* Posts by Dave 126

4848 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Dave 126
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Re: Fragmentation

It could just be a transitional fragmentation. It is confusing that the Macbook Air is now the default Macbook, and something called a Macbook is a bit niche like the original Air was, but in a year's time the product line up could look a lot tidier - eg, a MB form factor is retired, beefed up or given a new display.

> a problem looking for a solution.

Respectfully, I disagree. Whether or not this watch is the correct solution, I don't know, but a time-and-motion study could show you empirically that allowing notifications to be dismissed or ignored without pocket-fumbling is no bad thing in principle. For some people, that function alone would be of tangible benefoit. Personally, I think Citizen and Casio are on a better path. But that's just me.

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Dave 126
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Re: Plugable UD-3900

Limitations in OSX?

Strangely this device seems to do the same sort of thing and yet supports Windows and OSX:

http://www.targus.com/uk/usb-3_0-dual-video-docking-station-acp70eu

As with all these things, reading up on some reviews first is advisable.,

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Dave 126
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Re: Teapot meet Kettle

Fair enough. I'm sure you know that quotes from Apple staff on the Reg are often framed... interestingly. :)

I'm not an Apple user, but product design and user experience in products does interest me greatly - mainly because I can see obvious room for improvement in much of the stuff I use.

In context, the quote was from a man who had been told he had to be interviewed for his company's PR, but at the same time couldn't say too much. Without being absolutist about it, his point was that users aren't in a position to try out every design permutation to discover which combination is best for them - they simply haven't got the time, and it can be a distraction to simply using the device for its intended purpose. Many users would prefer for that heavy testing to be done by someone else. The assumption was also that he was taking a dig at the MotoX for making the 1990s Nokia Xpress-on concept it's chief 'value proposition' - but it was only an assumption.*

Of course the world has fettlers and tinkerers, too - and that is a good thing.

* If true, it was slightly unfair - whilst the MotoX was midrange-components sold at a flagship price (initially!), it focused on the user experience. It featured a low-power co-processor that allowed it to be always listening for the user to say "Okay Moto - where is the nearest whatever?" without the user having to touch it. It was also said to very comfortable to hold.

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Dave 126
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Re: If only 2 ports were allowed, why a 3.5mm jack?

USB 3 / Type C are standards - see USB.org.

This means Apple can't monopolise cables and adapters as they can their own Lightening cables.

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Dave 126
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Re: self-indulgent onanism

Let the heathens spill theirs

On the stony ground

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Dave 126
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Re: Not a universal view

>by God - have I thanked the designers time and again when a twitchy cat has taken a leap in the direction of the charging port.

That is a downside of USB Type C when compared to MagSafe.

The only mitigation I can think of is that some people will charge their laptops from an external monitor or docking station, so that a tug on the cable pulls the laptop across the desk and not off the desk.

Perhaps someone will create and sell a inline Magsafe-style connector. It doesn't have be 'MagSafe' as such, since it is only mating with itself; Apple doesn't own the concept, since Sony use magnetic charging cables on the Z phones, and one manufacturer makes magnetic 'breakaway' guitar cables.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not a universal view

>So what usage pattern are they addressing... someone who does sod all with their computer in case it needs charging?

Er someone who doesn't use USB because their 'producibles' are emailed to their clients, perhaps? Not universal, but not uncommon, either.

I have six USB sockets on my laptop, and to be honest I've still wanted a few 2" USB A Male > USB A Female cables. Why? So that if I'm clumsy, my knocking a USB stick doesn't bugger the USB socket.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not a universal view

Well said. People have different needs from their computers. Some people only use one machine so might get a powerful portable, others will choose a light laptop to complement their desktop workstation. Some folk don't care how powerful a laptop is, cos they only use it as a terminal to their real *NIX computer.

Some people will prioritise typing as their main need and buy a laptop, others just need an x86 machine to connect to older USB and serial instruments so buy a cramped-keyboard Netbook. Bookeepers might liove having a dedicated numer pad. Some find that a Bluetooth keyboard and Android /iOS device does fine. Other people find that their needs are not catered for by the usual suspects, so pay the niche premium for a Panasonic Toughbook, or pay Modbook to fit a Wacom digitiser to their Macbook.

