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* Posts by Dave 126

4046 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

IBM brains ponder universe, say kids will go nuts for STEAMPUNK

Dave 126
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Re: So, those new airships...

>The aim is to make sure you wind them all up before the other guy?

The Golden Army from Hellboy 2...

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Dave 126
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Re: Glaring omission

Yep, definitely The Chaos Engine from the Bitmap Brothers (of the age that bought you Sensible Software, Team 17, some of Codemaster's best efforts, Psygnosis ditto, Delphine, Bullfrog...)

William Gibson is also an influence on Steampunk, as is some Japanese anime such as Steamboy

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

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Microsoft ends Mac users' Windows Phone 8 misery

Dave 126
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Re: Question

>the only thing missing is XBox Live gaming

I don't know what functionality that provides, but some XBOX functionality is already offered to Android and iOS devices through MS's 'XBOX SmartGlass' app.

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Dave 126
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Re: And meanwhile

Alas, Android phones don't work as Mass Storage Class devices anymore.

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Dave 126
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Re: Fashion statement

@Eadon

Someone coming to Linux from having used a Mac will probably have an easier time than someone who had previously only used Windows. The way that OSX asks for the admin password to protect itself, for example, or the way that packages are installed. Then you have ZFS-style Logical Volume Management...

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Dave 126
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Re: Finally!

More widely, it's irritating to have to use software on any host computer in order to talk to a device, at least for the basic 'storage' tasks. I've had to download some Sony software (though there's probably an alternative) to transfer files from my mate's Mac to my Android Xperia phone - which then works but slowly.

One reason why I have never considered owning an iPod is because I like MSC.

And now we have this SDXC cards with exFAT- camera likes it, newer Windows likes it, other systems needsome persuasion... some systems insist on 'safe removal', others get upset if the card ISN'T just yanked out and requiring a trip to device manager to uninstall then reinstall to get it working again... It's all doable, but not as smooth as it should be.

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Review: Google Nexus 4

Dave 126
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Re: No mention of call quality nor of messaging system abilities, among other things

Irritating flaw in Android as seen on Xperia P:

Incoming SMS messages are marked with the time my phone received them, not the time they were sent. Grr.

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Dave 126
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And there is NO USB OTG on the Nexus 4

It just won't work as host, and never will. Not something that can be fixed with firmware or supplying external power.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1966864&page=34

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Dave 126
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If that 'photosphere' used exposure bracketing to capture light sources as well as dark shadows, the resulting composite HDRI image could be used to illuminate (and provide reflections for) 3D rendered objects, and so place them realistically into the scene you took a photo of.

In the mean time, a large silvered bauble and a zoom lens will have to do.

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Dave 126
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Re: "They should offer us a choice though"

The Xperia TX has a replaceable battery, and I think the TL has a longer battery life but I'm not sure.

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Apple 'slashes iPhone 5 screen orders', tight-fisted fanbois blamed

Dave 126
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Re: Problems

>You could put a bright yellow filter in front of the lens and they could fix it in SW (ok in extreme cases you'd loose a little quality, but a slight tint no problems).

That would result in losing yellow information from the scene, which can't be restored in software. And placing a yellow filter in front of the lens rather negates the purpose of using sapphire in the first place. It's far easier to just not point the camera at bright lights.

>Take a look at the history of the Hubble telescope, the lens (mirror) is out of wack but they corrected it in SW.

IIRC, that was a geometric distortion of the mirror they fixed.

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Dave 126
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Re: on the other hand....

>One tangential observation: it may be that doctors ended up with iPhones because of some very specialist apps specifically targeted at their needs; for example, an MD friend has been carrying a Palm-based thing for years since it had a variant of some pharmaceutical reference product, and it let him check dosage and contraindications, etc.

Yeah, the source for the 60% figure came from a developer of software for health services. I read somewhere (probably the Reg) that the NHS had considered using iPhones (fewer nooks and crannys than many designs, so easier to sterilise) in hospitals to deliver/collect health information to staff... but rejected it for the lack of a swappable battery.

Our local doctor is contemptuous of the imposed NHS IT system, but claims that the one used in his practice is good, because it was specified by the people who would be using it on a day-to-day basis.

