* Posts by Dave 126

4340 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Trio share 2014 Nobel Prize for cracking internal GPS of the brain

Dave 126
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Re: I am impressed,,, very impressed.

Various scenarios have been explored in SF, includingb ut not limited to:

1. Asteroid renders Earth uninhabitable. Humanity is wiped out. No brains to study.

2. Brains are studied, and minds transferred to a substrate. Galaxy is explored by 'humankind' without the inconvenience of bodies.

3. We study ourselves, and decide we aren't worth the raw elements.

4. We explore space, and some aliens give us a better understanding of ourselves and our minds. Clarke.

5. TROTM. Singularity. Neuromancer. Whatever. Cameron. Gibson.

6. We invent robot hookers. Aldiss.

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Is Apple incubating a Macbook, iPad bastard child?

Dave 126
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Re: The "giant iPad" rumors have been around for several years

You plumb your phone into the TV, connect your BT mouse and keyboard, settle down on the sofa.... and then someone rings you up.

Hmmmm.... not sure.

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Dave 126
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Reading websites on the first generation of netbooks was a shit experience, due to the screen aspect ratio and poor resolution. It might have been almost okay if the screen rotated through 90º to 'portrait', but they didn't.

Ubuntu Unity was a reasonable attempt top address poor hardware choices - i.e, it would allow a vertical taskbar to make up for overly wide screens. Maybe its' a better idea to just start with a screen ratio that was better fit for purpose, no?

Unity also had an end-goal of working across a range of UI paradigms - i.e phone, tablet, laptop, TV with IR remote control. Ambitious... and at the mercy of 3rd party developers, too.

Apple's way is to have a UI that is suited to the hardware it is running on. Individual documents can be worked on across devices by either saving to the cloud or by some of these new OSX and iOS 'continuity' features.

Interesting times.

BTW, don't worry about what Steve Jobs has said. He once responded to a question about next iPod after the 'iPod Photo' doing video... "Yeah sure, and the next version will make you toast as well". The next iPod did indeed play back video.

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Dave 126
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Re: This sounds like Windows 8 territory

OSX has already incorporated ideas from iOS's user interface. I'm thinking of multi-touch gestures - on Macbooks or desktop Macs with the touchpad peripheral. .

However, Apple introduced these gestures without removing more traditional means of user interaction, such as Menus or Keyboard Shortcuts.

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Chap runs Windows 95 on Android Wear

Dave 126
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Why the negativity? Surely many of us here have derived some satisfaction from getting something to work - even if it shouldn't? The end result isn't useful, but the process has been a challenge and has honed his technical skills and perseverance.

You might as well not bother attempting a crossword in a newspaper today - y'know, 'cos it's easier to wait until the paper prints the answers tomorrow.

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'Apple Watch' sapphire glass maker files for bankruptcy protection

Dave 126
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Re: Speculation

if you make almost anything thin enough then it can bend a bit without much drama. The is no reason why the sapphire cannot be made very thin and then bonded to a tougher substrate - in theory . In practice may be very different, though.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

Dave 126
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Re: Twitter notifications

>(Yes I know the Xperia models exist, but even they have port covers)

The Sony headphone sockets are now waterproofed without the need for port covers.

The Xperias can be charged up without opening the microUSB port cover by means of two contact pins on the phone - a 3rd party magnetic cable is £8, and the official Sony dock is around £20.

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Steve Jobs makes world a better place FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

Dave 126
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Re: @Not Terry Wogan Finding a dolphin who'll let you swim with and bugger him...."

Flippr?

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You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....

Dave 126
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Re: TO THE MAX!

Short periods of stress can be good, especially working up to a deadline. There is a sense of camaraderie and focus on delivering the project, even if people are going a little bit crazy. Once the project is delivered, there's a sense of elation and a chance to unwind, which fgeels all the sweeter because you feel you've earned it.

However, being stressed for an indefinite period of time is not good.

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Dave 126
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Re: Further efficiency gains ahead?

>If you run out of toilet paper, you can ask Sirii where to get more, but I suspect she may respond "I'm sorry Dave, I cannot do that".

You jest, but Siri's pre-Apple 'character' may well have given that response:

Back then, Siri boasted an even more irreverent tone -- and a more robust set of skills. Like fiction writers dreaming up a character, Dag Kittlaus, Siri's co-founder and chief executive, and Harry Saddler, a design expert, had carefully crafted the assistant's attitude and backstory. It was to be "otherworldly," "vaguely aware of popular culture" and armed with a "dry wit," Kittlaus says.

