* Posts by Dave 126

6267 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

Dave 126
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Re: Meh. Build it and they will eventually come.

>and many quite good quality ones from volume or badge engineered brands that techno-snobs tend to ignore.

The OP isn't going to get rid of his existing TV for on that is merely "quite good", especially if he expects it to last for five years at least (five years is becoming the warranty period people expect from TVs - see HotUKDeals.co.uk for discussions about UK TV retailers such as John Lewis and Richer Sounds).

'Techno-snobs' may ignore badge-engineered TVs, but it is hard enough to find professional reviews of low-end LG sets, let alone a Tesco special. When I have read reviews of Technica et al - in the Which? magazine - they have been slated as a false economy.

55" 1080 TVs range from £500 to £1000. Yeah, the pricier ones have 'smart features' (that many of us will find redundant), but also vastly better black levels, contrast and motion processing.

Now is not the time to buy a new TV. 1080 sets will soon benefit from quantum dot filters (nearly as good as OLED but much cheaper), and 4K sets will be a safer bet in a years time when standards and formats get smoothed out.

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Dave 126
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Hmm...

So much of this depends upon the network between the NAS and the DAC, and by how the buffering is treated. That the authors of the linked post talked about HDDs instead of network protocols suggests that they are being very silly. (As far as I can make out, their Naim system uses TCP, whereas Apple's AirPlay uses UDP)

At the simplest level, they should have removed the networking from their 'test', and used a local player with a generous buffer. If they really wanted to continue down their path of madness, they could examine different File Systems, such as ZFS... y'know, for on-the-fly comparison of volumes to correct for bit-rot. Strewth.

The choice of storgae can make a difference if their is a weak link in the rest of the system - example: some little audio players (Sansa Clip+) work fine with Class 4 SD cards, but Class 10 cards confuse their buffers or firmware. Aw, bless!

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ALIEN fossils ON MARS: Curiosity snaps evidence of life

Dave 126
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Re: Its possible

Puzzled as to why the above comment was downvoted.

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

Dave 126
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Re: Taking the driving out of driving?

Modern engines have been relying more and more on electronic control to improve performance and legislated efficiency targets. Some parameters in the ECU are set to the individual engine's tolerances when it leaves the factory, and adjust to compensate for engine wear over time (this is why ECU firmware can't just be downloaded and flashed - the original firmware needs to be cloned from the ECU, modified and then flashed back in).

It isn't a bad idea for the driver to be able to have one set of engine ECU parameters for, say, good road conditions, and another for poor road conditions, since the differences can manifest as the 'feel' of the accelerator pedal. I find it useful that a van I often drive has a button that might as well be marked "Don't be so over-enthusiastic on the throttle response".

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Dave 126
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Re: Not the first

>Push-button gear change? Really?

>Regardless of the power button placement, buttons for gears means you have to take your eyes off the road

The button just toggles the Engine Management Unit to 'Sports Mode', so it isn't necessary to touch it. I've been recently driving a UK van, a manual 3 Litre turbo diesel, that has an 'Eco' button just in front of the gear stick. By default, the unladen van is stupidly fast - engaging 'Eco' mode makes it a bit saner.

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FREE EBOOKS: Apple falls into line with EU refund laws

Dave 126
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Re: "a lot of people can finish an ebook in two weeks"

The article didn't think it remarkable that a book be read in a fortnight, only an eBook on an iThing. It was inferred that one would only read a book on an iThing if there wasn't a dead-tree book or dedicated eReader to hand - i.e whilst commuting.

I might read a book in a night or three in bed, whilst concurrently taking a month to read a book I keep next to the toilet.

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Samsung forks 4K with Tizen tellies

Dave 126
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Re: So what is SUHD exactly?

SDUHD

Super-duper-ultra-high-definition?

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Dave 126
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Re: Entertaining

Samsung are confusing the issue by their choice of nomenclature: UHD is a standard, whereas S-UHD is Samsung's term for their sets that use a new filter technology. Sony are already shipping sets with what sounds like a similar tech, Quantum Dots, that they dub 'Triluminous'.

Both technologies are said to improve colours and black levels - an obvious target perhaps, since many consumers have previously enjoyed the pictures from plasma televisions.

Its good see that the big players are looking at more than just resolution, and are competing on black levels and colour accuracy.

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Sony's well and truly 4Ked with skinny TVs and cheap cams

Dave 126
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Re: Xmas temptation

Good idea, wait until the game has played out a little more and the standard(s) have become more settled. In any case, the decent 4K sets still carry a hefty premium over very good 1080 sets, and the 4K content is thin on the ground.

