* Posts by Dave 126

4993 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Samsung's bend blame blast: We DEMAND a Galaxy S6 Edge do-over

Dave 126
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>Mind you anyone who goes around bending phones or sitting on them is probably a bit dumb anyway.

OTOH we have the Sales of Goods act, a product must be fit for the purpose for which it is sold. It is not unreasonable for a mobile phone to be put in a pocket, or to assume the engineers have done their job.

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Dave 126
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Re: Glass is not meant to be bendy

Glass can be made bendy by using it in very thin sheets. Most damaged screens are a result of impact damage - not bending - exerted through a small area by a piece of grit or similar.

That said, I use a Z3 Compact with a ' wallet' case to protect the screen. The phone thickness to screen area ratio is high compared to Apple and Samsung flagships, so bending moments are reduced, and the waterproofing gives extra peace of mind. I have a physically active job, so I don't want a huge slab in my trouser pocket. The downside is that the screen is smaller, by my eyes are still young enough to just fine with that.

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Apple Watch: When I think about you, I digital touch myself

Dave 126
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Re: <snore>

I wasn't proposing that a watch take on the same applications as bigger devices, but only that the sum of a few useful applications might prove to be as great as a single 'killer application'. Weighed up against the costs (money cost, size cost, charging up faffing around cost, aesthetic cost etc) of course.

So, the chief advantages of a watch are that is is quicker to look at than a phone, and it is always with you. Applications that present quick, simple information with little user interaction could be more appropriate to a watch than to a phone. Time and message notifications are the obvious examples, followed by direction headings if you are using it to navigate. More specialist watches already include direction, altitude and heart-rate.

Being always with you, a watch could also fill the role identifying you- which is what our bank cards, keys and passwords already do (the devil is of course in the details of the implementation... and the recent experiences of some car drivers doesn't instil confidence in previous 'wireless key' efforts). It can also be used to to find your phone.

Whilst user input on any watch-sized device is limited, it is superior for some applications. Example: I often rotate the bezel on my conventional analogue watch to remind me of when my parking ticket will expire or my food will be cooked. This takes me a couple of seconds, and doesn't involve me taking my phone out of my pocket, unlocking it it, navigating to the timer app and then entering some some numbers.

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Dave 126
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Who did what first doesn't affect the user experience. What makes a product good to use is more about which ingredients are included - or omitted - and how they work together.

Take the iPod - the form factor of a higher-end cassette Walkman with a wheel from a Bang and Olufsen telephone on the front (or a Sharp Minidisc player 722 if you want to stick to personal audio products). Neither element was new or novel, yet Apple beat the competition in marrying the two to a new Toshiba 1.8" HDD. Heck, Creative based a HDD MP3 player on the form factor of a personal CD player - they deserved to fail. Prior to that, Sony had done a lot of work with scroll wheels, on their professional AV editing equipment, and on their mobile phone OSs.

Macs have supported right-button-click since OS 8 in '97, and the Apple-key modifier since before then. Unix and RiscOS users might have wondered where the middle button had gone in Windows. My current mouse has quite a few more buttons that I use as modifiers (pan, rotate, zoom) which previously were assigned to F1, 2 and 3. Other modifiers (Shift, Ctrl, etc still require me to use the keyboard, and it's no effort, even when the modification changes upon the context).

The OS defaults don't really matter - people will fine tune individual applications to their will anyway (digitisers in Photoshop, Space Navigators in CAD, keyboard shortcuts everywhere, gamepads for games)

(I've never owned any Apple kit, but have used RiscOS, CAD on Unix and Windows, media players from Sharp, Sony and iRiver, and cameras from Panasonic and Sony. Logitech made my mouse. My Samsung tablet is in a drawer somewhere. My newest purchase was a combination camping lantern and flashlight with a pleasing user interface: a single button. Tap on, tap off. Hold to dim, hold to brighten. Double tap to switch between lantern and flashlight. Triple click to turn both on at once. After being turned off, it remembers its last state for ten minutes.)

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Dave 126
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Re: <snore>

>they've not managed to come with the "killer app" for smart watches yet.

There was no single 'killer application' for the iPad either - just lots of quite useful ones, even in its clunky MK I version - yet is has sold well. Will the same be true of the Apple Watch? Possibly for some users, and possibly more if Apple Pay is adopted more widely.

I think I would personally find 80% of the utility in something that was 80% simpler - i.e, the most useful useful things like notifications and remote media controls don't require a large colour screen or powerful CPU.

