* Posts by Dave 126

6133 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Dave 126
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>If Chinese industry in general is anything to go by, then a Huawei Dollar buys a lot more work than an Apple Dollar.

Huawei may or may not get more value for money on their R&D spend, but it's not as clear cut as you suppose. Apple have an R&D centre in Shanghai, for starters. And if Apple thought they could do all their R&D cheaply there, they wouldn't have R&D centres in Cambridge and Tel Aviv (I don't know what they do there, but I associate both Cambridge and Israel with silicon chip design).

Conversely, Huawei have eighteen R&D centres in Europe and employ 1500 in research.

EDIT: As far as I can make out, most of Huawei's European R&D is geared more towards 5G and infrastructure than it is handsets.

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Dave 126
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Re: Chromebooks

Until OSX switched to Intel (and thus Bootcamp was available on Macs), Apple would have used product design software on non-Mac hardware. These days the CAD software Apple use (AutoDesk Alias, Rhinoceros 3D, Unigraphics NX) all have Mac versions, but I don't know how well they compare to their original Windows versions (though of the three, parts of NX were originally Unix-based back in the 90s). Obviously only a tiny percentage of Apple's workforce use CAD, and Jony Ive is more of a physical foam model kind of product designer.

Macs have always had a small market share compared to DOS then Windows, but in some specific sectors - graphic design, audio, music, video production - they have enjoyed a much bigger market share.

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Dave 126
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What derision?

>“Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be demonstrating in two to three years' time. So should everyone else,” I wrote at MWC 2014 – to general derision.

Eh? I actually remember posting a comment under that article, along the lines of 'nano injecting molding sounds bloody cool!', and I didn't recall any derision. And hey, if you're due any derision, you'd expect at least some from the good commentards who loiter around the Reg!

But no! Reviewing the comments that were made under the 2014 article, there is no scoffing at AO's claim. The comments roughly broke down into four types:

- How do you pronounce Huawei?

- nano-injection molding and ion beam cutting sound cool - how do they work? and

- I've got a Huawei and I'm impressed with it for the price.

- Huawei have been gaining momentum through their non-handset businesses.

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Dave 126
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They are spending less money than they are making, that is true (and a sign of a successful business!), but they are still spending shitloads, far more than they were in the run ups to the original iPhone and iPad releases. This suggests that are working on something big, and Apple wouldn't be Apple if they told you what it is (though Elon Musk takes it as a given that Appel are making a car due around 2020).

http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/10/28/apple-rd-spending-hit-81b-in-2015-suggests-continued-work-on-massive-project

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Dave 126
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Re: "I'm not sure it's all that meaningful to compare Huawei and Apple R&D spending. "

Not all of Apple's R&D spending is in California:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/01/28/apple-shanghai-rd-center-confirmed-for-summer-2013

EDIT: Apple also have R&D centres in Cambridge and Tel Aviv - though one imagines the cost of living is higher in these places than it is in Shanghai.

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Dave 126
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It's tricky to compare R&D spending btween companies, because Huawei, like Samsung, make many products that Apple don't. One imagines that Samsung throw some money at televisions, just as Huawei do at network infrastructure - their largest sector by revenue.

The 'Huawei spend more than Apple on R&D' statement is a little disingenuous, even if we agree with Mr O's general point that Huawei are to be taken very seriously.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple have other priorities than R&D

Also, not all of Huawei's R&D budget goes into products that compete with Apple. The largest chunk of Huawei's income comes from network infrastructure, so it's plausible that a few $billion of their R&D budget goes in that direction.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Dave 126
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Re: Went back to a mechanical watch

I'm sure you have a good point, but your lack of paragraphs reminds me of the end of Catch 22 or an experimental Will Self novel. I'm drunk and can't cope with that.

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Dave 126
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Re: Way back in 1982 ...

Cos the countryside has been shown to reduce blood pressure?

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Dave 126
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Re: It's a Veblen good

I think you'll find that that the status symbol market is already well catered for by traditional watches.

Smart watches actually do have to be useful.

Try again.

