4075 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010
Re: Printing in wax?
This fella had some success casting aluminium by burning away the PLA print material in place of wax:
Cheap 3D scanners
There is the XBOX Kinect at just over £100, using open source software, and also the pricier Windows Kinect with either open source software or the MS SDK. More suitable for body-sozed figures than faces. There are also software solutions- for free is Autodesk's 123D which can create a 3D STL file from a series of 2D images.
Other software solutions use a web-cam plus a cheap (£30) line-laser.
Re: Prior Art...
Arthur C Clarke:
Though being himself, the author's afterword does does discuss the the current state of material technology, gives credit to those who originally conceived of the idea, and admits he used poetic licence in shifting the location of Sri Lanka to the equator.
Feersum Enjin is a fun (non Culture) sci fi novel by Ian M Banks set around a 'space elevator'.
Re: Moon power
Power? If you use an aimed solar furnace, you just need a large convex mirror- probably made out of foil, plus mirrors for aiming. It doesn't have to be strong enough to withstand wind (there isn't any) and the structure can be lighter than an equivalent structure on Earth, due to the lower gravity. Erecting lightweight structures with high surface ares is something space engineers have some experience of- the whole shebang can probably be shipped in one unit and then unfurled, like an umbrella.
I'm not saying it will defiantly work, but it seems plausible.
Re: more techo-wanking
You're still going to need a binder, regardless of whether the structure is 'printed', or cast. Agreed, 3D printing is over-hyped, especially when people propose it will replace typically moulded objects, but current buildings on earth are usually made of pre-made parts- be them bricks, steel beams or entire 'portacabins'- with additional cast concrete. Without a convenient builder's merchants nearby, '3D printing' is a suitable method. Caterpillar have researched it for terrestrial buildings.
Even if you are going to make a moon cave your habitat, you will still need to seal it- some sort of inflatable membrane that is then cured, perhaps- but that would probably have to be bought from Earth.
If you used a solar furnace, it might be possible to build a structure layer by layer by vitrifying lunar power. This would be akin to to selective laser sintering, an 'additive manufacturing' (akin to 3D printing) process used on Earth. This wouldn't require a binder. I don't know if it is possible, but a quick search turns up a PDF suggesting that lunar material has been sintered by meteorite impacts.
Or maybe robots that attach to iron rich asteroid and over (much) time direct them to the moon might be a way of getting appropriate materials.
Re: They need to be available
>Of course a couple of coloured LEDs would be sufficient to tell me about emails/sms/missed calls/incoming calls etc
many phones do that with just one composite light- different colours / flashing patterns for different alerts.
And just three LEDs would allow the thing to act as a compass or GPS guide.
Still, I ain't getting one til it outlines motorcycles and jackets, informing me if they are my size > see icon.
An idea: daft or not daft?
Hmmm.... What's the largest downside of netbooks? The screen (not enough vertical pixels!). What are ever more people buying? Tablets- some with lots of pixels.
How about a 'screenless netbook' -an x86 machine with keyboard, designed to use a tablet as its monitor? I appreciate that tablets don't usually work as dumb (USB) monitors, and that setting it to work as a wireless monitor using software would present challenges (if the x86 base doesn't have its own screen to setup this configuration) ... but still, it would be nice. Hell, if Brand X offered a tablet, and Brand Y offered a similarly specified machine but with the option to use it as a dumb monitor, I would buy Brand Y- if only to extend my normal laptop's desktop on occasion.
The x86 base would give you access to legacy software, choice of OS and allow all the usual connections and storage options. The ARM tablet / screen would give you instant-on checking of emails and whatnot.
Re: Battery life and ARM
Indeed, Tomshardware have the impression the ARm vs x86 race is far from over. The fact that Intel are inviting investigation into power efficiency is in itself telling:
Although the results we're looking at today are generated at Intel, we were on-site looking at and playing with the company's test equipment as the numbers were being run, observing the results. We’ve also done enough of our own analysis from previously-published reviews to confirm that these numbers make sense. Intel is picking the easiest competitor to beat (Tegra 3 running under Windows RT on a Microsoft Surface), but our own preliminary estimates suggest the 32 nm Atom is going to be roughly equivalent to Qualcomm's 28 nm APQ8060A in the ATIV Tab, and more efficient than the 32 nm Exynos 5 Dual in the Chromebook Series 3 XE303C12.
What about those prehistoric crocodiles that hung by their tails from trees, were they real or made-up? Next your going tell tell me tall stories about some animal with the bill of the duck and the body of an otter. Yeah, right.