What would be nice is if the Register had an article giving an overview of the smart/connected watch market at the moment, including the simpler fitness trackers, Casio Citizen and Sony watches, through Pebble and Martian, and up to Google Wear and, yes, Apple.

Interesting times.

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HP Stream x360: Flippable and stylish Chromebook killer

Dave 126
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Colours...

I opened the article, and thought I'd clicked on that Volvo Polestar review again. Too blue!

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Take a deep breath, Apple: Europe snaps on gloves for vigorous iTunes stream pat-down

Dave 126
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Re: Not a surprise

> It's pretty hard to be more scummy than Microsoft, but apple have achieved it.

I think you'll find that part of the music industry has a far longer history of scummy abuse of consumers and artists than Apple or MS does.

In any case, all this article is about is the European Commission asking some questions to see if a investigation is required into a service Apple hasn't even launched yet.

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Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

Dave 126
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No Joke...

I know of an independent DVD Rental shop in Bristol that still has a small number of VHS cassettes in its library - films that never received a DVD release. Should a customer rent one, the shop will lend them a VHS machine for free.

Occasionally they turn their web-cam on - so they could in theory point the cam at the TV on their desk and stream VHS movies at one frame every two seconds...

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Apple's 13-incher will STILL cost you a bomb: MacBook Air 2015

Dave 126
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Bootcamp?

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Dave 126
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Re: Low res?

Ingredients in that debate should include the hit on battery life that hi results screens bring, from the extra light output required to the gpu to drive them.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hang on a sec

If you find yourself sticking loads of dongles in the new Macbook on a regular basis, then you have bought the wrong machine.

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Building a better society from the Czechs' version of Meccano

Dave 126
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Re: And....

Trademarks are held in different categories - Apple Computers weren't in the same business as the Beatles' Apple Corp for many years. Once they were, courts were used to come to a settlement everyone was happy with. Nintendo didn't start with video games, Nokia didn't start with phones- it is not always clear what areas a company will work within at their outset.

You forgot the iPod name - first filed in the early nineties, later used for Internet kiosks.

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No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Dave 126
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Re: Was it bling or power?

>Was it bling or power?

The two often go hand-in-hand... if you went around wearing a large gold chain and the local hardman decided he wanted it, you might not be wearing that gold chain for very long.

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Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

Dave 126
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Nixie watch

Woz sometimes wears a watch that uses nixie tubes for its time display. When he says he's going to try the Apple Watch and see how he gets on with it before buying a posh version, I'd file that under unsurprising.

He is also known for using Android phones as well as iPhones - and probably Win Phones too - though he's settled on just iPhones these days. Actually, he makes a very good point: his ideal phone/device might contain elements of iOS/Android/whatever and Apple/Samsung/Whoever, but he as a consumer will never get to use his 'ideal' phone/device because vendors try to retain USPs for advantage in the market place.

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Dave 126
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Re: I for one welcome

Warm fusion... so, the issue is simulating favourable conditions within the best known information, identify what needs to be learnt, commission real physical experiments to reduce the uncertainties, repeat, test... and along the way refine the algorithms that control the above. An AI could do that, but so could we.

For 'AI's, the issue is motivation. Maybe an AI would be happier existing outside the Earth's gravity well, taking power from the sun.

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Becoming Steve Jobs biography: ‘Much of it was chutzpah and self delusion’

Dave 126
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Re: What's the fascination?

And to balance Mein Kampf, there have been many biographies of a man who advocated the gassing of Marsh Arabs, managed his own image, and made withering remarks about damn near everybody. Still, Winston Churchill was an interesting man.

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So, you know those exciting movie-style 3D visual cyber attack ops centres?

Dave 126
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Article picture...

... show's Pingu from Nathan Barley. It's nice to view the James Bond films as being a sequel to Barley, in which Pingu is no longer a Flash animator for the original Shoreditch twat and has got himself a proper job with the government.

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Imagination touts cheap Firefox OS MIPS slab to Chinese kitmakers

Dave 126
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Re: MeToo

>Tell us what distinguishes MIPS and where is its ecosystem coming from?

I had a quick scan around the interwebs, and in general pundits are saying:

1 Competition (ARM Vs Intel Vs MIPS) is good for consumers

2 Factors such as process size and compilers make it difficult to compare architectures

3 That said, MIPS can show good performance per watt and per die area

5 The difference between architectures isn't what it used to be -clever techniques and tricks can be transferred between them to some extent.