Ask it about gyms, and Siri sent back a mocking, “Yeah, your grip feels weak.” Ask, “What happened to HAL?” -- the brainy (and murderous) talking computer that starred in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 thriller "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- and it delivered a sullen, “I don’t want to talk about it." In those days, Siri still had “fuck” in its lexicon.

That was before Apple washed Siri’s mouth out with soap and curbed many of its talents, even as it endowed the assistant with new gifts.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/siri-do-engine-apple-iphone_n_2499165.html

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Apple is GOLDBRICKING IT: BEHOLD the iPad Glister-Slab

Dave 126
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>...what does the iWatch actually do?

Like any computer, it depends on the software. The hardware - touch screen, rotary dial, two buttons, microphone, speaker, vibrator, sensors, CPU, Bluetooth radio - are available for the software to use. Like the iPad, there probably isn't one 'killer application', but it may be that there are enough little applications to make it worthwhile for some users. Time will tell.

Apple demoed an American Airlines app that displays gate information and departure time - potentially handy if your hands are full of luggage.

GPS navigation whilst on foot. This would certainly be more convenient than holding a phone up.

Remote control for your iTV or iPhone.

>Will you get one?

I'd personally wait for version 2, just based on the history of first gen iDevices (iPod, iPhone, iPad).

>How does it differ from other smartwatches?

Tight integration with the iOS ecosystem, and a large R&D budget. Some features seem pretty smart - such as displaying a text message, then extracting from it three plausible replies for the user to send back.

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Coming to a theater near you: the TETRIS MOVIE

Dave 126
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Tenuous link to a plot...

What many people know as the 'Tetris Tune' from the Gameboy version is a nineteenth-century Russian folk song that tells of a meeting between a peddler and a girl, in which they haggle over the price of goods in a veiled metaphor for courtship.

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

But yeah, I can't work out any link to falling bricks.

However, a system that allowed customers to take part in a Tetris tournament on a big cinema screen (perhaps by using their smartphones as controllers) could be fun!

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Dave 126
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Re: The problem with this article...

>Oil is cheap because it is pulled out of the ground in enormous scale.... but the minute you massively reduce the scale, the per unit costs go up.

Could you expand upon that? My assumption would have been that 1000 oil rigs can produce oil at much the same unit cost as 2000 rigs. For sure, if you did it suddenly there would be the extra costs of making redundancy payments to staff, or employing a caretaker staff on 'mothballed' rigs... but if you simply drilled fewer new wells over time, I'm not clear on why the unit cost would rise much.

Cheers

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Internet of Things? Hold my beer, I got this: ARM crafts OS to rule them all

Dave 126
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Re: We all saw this coming...

Licensing seems be working very well for ARM so far.

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Cable guy, Games of Thrones chap team up to make Reg 'best sci-fi film never made' reject

Dave 126
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On TV Series Structure

The two best TV shows of the year have been True Detective and Fargo. Both are a stand-alone series of 8 or 10 episodes, both have no possibility of a sequel. As a viewer, you can commit to them safe in the knowledge that they will not be cancelled later on, or stagnate into boringness.

Beginning, Middle, END. With some genuine surprises along he way.

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Dave 126
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Re: The Martian

>David Lynch's Dune. Dune has crap script, crap acting and crap special effects,

Oh, but the set design and wardrobe are gorgeous!

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Dave 126
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Re: Here we go again..

Hmm, I never considered stipulating in my 'Living Will' the software used in the medical equipment used to treat me when unconscious. I just figured I'd leave it to testing by the regulatory authorities and the medical professionals treating me.

More seriously, I'm not sure that the cost of hardware is the limitation it once was for having a Windows-based embedded system. There may well be other reasons to not use Windows, but these days hardware is pretty cheap.

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Dave 126
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Winx...

...sounds better than Wince, I guess.

EDIT: Since writing the above, I googled 'Winx'. SFW, but heck. An Italian animated series about fairies with strangely proportioned legs, rendered in more pastel colours than iOS 7.

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What's a Chromebook good for? How about running PHOTOSHOP?

Dave 126
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` Photoshop is a Swiss army knife.... not all models include a device for getting stones out of horses hooves*, because not all users need it.

*Actually, the rounded spike is for splicing lengths of rope together, I believe. Its often seen on naval knives, and horses and stones aren't too common on boats.

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Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS

Dave 126
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Re: let me be the first to say that

Those who don't had better invest in a box of drawing pins.

