* Posts by Dave 126

6486 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

DeepMind boffins are trying to help robots escape The Matrix and learn for themselves in the real world

Dave 126
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Re: Where are these projects that scare the Zuck out of Bill Gates & Elon Musk???

>Make me a robot that can manage to 'take the stairs', any stairs, all by itself, dependably without falling over.....

That's feasible, though its more of a mechanical engineering problem. Unless you're talking about a bipedal robot, in which case yeah, the devil is in the control system details.

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Microsoft keeps schtum as more battery woes hit Surface sufferers

Dave 126
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Re: Spro4 not too bad

Most are only 16:9, tho. Macbooks are 19:10, Surfaces 4:3. Exceptions are rocking horse shit.

Prove me wrong - citing a current machine! :) - and I'll be genuinely grateful!

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Dave 126
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Re: Just a thought...

That sounds plausible, and worth a try. Thanks! I've had a few issue on Windows machines that can be fixed (if only temporarily) by uninstalling a device on Device Manager and then restarting.

It used to occur on optical drives when a damaged disc would stop Windows from using DMA mode. Uninstall, restart, drivers reinstalled on start up - job done.

I still get it on the SD card reader on my Dell, though thankfully I don't have to restart.

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This speech recognition code is 'just as good' as a pro transcriber

Dave 126
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Re: To be fair to the woman calling local police getting the US ...

Back in the nineties there was a PC gaming magazine called PC Zone. As far as I can remember, the only game they awarded a score of 0% to was called GloboCop: World Police.

Genuinely, I don't know what to make of my inability to find any mention of it online. It might have been a game that enjoyed only very limited release (and PC Zone only reviewed it to take the piss).

!!!! [Just seen on Wikipedia that] Charlie Brooker wrote for PC Zone from 1995. That explains a lot. Shit, that probably explains why I'm on the Reg. Heck. I blame the Dennises (plural of Dennis, not of Denise, sadly) who gave me the first issue. Nathan Barley was a work of prophesy.

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Dave 126
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Bit of fun:

http://www.kissthisguy.com/

A collection of missheard song lyrics. The site's name, for you philistines, comes from Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze - 'Scuse me whilst I kiss the sky'.

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Dave 126
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>"Cortana evidently can benefit from further improvement. Last month, security firm Sophos advised against relying on Cortana for making emergency calls, based on an account of a UK woman who used the software to dial the local police in order to report an accident and was directed to authorities in the US."

What the hell is up with the Register shoe-horning in some tangentially (at best) related final paragraph into its articles?

Cortana transcribed the UK woman's speech perfectly. She said 'Barnstaple', and it transcribed that perfectly. The issue is that it supplied a telephone number for a police force in some USA town called Barnstaple, and not the town in North Devon*. There was an issue with Cortana in this case, but it wasn't in the area of speech recognition.

In any case, in an emergency you call 999 or 112 (works in Europe** and UK) - not the local plod's number. The emergency (999) switchboard are able to roughly triangulate your location if you are not able to describe it.

* If you are passing Barnstaple on the Atlantic Highway, a fifteen minute detour to East West Bakery on Butcher's Row (next to the town's covered market) will get you the finest pasties in the South West. They've won numerous awards, and as a bonus they'll annoy your Cornish mates!

**Please don't take my word for it. Check before you travel. I don't want you to blame me if you crash your car in Moldovia and 112 doesn't work.

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LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?

Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>Useless compared to a decent DAC.

Care to give an example of a 'decent DAC'? As far as I can find, the ESS Sabre Quad 9018 - as used in the LG V20 - is highly rated, and regularly used in external DAC/amp combos costing thousands.

The point is, sound quality on a phone will depend on more than the DAC chip - the power supply, shielding and amplifier all play a part.

- http://www.musicservertips.com/product-reviews/dac-buyers-guide/

- http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/ess-sabre-9018-vs-wolfson-wm8741-8976/

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Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>Now I have a Dragonfly DAC which works great... ...Anyway, 32-bit DAC from LG and B&O. Something to think about for my next phone for sure.

