before? Sony certainly have.

Samsung have used the 'throw it at the wall and see what sticks' approach. If they make a 'smartwatch' - or merely a 'connected [to a phone] watch' - it is conceivable that they might make a simpler model. My friend used to have a Samsung phone the size of pack of chewing gum- damned near unusable, the keypad was two tall columns - but it shows Samsung are happier to try more product variations than Apple. Maybe the people who bought into the crowd-funded Pebble watch will come to find they actually want a simpler device, and fund its development to greater adoption. Who knows?

> No good asking most people what innovation they want, because we more commonly know what we want when we see it, rather than (always) being able to describe that. The art of technology innovation is being able to invent (or further refine) something that is workable, that people will want, but generally aren't crying out for.

Those were sentiments expressed by the head of Sony Design in the '90s, and in their way are just a rephrasing of Henry Ford's "They [the people on the street] would tell me they wanted a faster horse". Nevertheless, those remarks were about focus groups and mass markets, respectively, but this is The Reg. Its readership is self selecting. The people commenting in the Reg forums even more so, hopefully because they have mulled ideas over before posting. Also, Reg Commentards may have had a few gizmos in the past, and may have some interesting input on what works and what doesn't. Some may have had experience of using or implementing technology that may overcome the technical hurdles- the chief two in this case being the power supply and user interaction.

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Dave 126
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Re: If this is a "watch" I'd be very surprised

> for most other things the screen will be too small.

My phone can communicate a range of alerts and states with a single RGB LED: Blinks blue, green or white for text message, email, or phone call, blinks red for low battery. Solid colours during charging to show progress.

A similar system on a watch would allow it to masquerade as a normal analogue watch if that what the user wants.

>On the other hand, I have no idea what a smartwatch is meant to do.

What might you want it do? Personally, I'd prefer a limited range of well-implemented features to a full Dick Tracey effort. A tap on the watch face to silence my phone, for example, or a twist of the bezel to control my phone's media player.

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Review: HTC One

Dave 126
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>but also the fact that the last update to it broke the ability to attach it to my PC as a removable drive.

IIRC, that was a Android issue across the board- it was reported when a particular Android version was released. Kudos to Sony on the Xperia Z for implementing a good ol fashioned option to access the internal storage as Mass Storage Class, thus making it Mac, Linux and older XP happy.

(The Xperia P lacks such feature, and to transfer files from a Mac over USB requires Sony software and is painfully slow... though I guess most people would use WiFi these days)

64 bit XP? You masochist! : D

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Dave 126
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Re: "Chrome just doesn’t excel at JavaScript rendering"

When Anadtech benchmarked the iPhone 5, they found that its Sunspider result beat any other phone by a very large margin. They also noted that in context, it was more a test of caching than anything else i.e, benchmarks != real world performance.

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Dave 126
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You don't need an app if USB OTG has been properly implemented. It does vary by manufacturer, though. Some have hobbled hardware that software can't fix (LG's Nexus 4, for example).

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Dave 126
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Re: Disposable phone

>The lack of exchangable battery makes it another disposable phone. I don't like those, because I tend to use my electronic gadgets forever

I think we can see the cause and effect here: You've just identified yourself as someone who buys fewer phones than someone who trades in after their 18 or 24 month contract ends.

I'm not knocking you, just noting that you are less of a customer to the manufacturer.

Of course, the other argument for removable batteries is for road warriors who like Gordon Gecko are never off their phone... but these days, with several USB-charged gadgets, an external and thus universal battery pack makes sense- it'l do your phone, your tablet, your e-reader and your emergency spare phone. More everyday devices have a female USB A port for charging things, be it a car, TV or router.

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Dave 126
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Re: Marketing nonsense

>All other things being equal, image noise is a function of sensor size, not pixel size. Using fewer, larger pixels just makes the noise coarser and more difficult to deal with.

Ug?