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Dave 126
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Re: Panels

Reviews of their W8 series TVs suggest Sony have shifted from IPS to VA screens (whatever that means), and that the picture quality is very good for the price, especially black levels and contrast. Gamers seem to rate Sonys too for having the lowest input lag. Their pricier models already use Quantum Dot filters, a technology the Koreans are beginning to use - since, as I am led to believe, it is easier to implement than OLED at that scale.

(I've only been looking into the last couple of weeks, since I had to talk a mate out of buying a cheapie LG 4K TV in the Boxing Day sales - it seems LG made too many compromises to make a 4K 55" TV for £800, bigf surprise. )

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Nvidia flops out TERAFLOP X1 for self-aware cars

Dave 126
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Re: Great , even more technology for its own sake

That's what you want. I want a car that can get me home from the pub, safely and legally.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wing mirrors

> A camera can be stuck at any convenient point

Indeed, the driver-side camera can be placed to eliminate the 'over the shoulder' blind-spot. I've been witness to a collision (thankfully nobody physically hurt) caused by a car driver moving into the faster lane of a motorway without looking over his shoulder (and thus he didn't see an articulated lorry).

I believe Volvo or Toyota tried using radar - giving vibration feedback to the driver through the indicator stalks - to warn drivers in this same situation. Unfortunately, it relied upon the driver actually using their indicators...

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Dave 126
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>Huang said he expects mirrors could eventually become smart displays

My first reaction was "No! Wing mirrors are effectively a consumable, like tyres or brake pads", since on the lanes around here they don't last indefinitely.

However, if one were to replace a £20 mirror with a £100 display, it wouldn't have to be placed outside the vehicle. There would be other engineering challenges too - such as visibility in bright sunlight - but they can be overcome (e.g, by using a honeycomb filter aligned to the driver's eyes).

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Elite:Dangerous goes TITSUP

Dave 126
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Server errors seem to be par for the course with the release of many online games these days. I'm not saying that this is acceptable or not, but only that many players almost expect a hiccup or two in the weeks following a launch. Frustrating probabaly, shocking no.

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Apple in 2007: Who wants a stylus? Apple in 2010: We want a stylus!

Dave 126
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> concept of "recording stylus" is identical in both applications.

One doesn't patent the result, one patents the method of achieving that result.

If you want to use your car analogy, then it should be one of navigation, not traction: The Livescribe would be analogous to a navigation system that relied upon the roads containing transponders - or the car sensing other objects whose position can be determined, like GPS satellites. The proposed Apple system is analogous to the car navigating by gyroscopes - much like submarines can.*

I'm not saying that Apple's inertial stylus has never been thought of by anyone before - if the USPTO Examiner is presented with pre-existing documents describing it, he will reject it - only that it works in a different way to the Livescribe. Crayons, Biros and fountain pens all make marks on paper, but they achieve it by different means.

*Honda introduced an interia navigation system, before GPS was practical for car use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro_Gyrocator

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Dave 126
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Re: Err

In a world where everyone uses pencils or fountain pens, a patent for a ball-point pen would be valid. They perform roughly the same job, but achieve it in different ways.

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Dave 126
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The Livescribe requires special paper. This Apple patent application is for a stylus that writes on any surface.

Not the same thing.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ AC

The way the USPTO works, the onus is on the Patent Examiner to find documented evidence of a pre-existing implementation.

I'm aware of existing 'pens' that require special paper to function... This proposed Apple patent achieves the same through accelerometers, with perhaps some mechanism for preventing cumulative error. I was looking into the state of the art of this tech a couple of years ago - and at the time dead-reckoning alone was unsuitable for applications such as navigation within a building. For writing, I would imagine some software trickery would have to be used, perhaps by taking reference from the flat plane the stylus is used on, to mitigate the cumulative errors of a purely dead-reckoning technique.

tl;dr: I haven't seen this achieved in exactly this manner before, mainly because cumulative errors creep in very quickly. There may be ways of mitigating these errors, by achieving datum points by proxy.

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Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Dave 126
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Re: 3D? Na 4P - Production of Prototype Printers Prototyped.

>I'd like to see one that can use that two part metal glue without self destructing.

Why? Just print a 'female' mould, spray it with silicone mould-release agent, and use the mould to shape your epoxy resin into your desired shape. Or, print the shape you want and create a flexible mould from that.