Dragonfly use either the ESS Sabre 9010 DAC or the 9016, depending on the model. The LG V10 and V20, as well as the B&O add-on module for the LG G5 also use ESS Sabre DACs. The DACs themselves are 32bit, but Dragonfly say they limit them to 24bit so a not to require the user to install extra drivers.

Again, these are the same DACs as used in expensive stand-alone kit. They have a reputation for sounding superb when playing back 16bit audio. Why they are capable of greater depth I don't know, but it seems the engineers who created them know their stuff.

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Dave 126
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The lesson is to just buy the phone outright. In addition to getting a refund immediately from the retailer should it fail, it also means you take out a rolling monthly SIM-only tariff with your network operator. Doing so gives you leverage against them, i.e: "Knock a couple of my monthly bill or I'm switching to Vodaphone... they offered me much the same as you but for just £12"

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Dave 126
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Re: I have a LG g4 Stylus here ...

So, to recap... Korean software isn't the best, fix easily available from the Play Store. I'm shocked.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phone features? What phone features?

>A lot of stuff gets missed in these smaller reviews, actual Optical Image Stabilisation performance,

OIS isn't super useful, because often your human subjects will still be moving - their faces will exhibit motion blur even if OIS is compensating for your hand movements. For that reason you should be shooting at 1/30 second or faster, at which speeds most people can hold the camera steadily enough. This is only achieved at acceptable 'ISO' (grainy noise in the image) by having better sensors, bigger sensors and brighter lenses.

If you want longer exposures of static subjects, you'll usually be better off placing your phone on a solid object.

Of course there are niche cases where this does not apply, but they remain just that: niche.

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Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>... and scientifically proven to be completely useless,

No, but the ESS Sabre DAC that they use has been scientifically shown to be the dogs bollocks. True, 24 bit audio for playback for mastered music is useless, but the ability to play it back is a convenience to the owner since it saves them having to transcode any 24but FLAC files they might already have. Anyway, the 32bit capability comes with the DAC, so why should LG hobble it?

Regardless of how they achieved it, the previous LG V10 is said to have very good sound quality indeed, and all subjective hearings of the V20 suggest it just as good - with the promise of being able to drive an even wider range of headphones (obviously that's the amp part. If you want 'science', then wait for Anandtech to run it past their laboratory kit.

If a company wants to sell a phone on its sound quality, then it has to somehow communicate the extra money that has been spent on the audio pathway. Customers who are then interested can seek out independent reviews and tests, such as Compared with the quite superb sounding LV V10, the newer V20 DAC and amplifier’s paper specifications are a very close match. The V10’s ES9018 and 9602 amplifier combination offer an ever so slightly better dynamic range and lower distortion characteristics than the V20’s ES9218. However, the ES9218’s new Quad DAC design lends itself to a superior signal-to-noise ratio of 130dB versus 122dB.

- http://www.androidauthority.com/lg-v20-audio-capabilities-714807/

- http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/news/newsroom/ess-technology-brings-advanced-audiophile-features-mobile-devices-first-time/

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NFL is No Fondleslab League: Top coach says he'd rather use pen and paper than Surface tab

Dave 126
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Re: Oh dear

Just to clarify:

Another news outlet used more direct quotes from this coach when reporting this story, in which he said it wasn't the Microsoft Surface per se that didn't suit his work flow, but all tablets.

That's not too shocking; designers such as Marc Newson and Jony Ive are known for known for preferring pen and paper for parts of their work flow.

There was also an episode of Have I Got News For You, when Jeremy Clarkson threw a pen at Ian Hislop. We do not know if Clarkson would have preferred to have thrown a 2lb computer at Mr Hislop instead.

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Apple's car is driving nowhere

Dave 126
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Re: Frankly...

> Anyone who needs blind spot assistance or auto-backup needs to have their license taken away until they can learn to adjust their mirrors properly themselves.

