3475 posts • joined Wednesday 21st July 2010 13:57 GMT
Re: Howto drawing from the user manual
I was thinking that line-art image could be representing a man from almost any continent. Given Nokia's markets, that's a good thing.
Re: Move on and let it die
@ Mongo - Sir, any clues as to what happened to the hardware team who developed Psion's keyboards?
Likewise, I had a Sony Mavica which took 3.5" floppy disks... very nice pictures, but only at VGA resolution.
Re: I have every PC Zone cover CD up to around 2003.
DOSBox. Even available for Android now.
Re: It's the suppliers fault
I don't like those multipacks of button cells ('watch batteries') containing a variety of sizes... I only want one size, and that's for my LED keyring! Who the hell needs 4 units each of 5 different sizes at the same time?
Re: I quite literally now have something (to do) for the weekend...
Don't knock it, a 16MB USB key can sometimes be invaluable for just getting a word document to a PC connected to a printer.
If you consider them expendable, then they sound ideal for giving small chunks of data (photos from a party, for example) to friends.
Re: I used to have a cable box like that...
There is a certain technique for coiling cables, known as the 'BBC method'. It involves a quarter-turn of the cable between thumb and fore-fingers of the hand that is gathering in the loose end, which makes the coil behave itself.
It some circumstances, people use different coloured insulation tape to indicate that a, the cable has been tested, and b, its length.
I needed a VGA cable the other month. As I was up the tip (sorry, Recycling Centre) I poked my nose into a large skip full of CRT TVs and monitors. I didn't find a cable in the skip, but was surprised to spot a Pentax Super A with a Sigma lens, and rescued it.
Part of this hoarding I think is a dislike of seeing working high-tolerance mechanical devices going to waste, even if I no use for them. There is something slightly soulless about fully solid-state devices. I like the mechanisms that eject tape cassettes from old camcorders and the like...
I do like the logic of the person disposed of it in that skip: "If it's made of glass, plastic and circuit board, it may as well be a TV"
>something that scratches around in the bottom of the box and keeps me awake at night
That would be a mouse.
[Insert one of the oldest home computing jokes here]
A competition, hey? Rosettes awarded in a number of categories, including most obselete kit, most obscure item, best snake's nest (sorry, cable box)...
- Gravis Ultrasound card, Analogue Joystick (transparent version, though I lost the little screwdriver), and Gamepad. The controllers are still useable (with an adaptor) but I can't imagine the Ultrasound being of much use, unless you must resurrect some ancient .MOD files.
-Some weird mid-nineties Phillips PDA with stylus
-Canon's first consumer digital camera, the PowerShot 600 (though I lose points on this, since I bought it from the 'junk bin' from outside a local PC repair shop about ten years ago. With its dock, I thought it would make a good paperweight).
I'm not in with a chance of winning this game!
Re: Ooh, syndicate
>Best game never to be (properly) remade.
I'm with you on that, JDX. I can imagine Syndicate would be worth developing for tablets, and if they do then fingers crossed they'll make an updated version for 'proper' computers at the same time.
In fact, I'm surprised more classic strategy games haven't been reworked for tablets.
>I would like to see a feature where the mobile phone automatically switched to divert to voicemail when placed in the mount in the car.
Okay, I was going to ask 'why have you phone in a mount if it is not going to be used?' but of course you could be using it as a Sat-Nav...
What you want is doable with Sony (and probably other) phones and an NFC tag.... though it only works one way (ie, placing against NFC tag in car puts phone into call divert, but subsequent taps don't toggle this back), so at the end of the journey the phone must be manually reawakened - or a second NFC tag used to reverse the action of the first.
I'm given the impression that Tasker can make an Android do almost anything in the right circumstances, but requires some learning to get the most out of it.
I could also imagine a phone that recognises the sound of your particular car's engine starting, but background processes and battery life....
>What about lighting and smoking a cigarette? Just as distracting.
Whilst the actual action of lighting a cigarette may be distracting, nicotine actually increases your focus and visual concentration - even in non-smokers (when tested across a range of tasks in an MRI scanner, some test subjects wearing a nicotine patch, some a placebo patch). Search for 'nicotine visual concentration' to find more detail of more studies.
