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* Posts by Dave 126

4075 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Sir James Dyson slams gov's 'obsession' with Silicon Roundabout

Dave 126
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Re: When

>robot programmers and skilled engineering technicians

I know one- he troubleshoots the CNC machines that Airbus use. He says he absolutely loves his job.

>who actually build and maintain the assembly lines so much stuff is made on.

And then there is Renshaw based outside Bristol, who make metrology equipment, used in manufacturing when you really need to put a component in the correct place. Privately owned, the millionaire owner is still a hands-on engineer, its the only non-Japanese company to win certain Japanese manufacturing awards, the first company to be awarded Investors in People, numerous Queen's Awards for Industry, it employees engineers, programmers, assemblers, and six full-time patent lawyers, and recently expanded its operation to a massive former-Bosch site in South Wales, for the neurosurgery and dental divisions.

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Dave 126
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Re: Can we have a Silicon Snowdonia please (or Bangor if you want a university city) ?

I remember being told of 'Silicon Dell' and 'Silicon Glen' during geography lessons in the 90s!

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Dave 126
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Re: "The billionaire industrial designer, who also invented the blade-less fan"

The latter... but the 're-packaging' took a fair bit of effort. Also, if it were so obvious, why wasn't everybody already doing it? A few companies did try the "Let's copy him anyway, I'm sure he'll run out of cash to defend his patents soon enough" trick, but they underestimated his tanacity (and he sold the design exclusively in Japan for a while, to finance his patent battle). I assume the patents have expired now, since there are dozens of bagless vacuum cleaners on the market now.

I have seen a fair few of the older Dyson cleaners in skips, with broken handles and the like, but not so much the recent ones. (Skip diving: for fun, profit and education!) A mate of mine is building a collection of Henrys that he has found in skips, usually working.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hypocrite

>emerging economies will soon become self sufficient in designers and engineers.

Very true. We've held on to the design jobs because we are the market for those goods. Now that China is trying to sustain its economy by turning its own citizens into a consumers, we will lose that edge. That said, I can't think of any Chinese companies that trade on their industrial design... even Japanese products are mainly sold as being functional.

Ridiculous: When I was at college around 2000, we were advised to learn German, Hebrew or Japanese... because these countries were the only ones to produce high tolerance tooling for injection moulding. Any industrial designer now should be learning Mandarin.

Of course Dyson isn't responsible for wages being lower in the East. The even bigger question should be "Why is our economy based on limitless growth when we only have finite resources?" The first industrial designers were stage-designers recruited from Broadway... at the time that people first became 'consumers'. Prior to that, things just looked like what they were, and you only bought what you needed (unless you were wealthy and could commission an artisan). To pick on Dyson again:

"Why are they still in business? Surely everybody already has a vacuum cleaner!"

(Mine's a Henry... or a Karcher if it's been raining too heavily)

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Dave 126
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Re: Hypocrite

>Dyson products are made where, exactly? Clue: it's not in the UK.

No, but after they moved production to Malaysia, they employed more people than they had in the UK, only in higher-paying R&D jobs. Clue: Dyson can't get his hands on enough engineers.

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Ten affordable mid-sized Full HD monitors

Dave 126
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Anybody had experience of USB-driven monitors? Do they cope with video okay, are they better used for just increasing your productivity real-estate?

I was tempted by a 7" USB monitor for toolbars, but at around £70 I started to thing 'sod it' because 20" wasn't much more.

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Nokia chief Elop: 'Android? Hey, anything's possible!'

Dave 126
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>(but there's an S III Mini just out, so someone is listening)

The SIII Mini isn't just smaller, it has a slower CPU and a lower-res screen besides other things. You'd be forgiven for overlooking that, since calling it the SIII Mini is only going to confuse buyers.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hmmmm

>Had Nokia gone with Android, they could easily be where Samsung is now - maybe even above and beyond.

Er maybe, but then Samsung make screens, CPUs and memory. I'm sure that has helped them in some way.