And how the hell do you [the authorities] distinguish between the people who check their blind spot 99.9% and those who are perfect and check 100.000% of the time?

As always, the issue is the implementation. Volvo are in the camp that believes that semi-autonomous carts are dangerous, because in the case of events that confuse the car it will be up to a human to suddenly take over, a human that is either attentive and bored, or else distracted.

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Bits of Google's dead Project Ara modular mobe live on in Linux 4.9

Dave 126
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Re: What other phones are modular and would need Greybus?

More info here:

http://www.modularphonesforum.com/news/greybus-protocol-an-application-layer-for-unipro-491/

It's still all Greek to me, but less Martian than the Github link in the article! :)

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Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi

Dave 126
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Dear Mr Curtis,

The last entry on your BBC blog was a trailer for Bitter Lake, and until the last month I have only been able to find one mention of you - attending a film festival to receive an award for Bitter Lake. Was your 'radio silence' deliberate, or have you just been very busy?

Also, what's your relation to the Internet Video channel on YouTube?

Cheers!

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Dave 126
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Re: Ahem...

>That subject (Adolf) has already been addressed, here,

And in the Stephen Fry novel Making History

>just in case you thought Germans couldn't possibly have a sense of humour regarding Der Führer. :)

I didn't think that - not after hearing a BBC radio adaptation of a German novel, and watching the film of the same: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_Who%27s_Back_(film) :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Would it pass the Kobayashi Maru?

My understanding is that hitting moose can be very bad for the occupants of the car.

As regards 'this system'... we're not talking about a specific system.

I was having a nice chat in the pub the other week with a military systems engineer though... some interesting stuff about specifically narrow-band IR sensors (for detecting mood in humans, so likely able to differentiate twixt moose and person)

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Will Microsoft's nerd goggles soar like an Eagle, or flop like a turkey?

Dave 126
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Re: Fact Check?

>the modern era Microsoft is showing signs of calling trends correctly well in advance.

Maybe yeah, but a large part of the Hololens is the Kinect technology that MS invested in after seeing the commercial success of the Nintendo Wii. That sort of thing happens all the time - had Apple computers not had FireWire, they wouldn't have made the first generation iPod. Apple only had FireWire because high-res scanners needed something like it, and Apple survived the nineties in DTP and later video. Apples were used in DTP because their user-friendly GUI originally required greater graphical power than was the norm, and software grew around it. The Motorola architecture and consistent FireWire implementation of Macs at one point meant they were favoured by musicians after their Atari STs died, and so the first iPhone was made with Wireless MIDI and sub 10ms latency baked into the operating system. Having your product adopted by high profile musicians doesn't hurt.

The point is, sometimes you develop a technology for one reason, but end profiting from your investment for another.

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Dave 126
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Re: What term can we come up with to destroy this?

>THe question remains though, will this be enough to kill it stone dead.

Are you hard of thinking?

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Dave 126
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Re: Fact Check?

>Also, didn't MS come up with the tablet design years before Apple?

Arguably the production designers of 2001: Space Oddessy came up with the iPad design before MS or Apple even existed - though it carried an 'IBM' badge. As shown in the film, it is only used for watching telvision news ('content consumption'); 'real' computer work was done by speaking to the computer directly, or else ripping out its daughter boards. There may be earlier prior art in film or Science Fiction illustration - in literature, casual references by the likes of Asimov to 'pocket computers' are too vague.

MS had Win XP: Tablet Edition for years, but the devices were usually heavy and didn't last long on battery. Sony had some unusual WinXP.TE devices with keys on either side of a 9" screen - but hey, Sony did the colour CLIE running PalmOS, too.

Psion had the original NetBook - I can't remember it being touch screen, but it was an 'ultrabook' form factor long before its time.

The idea of a tablet has been around for ages, but Apple did it well - they even released a phone a few years beforehand in order to teach their users how to use it. They used ARM instead of Intel, and of course had control of both the OS and the silicon. Rewind further, and we have the Newton - which gave us ARM - though the Newton wasn't the first Newton-like device.