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Dave 126
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Re: on the other hand....

I said Volvo because of the doctor stereotype, and they similarly priced to the usual 'premium' car brands such as BMW and Mercedes. There was an aversion to buying premium cars from Germany amongst a certain group for some time after the WWII (guess why), or maybe its to do with the reputation Volvo had for secondary-safety systems.

The retired doctor who drinks in our pub drives a Porsche and his HiFi is the more traditional high-end separates system. He does wear a Rolex though, but not the model that was aimed at doctors which had discreet seconds-hand movement.

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Dave 126
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Re: We're bored Apple!

Please, lessen our boredom: Why not tell us what you would want to see in a phone?

I suspect that your boredom is a consequence of phone technology (screens, battery, radios, CPUs) being fairly mature, rather than any fault of Apple's. If you want excitement, then study an immature technology suchtouchless finger-tracking control (the forums on leapmotion.com are interesting) or try TED.com, instead of looking for novelty in an article about an existing phone. You won't find it here.

I don't know what other (existing) technologies could be squeezed into a phone that wouldn't result in it being the phone equivalent of the car Homer Simpson designed. Extra functionality can already be added with extra hardware, such as keyboards, microphones, 24bit DACs, battery packs etc

I tend to see a fair few iPhones in the hands of older, and perhaps a bit wealthier, people who no one could accuse of being cool or a hipster. They have the cash, and the phone has a reputation in their broadsheet newspaper-of-choice as being easy to use. Cool don't have to come into it. People are beginning to see hipsters under the bed, like Cold-War era paranoiacs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Lightning Accessories

I have met people who have made your decision for the same reason. That said, Apple had already made iPods that didn't use their 13pin connector (the iPod Shuffle) so the Lightening could be used across almost all future devices, more-or-less regardless of size.

Annoyingly, since Android 4, I can't use my phone as a plain Mass Storage Class device connected to my USB/SD car stereo, but hell, SD cards are as cheap as, er, memory chips.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple coasted too long

Apple created something superb but then they locked it down too much, so that when something more open came along, Android, people drifted towards that.

Though many people did plump for an Android phone because it was 'open' (and that was my reason), many, many more Android users based their decision on cost / choice of features / choice of screen size etc. Many people are limited in what they can do with a device by their lack of knowledge or inexperience, rather than by the device itself- so what does it matter being in a walled garden, if you find it struggle enough to get up off the bench by the duck pond?

>Apple need to re-invent its stuff and it needs to do so fast.

Yeah, but how? : D

Phones are mature. Apple stole a start on the public conciousness with the iPhone (Nokia could have done it, but tripped itself up, Palm weren't in a good place at that time either), just as they did with the iPod - get in near the start before market is saturated. Phones have now reached that point and will remain so until the next technological step forward- flexible displays, for example, or some amazingly dense battery tech (which every OEM will have, unless Apple snaffle the entire supply, or pay handsomely for an exclusive- temporarily though). Until then, Apple, like their competitors, can only make minor refinements to phones. Apple are aided by the availability of after-market accessories to implement features the iPhone lacks - e.g. housings with condenser microphones for journalists, 24bit DACs, extended battery cases, IR dongles, DSLR remotes...

For Apple to continue their growth, they will be looking towards the next 'must-have' rapidly-growing product category, and then package and refine it into something they can sell at a good margin. As they will then only have a few months before a competing product comes out, they will try to build upon that advantage.

What that next 'must have' product category might be is anyone's guess. Anybody who thinks they know, and is working on it, is obviously not going to shout about it (unless their plan is to make money from a gold-rush by selling shovels- then they'll be quite happy to point others towards a rich seam)

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Dave 126
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Re: Problems

<2. The crystals used to protect the camera lens give photos a purple haze under certain circumstances. Since this is a hardware problem, Apple cannot fix this without releasing the next version of the iPhone. Will Apple admit their faulty design and give us a camera worthy of 2013?

That's not technically a design fault, its a design compromise, as most design and engineering decisions are. The compromise is between having a more easily scratched coated-glass lens which might mar all photos, or having an uncoated sapphire lens that only affects photos taken against a strong light. Back in the days of film cameras, the first rule of getting a successful photograph was: 'do not take a photo of a person with the sun behind them'.