Some people are writers and bloggers, some people are engineers, some are artists, some are doctors etc. You get the idea.

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Dave 126
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Not unprecedented.

The original Macbook Air only had 1 USB port. All subsequent models have had two.

If you need the ports, buy a MB Air or Pro. If your past experience with using an iPad has shown you that your wireless infrastructure (NAS storage, wireless printers, photos from phone camera or EyeFi instead of an SD-card camera) is up to scratch and you really value portability, then buy this. There are people - not me - for whom this machine is fit for purpose.

If you don't often use USB sticks, then the scenario in which you need to use a USB stick whilst having no battery power left will be very rare.

The more interesting questions are around what does Apple's use of USB 3 and Type C mean for the adoption of these standards. It would seem to be a good thing for us non-Apple users, since it was in our pipeline anyway. It is a proper standard (USB.org) so various cables and adaptors will become widely available and cheap in time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Teapot meet Kettle

Curious that you linked only to the Reg article, and not the New Yorker source article in which the quote was in context.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/shape-things-come

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Dave 126
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And yet I have only once used the USB OTG on my phone... nice to know that it is there, but I have never had cause to use it, other than to check it worked (ahem, XBOX USB controller on a Megadrive emulator and VirtuaRacer).

My point is that for some people (usually not Reg readers) their laptops are for typing, spreadsheets and messing around on the internet- USB isn't required. Reg readers are likely to research and then buy the kit that suits them - so they are not likely to buy this new Macbook.

My laptop has six USB ports and I'm glad of them. However, what I'd really like is a single cable to a docking solution.

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Apple Watch: Wait a minute! This puny wrist-puter costs 17 GRAND?!

Dave 126
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'Innovation' is a red herring

Innovation for innovation's sake does not aid the user experience. Innovation is not a goal in itself, and really it's a bit of a strange criterion to judge something by. User experience and fitness for task are how stuff should be judged.

It would seem that Apple have made a Macbook that will suit some users very well, just as the Panasonic Toughbook (again, niche and pricey) suits a very different set of users.

Me? I wanted the monstrous ThinkPad W700ds with the two screens and Wacom digitiser (huge, powerful, expensive) but in truth 95% of the time I'd be better served by a more mobile laptop.

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Dave 126
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Just think of this new Macbook as a sort of iPad. If someone has got on well with an iPad without ever plugging it into ethernet, then this will serve them fine.

Also, it is a narrowly targeted product, almost a tech demonstration or proof of concept. It could be that Apple can't get enough of these 'Retina' 12" screens, so have fitted them to a niche product that they don't expect to sell in as large volumes as the MB Airs or Pros.

The original Macbook Air only had one USB port... all MB Airs since have had twoUSB ports, so it is possible that Apple might either backtrack again for MKII, or else be vindicated in their assumption that some people use USB less often these days.

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Dave 126
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Re: Waterproof?

It is a surface area / volume thing. Also, the iWatch has a speaker and microphone, which have to be waterproofed in a different way if they are still to function well.

I've used a few cheap 50M Water Resistant Casio whist swimming without any trouble. I even operated the buttons under water, which the manual said wasn't a good idea.

I think the last non-waterproof watch I had was a Casio Calculator watch - I was nine years old. I then got the Casio Thermometer watch, and I really wanted the Casio IR Remote Control watch - apparently just the thing for upsetting teachers when they showed videos in class.

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Dave 126
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Re: Need a bigger laptop bag

>Until she needs to charge it and get data off a usb drive at the same time.... Oh, you can't actually plug in the USB drive anyway without an adaptor...

Some people don't use USB drives very much these days, especially people used to tablets, wireless printers, Dropbox, and 'good enough' phone cameras that don't require an SD card. Those who do can buy the Macbook Air or Pro.

Yeah, the pros of omitting a second USB might seem very small (weight and volume savings) but many users would be fine with it.