A road system that demanded 100% concentration at all times would be dangerous, since it is an unsustainable demand on the driver - there are margins. Lighting a cigarette doesn't require the eyes to be taken off the road for more than a fraction of a second, and is safe if the driver plans ahead and chooses the right moment to do it.
And remember kids, don't start smoking, you won't notice the negative health impacts yet, but they're a bugger when they catch up on you. But you know that already, cos you're not stupid and can read the warnings on the packet.
>I see the judge has specified the smallest size of font that can be used, but what is to stop them from "printing" it in white?
That wouldn't work in the Financial Times! : D
(for our overseas friends, the FT is printed on pink paper)
Re: Is that C3P0 really small.....
I dunno, where's a priest when you need one?
Of course, you've neglected the possibility that the Stormtrooper is really big or really close up...
Re: Dr Alban
And that Moby 'Play' album, but at least they waited a year. Took about ten years after the adverts to be able to go back to it.
Re: Made up stats
>In a study of 37 women, 32 women agreeing would be 86% and 33 women agreeing would be 89%. It's not mathematically possible for a study of 37 women to result in 87% of them agreeing.
'A girl can change her mind, can't she?'
I made up the figures on the spot, as well you know! I did consider calculating figures that would work, but felt it was overkill to make the point! : D
Bodyform advertisements were lampooned in mid nineties on a sketch in The Ben Elton Show, along similar lines to Richard Neill's complaint. Mr Elton also exposed the dangers of women uncontrollably swinging their hair around in slow motion after using shampoo and conditioner. But well played, Bodyform!
The adverts that really need bashing are for skin care, with their fake 'Swiss laboratories', dubious statistics ("87% of women agree!* ... [small print:] *study of 37 women") and pseudo scientific animations of their product 'in action'. They don't do real science and statistics, or real women, (or women in science!) any favours at all.
Frank Zappa had a spin on it, too:
Re: "@Dave 126 - Uh, 16GB?" - Who needs 500GB on the go!?
>My bet your friend hasn't got 500GB of legitimately bought music either.
Yours is a reasonable bet, but on this occasion wrong. ish. He bought it all on vinyl over decades, and transcribes it to WAV and MP3 through a FireWire soundcard. Much of it new, but some off eBay in recent years. Grey area. Mostly obscure psychedelia, preferably first pressing.
I wish he would use ID3 tags as opposed to trying to fit all the information (track, artist, record label, year) into the filename, but he's stuck in his ways... it may be that it is these long filenames that are causing his players headaches to index.
He does have an insane amount of vinyl, but I don't know what bitrate/format he is using to fully fill 500GB.
>Anyway, I wish Sony would bring back their Minidisc and open up the standard. I'd have one of those with the amazing small discs over an iPod anyday.
Look at the Wikipedia article... they did make some changes in the MD's last years, allowing discs to be copied to computers more easily. The standard disc was around a 100MB, though a roughly 1GB 'HD' version was sold. You have to use the ATRAC codec though, so you may lose quality if you later transcribe recordings to a more commonly used format. The first Sony iPod equivalents still used ATRAC and SonicStage (uegh!). The website Anythingbutipod.com might help you find the right device for you.
I loved my MiniDisc player - record, split, rearrange delete on most devices... Splendid thing. But now I'd rather have a Rockboxed iRiver h320 with a CF card in place of the little 1.8" Tosh HDD (no moving parts to be picked up by the internal microphone).
Re: Apple laptops are unusual?
>I've never come across a single laptop or notebook that isn't capable of stopping charging the battery when it's full, which is presumably what you're trying to say.
Nearly, but not quite:
Apple laptops don't just stop at 100% (as all laptops do), but rather they don't start charging again until the battery has fallen below around 94%, i.e gentle shallow cycling when left plugged in. They call it 'Adaptive charging' if you want to read between the gumpf. They also have chips in each cell of the battery to measure charge and temperature, allowing the charging system control over individual cells.
It is probably fair to say that Apple are making the most of the bed that they made for themselves when they made the batteries non-user-replaceable.
I'm not suggesting that Apple are the only vendors who employ this sort of management. As I noted, Sony phones had a feature to prevent the charging to 100% for similar reasons. I've had a good number of Windows laptops with batteries that became fairly useless within eighteen months because I've had them plugged in for long periods. Though I've tried to remember to unplug them for short periods to keep them cycling in the 85%-100% range, it really isn't practical. Okay, these weren't any vendor's premium models, but still.