Its a camera on a phone, and such it was designed to be stored in your pocket with your keys (keys won't scratch sapphire, but your wife's rings or some diamond grit from a cutting disc will). A dedicated camera lens will be designed without this consideration.

That said... if phone makers continue to compete on cameras, then replaceable screw-in filters (ND grad, UV, skylight, polarizing etc) might be something they could consider in future. If the filter gets scratched, just swap it out- as many photographers do to protect their SLR lenses.

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Dave 126
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Re: on the other hand....

For some reason Obviously prefers to think many of his fellow humans are contemptible halfwits, yet he can't grok that there are a good number of people who don't really give a shit about phones, and for whom an extra couple of hundred quid (spread out over a couple of years) isn't going to leave them skint.

Its really not too hard a concept.

Generally, owning things like a Volvo, a Bang and Olufsen stereo, a fancy watch and a Mont Blanc fountain pen is a way of displaying to others that you have reached a level in your career, (certainly it fulfils the stereotype of doctors). It might not be tasteful, but it usually requires some competence to acquire expendable cash. They are not half wits, they are merely well-off. True, there might be better things to spend their money on, but its their money.

Given that a fair few doctors use iPhones (around 60% in the US), it would't be in Obviously's interests to tell each and every iPhone user he meets that they are a idiot to their face. He hasn't got the guts, anyway.

*http://www.viterahealthcare.com/company/Pages/pr_ViteraHealthcareSolutionsStudyIndicatesThattheMajorityofHealthcareProfessionalsAreInterestedinaMobileEHRSolution.aspx

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RIM adds 15,000 new BlackBerry 10 apps in one weekend

Dave 126
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Conversely, I wish Google would offer some devs $100 to remove their apps from the Play store.

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Scientists spin carbon nanotube threads on industrial scale

Dave 126
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Last I read, it might, just might be possible to use nanotubes to construct a spave elevator. Would appreciate a link to the latest calculations/estimates though!

Arthur C Clarke (Fountains of Paradise) credits Buckminster Fullerine with playing a hand in the space-elevator concept, so it's pleasing that the only materuial that might make them a reality bears his name.

In the absence of a space elevator, headphone cables that don't fail would be nice.

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Dave 126
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Re: This will change things

>Goes to show going from 0 to 1 to 2 dimensions makes things more useful.

?

Do read something Eadon, anything. Plato might be a good start.

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Lenovo said to release Intel and ARM Android convertibles

Dave 126
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Re: Chromebook, Chromebook, Chromebook

>nuff said

Sorry, but could you expand upon that?

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Dave 126
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Re: Android Apps for productivity?

Curiously, I find the text-select in Android reasonably easy to get on with... its the click-drag-release in desktop browsers that I find idiosyncratic, especially if I want to select a hyperlink as text.

But yeah, Android was never designed for productivity... it might be made to work, but would miss tricks associated with extra human input devices.

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Dave 126
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Re: Tablets to Laptops

Android on desktop?

Why, just Why? Surely a desktop-orientated Linux distro would be better for the desktop, and Android seems to work well on touch-screen devices. I wouldn't have thought that Android had been designed to work with mouse_over and other mousey commands, let alone keyboard shortcuts (shit, until recently there was one version for phones and one for tablets). Is Eadon seriously suggesting a reverse Win8?

I knew he was an agent provocateur i.e. he's not a real Linux fan at all, because his comments are consistently detrimental to the cause he professes to support.

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Bubble baron treats Space Station crew to blowup model

Dave 126
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Re: What happens when....

I seem to remember my old design lectuerer (whose dissertation had been on the Spitfire) talking about WW2 aircraft with canvas surfaces instead of aluminium. Apparently they suffered less damage from bullets, since they passed straight through instead of punching a big hole.

I would imagine that a micro-meteor would make a smaller hole in a canvas membrane than it would in a metal one, so giving the astronaut with the puncture-repair kit more time to respond.

(I appreciate that there no-doubt other factors I know nothing about)

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Anger grows over the death of Aaron Swartz

Dave 126
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Re: Many changes need to be brought on.

>"Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft."