Either way, you'll have the opportunity to place a metal insert (to interface with the square-section rod protruding from your cistern) into your part, which you wouldn't if your printing the end-use part.

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Dave 126
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>But when you get into the list of single-colour, cheap plastic items that you might want to spend 2 hours printing out (not counting design time, mistakes, etc.), it's quite a short list.

>The items aren't flimsy, but you couldn't step on them.

>The items aren't rubbish, but you wouldn't want to ship them as part of an expensive board game.

>The items aren't "expensive", but you wouldn't want to sell them in a £1 Christmas cracker.

All the more reason I'd be very happy with a mere 2-Axis laser cutter or router - anything capable of cutting through 12mm plywood would allow a lot of very useful objects to be made easily. The 2D drafting aspect is easy to pick up, and would hold anyone in good stead for moving on to 3D modelling.

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Dave 126
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>I'd be VERY worried if I was, say, Games Workshop whose product line is basically high-detailed models that could easily be replicated "good enough" to be slathered in paint by the people who spend a fortune on them.

If I was Games Workshop, I'd be investigating the use of Augmented Reality - think a Kinect and a projector aimed down at the gaming area - and physical models that the system can recognise and track (opportunity for official models with DRM?). Example- a player places their hand on a game piece, and a green circle is projected to show how far that piece can be moved in that turn. Various visual effects are projected during 'combat'.

What Games Workshop add is their 'universe' and associated mythology, so they could survive perhaps though video-game licensing.

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Here's Johnny! Top Ten fantasy Blu-ray boxsets and special editions

Dave 126
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Re: Blu-Ray?

>It is that thing they fool you into thinking you can buy like a DVD but is in fact a DRMed crap like UV.

No, Blu-ray is like DVD - as such, steps are taken to prevent easy copying. Unless you bought an early BluRay machine, this won't affect you.

UV - Ultra Violet - refers to a DRM'ed copy of the film that that can be played on a tablet or other device if you have bought the BluRay disc. This is an attempt to give legitimately bought content a similar flexibility to ripped and decrypted content. Not every consumer wants to keep up to date with an arsenal of DRM-circumvention tools, and might think that buying a film on disc for £5 -and then being able to watch it on their tablet - is fair enough.

The story is more nuanced.

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Dave 126
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Have you seen the Fargo series?

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Dave 126
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Re: Just say it

>Although, with regard to the handbag, she took me to the shop and showed me which one to buy for her.

My sister merely changed the screen-saver on her fella's computer to a picture of the very expensive handbag she wanted.

That's one way of 'using technology'.

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Dave 126
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Re: "irrational factors such as the shell’s colour"

I have a loop of orange paracord (thick string) attached to my black phone's case... it makes the damned thing so much easier to spot when it falls between sofa cushions or beside my car seat.

I once worked in a factory, and the remote control for the over-head crane was resembled a bright orange house brick. That's great mate, I said to the fitter, if TV remote controls looked like that we'd never lose them!

"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" he replied, "but some c*%£ always manages to hide it in their toolbox anyhows".

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Grab a SLIM MODEL for Xmas cheer: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Dave 126
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Re: Like the specs on this, but a little pricey

>To use a tablet as an ereader at night it is, in my opinion, essential to be able to tune the colour balance (shift out some of that bright stimulating blueness) - I don't think that's possible without root.

I suspect it is possible. The Z3 Compact has a White Balance panel, allowing RGB levels to be adjusted individually, and some greyscale bars to help calibrate it, along with a 'hold to compare with previous setting' feature. I'm looking at it right now.

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Who wants SLEEP DEPRIVATION for Christmas?

Dave 126
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Re: Get f.lux or blue blockers and be prepared to nod off ;-)

Yeah, search the Web for 'f.lux alternative for [android / iOS]' for your device. Some use the f.lux technique of just using time and location to set the white balance, some use the ambient light to fit in.

Anecdotally, I fall asleep in bed reading a conventional book or non-backlit Kindle under a warm GU10 LED within a few pages, whereas a monitor or tablet with a daylight-like white balance will keep me awake.

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Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android

Dave 126
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Re: Broken microSD and locked bootloader

I don't know when the Z3C will get Lollipop, but my Sony Xperia P was updated twice, first to ICS and then to JB - so Sony have done me well, so far. It was hardly a common phone, either.

Oh yeah, in addition to microSD, the Z3C comes with a USB OTG cable (microUSB male to USB A female) in the box.

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Dave 126
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Re: Usb charging flap

You can use Windows Explorer to transfer music to Sony phones - the Walkman app will still play them fine. An older version of the Walkman app wouldn't play WMA, I haven't tested the one on my Z3C yet.