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Dave 126
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Re: This was a good article

If you click on my moniker you'll see that I'm occasionally critical of this Reg writer Orlowski, so I thought it only fair to say when I think he's done a good job today. I would have posted this view earlier, but I got distracted.

And hey, you fellow commentards: This has been a nice thread. Give yourselves a pat on the back too! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: I just dont get it...

You can get G-Shock batteries very cheaply, it's just the pressure-testing that they do after replacement that adds to the cost. If you don't go diving and can trust the person in your local watch shop to not be a complete clutz with the case gasket, you should be fine.

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Dave 126
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This was a good article

I came here to say this.

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Dave 126
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Re: Screw the smartwatches...

Haha, that's lovely! To save you other guys having to read through the link, here's the gist:

Pluto is a programmable digital watch that re-uses case and LCD panel of the Casio® F-91W*. This is the hardware repo, for the software side of things, see pluto-fw. Looking for pictures? There you go.

Features:

Displays time in decimal/binary/hexadecimal base

Multiple alarms

Multiple countdown timers

Uses RTTTL ringtones for alarm sound

Stopwatch

Compass (WIP)

Generation of time-based one-time passwords according to RFC 6238 (WIP)

Menu-driven interface

Infrared receiver for software updates and TOTP secret transfer (WIP)

Useless customisation (Key beep frequency, etc.)

approx. 1 year battery life (estimate based on current consumption)

* You know the one. It's the Casio 'Terrorist' watch, commonly seen on young folk near you. Its nickname came from the idea that if you were writing a time-bomb construction manual, you would choose a cheap, reliable, and easily available timepiece. Alas for the US authorities who started the story, possession of a F-91W is about as much use as a proxy for 'terrorist' as possessing a beard.

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Dave 126
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A touch-screen isn't a great solution for a watch. It would be better to have:

- A rotating bezel, that can double as a D-pad,

- Capacitive sensors in the strap, above and below the face.

Both of these options allow familiar interactions (up, down, left, right, scroll, enter) without obscuring the screen.

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Dave 126
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It would be perfectly possible - in fact, already done - if it wasn't for the map function. Citizen and Casio make Bluetooth watches for notifications, both with over a year's battery life.

The map too would be possible, if it is slaved to a phone for (A)GPS/WiFi location (the latter of more use in cities). You don't need a colour screen for maps.

Really though, you don't need a graphical map for navigation, you just need a hint to turn left at the next street or whatever. Heck, this could be done with a analogue watch face - either by re-purposing the hands, or by using a ring of otherwise hidden LEDs.

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Virtual reality will take over the world by 2020, reckons analyst haus

Dave 126
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Re: Is that a virtual bridge they're selling?

It's enough of a market that a few years ago a wide-angle lens camera was sold specifically for estate agents. (Though these days, wide-angle, relativity large sensor compact cameras are more common and cheaper, and many phone cameras are good enough and simplify the work flow)

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Dave 126
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Re: levels of smart.

It would also be a good way of making sure granny is alive and well without using spy cameras - the old system of spotting whether full milk bottles are accumulating on her doorstop doesn't work now she gets her milk from Tescos.

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Dave 126
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Re: And

You could also plant a deciduous tree in front of your South-facing windows... it allows warming sunlight through in Winter, and the leaves create shade in Summer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Control devices through an app

>Option 4. Flick the switch, which you'll find just beside the door, as you enter the room. Flick it again as you leave.

That's a not good option for dimming the lights when already seated (dinner finished, now watching film), or turning on lights after dusk has fallen, or for controlling lights (floor-standing lamps, table lamps) that aren't wired to the wall switch, or for turning off the lights as you fall asleep on the sofa, or for people with mobility problems.

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Dave 126
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Re: It is NOT paranoia if they really are tracking you and listening to your conversations...

@BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Thanks for the tip - I have been told that good CFLs do exist, but sadly they were not the ones encountered by the "You can prise my incandescents out of my cold dead hands! [Bloody Brussels!]" brigade.

Unless I'm doing colour-sensitive work (in which case I'll do some research first) I'll be using LEDs from now on.

