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* Posts by Dave 126

4072 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Quit the 2D internet, flee your cave, and GET LAID, barks rock star

Dave 126
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Re: I know someone who's like that.

I spied that quadropter in Maplins yesterday, couldn't be arsed to look it up on my phone... I don't think they wanted as much £50 for it, though most of their stuff is overpriced. I'm still getting value out of a £20 Syma S105G helicopter. A fantastic toy, very stable and suitable for beginners, and I haven't managed to break it yet.

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Dave 126
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Re: My Evaluation of J. White's Comments.

He's just putting out the same sentiments as Kurt Vonnegut Jr: "The meaning of life is to fart about, and don't let anyone tell you any different"

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Dave 126
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Re: He's quite right

Cycling is the same- components wear out, and are cheaper online... but the bike shop will give you advice, lend you a tool, let you rummage through the bucket of old bits, meet other people, build you a wheel to spec... and the part is available that day. Well worth paying a few quid extra.

* * *

I came away from both Maplins and PC World yesterday, convinced that they deserve to fail. Maplin only sell the Raspberry Pi as part of a £75 package (with mouse, keyboard, power supply, cables and SD card... hardly £50 worth)... without fail, everything in there is overpriced by about 100%. PC World have an entire aisle filled with mice, but half of them are damned near identical, the rest have a touch pad instead of a scroll wheel; and the only decent Logitech rodents (with extra buttons and 'hyperscrolling') were the expensive ones that work on glass- a feature I don't need. Sod 'em.

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Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Dave 126
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Re: Pics of peripherals

Going by Sony's past PS design efforts, I'm not too worried that the PS4 will be a carbuncle in the living room.

Curiously, the original Playstation was in part a homage to Frog Design's work on the Apple Macintosh, according to the head of the Sony Design Centre. Other geeky design details included using a more lavender shade of beige, so that UV ageing wouldn't be too yellow, and using a more expensive three-part injection mould for the case, with its cooling vents.

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Dave 126
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Proof of the pudding

There is zero need to try to extrapolate its performance from its specs if you can just watch a video of what it can output. The demonstrations looked very impressive.

Judge for yourself.

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Dave 126
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Re: Well hello there...

That point was addressed directly in the presentation, a soundbite along the lines of: "designed by developers for developers"

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Dave 126
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Re: Sony have dropped the ball

The last two generations of Playstation haven't been an embarrassment to the living room in terms of their looks, so I don't need to see a mock-up of the hardware to be reassured.

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Dave 126
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The EyePad makes sense now

One bit of new during the announcement made sense of that Move-enabled tablet the Reg featured a few days back: 'Digital Clay'. During the PS4 presentation, the its 'Move' controller was used to 'sculpt' 3D models. Combined with Sony's 'EyePad' ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/19/sony_patents_eyepad/ ) there is the makings of a capable content creation system. The obvious applications are for creating levels and avatars, but there are applications beyond gaming. For certain scales of models (human-sized, creatures, vehicles), using a TV with a 3D cursor and tablet could be very usable indeed.

The general consensus about the PS4's graphical prowess is that the games almost look like films, except that characters still move like video games (an issue with the game engines used, I assume)... The rendering of human heads looks very impressive, as did a Havok physics scene with a million objects.

And it turns out that Bungie's next game, 'Destiny', is everything I hoped it would be - a blend of Elite, Halo, Planetside, Cowboy Bebop, Iain M. Banks, Borderlands and Star Wars Galaxies. Being produced for current and next gen consoles, with intention of a PC version.

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Meet the stealthiest UK startup's app Swiftkey - and its psychic* keyboard

Dave 126
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>They should use the Microwriter chorded keyboard.

This lad has already made a prototype chorded typing case for a mobile phone. Well done him!

http://srimech.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/chorded-keyboard-for-mobile-phones.html

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Chinese PLA soldiers 'mastermind cyber-espionage Cold War'

Dave 126
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Re: Computer insecurity ...

>If the US security services hadn't enthused the 'computer' makers to dilute security on the desktop, then you wouldn't be facing the current security debacle ...

When I as school in the nineties, we were shown videos about Phil Zimmerman and his PGP... all the arguments were in terms of private individuals and the US Government not liking encryption. I guess that at the time, far less data was kept online, the Cold War was over, music was good, and obviously nobody was worrying about the threat of foreign states stealing sensitive data.