6 Some of the hardware constraints (such as cost of RAM) that dictated a choice of architecture don't apply in the same way any more

7 Intel own 5% of Imagination, and use their PowerVR graphics cores in some Atom products.

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Microsoft sniffs around Xiaomi Mi 4 smarties with Windows 10

Dave 126
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Re: Kind of pointless with ARM

DrXym is confused, but to be fair his confusion is Microsoft's fault: Their strategy and communication hasn't progressed very smoothly. MS do seem to be making a bit more sense now, signified by the jump from Win 8 to Win 10 with the missing '9' marking a line in the sand.

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Fanbois: We paid $2000 for full satisfaction but now we have SPREADING STAINS

Dave 126
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Re: In other news...

A link about the tablet Anonymous IV mentioned:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/20/8267259/google-tablet-ebola-chlorine

It's a big lump of polycarbonate. No mention of it be charged wirelessly. Maybe the remote parts of Africa that it is being used in they can't afford the inefficiency of wireless charging. That said, a chlorine-resistant contact-charging system isn't too hard to engineer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wipeout!

>My biggest issue, though, is environmental - how much of what's in there is easily recyclable, and how much is toxic - or potentially toxic…?

Valid questions.

First up, making laptops that are are reliable and more powerful than the user needs increases their life and reduces the amount of recycling required. The longer a laptop battery lasts on one charge reduces the number of charging cycles over a year, meaning that the lifetime of the battery will be longer. The same goes for repairing - although Macbooks are tricky for amateurs to repair, Apple can repair them and sell refurbished units. Not ideal for some owners, but better than nothing.

Secondly: The less material and components in a machine, the less recycling is required. SSDs contain less material than spinning rust HDDs, laptops without an optical drive contain less material than those with them, etc.

Okay, onto recycling: The cases are aluminium. Non toxic, easily recyclable. By using glue instead of screws, the human labour of reducing a laptop to its constituent parts is reduced - batch process in an oven, or continually process on a conveyor belt through an oven.

That said, here is a Wired.com opinion piece that disagrees with everything I have just said. Personally, I would be worried if a Wired article agreed with me. You can judge for yourself the validity of their arguments: http://www.wired.com/2012/10/apple-and-epeat-greenwashing/

Toxicity: These days toxic materials are more of an issue during the manufacture of laptops than they an hazard within a laptop - people have more experience of using lead-free solder, and screen backlights are no longer the CCFL type that contain mercury. Green Peace seem optimistic: http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2014/08/15/apple-takes-first-steps-detox-manufacturing-supply-chain/

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Dave 126
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Re: ER...

It is possible to be pro-pr0n and anti-Flash, y'know.

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Dave 126
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Re: In other news...

Similar note: The NHS once considered iPads for nurses' note-taking devices - the lack of keys and tight tolerances on the split lines made them fairly easy to disinfect. The iPads (or was it iPhones, I forget) were not adopted because of battery life concerns.

Sony make waterproof tablets, but the official advice is to rinse them with fresh water after they have been submerged in chlorinated swimming pools or sea water. Seems tome that a portable computer for medics would be best fitted with a wireless charging coil, and the whole thing sealed in epoxy or similar.

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Dave 126
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Re: Casio

Which division - cash machines, audio keyboards, watches, calculators?

I've had good customer service from Casio many years ago, repairing for free a G-Shock watch that I had abused unreasonably. (Hmmm, you should never tell a teenager that something is indestructible)

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Dave 126
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Re: Wipeout!

If its a cult, then I can still agree with some of the doctrines without being a paid up member, or an apologist, just as I can agree with some Old Testament advice such as separating the clean from the unclean in the kitchen without being Jewish.

Just some ideas:

-16:9 isn't great for desktop use

- Adobe Flash on mobile devices is a shit idea

- Blue LEDs are just shit, unless you are a bona fide member of the emergency services - they don't make kit look 'high tech'. The same goes for boy racers who have stuck them on their Renault Clios.

- DRM on musicis shit

- Desktop applications should retain menus, and not swap them out for some newfangled Ribbon interface.

- MagSafe

- Just stick a 3.5mm headphone socket in it (you wouldn't believe the variety of proprietary headphone sockets from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung back in the pre-Android days)

Now, I don't own any Apple kit, but neither do I throw the baby out with the bathwater. Credit Apple when it is due, and your criticisms of their occasional engineering, customer service or manufacturing cock-ups, and of their industry strong-arming, will carry far more weight.

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Woman caught on CCTV performing drunken BJ blew right to privacy

Dave 126
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Re: Shouldn't the question be...

Yeah - Jeremy Beadle used to pay £250 for video clips... neatly, that is the same amount as the fine for smoking in an enclosed public place.

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Our 4King benders are so ace we're going full OLED, says LG

Dave 126
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Re: HDR?