Though not a laptop, my mate's recent Gigabyte motherboard boasts two BIOSs, one at least is UEFI (don't know what the backup BIOS is, we haven't had need of it).
[As if to take a pop at the Koreans, the motherboard has written on it "Japanese Capacitors"- reassuring, since the aged Dell Optiplex it replaced died of blown MB capacitors, allegedly the result of incomplete industrial espionage]
Re: @AC 13:24 Bad Firmware!
** Slight Aside ** (relevant if this article causes people use Ubuntu 12.04 under VMWare Player for the time being)
If you want to run Ubuntu 12.04 under VMWare Player, do not use VMWP's Easy Install option - the thing get stuck at "installing VMWare Tools" (even if you've told it not to bother), even after restarting the VM. The installation can be repaired from the command line, but by this time no longer qualifies as 'easy'.
>Is the = hard for you to reach or something? Are you missing some fingers? Oh I know, you simply don't know how to type. Wacko.
Do you still use a browser that insists you type 'www' in the address bar? : D
Re: Next: GUI redesign driven by aging "designers" who realize their crap is for the yoof generation
>"GUI redesign driven by aging "designers" who realize their crap is for the yoof generation
Buttons are getting larger, fonts are getting easier to read, "
I'd associated that with some my older computer-using friends... the ones with several pairs of spectacles. Y'know, the ones who sometimes run their monitor at less than its native resolution because making the fonts 125% in Win7 breaks the dialogue-box layout in some XP programs...
Generally, young design students are encouraged to think of the ageing demographic, and design products for people whose needs might differ to their own.
Re: @ A Known Coward
>There's no evidence at all that an LCD screen causes any more eye strain than an e-ink screen.
Other than the fact the e-ink screen is going to be in sympathy with ambient lighting, i.e readable in the sun, and not blinding in a darkened room.
Re: I don't want two devices where one will work.
That Txtr Beagle... from their website:
"Memory 4 GB. Number of books cached: Up to 5" Whaaa?
Hmm, I wouldn't mind one if it could seamlessly take text from any webpage I'm reading on my laptop, or documents for prooferading.
Re: Do they honestly think younger people dont read?
Whoever coined the phrase ' the three 'R's' must have had a sense of humour.
>On this topic, what are Werthers Original going to do for customers in a few years time?
They skip a generation, as OAPs 'push' them on toddlers.
>Personally I intend to live forever.
Or die trying.
Re: Too risky?
Who knows, maybe there is another "must have" product category" around the corner... not everyone working towards such a thing is going to be advertising it.
People are saying Apple are boring because they, and their competitors, have crammed about as much current technology as they can in something the size of a phone- it is the category that Apple work in that has got boring. Not that this is a bad thing for the consumer: I find it interesting that Sony's new flagship phones and tablets are waterproof; rather than further up the specs, they are making their products better for real-world use.
A period of less radical (some say 'boring') development allows refinement.
When technology does advance to allow 'the next big thing' (as 1.8" HDDs, cheap flash memory and capacitive screens did for MP3 players, phones and tablets in the past), Apple are in as good a position as anyone, since they have a mountain of cash, a talent for putting out a clear message to the consumer, and the ability to act unilaterally if they need to.
Re: Some sense at last
>I'd be more disheartened if someone was making enough profit selling water and air to feature up the top of the list...
Gasping by Ben Elton:
The script of Ben Elton's first play. A satire on big business, the media and product exploitation. Designer air proves to be the marketing phenomenon of the decade, but as demand outstrips supply, Lockheart Industries plunders the Third World for resources. The world is starting to gasp, and only the biggest suckers survive.
Re: of course Apple invented the fridge
Does any here know of a browser plugin that renders invisible any comment that contains the phrase 'rounded rectangle'?
Of course; those of you who use such a plug-in won't be able to read this comment. Damn!
Re: Interresting from the developmental standpoint
> It's much more fun to build a machine to do that sort of work for you, and much cooler, too. :)
I think Douglas Adams said that he was the sort of person who would rather spend two days writing a program that would automate a task that would have taken him half an hour to do himself.
At what frame rate?
Don't think it blends, though.
I love it... after using computers to fight fascism in Europe, we British then use computing for our second highest priority: ensuring we have enough cups of tea and cake.
Re: Re-invent the wheel
Nah, that ain't the reason:
SONY. Because Caucasians are just too damn tall.
Seriously though, there is marked difference between the West and Japan in the culture mental arithmetic, and notation may play a small part in that- so there may be a grain of truth in your hypothesis. Manufacturing is a different matter, but post WII it was influenced by an American manufacturing engineer (JIT, philosophy of perpetual improvement), as well as their own traditions.