The thing about depression is that alters the way the world appears to you (such as not realising the esteem and affection people hold you in), preventing you from fully appreciating the consequences of your actions. That said, if believing what you have written will cause someone to hesitate before any drastic action, so be it.

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Dave 126
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Re: MIT are a disgrace

>MIT should hang their heads in SHAME.

Really, Weren't they amongst they first academic institutions to release all their course notes to all for free on the web?

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Dave 126
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Dunno who downvoted Parax, but in a story about the reaction to an event, reposting the reaction of a well known internet figure is relevant, regardless of whether you agree or not with Tim Berners Lee.

Shooting the messenger?

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Dave 126
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Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

No, not the research, but the publishers sell many journals to universities.

Costs aside, this has been an issue in scientific circles for while- there are so many journals that only the largest institutions can hope to subscribe to all the journals in one specific field, let alone most journals in most fields. In the last few years, neurologists are beginning to understand that the balance of gut bacteria can affect the behaviour of a patient, so would benefit from having access to journals outside their immediate ken.

Asimov wrote a short story in the 1950s about the trend of specialisation, called Sucker Bait:

"Like other short stories by Asimov such as The Dead Past and Profession, the theme of Sucker Bait is the peril of scientific over-specialization... ... Asimov would soon begin to practice what he preached, making himself into a professional generalist by writing popular science books on a number of different fields, as well as The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science, a general overview of science as a whole."

The protagonist of the story is a man with Asperger's-like characteristics, who acts unilaterally and against protocol to avoid a bad situation for all (another, unrelated, Asimov story had autistic people using robotic avatars to study Mars). His role in the story is similar to what IBM are striving for with Dr Watson.

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Apple rubbishes rumours of iPhone for the masses

Dave 126
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Re: I'm no expert, but...

Phone specs aren't the be all and end all of the user experience... I wish that my Android phone had a range of headsets with 3-button (call end, vol up, vol dwon) remotes available, but they all seem to be for iDevices. Android devices even differ between themselves in how they implement the headset mic and buttons, which is pretty shocking.

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Vibrator guru on pleasure tech: 'Of all the places you'd want a quality UI....'

Dave 126
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Re: "sexual health and wellness"

>It's 2013 and you feel the need to medicalise your product to make it respectable.

The first vibrators in the Victorian era were medical devices, invented to save doctors from RSI. 'Hysteria' was believed to to be a female illness (it stems from the word for 'womb'), and many doctors set up specialist clinics to 'cure' their wealthy patients- and profited handsomely. Demand for their services was high, and RSI was a risk. Steam powered vibrators (mechanically liked to a steam engine in an adjoining room) were the first, but vibrators were among the first electrical devices sold. They were openly sold above the counter as health and beauty aids, and didn't acquire a bad image until the stag movies of the 1920s.

I read about this about ten years ago in New Scientist, but I believe a feature-length film on the subject was released in 2012.

>I suppose I could make a comment about US puritanism. . .

You could, but read up on the genuine history first. Like many things, it is stranger than fiction.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hacked

Us more outdoors types associate the word 'hack' with 'bush' or 'undergrowth'. Still, not good.

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Dave 126
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Lies, damned lies, and... What?!

Owned by over 50% of Americans?

Okay, lets say 50% of Americans are female... of those some will not have reached puberty, some will might have decided they no longer have any interest in that sort of thing or have always been asexual, then there's the Amish, and probably a few Southern Baptists might object to them... Can gay men really be filling the gap in your figures? Explain yourselves!

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Next-gen H.265 video baked into Broadcom's monster TV brain

Dave 126
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Re: That's why codecs are usually compared with lots of different footage

When watching BBC nature documentaries, it'a always the scenes of large dense flocks of birds that go blocky on iPlayer- lots movement in different directions. Still, that's some TV making that merits disc sales.

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Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook

Dave 126
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Re: "what's your excuse for Ubuntu's inability to detect a wifi card?"

>The *only* thing keeping Linux from being much more popular on the Desktop is that Microsoft tell OEM's that if >they put Linux on a PC then they will lose "discounts".

No one denies MS haven't played dirty, Eadon, but another reason not everyone uses Linux is software support; be them gamers (though 'watch this space!' as they say), power Office users (there are some idiosyncrasies* with Open and Libre office) designers, engineers or video editors.