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Dave 126
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Re: I think I may have chosen.. poorly

The screen protector included in the box with the Z3C is slightly matt, and feels nice to the touch.

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Dave 126
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Re: the lens protrudes slightly

They have - the flange is ever so slightly higher than the lens - I've just run my fingernail across it to confirm, since I can't tell by eye. Still, I have a case now.

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Dave 126
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Re: Questions...

>Also, never set Location Services to High Accuracy - it's another shameless battery drainer. Battery Saving Location mode is very adequate, and battery consumption is indeed very low.

Basically, those are the new terms for 'GPS on' and 'GPS off' - and annoyingly there isn't a quick toggle built in - seems to be a KitKat thing. Same idea as before - use GPS when you need to, don't when you don't. Easy.

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Dave 126
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Sony is not Sony Pictures (or Playstation Network), any more than the Samsung that makes phones is the Samsung that makes armoured personnel carriers. Related, yes, but not the same.

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Dave 126
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Re: How much were you paid to promote this?

I've had the Z3 Compact for about a week, and it's great. It can be had for under £400. However, the LG G2 - 5", Snapdragon 800, etc - has been seen for £150... Would I say the Z3C is twice as good? Not on paper, but it's hard to compare, because personally I wouldn't want a bigger phone than the Z3 Compact ( I can reach 2/3rds of the screen easily with my thumb, whereas I can only reach 1/3rd of the screen on a Nexus 5). My last phone was one of the few Androids that was the same size as a iPhone 4 - it wasn't the best for reading the Reg, but was a great size for using as a phone. Tch, all form engineering is compromises...

The official Sony case for the Z3 Compact is a bit of a disappointment. "PU Leather" is not a "premium material". It uses a popper - not a magnet - to hold itself shut (which adds bulk and is a faff), and there is no cut-away for the Z3C's handy notification LED (easy enough to fix, I guess). I wouldn't nit-pick if it was a tenner, but it cost Euro 40.

The window in the case might be the reason the reviewer noted that the Sony widgets wouldn't go full-screen.

I have a lovely 1960's Sony pocket radio with a black leather case with white stitching. What was extra cute was the matching 'piggy-back' case that contained a pair of earphones. My iRiver H320 came with a very similar case, as if in homage to classic Sony.

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The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

Dave 126
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Re: The fad now leaving from platform 4 ...

>The problem is that the human eye has quite a restricted range of acceptable intensity levels. Look at something bright and you're dazzled and can have after-images for several seconds. Look at something dim just afterwards and you can't see it in detail until your iris expands out to let in enough light.

That can only serve to make the displayed image more realistic-looking. Of course, it would be irritating if it was abused, though.

>Current TVs are already able to display an image that is too bright to allow our eyes to see both the bright portions and the dim ones simultaneously.

Hmmmm.... I'm not yet convinced of that. Try:

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

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/dynamic-range.htm

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Dave 126
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Re: What The F...?!

>The idea of HDR video is to still take a series of single exposures, but each one has a wider range than currently.

There is also the technique of using a half-silvered mirror and two carefully aligned video cameras - one very sensitive (for dark areas), the other with a neutral density filter or whatever (for very bright areas).

Very handy if you ever have to use a remote-controlled welder - software can allow all of the workpeice to be viewed, not just the area close to the welding arc!

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Dave 126
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Re: What The F...?!

>The only useful reason for a sensor to have a higher dynamic range is to allow the photographer to manipulate how the information is compressed back down again in post processing

Not all 'output' is ink on paper, or a website. Example: using a camera with HDR (or exposure bracketing > post processing) to create an 'environment map' for illuminating virtual objects. It is important that enough dynamic range is captured so that a white object in a scene is distinguishable from a light-emitting object in a scene.

One can also image that HDR-capture would be essential for capturing the nuances of a stained-glass window or similar - each panel might vary in opacity, as well as hue, saturation and black-level (as well as reflectivity, transmission etc).

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Dave 126
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Re: The fad now leaving from platform 4 ...

The idea is that some parts of the image are very bright - this would improve viewing in rooms with bright light sources. Indeed, the whole idea is that the TV would better represent the range of light levels we see around us in the real world.

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Dave 126
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Re: What The F...?!

Actually it's the HDR label for photography that is the partial misnomer. To create those images, yes, more dynamic range must be captured, but it is then mapped (squashed) to fit the limited range of the output display - for ''artistic effect'.