It is a function of pixel size, it's just that for images of the same resolution larger pixels by definition mean a larger sensor- but as the review clearly stated, this HTC only produces 4 megapixel images (which is fine for the most common end-use: posting online).

Get yourself a coffee : D

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Dave 126
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Re: very upbeat review

(Sorry for repeating my post, but it seems pertinent to RockBurner)

Major differences:

The Sony Xperia Z give you a uSD card slot, waterproofing and charging via an optional drop-in cradle.

This HTC trades those for a better screen, better speakers and an IR remote.

Neither has a removable battery. The Reg reviews suggest the HTC might have a longer lasting battery, but if it's an important issue to you you might do well to find other reviews online to confirm this.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why have an extra battery floating around in your pocket...

>Does nobody remember how long dumbphones can last?

Ahhh, back in the day... when my phone battery would last all week, but my call credit would last five minutes.

: D

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Dave 126
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Re: Depends on use....

>As far as this phone goes, no expandable storage is just crazy.

It does have expandable storage, just not very elegant or compact expandable storage.

It's not convenient if you want the storage for snapping photos (though 32 GB is a lot of photos), but if you're using it to watch movies on a long train or plane journey it doesn't seem like a deal breaker.

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Dave 126
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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

So, the Sony Xperia Z give you a uSD card support, waterproofing and charging via an optional drop-in cradle.

This HTC trades those for a better screen, better speakers, a longer lasting battery (possibly) and an IR remote.

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Dave 126
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Re: No SD card slot, no removable battery

>"One could argue the Nexus series share those traits?"

The Nexus 4 doesn't support USB OTG for external storage, this HTC phone does. True, it is no use for the 'drop phone in puddle, retrieve photos from uSD card' scenerio outlined above, but does provide a storage option.

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Nvidia's skirt-chasing chips ogle babes, eyeball Twitter and YouTube

Dave 126
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Re: End User

>Just don't see the average Joe snapping away at pretty girls to identify her shoes

Average Joe maybe not, Average Jolene possibly... though Jolene might just ask the pretty girl where she got those gorgeous shoes. As a demo of the tech though, clothes might interest more people than agricultural or military applications.

In another Reg article today, some pervert in a pet shop was caught trying to use an iPad app to identify what brand of knickers an attractive female shopper was wearing.

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Another MYSTERY evacuation: Google UK empties swanky offices

Dave 126
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Re: I realise Google are crap at anything to do with customer service...

>... but I didn't know they were just as poor at informing their employees about why things go tits up.

You've never heard the HR dept expression "Make them part of the facilities management team, where they can't do much harm"?

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Dave 126
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Re: They almost look like normal people

And normal people have large elliptical eyes, green skin and no body hair?

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Kinky Android X-ray app laid bare as malware

Dave 126
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Re: I can understand why people were duped

I have nothing against girls in Basingstoke, but always found it a strange claim on pesky web adverts, since I live no where near Basingstoke. Nor, as far as I know, does Basingstoke enjoy the same reputation in popular culture as, say, Ipanema or California.

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Dave 126
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Re: I can understand why people were duped

>I do worry about the kind of person that thinks a free app will do the same job though.

Yeah, you'd expect that you'd at least have to prise the camera module apart and remove the IR filter.

In other news, pills won't make your member bigger, belly fat can be shed by diet and exercise, and girls in Basingstoke do not want to meet you.

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Dave 126
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Re: This gave me an idea

I haven't tried it, but unless the tracking was very accurate, there would be a risk of falling into the 'uncanny valley'. It might be more suitable for 'cartoonising' the subjects, for fun and giggles though.

Of course, you could cover the subject in ping pong balls on a stage next to a render farm, as was done on Avatar- a rough rendering was done in real time during the actors performances, to give the crew an idea of what the eventual scene would look like.

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Dave 126
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A batch of Sony camcorders...