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Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

Dave 126
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Re: Gates has just OSBORNED the Win 8 phone

>The guy isn't fit to wipe the backside of the tens of thousands of engineers he has screwed over.

Weren't Nokia's assorted tribes of software engineers (Symbian and various Linux flavours) inside doing a fairly good job battling each other?

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Dave 126
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WTF?

Re: A great mind at work..... NOT!

>However, the Windows 7 strategy had the additional disadvantage that it's UI was rejected by the market in the first place.

Come again?

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Dave 126
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Fall guy OS

That was my take on it. MS probably figured a good number of people and business have only settled into Windows 7 in the last couple of years, and so were never going to be in the market for windows 8. Therefore, they chose to be a little bit experimental, and then sell Windows 9 as "Hey, it's not Windows 8".

Most of the annoyances with Windows 8 are in the UI and are easily fixed with a bit of 3rd party software - one to skip past 'Metro' to the desktop, another to restore the start menu, plus some other details. Hardly a massive extra effort, given that most of us install software and tweak settings on a fresh Windows install anyway.

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Dave 126
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Re: Gates quote - XBox is a success myth

>Xbox360 will never make a dime of profit for Microsoft. The development costs and warranty repair costs will always outweigh any profit from the hardware and game licensing.

You forgot Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Don't know if it changes your assertion, because you didn't show your working,

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Dave 126
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Coherent use of graphical user interface elements - fail

Eadon, please stop abusing the "May contain highly technical content requiring degree-level education or above" icon for posts. Your posts don't.

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AMD: Star Trek holodecks within reach

Dave 126
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Re: Holodecks aren't just about processing power

> Or make it possible for two people in the same room to travel at the same time to opposite parts of the world?

You just put each person in their own holodeck- each holodeck then presents a simulation of the other users to its own occupant. Easy.

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Review: The ultimate Chromebook challenge

Dave 126
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Re: Multiple accounts?

It would seem that you options are setting up a multiple user profiles (not great for working between accounts) or launching incognito windows to access the web services of your other accounts (no saving passwords or history).

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/chromebook-central/nhITKi0YI38

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Dave 126
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Re: Netbook market

>Remember netbooks, MS killed that market

Eh? Okay... are you sure it wasn't the originally low specs and shoddy Linux distro on the first EEE PCs that put people off? The netbook was small and cheap, suitable for quickly checking emails and browsing the web if you could find a Wi-fi hotspot. Since then, smartphones can do the same but in more places, due to a 3G data connection, and tablets can do the same but do it better- because the screens can be rotated through 90º and often boast better resolutions. I used a netbook for as a data logger for a temperature probe, but guess what OS the supplied drivers and software were for? Oh yeah, that's right...

True, MS would rather sell you a more expensive version (as would Intel and their chips), but first they get flack for selling XP at low cost to netbook OEMs, then they get flack for not offering a cheap 'Starter Edition' of Win 8....

> I just wish this hardware came with Linux

Why? Just download it and install it yourself- if it did come with Linux, the chances are it wouldn't be the flavour you want anyway. Google commissioned and marketed these machines for their own reasons- there is nothing to stop penguins doing the same for their reasons, through Kickstarter perhaps. If you believe the demand is there, why don't you do it?

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Dave 126
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Re: To sum up the benefits: They are cheap

>Samsung must have been working really hard to build a ARM based unit that has less duration then their Atom-powered ATIV500

The power consumption advantages of ARM over x86 are most evident when the system is sat doing nothing - so is suitable for smartphones. When the CPU actually has a job to, Intel's new Atoms have some tricks up their sleeve- not least a more advanced fab process and a more efficient memory controller. Note that the test in this article was looping a 720p video. The battery benchmarks for using it as a word processor (i.e write something, stare into space for ten minutes, write a few more lines, get bored, check emails, wander off for a coffee) might give different results.

Actually having the same system on both ARM and x86 allows power consumption per task comparisons, something that has been done before between Win RT machines on ARM and x86

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Dave 126
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Re: Why not a tablet?

>If the chrome books are only good for web browsing and light media consumption then I don't see the point of them compared to a tablet. The Nexus 7 and 10 being very good tablets.

In a word- a keyboard. I didn't read anything that said they weren't good for just entering some text, be it an email or a novel. You don't always need fancy formatting and DTP tools.