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Dave 126
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Re: either

My Sony Xperia has very good reception, ta, and I live 'in the sticks'. Camera is reasonable, but I usually keep an LX-5 in the car. No complaints. Nokia's top PureView is very impressive, and is an elegant solution to lowlight vs 'zoom', but is so pricey... for less cash you can get a DSLR-sized sensor in a compact camera's body (RX-100).

We have an interest in Nokia because of nostalgic memories of things like the 6210i and dreams of what might have been- they way that Nokia had most of the ingredients needed to bring out an iPhone-like device before Apple did, for example, or a reasonable hard-keyboard.

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Segway daddy unveils DIY weight-loss stomach pump

Dave 126
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Nah, the British bloke who fell off the cliff bought the company IIRC, he didn't found it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Some people enjoy food more than exercise

You got there before me... The Baron, of course, had a heart-plug like every Harkonnnen except for Sting.

More seriously, one of the fat hairy bikers was on the radio the other day, saying that he had changed his diet, and that it amazing the quantity if medication prescribed to middle aged blokes - statins, wolferin etc - just to allow them to continue in unhealthy lifestyles.

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Dave 126
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Re: Alternatively...

And then there was an outside visitor to ancient Rome, and he noted by how much the locals talked about constipation and it's opposite. A result of a refined diet on their alimentary canals.

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Adobe offers free trip to PowerPC era

Dave 126
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Re: Gimp Schmimp

To give GIMP the benefit of the doubt, people say it works better in a Linux GUI than it does it Windows. In Windows, GIMP's tool palettes obscure each other. GIMPshop used to crash on me.

The GIMP won't work with *.HDR or *.EXR files - for that you need a GIMP fork called CinePaint, but that hasn't been compiled for Windows. HDRShop might get you out of jam, but is 'interesting' to use to say the least.

My main issue with the GIMP is that I have never found the equivalent of 'free transform' + hold Ctrl, in order to reposition the corners of the selection rectangle... this is essential if, say, you wish to mock up a 2D design for a cardboard box.

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Review: Dell XPS 12 Windows 8 tablet-cum-Ultrabook

Dave 126
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Re: Docking Station...

Dunno, maybe someone hit the wrong button.

My laptop has 6 USB 2.0 ports... but sometimes I still want a little hub. Why? Because memory sticks stick out too much, and are easily knocked. The 'nano' receiver is okay, but its predecessor was too big, and had to be removed (and usually mislaid) between home and work.

What I envisaged at the time was a little USB hub within a pouch, that could be tethered to the Kensington lock socket, so my dongles and the like were kept safe and near, yet couldn't damage my USB ports in transit.

Next up: Modify my dummy ExpressCard so that it becomes a safe place to store SD cards. Who needs a 3D printer when you have glue and Duck tape?

(Heck, this laptop has such an abundance of ports and sockets... it must be nearly obsolete!)

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Dave 126
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Re: Stuff the lack of connectivity... a swivel screen? WHAT?

Yeah, that swivel... my gut instinct is that I prefer the Lenovo Yoga form-factor... nice and simple, fewer moving parts. I have no reason to think that this Dell will fail, though.

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Mega-res telly demand to boom, say ball-gazers

Dave 126
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Re: Time would be better spent improving gamma and dynamic range.

>At least 13 or 14 stops dynamic range should be the short-term target for digital image sensors so we can enter >the High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) era.

Easily done... just use two cameras and a half-silvered mirror at 45º. You can get cameras such as Canon's C300 that can capture video in situations we can barely see with our own eyes. The correct balance can then be worked out in post production. There was a good video demonstration of this technique featuring a welding torch, HDR'd to the max.

More dynamic range would be good, but I don't think it is necessary to create an image that is indistinguishable from a window, at least for narrative storytelling. Time will tell. Let's see how Peter Jackson's 48fps goes down with film makers and audiences.

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Dave 126
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Re: Seriously? A million units in 2015?

>These guys are crazy.