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Dave 126
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Re: while it may look cheesy

>it would be even more impressive if these bots could sense, communicate, coordinate and execute autonomously

That has been looked into already - see the TED Talk 'Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate' below. It shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate Prof. Kumar's techniques into these ball robots. The sensing hardware is almost at the 'off the shelf' level - (i.e MS Kinect et al), plus mesh networking...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ErEBkj_3PY

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BENDY iPhone 6, you say? Pah, warp claims are bent out of shape: Consumer Reports

Dave 126
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Re: Headline should read "Note 3 Twice as Strong as iPhone 6"

>You can be certain that Apple will wriggle out of repairing / replacing these sub-standard efforts.

How do you square your assertion with the results of customer service surveys conducted by the UK's Consumer Association (see above), which, like Consumer Reports, is subscription funded?

i.e 'Links please'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Laboratory Street

The Consumer Association in the UK is similar - its monthly magazine is called 'Which?'. It has no advertising, and is financed by its subscribers.

They test all sorts of consumer goods, and they explain their methods which often involve a lot of real testing in controlled conditions. Recommendations are made, but the results of the tests and specifications of all tested products are always shown in a matrix.

Its subscribers give Which? a group of consumers with varied and broad interests who are willing to participate in surveys. They know that this information will not be used to sell stuff to them. Instead, the information will be processed and given back to them.

Such surveys include customer service from retailers, or the reliability of products.

It would be very difficult for any one company to 'game' these surveys, due to the range of products and services the subscribers are quizzed about.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Dave 126
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Emotional response

1.

Sometimes it doesn't matter a damn. Recordings of Fats Waller will make me dance and smile, despite the limited dynamic range and technical clarity of the original 1930s recordings. However, the arrangement of the music and the role of the band (piano, gypsy guitar, trumpet, vocals) are more than clear enough to impart the emotion of the music.

2.

Big speakers. We don't just listen with our ears. We can feel music through our bodies at louder volumes. In addition, we can sense frequencies below 20Khz through our skeletons. Witness deaf percussion players, and the presence of church organ pipes at sub 20Khz frequencies (Stephen J Gould notes this in his essay 'An earful of jaw' since our inner-ear bones evolved from our jaw bones). Generally, I find that with larger speakers, it is possible to hear the music clearly, and at the same time have a conversation without straining.

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Dave 126
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Re: One thing which hasn't been mentioned re MP3 encoding

>Third point: the DAC on a phone or laptop is unlikely to be anything other than the cheapest the maker could get away with.

Some versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 had Wolfson DACs, and the LG G2 is said to be good, too (and LG contributed to the Android Open Source Project the ability to play 192Khz 24bit FLAC natively)

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Dave 126
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Re: Records and WAV

Storage is cheap, but so is processing power- you may as well encode to FLAC, since the output is bit-for-bit identical to WAV, and you get meta-data too.

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Dave 126
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Re: May The Source Be With You*

What Craig said: Storage is cheap. Rip to FLAC because you might as well. Transcode to another (possibly not yet invented yet) format as and when required. Go to pub. Simple.

Oh, it goes without saying to ensure CDs are clean and scratch-free before ripping. Perhaps a £10 disc cleaner would be a worthwhile and inexpensive investment?

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Dave 126
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Re: Big boxen big bucks

Just to clarify, Class D doesn't mean 'digital'.

The Tripath Amps have enjoyed good reviews, especially given their price. There seems to be people who buy the inexpensive ones, and then upgrade the capcitors themselves.

For more on Smartphone Audio, Anadtech have one of these http://www.ap.com/products/apx585 and have produced graphs and everything:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing

For each set of tests we can add a load, simulated or real, to see how the device handles more demanding headphones. For this article I am sticking with only a set of the updated Apple Earbuds. They are probably the most common headphone out there and easy to acquire to duplicate testing. For future tests the other loads will be AKG K701 headphones and Grado SR60 headphones. Both models are popular, and I happen to own them.

There are a few main tests we are going to use for all these reviews. Those key tests are maximum output level, Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N), Frequency Response, Dynamic Range (as defined by AES17), and Crosstalk.

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Dave 126
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Re: Find your own threshold

Spot on, AC.

Its a sliding scale:

Low bitrate: 'Metallic goblin laughter' artefacts clearly audible to everyone.

[Middle ground]

High bitrate: indistinguishable by ear from source.

Of course, storage is so cheap that is is a no-brainer to rip CDs as FLAC, if only to be able to transcode them to any desired future format without cumulative compression artifacts creeping in. This is much the same philosophy as scanning photographs at a higher than required resolution and saving them in a lossless format (so to avoid any possibility of jpg > edit > jpg > edit > jpg etc jaggedness occuring).