>HDR photography involves taking a range of photos of different brightness of the same scene, and picking the best of the darks, middles and brights, and manipulating the images in software to make it narrower overall.

'Exposure bracketing' (taking several photos with different shutter speeds) is one way of generating a HDR file, but some modern DSLRs are already capable of capturing a higher dynamic range than a LCD or print can convey. Regardless of how it is generated, this file can be 'squashed' down to a final image that can either look tacky, or can look more realistic than a normal photograph.

Of course the issue is that our eyes are pretty darned good, continually adjusting to the lighting environment, and our brains do a lot of 'post processing' to give us the illusion of a wide, sharp field of view. If we look to a bright sky our pupils narrow, and if we look into the shadows our pupils dilate - our eyes don't take in all the dynamic range they are capable of simultaneously, but our brains make us think that we do. Of course our eyes have limits - hence welding masks and light vision goggles.

>So while HDR in future technology would most certainly be a good thing, I think we're a long, long way away.

Some of the pieces are falling into place: provision for the extra data (depth) per pixel is a part of Rec. 2020, which defines various aspects of UHD video.

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Dave 126
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There's a better case to be made for curved computer monitors than there is for TVs.

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Dave 126
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A lot of people choose not to buy plasma because they wanted to use it with games consoles or as PC display. The latency of plasma wasn't ideal for gamers, and the fear of screen-burn put off others.

My sports-watching friends love their plasma, however.

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Dave 126
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Re: content is king

>That would certainly explain the runaway success of 3DTV

For sure, the lack of depth perception is one way we can distinguish an image from reality. However, it is most noticeable with foreground objects against distant background objects. In addition, a lot of our depth perception doesn't require two eyes because our brains still perceive the same parallax from small movement of our heads - something that 3D specs can't replicate, but a moving camera can infer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Is LG a good brand?

"Lost all faith..." is correct, a few other TV vendors, including Sony, will occasionally or exclusively use LG-made panels.

LG sell a wide range of televisions, some said to be very very good, some said to be mediocre. This is usually reflected in the price, where one 1080p LG set can cost twice as much as another 1080 LG set of the same size.

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Dave 126
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Re: I wonder if they've spent any money on the UI

>I wonder if they've spent any money on the UI

Yes they did, LG bought WebOS.

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Dave 126
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Re: content is king

>Of course, like audio-phools, many home cinema enthusiasts like buying and/or tinkering with hardware

Anyone can tell the difference between looking through a window and looking at a TV displaying the same scene. This should tell you that there is clearly room for improvement, especially in the area of dynamic range.

Most people couldn't tell the difference between a reasonably good stereo system and a stupidly expensive one with cables made from the fleece that Jason and the Argonauts retrieved.

Yeah, some content is shit, and Tommy Cooper isn't going to be any funnier in 4K, but some people do enjoy beautiful cinematography and natural history.

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Dave 126
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Same best practice as mastering audio - make high dynamic range content available to the consumer, and they can use their playback equipment to level the volume/brightness as they see fit.

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Dave 126
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Re: HDR?

>High dynamic range. This makes recording in the dark clearer to see, although not sure how this translates on Tele?

Imagine a photograph of a white car on a sunny day. With a traditional camera, you have use an exposure appropriate to the environment, and your 'output' is a piece of paper, with white being the brightest and black being the darkest. In your printed photograph, the car would appear to be just as bright as the sun - the dynamic range is constrained by the paper.

Now, imagine if your output was formed of pixels, each of which could either be as bright as the sun or as dark as a coal mine. The white car would appear white, but your eyes would now perceive the sun - and highlights on the car - as being far brighter. This display would be far closer to how we perceive the everyday world around us than a paper print - or traditional LED TV - could be.

For this to work, the whole workflow - from camera, through editing and onto the display - must contain extra information per pixel.

Your car dashcam is probably capturing a HDR information, but its output is a conventional LED screen. Because its purpose is to capture evidence (a license plate on a sunny day, or at night) rather than to give you a realistic image, it will massage its raw sensor data into a JPG.

DSLR cameras can dump their sensor data to a RAW file, allowing the photographer a little bit of margin over exposure at the post-processing stage.

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Intel's cheap and Android's free: Not any more, says TAG Heuer

Dave 126
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Re: Front runners?

>In terms of cool watches, why have a smart watch when I have a smart phone in my pants pocket?

Because you can't read your phone when it is in you pocket? (Unless you have transparent trousers) This is the very same reason that wristwatches became popular over fob watches.

Don't get me wrong - there is no current smartwatch implementation that I want, but the concept itself is sound.