I'm not an Apple user.
Re: Uh, 16GB?
Hehe, last week I got out the Torx T5 and helped a mate stick a 1st gen iPod battery in his H140... you've got to snip the cable on the new battery and reverse the polarity. He bought two at the time, in case one should ever fail. Lovely things. Some wretch nicked my H320 from my car, bastard. Even today they fetch a bit on eBay.
He was so desperate to get a massive HDD-based player that he bought an Archos 500GB 4.8 'Internet tablet'. Cue disappointment when it could only index 200GB or so of audio... at first the internet suggested it was a limitation of its Android OS, but a firmware update seems to have cheered it up.
Eventually, I suggested he just buy a couple of Sansa Clips and some microSD cards. He rang me to say the damned things would only charge to to 2/3rds, and that the buttons didn't work. It turned out he hadn't removed the protective plastic from the screen!
Re: According to the Apple store in Kingston
Li-ion batteries don't last forever, though for a pricey player one should expect a cheaper replacement service. It ain't the case that Apple designed the Li-ion chemistry to fail. EU law says that a purchase should last a reasonable amount of time... in practice, this means a minimum of 2 years for most things, if it were a £600 television then 5 years minimum would be reasonable. See a site like moneysavingexperts or somesuch for more details.
Those of us who have read the El Reg guide to caring for Li-ion batteries will know that they last longest if kept between 80 and 100% charge... but this isn't made clear in instruction manuals, and many users have fuzzy memories of advice for Ni-Cads (drain it!). Apple laptops are unusual in that they can be kept plugged in all the time without damaging the battery due to smart circuitry, something that many other 'desktop replacement' laptops overlook. My Sony phone had a 'battery preserve' feature that stopped charging after 90% charge, but it seems to have disappeared with the ICS update.
I have cheap and cheerful player with a built in battery, but that's easier to overlook when the whole thing only cost £40 for an 8GB model.
Re: They still make these ?
>Surely anyone who wanted an MP3 player already has one, at least in their phone
I can see situations in which you either wouldn't want the bulk of a mobile phone (jogging), or else want something a little more expendable (jogging through the rain). For the latter, this device would appear to fail, priced as it is.
Also, a phone isn't much cop if you are playing music at a party but still need to make the odd phone call or receive a text.
I'm really not sold on this device. If they had kept the previous nano form factor, and added Bluetooth remote control to your other iDevice (especially one in a speaker dock on the other side of the room) there might be a good reason for some users to buy it. (But that sort of Apple user probably has AirPlay already)
Re: Missing from the review.....
I'm not sure how one would test the battery life on a device like this. Laptops, for example, can either have a benchmark script on them, or else the common " we played a 720 video on loop with screen at half brightness and the WiFi on".
MP3 players can't just be left on playing music, in order to test the battery, since a real user would be turning on the screen every so often to change tracks... (especially as the only justification for this device over something far cheaper but very competent like a Sansa Clip is that it might have a sleeker user interface - hell, I'm beginning to sound like a shill for Sansa, oh well, do your research). Were the reviewer to attempt a battery test scientifically ("All tested MP3 players will have 5 tracks selected per hour, then left to play for an hour, repeat until dead" for example) it would take a very long time to test. The alternative is to do the mobile phone battery 'test': "I used it as I would my normal phone and I still had a bit of battery at the end of the day" which will give subjective results that are probably no more useful than the manufacturer's battery life claims.
So, that leaves the manufacturer's claims... though not 100% reliable, if said manufacturer has a history of being fairly accurate with their battery life claims, then it may be as good a measure as any. If you're really concerned about it, wait a few weeks, and take a sample of opinions from real users from online forums. They together will give a better idea than one reviewer with a single test unit could (that may have had its battery abused by the last reviewer to play with it).
[And yes, I know I could have used a better word than 'manufacturer' but sod it]
Re: Contradicting It's Own Stories
IIRC correctly, it was a spoof article. But yeah, IMHO spoofs should be either so ridiculous that you can't confuse them for a real story (London Bus Found on Moon, My Son is a Fishfinger) or else be published on the 1st of April.