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Dave 126
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Re: Digital Clone - billat29

>Had memory been cheaper when the CD was invented, it might have been that reclocking the data - through a first in-first out memory buffer - would have been used; it would have made a noticeable difference to the audio output.

It was featured on Sony 'Discman' portable CD players as 'ESP' - electronic shock protection. It was featured on all MD players because, like a computer HDD, the data was always stored sequentially (you could delete or rearrange tracks on a MD). The amount of buffer varied depending upon the model of Discman / MD player you had - the pricier models tended to have more solid-state memory, expressed in 'seconds' of anti-shock protection.

The Sharp 722 MD player (which has a scroll wheel in 1998) would play reliably in a pocket whilst walking - the cheaper 702 player would occaisionally have to catch up on itself.

This was a year or so before the £600 5GB iPod, and before 32MB (yes, MB) MP3 players were seen in Currys.

[Side note: If Sony hadn't been so awkward about copy protection and propriety formats, a proper High Density Data Minidisc (later versions could do around a GB, normal MDs were about 100 MB) could have pre-empted the iPod's impact on the market. Instead, we had SonicStage software and beautifully designed 20GB Sony HDD players that could only play ATRAC - not even MP3! - years after the iPod. Silly Sony.]

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Dave 126
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Re: Why even bother with that?

>Even easier still, just put the CD in the drive and listen to it.

Er, on a Mac? I have always found them to be well behaved and reliable machines, except for their optical drives which sometimes exhibit a tenacity for holding onto CDs rivalling that of a neurotic spaniel with a tennis ball.

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Dave 126
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Let's see now.... 2 miles, 1500 gallons / hour, 15 minutes to get there...

I was going to make a rough estimate of pipe diameter, but I don't have a back of a beermat to hand.

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Apple 'Genius': iPhone 6? We've had NO COMPLAINTS about our BENDY iThing

Dave 126
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Re: Anyone with half a brain...

The irreversible bending appear to occur around the volume keys - the cut-outs act as 'stress-risers'. A small flange around the cut-outs - either internal or external - would help alleviate the issue by better distributing the strain.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phat Aluminium?

>It's actually an alloy.

Well yeah. Most structural metals are alloyed rather than used in their pure form. There are many types of aluminium alloy, to fine-tune the desired properties. Adding magnesium tends to make for easier casting, for example.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phat Aluminium?

>Aluminium isn't really that strong. It's usually fairly soft. Properly made plastic casings can actually be quite a bit stronger.

Aluminium is quite soft and not that stiff for a given cross-section. However, because it is less dense than steel, the actual cross section used to achieve the required strength is larger than that used for steel. As a consequence, aluminium structures tend to be stiffer than steel ones- look at bicycle frames as an example.

(there are other things going on here though - the choice of material defines the process used to shape it - so ribs might be stamped into steel sheet for stiffness, whereas you might choose to cast a mag/alu alloy, or machine it to achieve a stiff structure)

Of course the primary concern on a bicycle frame is light weight (it doesn't matter if the tubes are thicker), whereas on a phone it is the physical dimensions (W x L x T) that people compete on.

Now, you might choose to use one of a number of plastics instead for a phone- and you might arrive at an engineering solution where the device does bend, but can then return to is original flat state. Aluminium, unlike steel and titanium within their elastic limits, exhibits 'fatigue' where eventual catastrophic failure can result from a succession of small bends or vibration over time.

Another solution would be to build strain gauges into the phone, triggering an audible warning if too much strain is observed, or perhaps a message "get off me you fat bastard!". Or a sound like a mouse being crushed (simulated on a synthesiser of course, not recorded from life in a studio)

Anyway, looks my next phone will be the Xperia Z3 Compact, with flexible glass front and rear, and nylon corners to protect against shock. And it will be in a case. And I don't wear hipster skinny jeans.

I am quite butter-fingered though.

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

Dave 126
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So you telling me that your family

Has a history of obesity

You got a wire loose in your pituitary

It's just the way that God made me

It's unlikely, statistically

To be a physical thing

But either way it don't explain why you

Are in the cue at Burger King

You can blame it on biology

You can blame your physiology

You can point to genealogy

And your social anthropology

You can say you are an ectomorph

That you just can't get the kilos orf

Well you can be what you wanna be

But stop feeding that boy KFC

- Tim Minchin

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Dave 126
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Re: Flaw in the argument

Vegetable soup makes you calm and happy - 3000 year-old Chinese proverb

Human subjects were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisone after eating vegetable soup daily for two weeks - scientific paper published around 2004

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AVOID the Apple Watch. Buy a drone or robot instead, techies told

Dave 126
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Re: and I believe...