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Dave 126
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Re: Skewed results

>If you can build a system to garrotte next door's cat, I'd buy that.

I feel that I'd be ripping you off, since the BOM would be a looped guitar string and a portion of mackerel. However, a cat deterrent is very do-able - see link below. I'd replace the BB-gun with a water pistol containing lemon juice. As a bonus, it can be configured to upload video of the surprised feline to a server of your choice.

http://hackaday.com/2015/10/03/raspberry-pi-sentry-turret-is-the-enemy-of-all-mankind/

On the subject of RFID-controlled entry to a house, some cat flaps have been sold for decades with a tag (a simple magnet I belive, not RFID) for your cat's collar, so that precious Snuggles can come in but nectdoors flea-bitten mangy moggy can't.

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Dave 126
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>Integrated gadgetry (remotely-controllable, usually, like IP-cameras, smart-monitors, etc.) is often hopelessly insecure

That never stopped people from buying analogue baby-monitors or cordless phones in the days before DECT. I remember being a teenager and hearing phone conversations on a toy walky-talky, and there is a woman in Bristol who still uses an analogue cordless phone ( I know cos I was with radio ham friend and after hearing voices from around Europe, a twist of the dial gave us two West Country voices nattering away.

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Dave 126
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Re: And

>It would be nice when I turn off a device it is off, not on some sort of standby eating juice...

If saving juice is you concern, then having a degree of automation on lights, windows, window blinds and thermostats can actually save energy.

Take blinds - a PV powered motor could close the blinds whenever the temperature in the room rises above X, thus reducing the amount of sunlight that enters. It would be self contained, and it wouldn't communicate with anything other than a manual overide switch (aka an 'Off' switch).

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Dave 126
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Re: "automated cleaning appliances"

>But until it can move chairs...

Remote control chairs! Now you're talking... what's not to love?! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Unsurprised

>where's the inconvenience of... ...using a small piece of metal to open your front door?

Ask anybody who has waited in all day for a package to be delivered, and they might say it would be handy to have a door lock that will open once if a parcel's tracking number is typed in by the delivery bod. (Yeah, this isn't the whole solution - you might wish to have security camera trained in your hallway, or maybe you already have a porch so parcels can be left there without granting access to the rest of your house.)

Another reason is seen on cars - when the key-fob is within range of the vehicle, a foot-switch opens the tailgate. This allows someone with their hands full of shopping to place the bags directly in the car. This is useful, as anyone who has left items on the car roof and driven away can testify.

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Dave 126
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Re: Very little to tempt

> The internet connected fridge might be useful if you could quickly check how much mayonnaise was left while you were at the shops, but the technology just isn't there yet.

Just have a webcam inside the fridge. There is even a light inside the fridge, and I have never seen any evidence that the light turns off when the door is closed! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Control devices through an app

>I don't mind in principle controlling things from my phone, it's just too much of a bother to have to unlock the phone every time I want to turn a light on.

Options:

1. Buy a el cheapo phone or tablet to the job, or re-purpose one from your junk drawer.

2. Many phones have an option to not require unlocking if they are within range of a known Bluetooth device (yes, this is potentially a security hole).

I'd say option 1 is probably the better one. A dedicated tablet for lights, music, checking EPG for the television, sending video to the TV... indeed, according to surveys reported on by the Reg, many tablet don't leave the house. It wouldn't have to be a fast tablet with a fancy screen, either.

Heck, my daily-use 4G quad-core phone only cost £45 brand-new... in a couple of years the cost of a dedicated handset is going to be negligible.

Option 3. Buy a Raspberry Pi, some plywood and assorted knobs and dials, get your soldering iron out, and make a control console to rival a 1950s sci-fi set, Mwaahhhahahaha!

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Dave 126
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Re: It is NOT paranoia if they really are tracking you and listening to your conversations...

>I have no problem with new tech that helps me but when it is - intentionally or unintentionally - designed and built in such a way that it needs to be replaced, reloaded, updated or whatever more frequently than an "inferior" low-tech equivalent whilst not giving me additional USEFUL functionality then I have to question why "they" think I need to replace something that is doing what *I* need it to do...