Re: I like my aircraft to have metal, not glorified plastic
Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic is a composite material- it is a material composed of other materials. Concrete is composite material, composed of differently sized hard lumps in cement. A structure of CFRP or GR around a core (wood, cardboard, foam, whatever) as you describe is a structure.
You're correct about wood being a sophisticated material though, and bamboo has been used in competitive road bicycles. Bamboo's strength/weight ratio (though very good) isn't the only consideration, and it is good at damping vibrations at undesirable frequencies. Wood and bamboo have a grain; on a microscopic level, a structure of long cellulose tubes- always a good structural shape.
The carbon impurities that differentiate steel from iron are usually randomly arranged. However, in a samurai sword, they are very long- approaching the scale of nano-tubes. This is achieved by repeatedly folding and hammering the steel, giving it exceptional mechanical properties.
It was a controlled experiment, just as our understanding of genetics came from the pea-breeding experiments of a monk, Gregor Mendal.
However, I would love to see a major religion going around and putting trousers on all animals just to preserve modesty- that would be just the most fantastic spectator sport... especially in Africa.
Re: 16:10 please!!!
Likewise my 16:10 1920 x 1200 Dell Vostro, plastic fantastic. The Core2 T9550 and nVidia graphics seem handle everything I come throw at cheerfully enough, so have no immediate plans to upgrade. Maybe by the time I do, x86 laptops will come without screens and will be partnered with hi-res tablets.
A bit like 'program' and 'programme', then. I've read that 'program' was the original English spelling, and the other was a French affectation, used on English fly posters to make theatre productions look fancier.
Just to amuse myself, I always use 'program' for things to do with computers, and 'programme' for television shows an the like.
Re: How can you tell?
>How do you tell?
You take a piece of spaghetti that has been boiled for ten minutes, then sling it at your screen. If it slides off, it means you have a shiny screen... or your pasta in not done yet... I forget which.
Lack of vertical resolution annoying.
especially when your vertical pixels are swallowed up by ribbon interfaces, title bars, status bar and websites with large banner adverts.
16:9 also causes the centre of your screen on a laptop to be lower down than it would be on a 16:10 or 4:3 display. Not ideal.
For sure, it depends on what applications you use it for. Choice is nice, though.
Re: Got both - dont care which is supposed to be best.
Personally, I'm not too fussed by a shiny screen, but specs without an anti-reflective coating do get on my nerves, especially at this time of the year when the sun is low in the sky.
I think that matte screens have a matte texture, but anti-reflective optics have several layers of films with different refractive indexes- as a side effect you see coloured reflections from an angle.
You could place tracing paper over a picture and see it clearly, but your could place tracing paper on your windscreen and expect to see where you're going.
Re: Cleaning Crew
"The Janitor on Mars" by Martin Amis... it has nothing to do with cleaning rovers.
(it's concerned with a Mars-based AI left behind by the planets long-dead inhabitants, whose only purpose is to heap scorn and insult on humanity, for shits and giggles- juxtaposed against the observations of a non-functioning paedophile in a boys home. )
Makes a refreshing contrast to enigmatic and decidedly silent black monoliths.
Re: Cleaning Crew
As I have been lead to understand, the solar panels on Opportunity were subject to 'unexpected cleaning events' (wind) and provided more power over time than NASA expected. However, it is its li-ion batteries that limit its life.
There are more Welsh speaker in the US than there are in Wales, plus those living in Patagonia... so what accent does it have?
This is a fun article, about how Siri grew out of a DARPA project, was intended to do much more than she does now, and after Apple bought her (snatching her away from Verizon's Android handsets) they curbed her abilities and potty mouth. She seems to have plenty of cousins, though.
I wasn't comparing the cycling CO2 in the brewery to fossil fuels- I was directly addressing the OP's concern that Panasonic's machine would lead to excess oxygen in the atmosphere, whilst comparing those concerns to that expressed by local EHOs about the CO2 released by fermentation in breweries. I acknowledged that breweries as a whole are not carbon neutral, but merely the fermentation stage.
Re: long time before they match cost of sugar beet or cane if ever
Trouble is, the world's population is getting bigger, and bio-fuels have lead to a rise in food prices in the past- putting up the price of beer, bread and bacon. Not good.
There is land that is currently not being used for agriculture- deserts, for example- and there have been experiments in using algae and sea water in the desert in glass tubes. Having your ingredients and products in a liquid or sludge form means they can be pumped around- no tractor required. There is also the prospect of genetically engineering (or breeding) organisms to produce the product you want.
Re: Energy in and out?