The Microsoft Courier was an interesting device - a dual-touchscreen clamshell device focused on collating and annotating content like a scrapbook. Since then, Sony released a spilt-screen clamshell Android tablet, but since it was sub-optimal for watching movies nobody bought it (I miss you, crazy Sony!)

Speaking purely as a consumer, it doesn't matter to me who did what first. It just matters who did what well. Doing something well usually involves judiciously balancing compromises.

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Dave 126
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Re: £4,529 ?

>What muppet would part with that for an MS product?

NASA, JPL, D'Assault Systemes, Autodesk, Volvo, Saab, amongst others. I know who they are - who the hell are you?

CAD hardware used to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, if not more. The software was typically a tenth of that. Companies would pay it if it payed for itself, and then some. And it did. FFS, a few thousand quid is only the cost of a professional graphics card a few years ago.

You've betrayed your ignorance of this sector, N2, so I'm confused as to what it is you feel you can add to this topic.

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Dave 126
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Re: What term can we come up with to destroy this?

@Planty

Google Glass was designed to worn in public spaces.

Microsoft's AR goggles are designed to be worn in private studios, offices, construction sites, workshops etc.

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Dave 126
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It's very different to Google Glass. The Hololens is the price it is because of the sensors and silicon in it, which allow it to:

- 3D-map the room in near real time

- Track your eyeballs so your gaze acts as a cursor

Google Glass only presented visual information to one eye (to-do lists, simple graphics like maps etc), wheras the Hololens projects slightly different images to both eyes so that virtual 3D objects appear to be a part of your real environment.

You might as well say that tablet computer is no different to a pocket calculator.

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Dave 126
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Re: Microsoft Nerd Goggles?

Really? It seemed like a sober discussion of MS's product strategy to me. The article did contain a link to another article in which the experience of using the Hololens was described in positive terms, but then most people would expect several thousand quid's worth of sensors and custom silicon to work fairly well, regardless of who made it.

I'm not MS's biggest fan - and I assume you aren't, either - but I've looked at a list of their current software partners, some of whom make some very good software indeed. If you were in any of the target sectors, you would know that. If you are not, I don't know of what value your inferred opinion is.

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Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

Dave 126
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>I love it, just love it when someone who doesn't know anything about a market feels compelled to give their two-penneth.

Yet we can still learn from them. In this case we learn than people can confuse the Galaxy Note 7 with the Galaxy S 7. It is not unreasonable to assume they are not the only person to do so, which may concern Samsung.

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Dave 126
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Re: No thanks.

I'd rather remove a piece of burning fabric from my skin than I would a piece of burning ABS plastic. [If you want to know my reasoning, there is an easy experiment that you can perform at home. Or perform next to a medical centre with a good burns unit. It's up to you, but I strongly suggest you don't. ]

Anyway, I'd rather have a phone catch fire when it is a few inches away from me than have one combust when it is in my pocket - or next to my bed when I am asleep. [Again, you can demonstrate this to yourself using some readily available materials...]

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Dave 126
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Re: Volume or niche?

Thank you Whitter for a sane and measured comment.

Sadly, Subtle = Invisible, on the internet.

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Dave 126
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Re: VR

> Until we're able to fit the equivalent of a GTX1080 in a phone in another decade or so, mobile VR will remain very much limited to strapping a phone to your face without any chance of that "immersing yourself in VR" part.

Games can still be just as fun without the latest fancy graphics, and even gaming PCs don't fool anyone that they are looking at reality.

Heck, the only games system to make a success of more immersive games, the Nintendo Wii, had underpowered graphics compared to its peers - the fun came from how players interacted with it, not how many polygons it was pushing around.

Your level of 'acceptable' appears to be arbitrarily chosen.

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Dave 126
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Then pay for it.

If that business model is not viable, then no number of comments on The Reg (preaching to the choir) is going to fix it. Sorry folks.