...were withdrawn from sale many years ago, because of the way a 'low light mode' was implemented. However, this Infra Red detection actually made people look as if they were just wearing underwear.

Those units that Sony couldn't recall sold out very quickly indeed.

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ICO clamps down on nuisance calls, slaps £90k fine on Glasgow firm

Dave 126
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Re: They aren't a fly-by-night company. They've existed since 1984

Try Companies House.

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Dave 126
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Re: The fault is that caller ID is useless

My friend has BT block all calls from 'number withheld' to his landline. The NHS and other gov services are obliged to call him on an identifiable number.

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Drilling into 3D printing: Gimmick, revolution or spooks' nightmare?

Dave 126
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Re: Niche-not

Okay, fair enough....

If you offered people a Star Trek-style 'Replicator' - any object, any material- including meals - then yeah, for sure, most people will say 'Hell yeah!' However, even on the Starship Enterprise, I would imagine that there is a central replicator that is dedicated to making uniforms, and another that is tuned to the production of Phasers. There would probably be a replicator that makes replicators. I.e, if you have the technology to make a machine that makes anything, then you will have the technology to make a more specialised machine even faster/efficient.

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Dave 126
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Re: Part of the process

>Hmm... there's no need to go with all that complexity

A wax-printing desktop machine (a few hundred dollars), plus the kit required to cast aluminium is with the reach of anyone who wants it. A selective laser sintering machine? I wish!

Someone might be able to reformulate 'silver clay' for use in small 3D printers - silver particles suspended in a clay-like binder, which after the sculptor has created their desired form is placed in the kiln. It produces something like 95%+ solid metal part after firing.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dremels

Thank you Alan for engaging with the question. True, a Dremmel can be an accompaniment to a 3D printer, as well as an alternative to a 3D printer for some tasks.

Yeah, I've spotted a fair few in B&Q, but still: I only know two people who own one. They are no where near as common as 18v drills.

Still, 18v drills, like timber yard CNC routers, are handy for real stuff - like furniture and shelves. Dremmels and 3D printers are for smaller fiddly things that are often mass produced anyway.

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Dave 126
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Re: What about the environment?

>you know where most of it will end up!

shredded and put back into the machine's hopper?

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Dave 126
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Re: have i seen this before?

'Print on demand' is a bit in-between... if you need the book this week, order it from a large warehouse somewhere and enjoy the savings given to you by economies of scales or the second hand market. If you need it this minute, download a copy to your e-reader.

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Dave 126
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>Hobbyists will also aspire to them, its going to be the hardware hackers equivalent of a lathe some weird guy

you know will have one in the shed.

That's my take on it... 'Consumer' 3D printers will mainly appeal to people who already have lathes, Dremmels, tap and die sets etc.

Another model is that of a local bureau, servicing end users and other local businesses. Our local timber yard does CNC milling for £100 / hour (but it is such a big sturdy (and expensive) machine it can do jobs quickly, so depending upon the design it only adds 20 - 40% to the cost on top of the material) but you don't hear tech sites making as much noise about an arguably more useful technology (for making furniture, shelves, children's play equipment etc), though buzz-phases such as 'virtual manufacturing', 'long tail', and 'thousands of markets of a few' get invoked from time to time.

Something can help the bloke on the street make use of these services might be devices like the Kinect- MS's new SDK (for the Windows version, not the cheaper but near identical XBOX version) could easily be built upon to scan the back of your car and give you a 2D DWG of a replacement parcel-shelf. It has the bonus of making people look like Hans Solo in carbonite. Oh, a free DWG editor, including a version for your penguins http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/download-draftsight/#xtor=AD-508-[swfreetools]-[middle]-[intext]-[www.solidworks.com]

Hell, even the upcoming Playstation 4 allows for 3D modelling in a way that looks like it could complement traditional packages.