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Dave 126
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TAG Heuer and Google are no strangers

Tag Heuer had a range of 'Vertu-lite' phones - one a classic candybar with keypad and sapphire screen, another was a Android affair - with all the usual bits of alligator and precious metal hung off it.

http://www.phonearena.com/phones/manufacturers/TAG-Heuer

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Dave 126
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>Let TAG design the case, strap, and over all exterior look while Google/Intel make the tech inside.

That'd be a good concept - produce a module that established watch makers can incorporate into their designs.

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

Dave 126
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>With 40% of crash involving fire, do we need another source of ignition?

Well, given the huge number of sensors, junctions and actuators on modern cars' internal networks, I can't see what difference this device will make re fire risk.

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Man hauled before beak for using drone to film Premiership matches

Dave 126
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Re: cool music - can anyone identify it ??

I don't know - have you tried using a Shazam or TrackID app on your phone?

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Dave 126
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Re: Screw the legal aspect for a moment...

Hmm, all of those football spectators must give off a bit of body heat - is there any drone that ride the thermals like a kestrel?

For his purposes, a small blimp might be better - and safer. Obviously there are some very well funded outfits looking into methods for observing an area for long periods of time... though something that can be taken out with an air-rife is of limited use in areas where the locals will take exception to being spied on.

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Dave 126
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Screw the legal aspect for a moment...

...and tell us what crazy battery technology he was using to keep a drone in the air for 45 minutes!

What was he using and where can I get some!

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Dave 126
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Re: Perjures?

>Interesting snippet - the plea ("guilty or not guilty?") is not taken under oath.

That is an interesting snippet. There isn't a penalty for perjury for pleading not guilty if you are then convicted, but in reality pleading guilty early will often result in a reduction of the eventual punishment.

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Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Dave 126
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Re: Apple Watch

>Pebble have got the power/functionality balance right imo.

Exactly. There are few different sweet spots on that power Vs function graph (Casio and Citizen at one end, Apple at the other, and Pebble sitting in the middle), and people will have their own preferences. (Mine would be a conventional looking analogue watch with a monochrome dot matrix display behind the hands, invisible when not in use... much like Martian Smartwatches*)

With regards to the article, the 'ecosystem' that the Apple Watch is a part of is contactless payment. It's up against banks, Google, retailers and mobile operators, depending upon the territory. Apple's system looks to be the best for the consumer (doesn't collect purchase history as the retailers, banks and Google would so dearly like to), its only significant downside is that one must own an iPhone to use it.

*I just learnt about them today. Price point of just over £100, two day battery life, vibration notifications, unobtrusive dot matrix display behind analogue hands, iOS and Android, mic and speaker for Siri / Google Now integration. They have partnered with an existing fashion watch brand - 'Guess' - which strikes me as a sensible enough move; make an unobtrusive module and let let experienced watch brands take care of the industrial design and marketing. http://www.martianwatches.com

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You – yes, YOU – can now 3D print your very own Paul McCartney

Dave 126
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Weird single

It sounds like a second rate David Bowie knock-off. Hell, Bungie should just have licensed Bowie's 'Heroes' for the game.

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Watchdog slaps American Apparel's youthful naked arse

Dave 126
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Re: What is more concerning...

Women wear such garments with jeans, and it keeps the top fairly taught thus accentuating their breasts and flat bellies.

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Dave 126
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Would that be the same Daily Mail that printed pictures of a 13 year-old Princess Beatrice in a bikini? Yes it would, and for extra hypocrisy points, said bikini pic was printed opposite a leading article attacking Chris Morris' excellent spoof documentary 'Brass Eye: Paedogeddon'.

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Dave 126
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>because she is an evil ginger.

Bizarrely, she is only a ginger in the back and 3/4 back shots. In the front pictures she is a tanned brunette.

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$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

Dave 126
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Re: "Higher prices mean cheaper electricity for everyone"

>I don't know why but I always have a suspicion that I am being taken for a ride but am not bright enough to know what ride that is.

I'm sure you're bright enough, but perhaps you haven't spent too much time thinking about these things? If Mr Worstall inspires you to learn and think more about these topics more then he'll have done you a service, regardless of whether your eventual conclusion is different to his or in agreement.

Even if you think he is selling snake oil, then at least his articles will inoculate you against similar arguments from others.

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Dave 126
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>better methods of communication always have grown the economy as getting information passed around is pretty much a definition of how to increase economic efficiency.

Terry Pratchett wrote about the impact of Clacks Towers on the economy of the Discworld, in Going Postal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_of_the_Discworld#The_clacks

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