Tooling up purely to meet spikes in demand is a fools game.
Re: it depends on what youre running the SD card on
There's also exFAT, but the situation is getting a bit daft for something that is supposed to offer the large file support of NTFS but be more universal. MS charge license fees, so whilst the newer OSX is happy with it, other systems might not be. Many higher end cameras support it (its part of the SDXC standard) but others don't. I was under the impression that Android devices that connect as MTP as opposed to MSC, so last I knew Windows didn't like coping 4GB+ files to MTP devices regardless of file system... but I may be wrong an this.
So we're back to work arounds, such as bodging Windows to format bigger SD cards as FAT32 and splitting bigger files.
Re: Thats all good but...
A fair few people find the text on smartphones too small... using a dumbphone + tablet with its own SIM is a reasonable solution for them. '3' 3GB SIM for a tenner. No fiddling with phone tethering, or draining its battery.
But yeah, your right, the fact that most people will tether is probably why most tablet 3G options are a touch pricey.
Re: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.
Yeah, it didn't occur to me at the time that 'Pink Gorilla' might appear rude... trying to imagine what its Profanisaurus entry might be... Shit, now I've got Steve Ballmer in my head. Urgh!
Don't worry about Dave> Save... my phone normally makes me 'date'.
Re: Poor choice of materials?
Generally, aluminium and magnesium alloys are easy to cast and/or machine, compared to something harder like steel. It makes them cheap to process. Also, their relatively low density makes them suitable for stiffer parts, since for the same weight a greater volume must be used, giving shapes with a greater cross section.
However, you can use coatings, either 'hard anodising' or titanium nitride (lovely goldie lookin' like you see on some drill bits) or PVD (plasma vapour deposition, a ceramic material condenses on your part) as used on some posh wristwatches and bicycle rims.
Remember that gumpf Microsoft put out some months ago about their Surface being made of VapMag or somesuch? What they actually meant was magnesium cast parts with a PVD coating.
Thats all good but...
What are the latest rumours about a 3G version?
Since the Wifi-only version seems very reasonably priced, I'm hoping a 3G version of the Nexus will buck the trend of pushing up the price of a device by £90, as is the case with some tablets. After all, if there's no data connection, I can't view Google's advertisements...
Re: Classic - yet still no movie!
Um... dunno. Peter Jackson, the producer of District 9, had been lined up to produce the Halo movie (after MicroSoft had paid Alex Garland $1million for a script), and Jackson wanted Neill Blomkamp to direct it. The movie studios didn't like MicroSoft's terms, so passed. Jackson and Blomkamp would later produce and direct District 9.
Garland also wrote the script / edited Dredd 3D, which, like District 9, was filmed in South Africa.
I've not heard of a District 9 / Half-Life link before, a link that I can see is that laboratory raid scene in the movie, but it is a trope that isn't uncommon in Sci-Fi. However, from Blomkamp's words, it seems likely he has had at heard of Half-Life:
"I was genetically created to direct Halo ... The suits weren’t happy with the direction I was going. Thing was, though, I’d played Halo and I play videogames. I’m that generation more than they are and I know that my version of Halo would have been insanely cool ... I’ll never ever work with Fox ever again because of what happened to Halo – unless they pay me some ungodly amount of money and I have absolute fucking control." - Neill Blomkamp
Re: Absolute classic
... well, I was originally going to write "... let off my rocket launcher..." but changed it in a bid to avoid innuendo. Evidently I failed!
Rocket launchers (or fuel barrels- and later, with the full game, Berserk!) would make some enemies perish with a lovely rib-cracking-gut-spilling noise, and the shotgun sound made my mate's kid brother run crying from the room, when the hi-fi I had run it run through was turned up too loud. Sorry mate.
The sound was good, and Doom was one of the first games I had that supported the Gravis natively. By the time Half Life appeared, I was a engineering student with a pricey PC (for CAD software, you understand) and I had made the mistake of buying John Romero's Daikatana because it would run under NT.4.
Half Life (dual booted Win98) restored my faith in FPShooters, though by then PlayStation Tekken and THPS in the lounge was more sociable.