If you really want it, start a discussion about how this might be achieved... probably best to start with AOSP (because Tizen, Maemo, Meago, WebOS, BB10 et al have been so well supported by developers /s), but you'll need a huge investment in alternatives to Google's services and propriety APIs - ask Amazon, Samsung or Blackberry. Then bear in mind that many people who care about their privacy decided iOS was the lesser of two evils some time ago.

Microsoft was attempting to use user privacy on phones as a selling point a few years back, but yeah...

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Samsung to Galaxy Note 7 users: Turn it off. Now

Dave 126
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Re: IPhone7 anyone?

No fancy stylus on the iPhone 7. If you don't want the stylus, many other big screened Android phones are available for far less money - though few will have a camera on par with the Note or iPhone.

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Dave 126
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>It is only one type of battery that has the problem. It's the ones with Lithium in them.

Bullshit. Batteries of other chemistries can burn or spew acid if improperly charged, so don't make assumptions. Be safe, folks.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sabotage ???

>That said, sabotage is not as unlikely as I first thought, because given the volume it is inconceivable to me that these problems did not show up in QA - unless that was rigged or not done, and I don't see the latter happening in a company like Samsung.

Some pundits suggest the development of the Note 7 was sped up, in order to take advantage of the then upcoming (and predicted to be lacklustre) iPhone 7 launch.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yesterday in my Inbox from Vodafone

That link only mention one reported G7 fire:

"It’s not clear whether the battery issues affect other handsets, including the Galaxy S7 Edge; Samsung has not issued any guidance or statements regarding other phone models. As such, we can’t say for sure whether the Galaxy S7 Edge is affected by any faults. "

- http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-overheating-catch-fire

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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Dave 126
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Re: brewed coffee from the command line

Thanks for the correction, guys!

(I had read the wiki page in the past having heard of the coffee pot long ago, but I didn't read it today. As could be inferred from my post, it was written before I had drunk any coffee. That situation has now been corrected.)

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Dave 126
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Re: brewed coffee from the command line

The history of the internet is lost on you. The world's first 'webcam' was rigged up at MIT to see the level of coffee in a filter machine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Room_coffee_pot

Right, I'm off now to use my Aeropress. I might give it a quick check for security flaws whilst I'm at it, but I'm fairly relaxed about it!

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Four reasons Pixel turns flagship Android mobe makers into roadkill

Dave 126
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Re: It's the age old problem...

>But I don't see anything to "fear" from Pixel. The price ensures it will have next to no impact. Samsung's all round package is far superior - especially the imaging.

Eh?

"With an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 89, pixel, the latest Google smartphone is the highest-rated smartphone camera we have ever tested."

- https://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles/Pixel-smartphone-camera-review-At-the-top

"Its image quality scores are impressive across the board, but it is particularly strong in providing a very high level of detail from its 12.3MP camera, with relatively low levels of noise for every tested lighting condition. It also provides accurate exposures with very good contrast and white balance, as well as fast autofocus.

Not that I'm too fussed - many smartphones will take 'good enough' pictures, and if I was that fussed about image quality I'd use a dedicated camera.

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FBI wants to unlock another jihadist’s iPhone

Dave 126
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your passcode will be needed for additional security validation:

- After restarting your device

-When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your device

- To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204587

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'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

Dave 126
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Re: Label you, label me, label us all together

@9Rune5

A genuine thank you for your clarification.

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Dave 126
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Re: Label you, label me, label us all together

Is your comment in relation to labels, or to Star Trek?

That young actor Anton Yelchin was killed by shit user interface design. Fiat Chrysler had already flagged those vehicles for recall because of the gear selector:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/20/autos/jeep-recall-anton-yelchin/

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Dave 126
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Re: When we get to the stage where we have to label everything...

Or make the mouse (Human Input Device) look like a mouse (cheese thieving squeeking mammal):

http://lowendmac.com/wp-content/uploads/kidzmouse.jpg

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Amazon supremo Bezos' Blue Origin blows its top over Texas desert

Dave 126
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"Sometimes a big cigar is just a big cigar", but still...