The classic example of how not to manage this sort of thing was the drive to CFL light bulbs. What made it really bad was that cheap CFL bulbs are shit - and it was these that were often given away to convince people to switch from incandescent bulbs. People hated having a bulb that took tens of seconds to become bright, especially if they just wanted to illuminate a room for half a minute to fetch something. These days LEDs are very good and though pricier will pay for themselves in months for most applications. However, the adage 'once stung, twice shy' applies, and so many are still unaware that LEDs aren't irritating like CFLs are.

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Dave 126
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Re: If a multi-billion company can't produce safe mainstream code

>If a multi-billion company can't produce safe mainstream code... ...then how on earth will all these smaller companies produce the same?

The easiest way is to keep things simple. A house could be run on a very simple addressable protocol like DMX, with sensors ( switches, dials, thermostats) and actuators (lights, radiators). Not a lot of coding required, so very little attack surface. And hell, physical access would be required.

Making things wireless introduces a load of security headaches, but a wired solution would be trivial during a new-build or redecoration.

If then someone absolutely must bridge from this network to the wider world, then at least the required gateway would be fairly simple, and thus less difficult to audit.

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Dave 126
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Re: LIfecycles of tech

>The main problem I see is that the life cycle of technology is pretty short. The phone that your app runs on may well only be a couple of years old before it gets replaced.

Very true. May I propose we use MIDI or DMX? Both standards have been around for 30 years and are in regular use today. The only downside is that for simple applications, there isn't much need for chips from Intel, haha. (I'm being half tongue-in-cheek)

(On a tangential note, I saw a band play in local pub the other day, and the mixing desk was an iPad app (all iPhones and iPads have always had wireless MIDI baked in). The advantage was clear - the band could be mixed from within the audience so that they got the optimum sound. )

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Dave 126
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Re: The usual arrogance of tech companies

People will be converted eventually, but through seeing, not listening. Most people don't read tech blogs, or become first-adopters of new technology. Instead, they see something at a friend's huse and, if it works as it should, consider getting one if they can see the point of it.

Case in point: Even my dad now has a connected music system of sorts. (Spotify on his phone and laptop, a Chromecast Audio dongle on his amplifier. He'd seen his son-in-law's iPad/Sonos set-up and thought it useful).

Of course the 'analogue' way of doing multi-room audio is just to have one amp, two speakers, and the volume turned up to 11 - you can now hear the music in every room! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Skewed results

>the person that couldn't turn their lights on and another that was locked out of his house due to his router being down.

Exactly. If you ask people if they want 'technology', they will be dubious because 'technology' never seems to just work as it should. A bog standard IR controller isn't 'technology' because it will go at least a year without needing a battery change*. When something just works as it should, it is no longer 'technology' because it is now just 'stuff'.

If the survey was re-written without using the words 'smart', 'connected' or 'technology', and instead asked questions such as "Would you like to have a magic floor that never needs cleaning?" I daresay people would say "Yes!" (or "Yes, but what's the catch?" because we all remember the Sorcerer's Apprentice).

*People see a IR-controlled ceiling light as being pretty easy to understand - their long experience of using televisions has trained them. However, my brother-in-law bought an expensive example, and it is unusable because it erroneously responds to signals from a Samsung television controller. WTF? I've seen all manner of heterogeneous home entertainment set-ups, and I've never seen a Sony VCR upset a Panasonic television, or an LG DVD player annoy a Yamaha amplifier. Yet this young IR-controlled lighting company make that product that doesn't play nice with a very common brand of TV. Idiots.

Right o', I'm off to to construct a system of strings and pulleys to control my light switches, window blinds and thermostat from my sofa. I got the idea from some nice chap called Professor Branestawm. I'll try my best to not garrote the cat.

