* Posts by Dave 126

4921 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

Dave 126
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That'd be a little harder to 'socially engineer', though!

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Dave 126
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Re: Optional

I've done something similar -I plugged a 19v laptop power brick into a 12v external HDD. Oops.

I recovered the data by snipping off a TVS diode from the HDD's PCB, and was able to recover all the data.

The 19v adaptor got slung in the bin.

For anyone who has done the same: http://community.wd.com/t5/Desktop-Mobile-Drives/HDD-TVS-diode-FAQ/td-p/250274

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Dave 126
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Re: Change in society?

>Once upon a time the point of "luxury" goods was that they lasted

What d'ya mean? History is chockablock with examples of extravagent luxury goods. The eggs made by Faberge, the rare cloth dyes and gold thread for your clothing, gold statues of yourself.

In that context, the gold iWatch is not a sign of society's breaking point, it is just yet another drop in the rain storm of history.

Yeah, once upon a time it was expensive to make durable goods... but modern manufacturing techniques allow inexpensive objects to be functional and durable. The manufacturing tolerances on any cola can, for example, are just incredible. We all can now afford sharper knives, better shoes and more intricate toys than any king of old.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mark Up

>Do you think Apple will provide that [TAG's] kind of service?

Apple hired TAG's VP of Sales last summer, and poached a couple of fashion and luxury CEOs in 2013.* At the least, Apple knew what they didn't know and set about learning.

As for service you describe, I would imagine it depends on the sales channel Apple uses for the gold version... an Apple concession within an existing luxury retailer doesn't seem implausible. The service level depends upon the dealer and their margin, and TAG do sell watches at many time the price of Apple's top offerings.... I dunno.

*https://gigaom.com/2013/10/28/why-is-apple-hiring-luxury-fashion-execs-it-wants-to-be-a-lifestyle-brand/

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Dave 126
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Here's one:

Steve Wozniak became rich because of Apple, and he wears an expensive, impractical watch because he wants to and because he can. It's huge. Why? Because it uses Nixie tubes to display the time. You have to like a company (actually a one-man band) that puts this testimonial on its homepage:

“If I wanted to buy a watch that guaranteed I would never get laid, I certainly wouldn't have to spend that much on it.”

—random Slashdot comment

above

“I would have loved to have invented that.”

—Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

http://www.cathodecorner.com/nixiewatch/

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Dave 126
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Re: But what happens a few years down the line

Granddad's retirement Rolex might have sentimental value to you. That is a different kind of value to that discussed in the article.

The 'value' discussed in the article is that of showing off wealth by 'wasting' it. Y'know, like the people who like to show off by drinking a £500 magnum of champagne (though some inexpensive Cava might taste just as good to them)- it is not going to be passed on to the next generation. Cocaine and caviar, similarly.

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Dave 126
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>eventually they will go away.

I have a large stack of National Geographic magazines dating back decades that disagree with you. They almost always carry advertisements for Rolex watches, usually associated with an explorer. Rolex even sponsor various awards for young explorers - part of the cost of maintaining the brand that Mr Worstall talks about.

'Wildlife as Canon Sees It' has been another long-running National Geographic advertising campaign, usually featuring a red-ringed zoom lens that costs thousands of dollars. Again, the aim is to associate the product with professional use in the mind of the consumer.

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Dave 126
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Any biologist will tell you much the same as Mr Worstall. ' Wasted' resources are everywhere in nature, from peacocks tails and moose antlers, to time 'wasting' behavior like that of the bower-bird. Open a window and just listen to Spring.

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Dave 126
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Re: The difference is …

The longevity of a Rolex compared to an iWatch is completely irrelevant for the very reasons the article discussed. Wasting resources proves that you have resources - Hence the old Rolls Royce in a swimming pool antics.

I have some sympathy for Bill Gates idea of a progressive tax on luxury goods - tax puts up the sticker price of a £300 handbag to £500 - so the buyer still shows off their disposable wealth but society benefits.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Dave 126
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Hiya!

The Discworld novels can be grouped into different story sequences, more or less - as helpfully illustrated by this diagram:

http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-20.jpg

EDIT: Go with what Dave 132 (no relation) has said.

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Dave 126
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Re: The Unadulterated Cat

Yargetouttafityabastard!

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Dave 126
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Re: It's sad but also not sad

>I'm still sad though. I'm not normally one to feel this way when someone famous dies.

The same here - it's only been Terry Pratchett, Iain Banks and John Peel whose deaths have brought a lump to the throat... the common denominator seems to be humour. And beards.

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25 years of SNK's Neo Geo video gaming platform

Dave 126
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Are you thinking of the NEC TurboExpress (1990)?

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Augmented reality: Who needs immersive worlds when you've got it all?

Dave 126
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Could be very useful in some situations, and in environments were the drawbacks (looking goofy) don't matter - i.e workshops, construction sites, studios.

I've said it before - a 'smart workshop' would be lovely, where a physical work-piece becomes a CAD sketch plane, a virtual model taking its references from real pre-existing features.

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

Dave 126
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Re: A bit too much...

>If we're going to be all personal anecdote about it...

All you've shown by your opposing anecdote is that some people require USB ports. All AC suggested is that some people don't.

Yet you presented your post as a contradiction of his. Oh well.

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Dave 126
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Re: It is an old Jobsian obsession

> is Apple expecting their cultists to automatically use USB hubs? What point in a laptop if so?

I suspect Apple is expecting their customers to mostly buy Macbook Airs and Pros. The average consumer will first look at the cheaper and faster Macbook Airs, and will only choose to spend the difference if the new Macbook really suits their needs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Welcome to the wireless world

>Yeah, bog standard users don't use printers, mice or memory sticks...

They do, but:

WiFi printers are cheap and common in the home, and have been the norm in business and academia for some time.

The laptop doesn't need a mous, it has a trackpad. Bluetooth mice are available.

Your argument is what, exactly?

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Dave 126
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Re: @Andrew Its called drinking your own cool-aid

It's not gold-plated, it's just goldie-coloured. However, the quantity of gold used in gold plating is tiny anyways.

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Dave 126
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Gamers and some designers prefer the low latency of wired mice - these people will likely prefer PCs or MacBook Pros anyway. Many other people get on fine with Bluetooth mice or indeed multi-touch trackpads.

Here's the thing: you can never satisfy every possible use case with one single laptop.

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Dave 126
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Re: You forgot...

It's still a helluva lot more than my laptop has. My photos are redundantly stored elsewhere, my software doesn't produce particularly huge files, I tend to stream movies rather than download indefinitely. True, if I was going travelling some place boring for a month and just wanted to watch films, I might feel the pinch at only being able to store 70 films, but hey...

The are reasons that this isn't the machine for me, but storage space isn't one of them.

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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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Price slashed on Reg-branded Swiss Army Knife

Dave 126
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Re: Why is it not based on the cybertool?

The lack of a Phillips or PZ is the only major downside to this knife. Realistically, one would want it to have a hex socket to take replaceable driver heads, because no driver lasts forever.

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Dave 126
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Re: Leatherman

Leatherman blades come out of the factory damned sharp and stay that way for a long time.

Victorinox blades come damned sharp, but can also be resharpened more easily than the steel Leatherman uses.

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Can't pay $349 for an Apple Watch? Get a Chinese knockoff for less than $50

Dave 126
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In Bolivia market stalls in 2008, I saw iPod Mini knock-offs sporting a SONY logo in addition to an Apple logo. A belt and braces approach to counterfeiting.

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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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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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