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Wind-up bloke Baylis winds up broke, turns to UK gov for help

Dave 126
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Re: Does the patent system even work nowadays?

No, you don't even bother. I was involved in developing a patented product, and the services of a professional patent lawyer were engaged: We applied for patents in Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, but didn't bother with Brazil, China, India, Africa or Russia, IIRC. The Chinese can choose to make it, but they can't sell it here.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sympathy for him but

Batteries aren't particularly nice things to dispose of, so methods of storing energy like clockwork or a heavy bag of sand hung from the ceiling shouldn't be discounted.

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Dave 126
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Re: broke?

>It's easy to forget that through history, not all inventions make millions for the inventor

Like Charles Goodyear who invented the process of rubber vulcanisation, esssential for pneumatic tyres, before the motror car was developed.

http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/goodyear.html

Goodyear once wrote: "I am not disposed to complain that I have planted and others have gathered the fruits. A man has cause for regret only when he sows and no one reaps."

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iPad? Pah. Behold the EYEPAD, patented by Sony for the 'PS4'

Dave 126
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Re: I only hope...

It won't replace the Dualshock- is a venerable design indeed. I had a book, 'Digital Dreams: The Work of the Sony Design Studio' that showed dozens of foam mock-ups of conceptual PS controllers, of which the Dualshock is a variation. The design that they eventually used was very similar to one of the first they created.

Since the Bluetooth Dualshock can be persuaded to work with Android or Windows with software (ironically, the XBOX wireless controller requires a proprietry dongle for PCs) Sony should aim it (or a more compact design, as SteelSeries have) at the mobile gaming crowd rather than promote its Playstation-branded phones.

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Dave 126
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Re: It's passing off, obviously, but

Remember, a patent application is no sure indication of future products. Developing products requires some experimentation, implying you create some concepts that probably won't work out- but still, there is no harm in applying for a patent on these 'also ran' concepts. The cost of making the application is small enough that it is worth hedging your bets,

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Dave 126
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For sure, I haven't been persuaded to get a Move, and am far from convinced how well integrating it into this tablet will work. I was just observing that whilst a tablet might not be great as a games controller (Tekken: No. Real Time Strategy games: Maybe), it makes a reasonable companion to a TV-connected media player.

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Dave 126
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Thank you for sharing that. However, lots of people use their PS3 for watching streamed video, and using the joypad to enter text into searches isn't great. A virtual keyboard on a tablet would be okay.

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Dell's Ubuntu dev laptop gets much-needed display boost

Dave 126
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Yeah, because removing Win8 annoyances takes suuuch a long time. Actually, it takes less than ten minutes to install a few bits of software and tweak some settings. 'Classic Shell' is even available through Ninite, so only takes one click if you are already in the process of installing your favourite browsers, utilities and codecs.

http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/software-and-web-apps/how-to-make-windows-8-look-like-windows-7-50009546/

The first thing many of us do after installing any version of Windows is to change settings to our liking and install our favourite bits of software. Linux is no different, except of course you can have your own customised distro ISO ready to go.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dell and Linux

@Eadon,

If you want a cheap laptop without paying MS for a Windows licence, consider sticking Linux on a Chromebook. The Reg have a couple under consideration today, at around the £200 mark.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dell and Linux

>They should be selling Linux Mint on desktops,

Since Ubuntu allows the buyer to download any other distro they want onto a bootable stick, what does it matter which flavour is pre-installed on it? No big deal.

>The way to succeed is to do what the Netbook guys did, sell cheap systems with Linux on them. This is possible because Linux can be set up to run fast on modest hardware.

2006 rang, they want their argument for using Linux back. The game has changed- now £25 quid buys you a system that can output full HD video and run a modest Linux desktop (Raspberry Pi), £80 buys you a second-hand P4 Thinkpad. RAM is cheap, SSDs are affordable. No manufacturer is now going to build a laptop with a decent screen, and then fit it with so little RAM and CPU grunt that it can't run any OS the user throws at it.

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Russian boffins race to meteorite crash lake as shard prices go sky-high

Dave 126
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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.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widmanst%C3%A4tten_pattern

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Own a drone: Fine. But fly a drone with a cam: Year in the clink

Dave 126
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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?

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Dave 126
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Re: FS999

>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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dear government...

Just use curtains?

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

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Holmes

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

Dave 126
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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.

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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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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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