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Dave 126
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If you can afford to throw $10,000 at this, you probably already own a Piaget or similar... and not just the one, either. These days the people who are rich are very rich indeed, so it is not an either/or proposition for them.

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Dave 126
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Re: Need a bigger laptop bag

>Guess this also means that they will have a 19v 3a usb c cable ready to mistakenly be plugged into some poor device expecting to receive/supply 5v .5a

That's not how USB 3 works. Devices will negotiate with each other as to which supplies what power to which. The horse's mouth:

http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/

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Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

Dave 126
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Re: Time for Chording keyboards to make a resurgence?

Built into a mobile phone case, perhaps?

http://www.srimech.com/chorded-keyboard-for-mobile-phones.html

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Dave 126
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Re: Eternal problem

I take your point - you don't want to invest time in learning to use a device that you won't be able to use forever.

However, from your phone or PC's point of view, this is just a standard Bluetooth HID keyboard.

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Dave 126
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Cost / Benefit (cons / pros)

Costs:

- some learning required

- large to carry

- hard to stow/ juggle if user need to consult eg a paper document

Benefit:

- requires less learning than a Microwriter or other chorded typing solution.

I've posted links about the lad who made an Arduino-based chorded-keyboard mobile phone case.... http://www.srimech.com/chorded-keyboard-for-mobile-phones.html

seems someone has put a similar project (3D files etc) on Github:

https://github.com/Madfellows/Arduino/tree/master/Chording%20keyboard

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Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

Dave 126
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Re: Why?

The watch needs the phone to make phone calls. The phone doesn't need to be in the same room, as the watch can use WiFi or Bluetooth to connect to it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple Pay?

>Am I the only one who can see just a tiny security flaw with scenario 2?

No you're not, which is why it doesn't work like that.

The phone still requires a PIN or fingerprint to make a payment. The watch will make a payment as long as it hasn't' been removed from the owner's wrist since being paired to the phone.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple Pay?

>But that just means you have to steal the phone, the watch, and a finger, I guess.

Sounds like too much effort, I might just mug a person who has a wad of cash instead.

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Quantum computers have failed. So now for the science

Dave 126
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Re: Simply fascinating...

I imagine that the links in the article contain some maths. The article was merely an overview.

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Oi. APPLE fanboi! You with the $10k and pocket on fire! Fancy a WATCH?

Dave 126
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Re: Devices....

There are watches that have 2G/3G/4G radios, but really the radios only consume yet more power. They tend to be bulky, compromised products.

Quite a few smart watches have local storage and Bluetooth, so can be used to play music.

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Dave 126
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Re: What, no Douglas Adams quote?

'I have a well-deserved reputation for being something of a gadget freak, and am rarely happier than when spending an entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that it would otherwise take me a good 10 seconds to do by hand.

'Ten seconds, I tell myself, is 10 seconds. Time is valuable and 10 seconds' worth of it is well worth the investment of a day's happy activity working out a way of saving it.'

Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See, published 1990,

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Dave 126
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I'm no blind fan of Apple, but I too would prefer sensible discussions about certain topics (especially product design and user experience) without the tribal name-calling.

Apple have their business model, which enables them to do some very interesting things (and frustratingly limit their products' functions on occasion). It is inevitable therefore that they will be cited in conversations across a range of topics.

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Dave 126
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Re: Really?

I once read somewhere that many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies wore Timex watches, the implication being that they were there to make money, not spend it. They were not pretending that they are Edmund Hilary (Rolex), Steve McQueen (Heuer) or James Bond (Omega, usually).

I've also read that many members of the Russian government have watch collections worth many times more than their annual salary...

There is an appeal to a reliable, accurate and inexpensive watch... it is no more or less than it needs to be. It shows that you know what you need and how to get it without being ripped off. Really, EMP blasts aside, there is little downside to a Quartz watch over a mechanical movement - the mechanical watch will require servicing every few years just, as many quartz models will require battery changes.

There is also an appeal to more specialist watches. And mechanical watches have a fascination to me, the same part of my brain that loves LEGO Technic and taking things apart.