*just off the top of my head: The behaviour regarding data being deleted from hidden cells (devs said it was a feature, not a bug... see the Reg Article about it). EBay doesn't accept CSV files made by OpenOffice for bulk uploads.

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Dave 126
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Re: Question:

@Fuzz and JSS

Thanks guys!

I was just curious about a possible way to free up a USB port... my current machine has plenty, but the trend seems to reduce the number! I guess a good number of laptop owners make do with the touchpad, though I couldn't do without a free-scrolling wheel and a middle button I can use as a modifier to mouse movement.

I was thinking about the idea of Logitech paying OEMs to incorporate their dongles into laptops - giving the user an incentive to buy Logitech HID instead of MS or Razor- but I don't think the sums would support doing so.

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Dave 126
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Re: Win-8 is Hideous

>Pure FUD. Linux is a kernel. Android has a Linux kernel. Android is Linux branded "Android" and owns over 75% >of the mobile market.

>So I reckon that Linux has already got to the point that most people can choose to use it, don't you?

For gawds sake Eadon, you know bloody well I was talking about desktop/laptop OSs (this is the thread about a laptop, I hope you noticed), and don't dodge the point by playing with semantics; nobody can use a a pure kernel, so excuse me if I don't write "Linux-based operating system" or "Linux kernal plus drivers plus GUI" or whatever. I've treated you with respect and given you the benefit of the doubt, but you're just behaving like a prick now.

>Also, on the desktop I would consider it not controversial to wager that Linux Mint is a damned sight easier to >use than Win 8.

Actually, it is easier to just add some 3rd party software (as mentioned in the article) to Win8 to restore familiar functionality than it would be for a user to learn new conventions as they would with a Linux distro. (I've installed Mint on a Thinkpad- and it took a lot of faffing to get the audio working.)

Shit, you tell people that Linux is super easy, but then in the same breath berate them over the use of 'OS' instead of 'kernel'. How is that going to encourage the naively curious to try Linux? It ain't. You're coming across as an agent provocateur.

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Dave 126
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@AC,

There was an interesting many-paged article on Arstechnica about the Metro framework being an attempt to atone for past sins... MS hope that it will become the way to write software for Windows machines, GUI aside.

As for ARM vs x86, there was a good article on Tomshardware... basically, ARM is efficient at doing nothing, but consumption ramps up quickly when under load. Intel have a more efficient memory controller (and currently, fab process) and ARM isn't yet fully up and running with 64bit.

Interesting times, but leave your conspiracy-theories and name calling at home, would ya? You won't convince anyone to your views with an attitude like that.

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Dave 126
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Interesting but...

>I see an issue with that, as the keys may just inhale dust, fluff and other matter when placed on anything other than a very clean, flat surace.

Maybe, but I can image that turning the keyboard upside down will help dislodge debris, compared to a conventional sky-facing keyboard. Add to that the vibration from the speakers (which play through the keyboard, according to the review), which may help expel dust.

(Shudders at memories of turning keyboards upside down when working in a hot-desking call centre)

(Mine's the laptop with the as-of-yet untested spill-proof laptop keyboard. Sod's Law dictates that if I didn't have a spill proof keyboard, I would have spilt coffee on it by now)

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Dave 126
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Question:

Is there a technical reason Logitech use a proprietary wireless mouse/keyboard interface instead of Bluetooth?

I ask, because it seems that with more devices that have a limited number of USB ports, Logitech should either adopt Bluetooth, or else get OEMs to incorporate their 'nano' dongle inside laptops.

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Dave 126
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Re: Win-8 is Hideous

>Secondly why use a virus-susceptible, resource-hungry OS that is four years behind the curve?

Because, as has been stated before, it runs the software that we need it to. No Windows user will claim that Windows is perfect- far from it - but Linux, despite its virtues, isn't without a few headaches of its own. True, some of those headaches are imposed upon it externally (e.g. driver support), but some are its own (e.g. naming conventions)

I genuinely hope that that Linux does get to the point that most people can choose to use it*, but in the mean time don't suggest that cures all ills. If you want Windows users to take your advice, don't tell them that Windows is not fit for purpose, because they know that to be demonstrably untrue, and thus it damages your credibility.