The article mentions that the experiment is to mimic photosynthesis, and mentions "sunlight or artificial light", and also a catalyst. The sunlight is the source of the energy, not electricity- unless it is used to power artificial lights.
Obviously it will require energy to build the device.
It isn't clear from the Reg article what advantage this system has over, for example, growing algae in glass tubes in the desert, other than the energy density of the end product (if they succeed in making ethanol) and the lack of post processing required.
>Would that lead to excess O2 in the atmosphere?!?!
No, it wouldn't.
The article suggests these systems will be placed next to conventional power plants, which take oxygen from the air and combine it with carbon to produce CO2. The oxygen released from the CO2 by Panasonic's machine is only that which was combined with carbon by the conventional power station.
Conversely, there was a local brewery which kept having environmental officers turning up and complaining that the brewing process released CO2... until someone explained to them very slowly that the the CO2 being released had only recently been absorbed from the atmosphere by the barley when it was growing- it was merely being cycled. (Obviously the brewery used fossil fuels too; gas to heat the liquor and diesel to distribute the end product)
(Apologies for not being arsed to format sub-script for the 2 in CO2)
Re: Car keys?
But those IDs change, so that thieves don't intercept and then clone them (in theory!).
Car key fobs transmit a 40 bit code, and also have memory to store the rolling code. The car will accept any of the next 256 of the rolling codes, should you press the fob when you are out of range of your car.
Re: Emergency buttons
I'm thinking more of one of the fire bells that require you to turn a handle.. you give out an audible and a radio alert!
It sounds like you could do with a repeater in the 'elbow' of your L-shaped room... presumably the bulbs themselves do this?
The signal from the proposed unpowered switches only has to get as far as the next powered node in the mesh network. Since most rooms in your house have a wall socket or a light socket, that should suffice- though yeah, older houses with thick walls and unusual shapes will cause issues. That the switch doesn't require power just means your can place it wherever is most convenient to you, without re-plastering your wall, dangling cables or having to replace batteries.
Re: Car keys?
21 bits won't other the security you would want from your car keys fob. The battery in your car key fob lasts a few years, and when it runs out you can fall back on using your real key until you get a new battery.
Re: Am I missing something?
It might just be the illustration (in the same way that speed camera signs show a antique bellows camera), but their diagram shows a lever switch- which has a longer throw than many light switches. Since energy is work times distance, is such a big switch required? I guess what I'm asking is "How small a switch is required to transmit these 21 bits 2 metres?"
Re: Am I missing something?
During recent ' Smart watch' threads I was musing on how much energy would be required to transmit a simple control to from a wristwatch to a nearby phone, and whether this energy could be harvested from the button-press.
How small can you go? The only thing I have first hand experience of is the piezo component in 'electronic' cigarette lighters.
Alan Partridge gets flattened by a dead cow from a bridge by irate Norfolk farmers:
Re: He makes Chilli Jam !
Jalepeno strawberry jam (and made with Bennets honey, according to the label) goes a treat with neck of lamb fillets.
Strange thing is, it just tastes like strawberry jam.
Are those identical twins in the kitchen?
Re: "so the models are evidently wrong"
>It could plateau by the same mechanism that has caused zero (and even decreasing) population growth of Western societies (excluding immigration). The more education and wealth the lower the birth rate, so the answer isn't to bring Western society down to the level of the 3rd world, it is to bring the 3rd world up to the level of Western society.
Correct. The problem is, however, that we don't have enough planet to give everyone the same quality of life as those of use in the West. For everyone on Earth were to use the same resources as European would require about three Earths.
If could provide healthcare, sanitation and education to all in a resource- efficient manner, then yeah, we're in with a chance- since if women are are confident that their children will survive, they generally choose to have fewer of them. It does pose some problems along the way, both in societies in which parent rely upon their children for care in old age, or societies in which this care is bought (one of the reasons Japan is researching robots).
Re: Windows 8 FAIL
>Well the problem with Windows (and OSX too) is that the user interface is an integral part of the OS. Don't like it? You're out of luck, gotta live with it anyway.
It seems fairly straight forward to install a 3rd party Start Menu replacement.
> Then why has the market rejected Windows 8 on both mobile and desktop? Are you correct and the market somehow wrong?
Don't throw stones if you live a glass house, Eadon. There could be plenty of reasons for people not buying Win8 (waiting to see how the hardware plays out / comes down in cost being just one of them) just as there valid reason that not everyone uses Linux on their desktop- and that's free of charge.
By the argument you've just given ("the market knows best") then Linux on desktops must be absolutely awful. Since it isn't, then your argument must be faulty.
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