You are inummerate:

Capegemini, a financial consultancy, defines a millionaire as anyone with investable assets of $1 million or more – meaning that they actually have over a million dollars as that doesn't include the home in which they live, for instance. By this measure there are about 10 million millionaires on the planet, according to Capegemini and Merrill Lynch.

So even if just 10% of millionaires bought one each, that figure would be about right. You say lack of content? That is is so easy to fix, even with existing media- just use a HDD media server, doesn't matter if individual Blu-rays have to loaded onto it first (the butler can do it). Or, shocker, have a media server with 3 x Blu-ray ROMs, cos at £40 they will really break the millionaire's bank.

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Dave 126
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Re: TV boycott

JDX,

you don't understand. Eadon is on a mission to promote desktop Linux by telling everyone the alternatives are crap (instead of using his time to make Linux even better, which I naively thought was the whole point of the OS)

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Dave 126
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All 3D means is that it can go at 120Hz instead of 60 (or 100 / 50 depending on location) and many TVs did this even before the rise of 3D, plus a few pence spent on an IR device to sync the goggles.

If you don't want your new TV to be 3D enabled, just don't buy the glasses. Or poke an eye out, whatever suits you.

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Dave 126
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content medium

What was that recent Reg article? Oh yeah: If you buy one of Sony's £16,000 TVs they will lend you a HDD-based media server with a few movies on it...

If you wanted to be 80s retro about it, just imagine having a shop in every town, from where you can pick up a couple of movies on HDDs (VHS size, conveniently) on a Friday night, and drop em back Sunday. Blockbuster could see their share price rise, until everybody gets fibre broadband.... Be kind, de frag.... [Meanwhile, back in reality]

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Bendy screens are the future, screams maker of bendy screens

Dave 126
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Re: I want a roll-out screen like on Red Planet

Branded IBM, I note, just like the tablets in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Was it Red Planet that had really quite stupid 'scientists' before Prometheus made them mainstream, or was that Mission to Mars? I get them confused.

Lt Ripley: Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?

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Dave 126
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Re: Empty gestures

You forgot:

"Fold into paper aeroplane shape and hope that El Reg SPB don't get their hands on it"

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Dave 126
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Re: I can think of an application: Dynamic posters for CS Conferences

>In black and white? Dead cool.

I'll think you'll find that many mediums started out in monochrome before progressing to colour... printing (by various methods), photography, cinema, television, computer displays...

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Dave 126
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Re: Riiiiight

>How about some bendable spoons?

My baby nephew has one... silicone I think, so that whilst being spoon-fed there is no danger of bashing his milk-teeth should he decide to shift his head.

Larger flexible spoons, again silicone, are used for cooking, in particular for scraping the last of the sauce from the bottom of the pan.

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Dave 126
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Re: "alas"

Exactly, spending money on making a case to house the battery and CPU wouldn't help people to grok the screen tech any better, so they didn't bother.

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Dave 126
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>Bet Apple and Samsung are crapping themselves - LAUGHING.

Apple and Samsung employ people to look at this, and similar technologies, with interest.

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Dave 126
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>I guess its time you upgraded your OS to something that can.

AC, "test, don't guess".

I'm not knocking Linux, but suggesting that it is a universal panacea for all IT woes is just unrealistic, and could disappoint people who follow your 'advice', potentially putting them off Linux.

If the websites he visits use Flash, he might run into problems with hardware acceleration, too.

You don't know what other applications he was running, nor did you suggest he try another browser (an easier line of enquiry than installing another OS, don't ya think?) - on older XP machines with 512 MB RAM, I find Opera more usable than Chrome, for example.

I would suggest he get more RAM, but even that can have some pitfalls, depending on his hardware setup (Intel's advice for some issues is to remove the second stick, for example) so I won't.

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Dave 126
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Would be interesting to know what the minimum bending radius is...

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Dave 126
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Hey Jai,

No reason these things can't use tabs. Some tasks require concentration on a single screen, some tasks benefit from being able to compare two documents side by side.

Kudos to this company for considering different uses for flexible displays, and not just retrofitting them to existing devices. They could well be wide of the mark, but at least they have put the idea out there.