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FAA to test Brit drone-busting kit

Dave 126
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Re: 40Kw will do it

> That system only shoots physical missiles and uses varying methods (Radio/LASER/LIDAR/RADAR/etc) for control and targeting,

You missed the point, Dadmin. What AC said is that whilst Rapier uses physical missile to shoot down enemy aircraft, Rapier's radar targeting system was powerful enough to upset the electronics in amateur radio-controlled aircraft - after all, it was designed to be powerful enough to defeat any jamming attempts. Given the targeting radar used a narrow beam, and required a separate generator (let's use that as a rough proxy for its power output) it is plausible.

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Dave 126
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I came here to say LOS... it doesn't even have to be LOS to the operator, either, if a second, relay, drone is used.

Maybe someone down-voted you because they misread your comment as condoning drone use near airports?

Autonomous drones are also an option, especially given the investment in machine vision and the like that everybody from MS, Intel, Google to Qualcomm are making.

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Microsoft sells 1,500 patents to Chinese mega-phone biz Xiaomi

Dave 126
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Re: forcing its software on people

> If this is going to be uninstallable bloatware

You can uninstall apps on Xiaomi's MIUI versions of Android. (I only know this because I spent too much time on the XDA forums last night, looking at what was available for my Huawei handset, then looked into whether installing MIUI would be worthwhile for me).

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Dave 126
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Re: agreed to buy 1,500 patents

Buy, apparently:

“Microsoft has sold Xiaomi nearly 1,500 high quality patents that read on a variety of technologies including wireless communications, video, cloud and multimedia,” a Xiaomi spokesperson clarified to TechCrunch, adding that Xiaomi has “been applying for, acquiring and licensing patents” in recent years.

- http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/31/xiaomi-inks-microsoft-patent-deal-and-agrees-to-pre-install-office-apps-on-its-phones/

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Shhhh! Facebook is listening

Dave 126
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>Android: Settings > Privacy and emergency > App permissions. Find Facebook and turn off mic access

That tip is a kind thought, but I suspect that option is limited to just some flavours of Android. Using the string Android Settings "Privacy and emergency" only returns results about Samsung phones. Darned fragmentation!

AFAIK, being able to toggle permissions on an app by app basis is something that Google have toyed with in Android (remnants of the necessary framework have been spotted in the last few versions), and some vendor versions (e.g Xiaomi MIUI) incorporate such a feature.

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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

Dave 126
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Re: Lack of critical thinking, methinks ...

Abstract

We treat, as an illustrative example of gravitational time dilation in relativity, the observation that the centre of the Earth is younger than the surface by an appreciable amount. Richard Feynman first made this insightful point and presented an estimate of the size of the effect in a talk; a transcription was later published in which the time difference is quoted as 'one or two days'. However, a back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the result is in fact a few years. In this paper we present this estimate alongside a more elaborate analysis yielding a difference of two and a half years. The aim is to provide a fairly complete solution to the relativity of the 'aging' of an object due to differences in the gravitational potential. This solution—accessible at the undergraduate level—can be used for educational purposes, as an example in the classroom. Finally, we also briefly discuss why exchanging 'years' for 'days'—which in retrospect is a quite simple, but significant, mistake—has been repeated seemingly uncritically, albeit in a few cases only. The pedagogical value of this discussion is to show students that any number or observation, no matter who brought it forward, must be critically examined.

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Dave 126
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Re: Quite a large pachyderm in the room

>"I guess this is a problem specific to when physicists try to work out geology."

Not at all. The physicists in question did not use the word 'crust', they only mention the surface. The word crust was introduced by this Reg article in error.

That is all.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lack of critical thinking, methinks ...

>"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."

The Reg made an error in its reporting, and introduced the word 'crust' when it wasn't present in the source material. Just like using Wikipedia, it's important to check the references yourself.

Welcome to the internet.

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Dave 126
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In partial defence of jake:

This Reg article has used the word 'crust' in error. The authors of the paper did not use the word 'crust', only 'surface'. Jake is correct - the crust took tens of millions of years to form in the first place, and has been recycled through tectonic activity many times since.

That said, jake should know better than to trust the Reg at face value - it's important to check the source material directly.