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Chappie: The AI tale that’s about heart, not intelligence

Dave 126
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Re: Nice review...

Generally, just a rough idea:

Robot: Mechanical device, including bipedal humanoid types. Aka Droids, drones. Dewy and Huey from Silent Running, R2D2

Android: A robot designed to resemble a human, some indistinguishably. StarTrek's Data, R. Daneel Olivaw, Yule Brynner, The Terminator, Cylons from BSG, Replicants, Ash, Bishop, Call and David, Artificial People

Cyborg: A man/machine mixture. Cybermen, The Borg. Robocop.

These aren't hard-and-fast categories, though.

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Dave 126
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Blomkampf hired a conceptual artist for a proposed Alien film.

http://io9.com/neill-blomkamps-secret-alien-movie-looks-so-good-were-f-1677082116

It seems to be official now, with Sigourney Weaver talking about it, and Michael Biehn signed on to reprise his role as Corporal Hicks.

The conceptual art suggest that Blomkampf at least recognises what was great about Alien and Aliens, and what the issues with Alien3 were. He's obviously a fan of the first two movies, just as James Cameron was of Alien. This bodes well. Alien 3 and Resurrection suffered from studio interference, and directors who didn't produce the screenplays.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

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Storm in a K-Cup: My SHAME over the eco-monster I created, says coffee pod inventor

Dave 126
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Re: Smart kettle and an Aeropress

I only have a normal kettle and a digital thermometer - but now I can recognise when the kettle has got to around 80 degrees C. by the noise.

Aeropress is great - i used one to sort a dozen friends out with espresso-like coffees whilst camping at a festival.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not sure why people do not just use an espresso machine instead.

Before I switched to an Aeropress, I used an espresso machine. It was good, but a bit of a faff to clean and to load evenly with ground coffee.

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Dave 126
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Re: Bah ... philistines

The Aeropress is my coffee tool of choice. Takes espresso or filter-ground coffee. It's based on a cylinder and a rubber plunger - the spent grounds are ejected as a hockey puck, so a quick rinse is all it takes to clean it.

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Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

Dave 126
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Re: WTF is this?

Explorers will attempt to uncover extreme wealth even if there isn't any extreme wealth to find. Does that answer your question?

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Dave 126
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Re: I always thought...

Nah, it's in Peru

http://www.peruthisweek.com/travel-visit-the-white-city-of-arequipa-peru-103259

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Dave 126
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You are a wise-cracking intergalactic smuggler, on the run after being wrongly accused of murdering your wife, who tracks down rogue replicants and I claim my fiver!

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Dave 126
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A. Coatsworth deserves my upvote... but I had to use the internet to find out why!

('Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family', a H.P Lovecraft story concerning explorers and a city of white apes)

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Dave 126
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Re: Don't tell Steven Spielberg

I didn't mind the jungle setting in Crystal Skull. It was the Erich Von Daniken influences that spoilt it for me.... that, and that fridge.

Indiana Jones at the Mountains of Madness, anyone?

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Dave 126
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Re: White City of the Monkey God

1 Infinite Gloop

White City of the Monkey God

MMOFJ (Miles and Miles of F'ing Jungle)

Honduras

If out, please leave parcel with Mrs Trellis at Number 3.

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Nvidia waves 4King big Android Shield at games console warzone

Dave 126
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Re: Shame..

>Shame.. About the whole controller thing.

What do you mean? You can use PS3 and PS4 controllers on Android devices.

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Saygus aims buffed up V2 Android mobe at Samsung

Dave 126
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Factual info: Current Lollipop is buggy, update isn't here yet. Citations:

Bugs in Lollipop 5.0:

http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/the-worst-bugs-in-android-5-0-lollipop-and-how-to-fix-t-1663090445

http://www.androidpit.com/android-5-0-lollipop-problems-and-solutions

Lollipop 5.1 release:

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/android-5-1-lollipop-update-nexus-4-nexus-5-nexus-7-nexus-10-coming-next-month-report-624657

I wasn't trolling Android - I use KitKat myself. Indeed, I'm happy with it so I'm not fussed if Sony take their time rolling out a stable version of Lollipop for my phone.