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Dave 126
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>Until someone invents bendy chips/boards/batteries, what is the point?

It would allow devices to have a a screen twice the size of their footprint. Mobile phones have been getting bigger, in an attempt to find a compromise between being pocket-friendly yet big enough to use- but these solutions are compromises.

There have been devices such as Nintedo's newsish Gameboys, the Sony Xperia P Tablet and the aborted MS Courier that have a clamshell form-factor but with a bezel between the two screens... having a flexible display would allow a clamshell factor with no bezel.

As a rough guide, it would allow you a 6" 4:3 screen in a device the size of a 4" 16:9 smartphone (very roughly).

Besides, people are working on flexible batteries and circuit boards too!

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Big screened quad-core Chinese beasts splash down at CES

Dave 126
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Re: Suggestions please!

As if on cue...

I posted the above comment at 12:31. At 13.01 El Reg posts a story about bendy screens!

I would enter smug mode, but have just noticed that I substituted the word 'would' for 'what' in my last sentence above... I must be losing what little of my brain I still have left!

(icon: nearest I could find for 'smug mode')

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Dave 126
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>"and I still don't understand why we need 3g tablets when wifi will link up to your mobile hapilly.."

Maybe because if you have a 3G tablet for internetty/map stuff, you can just use a clamshell phone with nice big buttons and long, long battery life, and not faff around with a fiddly, expensive smartphone.

For actually talking, the clamshell design is the superior form-factor- the mic is next to your mouth, the speaker is next to your ear, there's no chance of disconnecting the call by touching a soft 'button' with your cheek... Plus, should you lose it whilst drinking, cost of replacement is £35, not £350.

3G is usually an optional extra on tablets, not a standard spec... so why object to it?

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Dave 126
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Suggestions please!

Okay, okay... It seems to me that until someone develops fold-up displays (in commercial quantities), there isn't going to be anything too interesting in the world of phone. Fold-up (or roll-up) displays would get around the current compromise twixt pocket-size and sausage-fingered usability, like the calmshell-like MS Courier or VAIO P but without the awkward central bezel.

Fellow readers- would sort of innovation do think this sector needs to give mobile devices the 'wow' factor?

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Dave 126
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Re: Resolution

Being a cheapskate is nothing to with it... anything other than 16:9 is hard to find at any price. If El Reg wants to collect a list of high res / 16:10 / 4:3 laptops, that'd be nice.

It's not just the low pixel density on modern laptops that annoying, it's the aspect ratio. On Windows machines, vertical pixels are eaten up by the task bar, status and title bars, and sometimes a Ribbon like menu bar... not to mention websites with large banners and adverts that require some scrolling before even beginning to read the article. One of the many little irritations of Windows is that the taskbar will unhide at the slightest provocation and obscure the status or tool bar of whatever application you are using. (Another irritation was introducing a ribbon interface at about the same time letter-box displays became the norm... FFS!)

In addition, the centre of a 16:9 screen is is a lower position than that of a 16:10 screen, hardly conducive to a good working position. 16:10 is better but not perfect; ideally, you would have separate the screen from keyboard so that both may be placed in their optimum position... hopefully, time will come that a mobile workstation solution will consist of a tablet, mouse and keyboard- acting as a thin client for CPUs/GPUs sitting in a bag at your feet.

(hoping my old 1920x1200 fantastic plastic Dell keeps on trooping on til that day)

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Nvidia takes fight to Sony, Nintendo with Android handheld console

Dave 126
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A shame maybe, but Sony never appeared to have the critical mass / virtuous spiral of users and developers. Were Sony to aim for the far more modest goal of making an Android gamepad, and certified 3rd party phones and tablets, they would be on to something. They would have a smaller slice of a bigger pie.

As it is, the Xperia S is compatible with some Sony games on the Android Play store, but my Xperia P isn't.

It was mentioned in passing (in the Lego LOTR game review) but gaming-mouse maker SteelSeries has made a game controller aimed at mobile devices. Unlike this nVidia unit, they seem to have considered the way it would be slipped into bags thus and removed awkward protruding parts.