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Simpsons creator Matt Groening once drew Mac heaven for Apple

Dave 126
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Re: I don't like to mention this but....

Also, though I am not an IP lawyer, it would seem anything printed in a T-shirt might be captured in a photograph of a crowd... it seems unfair if that photographer couldn't distribute his photograph because he'd unwittingly snapped a pic of a copyrighted image on someones clothes.

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Dave 126
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Re: "Perhaps Matt Groening can be attributed with keeping Apple afloat"

Haha! A lovely nod to Ridley Scott's '1984' advertisement for Apple.

Still, Fox's business interests sometimes overlap those of Apple and Jobs (not that the Simpsons are kinder to Murdoch or Gates).

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Stingy sapphire lens in Apple's iPhone 7 is as scratchy as glass

Dave 126
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The compromise isn't to save money, but to reduce reflection artifacts in the images the camera captures. The Reg, amongst others, had articles when Apple first used sapphire lens covers that criticised purple artifacts in iPhone photos, and knocked Apple's advice to customers: "Don't take photos when the subjects are against the sun".

Since many people use phone cases, it seems that Apple have decided that fewer reflections are worth the cost of a less scratch resistant lens.

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‘Andromeda’ will be Google’s Windows NT

Dave 126
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Re: What's the incentive for vendors to use this?

>If Google tries to lock things down too much, OEMs might not choose to follow.

So what? If an HTC get too big for their boots, there will be a Huawei or OnePlus (or a Bloggs MK1 with Qualcomm SoC, Sony camera and LG display... same difference) to fill their place. [please update my references according to how far through 2016/17 we are].

Speaking as a fan of the Sony Xperia Z (Compact) range, there is little that Android OEMs can do to differentiate themselves.

My friend is still using his iPhone 4S - and beyond replacing its battery himself, has cheerfully taken no interest in mobile phones since he bought it. He's vaguely 'normal'. I'm not, so I'll use my cheap (and seemingly indestructibly plastic) Huawei until I get a Project Mango Lenovo (Y'know, the one with the 3D depth mapping )

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Dave 126
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Re: Damn and blast

That was no typo. Not sure how you think 'Strain' would work, unless you imagine me with a sieve under my puking cat in order to catch the chunky bits. Cue the joke about the waiter in an alleyway, three tramps, two cocktail sticks and a straw.

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Dave 126
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Re: Curtains for Windows

There is no reliable way to stop Windows 10 from restarting itself whenever it feels like.

There is no reliable way to stop Windows 10 from restarting itself whenever it feels like.

Yeah, I know I said it twice, but what the hell? [all caps, multiple exclamation marks etc]

How the living fuck can you leave it to do a simulation or render? The answer (apparently): Big jobs like that should be done on rented compute power like AWS - or MS's equivalent. Oh well. Arse burgers.

And no, Linux is not an option. I'm sure it's a lovely OS but the applications for many sectors just suck. Deal with it. The GIMP is to Photoshop what Windows is to Linux. As for serious CAD, don't make me laugh... it'll be streamed from the cloud to a thin client before Linux gets it properly. Sad really, cos it was all Unixy (though proprietary and useful) back in the nineties.

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Dave 126
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>As for IoT devices... ...Since the tools for Linux are generally excellent and the runtime cost is zero, it's clearly going to be the defacto choice unless there is a reason to choose differently.

Three big reasons:

The size of OSs such as QNX are a tenth the size of Linux. This is important if your application is taking power from an AA cell or harvesting it from piezo-electric switch or from elsewhere.

Also, IoT applications may be more of a pain in the arse if they go wrong- QNX has a longer, more battle-hardened pedigree in critical systems than Linux.

Yet more, Linux isn't a real time OS.

The idea that Linux is a panacea is mere shabby thinking, or at least narrow thinking based upon the presumption that a computer is a discrete lump of X Mhrtz and Z MB etc

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