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Dave 126
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Saygus revealed an Android QWERTY phone in 2010, but it never materialised. Let's hope they fare better with this effort. http://www.engadget.com/2014/11/11/saygus-v2-smartphone/

Even if it doesn't work out, perhaps it will prompt Samsung to release an 'Active' (read: ruggedised) variant of the S6 with a removable battery. Whilst we're at it, a phone with a swappable battery would ideally have a small auxiliary battery to provide power whilst the main battery is being swapped over, so no restart is required.

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Dave 126
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>Lollipop is in the works, but the company refused to be drawn on exactly when.

Because Google hasn't yet released a bug-free version of Lollipop, maybe? It wouldn't be of any advantage to Saygus to draw attention to Google's misstep, either.

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Dave 126
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Re: The case

Too right - it ain't easy. Any cost and headaches involved with making a small flat part are only going to be many, many times greater with large 3D part. This product didn't warrant a costly bespoke case, IMHO.

The blanking plates could be ABS, steel or aluminium*. Prototypes could be cut by hand, or CNC drilled or laser cut. Small production runs could be laser or water cut. Larger production runs could be stamped out, after investment in a tool.

The plates could then just be assembled into an 'off the shelf' moulded enclosure, for which the cost of tooling has already been shared amongst previous customers.

*ABS might suffice for when you want holes for sockets and buttons, steel or aluminium could be better for tripod mounting threads.

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Dave 126
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The case

Creating injection moulding tools is expensive. The Ada could be based on an already manufactured case design, such as this Instrument Enclosure:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/container-instrument-enclosure-custom-instrument-cases-project-box-207-103-37mm-8-15-4-06-1/1215651145.html

Note the blanking panels. These are far cheaper to manufacture to a specific design (they are a 2D components that can be moulded, stamped or laser cut, depending upon the production run) than the entire 3D enclosure. This way, the TriggerTrap team could still have had the ports where they needed them.

I can't see why Ada required a custom case, with all the expensive prototyping and tool machining that such an approach required.

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Curiosity rover RENDERED ARMLESS by short circuit

Dave 126
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Re: Remote Power Control Interfaces and their Shortcomings

Short ARM? I thought it used a Power chip!

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Chasing pennies, Sony, Microsoft and smartphone biz rivals retreat to mid-range

Dave 126
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About the Chinese...

Xiaomi are on the rise. They are pushing their brand in the US with a media tour, but aren't selling their phones there just yet. One review describes their new flagship as a cross between an iPhone and a Galaxy Note, with very good tolerances and build quality:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/26/8107087/xiaomi-mi-note-review

I've heard good things about Xiaomi's MIUI version of Android - it's available as a ROM for handsets from other vendors - but I've personally never bothered unlocking my bootloader and messing around with custom ROMs.

Heck, it wasn't that long ago that few of us had heard of HTC.

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Ford to save you from BIKE FITNESS HORROR

Dave 126
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Re: all the wheels?

>The pro version is designed to fold into a Transit van with the wheels removed.

What, so if you don't remove the wheels from the bike then you can't fit it in a Transit? Just how big is this bike?

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Pebble Time Steel ready in May. Plus: Now you can strap on sensors, GPS ... Geiger counter

Dave 126
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Re: Light years ahead of competition

The competition have more features. If you want a connected watch with fewer features than the Pebble, there are Bluetooth watches that last over a year without charging or a battery change.

It's up for consumers to pick their own sweet spot on the features against battery life graph.

You've found yours at five days - and I agree that only charging every couple of days (so leaving yourself a couple of days margin) doesn't sound like too much hassle - and that's good.

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Dave 126
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Re: A Minor Quibble

Agreed - this Pebble just reminds me of a c.1984 CRT monitor.

If you don't mind the 'Sports Watch' look, and you only want some limited functionality, you might look at the Casio Bluetooth Watch or the Citizen EcoDrive Proximity. Battery life is 1 year for the Casio and forever for the Citizen.

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