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Dave 126
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Re: Open console is needed

>What is needed is an open console, whereby we return to the bedroom programming days of people publishing >great games as per the Spectrum.

I remember playing Codemasters games on the spectrum, Super Stuntman, ATV Simulator, Transmuter... these days Codemasters spend tens of millions on the latest Colin McRae Rally game - placing cars in sound studios, building models, surveying tracks...

We have had a return to simpler games in recent years- Braid is an example, as is Meatboy. Touchscreen devices aren't good for traditional platform games, but touchscreens and gyros allow for more game types to be explored... a multitouch tablet version of Bullfrog's Syndicate could be superb, offering more control over your squad of cyborg pschos than the single-mouse-cursor orginal.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Eadon Android and Linux

@Eadon

We've been here before with you. I agree that there are trends that may allow more people to run Linux as their primary desktop in future - Valve's gaming plans, for example. Another example is the 'software as a service' trend for the sort of professional productivity applications that, for some sectors, are currently scarce in Linux.

If the mainstream CAD packages, for example, do become OS agnostic, I suspect the move will be driven by a, renting compute resources for tasks like rendering, b, using private cloud services to help engineers collaborate on projects and c, paying for features on a 'per use' basis.

For the time being, CAD users will probably get a Windows machine, musicians and video editors a Mac, and many scientists will use Linux. Whatever tool - or 'ecosystem' of tools - works best for you. Viva la difference.

Don't forget that many small businesses use Windows accountancy software, with a variety of trade-specific 3rd party plug-ins, for such tasks as stock control or ordering... migrating that doesn't sound too fun.

In the spirit of diversity, I hope desktop Linux does well... but I can see plenty of room for improvement (just as I do in other systems). If you want to support desktop Linux, then address these issues constructively rather than knock Windows.

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Dave 126
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Re: Well when you've been dumped by everyone else...

Just yesterday, I was reading Tomshardware's appraisal of Tegra 3- in short, it aids stability but doesn't really do anything the higher-end ARM devices can't do- so hopefully for nVidia Tegra 4 will raise the bar.

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Minicam movie pirate gets record-breaking five years in prison

Dave 126
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Re: The solution is to privatise the prisons ..

>ant-terrorism

Phase Four?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070531/

Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the desert inhabitants

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'SHUT THE F**K UP!' The moment Linus Torvalds ruined a dev's year

Dave 126
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The rules of kernel maintenance:

Rule 1: No poofters.

Rule 2: No member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abos in any way whatsoever—if there's anyone watching.

Rule 3: No poofters.

Rule 4: I don't want to catch anyone not drinking in their room after lights out.

Rule 5: No poofters.

Rule 6: There is no... rule six.

Rule 7: No poofters.

Oh wait, I think I have the wrong meeting...

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Dave 126
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Re: Totally reasonable outburst...

My first dip my toes in the Linux waters was installing Mint on an ancient ThinkPad with a mate, for shits and giggles... til that day, I had never even heard of SUDO before. We installed Mint fairly quickly, but getting audio to work took the rest of the afternoon, though to be fair we were complete novices and the internet suggested that model of ThinkPad had slightly esoteric audio hardware.

I'm normally a Windows user, and I take a fairly dim view of its audio system as well. Trying to use ASIO is a PITA cos WSM keeps jumping in, trying to change the default MIDI device requires faffing around in the registry... I only mess around with audio applications for fun; if I had to do it seriously, I would get a Mac without question.

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Dave 126
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Re: Torvalds is the greatest manager of them all

>not allowed to upset MS by installing Linux on desktops - YET.

Before that happens, common Linux apps (music players, text editors, image editors etc) need to be given names that hint at their function. I enjoy word games based, but not everybody does.

The other major factor for the bloke on the street (whilst he is at his desk) is support for the software he already knows... this is happening in a number of ways, including:

-1st party support for Linux (ie Valve looking at Linux as a gaming platform), many games already straddle more platforms than commercial productivity applications (eg Win, Mac, Xbox, PS3, Wii) so are developed with this in mind.