The purpose of the paper, as the authors intended it, was as a teaching aid for undergraduate students to challenge established views. Feynman would have approved.

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Dave 126
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Re: What is time

>In principle you can imagine a time difference for instance between your head and limbs

That's actually been shown experimentally! Seriously, physicists as NIST have observed difference in reading between two nuclear clocks, one 0.33 m higher than the other. The difference is as theory predicted, and it is equivilenet to 90 billionths of second over the course of a 79 year lifetime.

http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/aluminum-atomic-clock_092310.cfm

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Boring SpaceX lobs another sat into orbit without anything blowing up ... zzzzz

Dave 126
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Re: Poor article

>What is the point of this article? If you think that this is now routine, then don't cover it.

You miss the point. We* have admiration that SpaceX is now making rocket launches and first-stage landings *boring*. Furthermore, we are all excited by the possibilities that *boring* and cheap access to orbit and beyond will bring. It is boring (and expensive) rocket launches of the past that have given us satellite communications, advanced weather forecasting and GPS. These things we take for granted today, but once would only have been seen in the pages of magazines like Amazing Stories!

*Boring* is meant as a compliment, as in 'reliable'. Take commercial air travel - you don't want it to be exciting, you just want to get from A to B. The same is true of any tool. I don't want my phone to imaginatively reboot itself mid-call. I don't want the knife I am using to excitingly turn into a snake. I don't want the bricks in my house to decide on a whim that they have had enough of this solid lark, and will have a go at being liquid.

* I'm summing up the general consensus of Reg Commentards as seen on previous SpaceX threads.

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Android might be on the way to the Raspberry Pi

Dave 126
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Re: Remix OS?

ChromiumOS has been made to boot on Pi 2 and Pi 3s, but is a little slow and the WiFi is unreliable, apparently. I only mention it here, because unlike Android, there are builds available right now.

It's interesting to think about what the upcoming inclusion of Android apps on ChromeOS means for Remix OS... will RemixOS remain as compelling an option for many people?

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Dave 126
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Re: Another slice of pi

Hmm, tricky - it either has to work with a TV or monitor you already have, or you have to source a dedicated screen (by which time the cost will probably have defeated the object)

Maybe it can share a monitor, mouse and keyboard with your desktop PC, by means of a KVM switch? It could be used for when you don't want to use your main PC (because of noise, or power usage concerns, perhaps) or when you can't (your main PC is busy doing something).

I can't immediately think of any compelling use for a headless Android device - but if you do, this app called 'AutoStart - No root' does what it says on the tin, going by the reviews.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.autostart&hl=en

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ISS 'nauts to inflate pump-up space podule

Dave 126
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I want to know too. I want to know enough that I've perused the Bigelow website, but not so much that I've loaded up Photoshop and taken a measure tool to the cutaway illustration that I've found.

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Thai bloke battles jumbo python in toilet todger thriller

Dave 126
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Re: Is it just me, or...

Well, have an upvote for hanging around and taking the resulting sarcasm with good grace.

Welcome to the Register, Mr Renault!

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Hooves in spaaace: Goat Simulator goes galactic

Dave 126
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>Stellaris or Total War Warhammer or Doom or the upcoming Hearts of Iron 4

The above have received barely a mention on the webs this week compared to another game, from some outfit called Bizzard or something.

I'm glad the Reg at least has separated from goat from the sheep!

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Citrix bakes up Raspberry Pi client boxes

Dave 126
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If you really want to complain about mark-ups on Raspberry Pies...

... just get your self down to Maplins.

They won't sell you a Pi for £25, but will bundle it will some so-so accessories for £70 or whatever.

I don't care how much Citrix sell their solutions for - their customers will make their choice after doing the sums. But Maplins could have sold the Pi for cheaper - hopefully to young, budding tinkerers - and thus grown the market for all the sensors, LEDs, Arduinos, daughter boards and other gubbins they sell at a mark-up.

Yeah, I know we should buy this stuff online, but sometimes you want something right now! Oh well, I've known Maplins to sell an external HDD enclosure for more than they sell and external HDD.

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