Goddam! I've just posted exactly the same comment as you, before I read yours! I feel cheeky now for posting it as a 'reply' above, since you wrote yours first! I owe you some up-votes...
Re: If Only...
Timing: Now that they have got Abu Hamza out of Britain and into the US, I guess Mrs May felt she could relax a little on McKinnon.
Re: Absolute classic
I had a similar fear when playing Doom. A Gravis Ultrasound gave surround sound, and in a dark tunnel on level 5 I heard a weird grunting I hadn't heard before... by the time I actually encountered my first Pink Gorilla I was so nervous I shot a rocket at point blank range, with inevitable consequences.
But yeah, the sequences in Half Life were a definite jump forward.
Re: iPod Classic
Archos do one with a 500GB HDD, and since a firmware update it seems to behave itself with very large libraries... my friend has one exclusively for music (though it has a 4.8" screen) and before the update it misbehaved (seems Archos must have expected people to have it half full of movies instead of a gazillion audio tracks), it seems happier now but testing hasn't been exhaustive.
That said, for about the same money, you could get a collection of microSD cards and, for example, a Sansa Clip or two. Obviously no good if you must have 500GB of music on random shuffle, but an option.
Re: interesting but...
@The Indomitable Gall
Hiya, welcome to the discussion. You raise some good points. You're right, for what I'm talking about, a dumb phone plus independent 7" tablet is probably the way to go. Having now thought about it, I can't think of a compelling reason to dock a dumbphone...
Re: Air please
>I resevere the right to change my mind if I have to use Win8 Metro
Its Shirley inevitable that someone will come up with a reliable, issue-free replacement shell for Metro, and I would have thought most Reg readers would have the wits to install it if Metro doesn't grow on them
Oh, if Win7 is anything to go by, Apple won't release BootCamp drivers for Win8 immediately. (Can Win8 use WIn7 drivers? I dunno)
Re: Too many dongles.
I agree, this dongles are getting silly.
A little pouch that affixes to the Kensington Lock hole, with a USB hub inside it. The male end of the cable would be very low profile, akin to a 'Nano reciever' for a mouse, the cable would be strong and aligned parallel to the laptop case.
>Yes but Truecrypt is effort
Curiously, searching for 'secure memory stick' returns Hull University's guidance to staff on the subject, and it recommends TrueCrypt Portable. Then, under FAQs, it says it can't be used by students on faculty machines because thy don't have admin privileges, and something else about OSX...
So yeah, for a use-on-any-machine solution, specialist sticks would appear to be the way forward. But still, you can buy a fair few for £120k... Shit, it would buy a fair few laptops with a custom Linux distro for the sole purpose of accessing sensitive data, such as the nuclear industry use.
Re: Amazon search exec?
Amazon is a bloody big retailer, and funnily enough they have a search system to allow users to find what they might want to buy.
Re: The problems are segmentation and bundling
Just wandering how you connected the portable DVD player's screen? Was it a model that had an external Video In socket, or did you find the internal screen connector was standard enough for you to bodge it to your needs?
It sounds like a cute idea
Re: Bad Apple cultists
Sorry you are having trouble with comprehension of simple sentences. I didn't state that "Apple owners are happier in their lives". I actually said "People [who] use what works for them... [are] generally happier in their lives". There is a difference, and that is why I used those words in that order.
I am a CAD user, and I use a Windows PC. It works for me. A fan of computer games might feel similar. Someone one use uses Office apps and email might not have any feelings either way.
However, if I were a musician, for example, I might find that a Mac works well for me, because it will have a FireWire chipset made by the correct OEM (either VIA or TI chips won't work with all external sound cards on a PC, can't remember which is which), the Mac itself isn't as loud as many PCs, and the CoreAudio part of OSX works- in Windows the Windows Sound Mapper keeps interfering with ASIO, which in any case is limited in terms of channels. And have you tried changing the default MIDI device in Windows 7? The applications they use will have been tested on a more limited combination of hardware components, and so bugs are more liekly to be squashed, all things being equal. Many other musicians use Macs, so any issues they encounter will probably have been encountered by others on similar hardware and software, and and a solution will probably be easier to find.
So the result is, they spend more time recording music or knob twiddling (whatever they want to do) and less time hunting down obscure computer issues. It is on this basis that I assume they are 'happier in their lives'.