With a capable display unit, no squashing would be necessary.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Dave 126
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Re: Mobile

Chrome on Android, on 4.1" screen: Reg works okay, main page is a bit of a faff (pan down, right, left, down etc). Double tapping on text in articles makes it big enough to read, and is easy to do. Writing a post in the forums is a bit of a faff.

On 4.7" screen: ditto.

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Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

Dave 126
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Re: Maintenance

>How long would a driverless car have to be on the road before any potential customer would open the door, see the state of the upholstery, discarded litter on the floor, etc. and just walk away?

Solution: Charge customers a fee if they leave the vehicle dirty or littered. This is easy - image recognition can be used inside the vehicle. The same system would allow lost property to be reunited with its owners - or even prevent customers from leaving their belongings in the first place.

For cleaning: Automated cleaning at stations

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Hipsters snap up iPod Classics for $$$s after Apple kills rusty gadget

Dave 126
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>I can't find any decent MP3 players with more than 64 Gb of storage out there for a reasonable price,

Try a Sansa Clip Zip, it appears they can work with 64GB cards:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/658955/sansa-clip-zip-micro-sd-64gb

I'd personally buy two Clip+ players (the older, monochrome display model) and two 32GB cards...

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Dave 126
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Re: hard drive players... ...any other candidates spring to mind?

The iRiver H1xx and H3xx series are very good. Their value also shot up after they were discontinued. Keeping them going was a cinch, as they took the same batteries as iPods - though the cable connector's polarity needs to be switched.

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Dave 126
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Re: hard drive players...

Cowon X7 - seems to be unavailable on Amazon.

Archos 5 IT - doesn't seem to be featured on their website anymore. It had a 500GB HDD, but it was a resistive-screened Android tablet.

iRiver gave up making HDD-based players years ago.

Personally, I'd look into a device that can play nice with big microSD cards.

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Apple patents NEVERSMASH iPHONE for fumbling fondlers

Dave 126
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Re: Physics.

>Ironically removing the issues of tight clearance and miniscule crumple-zone which causes a drop to generate serious damage in the first place.

[my emphasis]

Really?

Just buy a case - available on every high street for next to eff-all.

Regardless of whether its an Apple, Samsung, HTC or whatever phone- the user can buy a case for it that is suitable for the user's day-to-day environment. The user is a better judge of that environment than the phone vendor. Phones should not all be built like tanks, because that would limit the user's ability to balance bulk against resilience to their taste.

That said, a certain Japanese phone manufacturer has a well-received range of phones that feature nylon (as opposed to ABS) corners.

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Boffins find Jackie Chan's SUPERCOP is good for something

Dave 126
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Re: Surely there were more appropriate films to use?

Empire of the Sun?

Little Miss Sunshine?

Australia?

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Dave 126
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Re: Finally a use for Zoolander.

Zoolander - one of those films that is silly, but enjoyable if you just go with it. Similarly, The first couple of episodes of Vic and Bob's 'Shooting Stars' left me cold, but then something clicked and I now find it hilarious.

I can do Blue Steel AND Magnum.

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Androids in celluloid – which machine deserves the ULTIMATE MOVIE ROBOT title?

Dave 126
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>artificial humans, not robots

Well, there is a spectrum. Could you not have a silicon 'barined' robot that used mammel-like systems such fibrous muscles and circulatory systems, or would you dub it an 'artificial badger'? The artificial people Ash and Bishop appear gooey and biological, but Bishop alludes to something like Asimov's 3 Laws.

Was it Brian Aldiss who wrote of prosthetic body parts for humans giving would-be robot builders 'off the shelf' components?

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You'll go APE for our new Gorilla Glass 4, Corning reckons

Dave 126
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Re: That's a Fail

> You've taken corporate dick up the arse and now you are fucked.

Advertising a company that employs people in their home nation? As companies go, I haven't heard of Corning being 'evil'. Unless you have evidence that the duo were misleading viewers, I don't understand your issue.

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Dave 126
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Re: Dutch tears and strained glass

>Trust me you do not want to be anywhere near when this happens. It is like a fragmentation grenade - sharp small shards fly out up to 5m in all directions.

Indeed that is the property the curiosities mentioned in the article demonstrate. Of the tadpole-shaped glass drops:

The very high residual stress within the drop gives rise to counter-intuitive properties, such as the ability to withstand a blow from a hammer on the bulbous end without breaking but explosive disintegration if the tail end is even slightly damaged.

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Rupert%27s_Drop

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