Indeed they did.

However, even Apple users would suggest waiting for the iWatch MK 2.

First iPod: Firewire only, Mac only, 5GB.

First iPhone: No 3G

First iPad. No longer supported. The iPad 2 is still supported (though reports suggest its beginning to struggle with iOS 8).

Wait for MK 2.

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Titan falls! Blizzard cancels World of Warcraft successor

Dave 126
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Re: A ray of light

>possibly some renewed focus on the Warcraft movies

Ah, thanks for reminding of what has been consuming Duncan Jones' time of late. His first two films, Moon and Source Code, were both solid.

Uwe Boll made a bid to direct, but was turned away by Blizzard, who he claims to have said, "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you… especially not to you." Haha!

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warcraft_(film)

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Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

Dave 126
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Re: I've got one in an 8 year old FM radio

Similarly, don't go poking inside valve amplifiers (especially ones built in Jamaica for pumping out dancehall music very loudly) unless you know what you are doing. The capacitors inside can still hurt you, even weeks or months after the amplifier was last connected to a power supply.

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Dave 126
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If the SSD manufacturers are expecting a more heat-tolerant capacitor chemistry to be available soon, they might not consider it worth investing in developing automated soldering techniques for the current generation of capacitors.

That's just a thought, I really don't know.

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Dave 126
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Re: Kaboom?

"Oh, meltdown. It’s one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus."

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My TIGHT PANTS made my HUGE iPHONE go all BENDY!

Dave 126
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Re: Given the amount of effort required in that video

Titanium is stiffer than aluminium, weight for weight. However, the lower density of aluminium means that to achieve the same strength the cross section is wider, so the structure as a whole is stiffer. This is why aluminium bicycles have tubes with thicker wall sections (and thus thicker tube diameters) than steel or titanium bicycles.

Stiffness is not the same as strength.

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Dave 126
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Re: Indeed

My autocarrot always insist that I use 'ducking life'.

Anyway, I'm off down the sub for a riot.

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Apple iPhone 6 Plus: GORGEOUS FAT pixel density - but it's WASTED

Dave 126
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Re: Always Critical of Apple

Like most things IT, I want more more storage, more memory and more speed, but I want those things out of habit. I have a 16GB Android phone and for my uses that is just fine. A few dozen albums, podcasts and a few hundred pictures fit on it fine.

For sure, if it had a larger screen, I might want to stick some movies on it, but no matter. If I spent more time on public transport (as opposed to being in my car with its own SDcard-playing stereo) I might want more storage on my phone, but I don't. So I can understand how some many people would want more than 16GB.

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

There are websites that standardise (as far as is possible) their battery life tests of various handsets.

Anandtech have a reputation for such tests, and though they haven't yet released their full review and test results for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, they have released some preliminary results here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8559/iphone-6-and-iphone-6-plus-preliminary-results

"As with all of our battery life tests, we standardize on 200 nits and ensure that our workload in the web browsing test has a reasonable amount of time in all power states of an SoC." The test is done on WiFi.

NB: The founder of Anandtech left the website earlier this year and is now employed by Apple.

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Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes

Dave 126
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Re: Very good at what he does

Robert Oppenheimer did try to poison his lecturer with an apple laced with some toxin... generally though, I'm on his side.

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Dave 126
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Re: God doesn't think he's X

Not earlier, but tangentially related:

Bernard explains the abbreviations for various Foreign Office honours.

Bernard: “Of course, in the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.”

Hacker: “What about GCMG?”

Bernard: “God Calls Me God.”

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Dave 126
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Re: Good cables are better

>I wonder why four people down-voted, there's nothing inaccurate about saying the DMA of firewire is a huge security risk.

The attacker will need physical access to your machine to plug in a rogue FW device. In the environments in whih FireWire is used, any thief will just make off with your external HDDs or expensive video camera before they start faffing around with a FireWire-based attack.

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Dyslexic, dyspraxic? No probs, says GCHQ

Dave 126
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Winston Churchill...

.. on seeing the people working at Bletchley Park was heard to say "When I told you to leave no stone unturned to get the people you need, I didn't expect you to take me so literally".

Of course Winston was less than polite about women, the Welsh, Kurds and many other groups... his views aren't mine, but he was a witty bastard.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/francis-maude-speech-at-cyber-security-challenge-masterclass

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