*(though ultimately, if every OS was solid, reliable and ran everything they wanted it to, then the user wouldn't care which OS they used, and therefore the only meaningful choice would be between GUIs)

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Ten stars of CES 2013: Who made the biggest splash?

Dave 126
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Re: Ultra HD ≠ "4K" (3840×2160)

> I noticed that the colour reproduction, especially of skincolour, was very poor.

Inherent to the tech, or just a poorly set-up individual set, or the camera?

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Dave 126
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Re: Battery life

No great issues here with the Xperia P, though that may be because I use the ICS battery saver feature that selectively disables data traffic- the side effect is that you won't receive emails, Whatsapp or Facebook messages etc until you take the phone out of standby. Whether this is a plus or a minus is up to you.

The additional white pixels on the Sony phones can be turned off very easily, and a shortcut created to do just that.

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Dave 126
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Re: Eh?

>No mention of NVIDIA Project Shield? The one device absolutely everyone else has been raving about?

No, but the article did mention the guts of Project Shield, i.e the new version of Tegra.

>No mention of Piston either.

No, but sites that have mentioned it have scant details on its innards. It does seem to have a lot of USB ports, though.

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Facebook testing $100 fee to mail Mark Zuckerberg

Dave 126
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Does that include the 19p for a brown paper envelope?

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British armed forces get first new pistol since World War II

Dave 126
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Re: The point is not always to kill

I think the only place I've seen a Desert Eagle is coming out of Robocop's leg- the film's prop department stuck some extra metal on the end and thought it would appeal to teenage lads and Zmodem. The film, like the rest of the 1980s Verhoven classics, is being remade this year- wonder what they'll give Cyborg Murphy this time?

And Arnie's laser sight in The Terminator required a cable from the sight to a battery on his belt; again just a prop.

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Nokia: Ship's now stable, all we need is passengers

Dave 126
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Re: Nokia sell in a quarter now what they used to sell in 2 weeks

If something sells, it doesn't mean it offers a great user experience. For example, a few years back a good number of people I know bought touch-screen feature phones (often resistive touch tech) in the wake of the original iPhone because they didn't want to spend more, yet many of them wish they'd stuck with a candy-bar phone with buttons.

C'mon Eadon, you're beginning to give Penguins a bad name. I'm not sure who you are trying to convert- those of us here who aren't already with Linux aren't going to be bought round to your view if your comments remain blunt.

Anyways, I'm late for the pub. Have a good weekend.

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Time has already run out for smart watches

Dave 126
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Re: not done right

>Examples of 'style over content' consumption include the original iPod - a large, clunky, ugly looking device that Apple sold on image.

Large, clunky and ugly? You're thinking of the Creative Nomad that was modelled on portable CD player. The iPod was about the same size or smaller than the products it replaced- cassette Walkmans, portable CD players, and on a par with many MD payers (though of course you carried extra MDs with you). Its size was largely dictated by the little Toshiba HDD inside it, though IBM had been touting their matchbox-like Microdrive. Small, flash-based players like the Rio were around at the time, but in small capacities and hadn't yet become ubiquitous like the older removable-medium devices. Later competing products using the same HDD, such as the iRiver H320, Creative Zen or Sony were the same size as the iPod.

Apple sold it on the basis that it was 5 GB (though they expressed it in terms of albums), fitted in your pocket and was easy to use.

(I didn't have an iPod, I had the Zen which failed cos the headphone socket was soldered directly onto the main PCB, the little Archos Gmini XS that failed, and the iRiver H320 that failed after being dropped but was revived by transplanting a HDD out of a dead iPod, Rockboxed and later stolen)

I agree with you on Beats Audio (and Monster's AV cables) though.

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Dave 126
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Re: No-one wants smart watches?

>But saying that, it doesn't make the kickstarter pledgers any good at spotting a good idea.

And when they floated the WWF, many of the Wall Street types thought the wrestling was real... : D

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Dave 126
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Why bother emulating real hands? Plenty of existing watches place LCD elements over real, analogue hands. At CES this year was a company touting electronic windows blinds, so a switchable opaque layer can be used, too. The display does NOT need to be in colour.

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