Other noises are being made about 'additive manufacturing', in which related technologies are used to achieve shapes and form that are hard to make by traditional means. Substrates for catalysts are an example, since they require a very high surface area to volume ratio. Another example would be structural components with 'property gradients', such as a beam of constant cross-section but of varying mechanical proprties along its length. This is possible using Selective Laser Sintering, using materials such as titanium. Such things are used in aerospace and motorsport- but then they tend to have small production runs anyway.

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Review: Sony Xperia Z

Dave 126
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Re: Are memories of Sony's Digital Walkmans....

Possibly, SonicStage was pretty awful. Still, so is Samsung's Kies phone management software, and it doesn't seem to have hurt them!

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Dave 126
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Re: i've just got one of these

And the problem with supporting a codec is...?

True, Sony are the only company I know of to be named in an XP BSOD (SonicStage, and MS abandoned their traditional esoteric hex to name Sony as the culprit... as New Scientist remarked at the time "We cannot even begin to imagine the level of acrimony that lead to this message being displayed")

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Dave 126
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Re: "Sony promise to update to 4.2 soon..."

See how they have supported all their 2012 handsets. My Xperia P has already been updated to ICS, and is getting JB this month (whatever, ICS seems good enough).

Sorry you got stung, but those 2011 handsets seemed a bit lacking in RAM at the time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Noooooooo!

My Xperia P works very well for voice calls, and I've heard good things about other Xperia handsets... Don't know what the Z is like.

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Dave 126
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Re: Avoid - screen scratches very easily

Oh well. I stumbled across some forum reference to this anti-shatter layer when I was trying to track down an official Sony replacement for the screen-protector included with my Xperia P. Some people suggest that you just remove the scratched 'anti-shatter' layer http://talk.sonymobile.com/thread/41307?start=0&tstart=0 (how-to video in above link), and install a screen protector ASAP. I can't vouch for the advice given above, but it might be worth you having a look.

The included screen protector worked and protected my screen, but eventually became scratched itself . I bought a replacement at a market stall, but it was poor, and quickly became covered in microscratches, making the thing tricky to use in sunlight (hence, I searched for an official Sony one, since the first had been good). Thankfully, being a 4" phone a widely-available iPhone 5 protector can be cut to fit.

A bit of care is required to install them, but as long as you are in a fairly dust free environment and take care to clean the screen with the included cloth, it should go okay. Don't worry about little bubbles, they can be pushed out to the side after it's laid down. I'm sure the nice young man in your phone shop will install it for you if you buy it from him.

Good luck.

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Dave 126
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Re: i've just got one of these

My pet peeve with the Sony Walkman app is that is doesn't support WMA. Otherwise it is very good.

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Dave 126
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Re: After so many many SE phones...

>but nobody else is doing high end waterproof phones right now.

Well, there was that recent Reg article that suggested that a waterproofing process is applied to quite a few handsets, to reduce returns. However, it isn't usually advertised, as the first thing some people do is to 'test' it by deliberately dunking it it water.

I remember being in school and playing baseball in a classroom using a tack hammer as a bat and a Casio G-Shock as a ball. No harm done. A few years later I deliberately dropped another G-Shock from a first-floor window onto concrete, and having to get it fixed on warranty (which was honoured, but the parts took an age to come from Japan).

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Google turns Street View into Mountain View

Dave 126
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Re: Abominable!

Yeti spotted urinating behind a parked car, Yeti mooning the camera, Yeti giving the camera the finger, Yeti spotted by Mrs Yeti with another lady Yeti...

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Software bug halts Curiosity: Nuke lab bot in safe mode

Dave 126
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Re: Software Bug? Or a message for us they are going to delete???

"You have been found in violation of our parking policy. Please pay the sum of £85. If you pay with in the next ten days, this amount will be reduced to £45. Please do not interfere with this notice"

And then you would have wished you'd given the rover a bigger LASER.

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Dave 126
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They no doubt have error checking and redundancy, but when conditions are shit why not take a few weeks off til they get better?

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