-Opensource alternatives to Win/Mac software (eg LibreOffice, GIMP),

-Browser or cloud-based software being OS agnostic (eg, Google Docs, CAD at the other end of the scale -driven by convenience of being able to rent compute time as required, and the need to collaborate with colleagues, suppliers and clients)

-WINE

-VMs - though these still need a licence, and for the novice some hand-holding, perhaps to make the VM invisible to them

It might be that Linux only becomes a main-stream OS choice when the choice of one OS over another becomes unimportant.

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Dave 126
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Re: Some are just screamers....

Kelvin McKenzie was well known for his bollockings when editor of the Sun... one hack, after being subjected to a screaming rant for ten minutes asked "Are you going to bollock me now?" and McKenzie creased up in laughter.

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Dave 126
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And many accounts suggest Steve Jobs was more likely to rage at very well-paid VPs, but took a different approach with junior employees. Didn't the engineer who left the prototype phone in a bar keep his job?

It reminds me in a scene of The Thick Of It, where Malcolm's bulldog Jamie concludes a rant at a minister (using violent sexual imagery) then nearly bumps into a cleaning lady- to whom he courteously apologises to.

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Canadian astronaut warns William Shatner of life on Earth

Dave 126
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Re: "...damped by gravity..." ???

>Strings vibrate initially in a plane, but then the plane rotates.

I was under the impression that silicon gyroscopes (tiny vibrating rods) work on the principle that the plane of vibration doesn't change just because its mounting point does... as shown by Foucault (of pendulum fame) by placing a metal bar in the jaws of a lathe, twatting the rod with a hammer, and then rotating that lathe by hand- he observed that the plane of the rod's vibration stays the same relative to the floor, not the jaw of the lathe... at least for short durations over which effects of the Earth's rotation were too small to observe.

This might help, though it more concerned with oscillations and harmonic systems than it is about instrument-specific causes of damping:

The Physics of Musical Instruments (1991) By Neville Horner Fletcher, Thomas Dean Rossing

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9CRSRYQlRLkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Boffins create quantum gas with temperature BELOW absolute zero

Dave 126
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Re: It all depends on how you define temperature

>Nice trick, but it's mostly a creative use of scientific language to sell some elaborate experiments to the broader public.

I think you've concisely defined New Scientist's MO. Good work, sir!

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Dave 126
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Re: Sci Am had a good article on this 35 years ago

Issues of Scientific American have a page in which they reproduce articles from 25, 50, and 75 years ago... so if you want to read the article mentioned above, all you have is wait until 2028 and buy a copy.

Glad to be of service!

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Satnav-murdering Google slips its Maps into car dashboards

Dave 126
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Re: What we really need is an API into the car sensors

Try some searches around "CAN bus wheel speed"....

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/users/brodedj/7970/WheelSpeed.pdf

to get you started. Also, it is discussed on a few sites.

Hard n softwares may be here:

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Integrated satnavs are way better

>What a cretin.

If the inertial (or whatever you call wheel speed differential etc) system is used in conjunction with built-in maps, cumulative errors can be drastically reduced.

And he didn't say 'just a speedo'; the car's CAN bus will happily tell any module information about each wheel.

His point that a GPS navigation system integrated with the cars drivetrain control can be superior to a plain GPS unit still stands... at the very simplest, the car will already know where it is when started up, allowing a quicker fix on satellites (as long as you haven't been towed, washed down the river etc)

Even without this smartness, Honda (or was it Toyota?) made a intertial navigation system in the eighties, using a microfiche-like system for map storage.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hmmm. Android!

>incar entertainment system for the kids on long journeys.

@Simon Round

Hmm, wonder if the tablet's accelerometers can be used to augment the video, so as to reduce the car sickness that can result if the brain receives different clues from the eyes and inner-ears! Kinda like the Optical Image Stabilisation used in cameras, but applied to output image instead of a sensor.

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