4046 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010
A prison in space?
"Lock Out" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1592525/
A rather fun 'Futuristic prison in Spaaaaace' film, written by Luc Besson wearing his competent 'B-movie' hat (so its more comparable to 'Transporter' or 'Taxi' than it is to 'Leon', 'The 5th Element' or 'Angel A')
Re: Jockeying to be top Android phone vendor
Not so much in the Chinese domestic market. And who knows, maybe Samsung will continue its bet-hedging strategy and collaborate with others on providing an alternative to Google's proprietry bits of Android - app store, map service, APIs etc.
That said, Google have recently smoothed some ruffled feathers by selling Motorola.
Goto (1971) reports that native speakers of Japanese who have learned English as adults have difficulty perceiving the acoustic differences between English /r/ and /l/, even if the speakers are comfortable with conversational English, have lived in an English-speaking country for extended periods, and can articulate the two sounds when speaking English.
Japanese speakers can, however, perceive the difference between English /r/ and /l/ when these sounds are not mentally processed as speech sounds. Miyawaki et al (1975) found that Japanese speakers could distinguish /r/ and /l/ just as well as native English speakers if the sounds were acoustically manipulated in a way that made them sound less like speech (by removal of all acoustic information except the F3 component). Lively et al. (1994) found that speakers' ability to distinguish between the two sounds depended on where the sound occurred
>You tease, you. So how do you say it?
Probably in a way that can't be expressed using the English alphabet. There are symbols for expressing things like rising tones - see http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/IPA_suprasegmentals_2005.png - but it might just be easier if you find an audio clip on the interwebs.
Even then, there is never any guarantee that hear an audio clip in the same way as a native speaker, specifically if your ears were exposed to the difference between 'rip' and 'lip' during a short period in your infanthood, you will never be able to distinguish them in adulthood (hence many racist jokes about Japanese pronunciation of European words).
If anyone else here was wondering, as I was, what the heck 'nano injection moulding' was:
The grain structure of conventional steel tools has placed a lower limit on the size of features than can be injection moulded. Using metallic glasses to make injection molding tools, one can cheaply produce plastic objects on the centimetre scale, with sub-micron surface features.
"Micro-injection molding is widely used to form plastic components rapidly and precisely. Current tools for injection molding rely largely on steels for their strength and durability. The finite grain size in traditional crystalline metals means it is challenging to produce tools with features < 10 μm (Fig. 1b). However, the need for plastic components with increasingly smaller features is recognized, particularly for information storage and bio-analytical applications.
"Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), having no limiting microstructure, can be machined or thermoplastically-formed with sub-micron precision while still retaining often-desirable metallic properties such as high compressive strength. These novel materials thus have enormous potential for use as multi-scale tools for high-volume manufacturing of polymeric MEMS and information storage devices. Here we show the manufacture of a prototype BMG injection molding tool capable of producing centimeter long polymeric components, with sub-micron surface features."
Re: I agree on the HR monitor
Casio used to be fairly clear about their definitions... water resist didn't mean waterproof. Most of their watches (the calculator model aside) were at a minimum 30m water-resistant, and the manual said not to use the buttons whilst it was under water. Then come the 50m models - using the buttons underwater us just fine, apparently - then 100m and 200m waterproof G-Shocks. Of the G-Shocks, some were advertised as being specifically mud-proof, which always puzzled me (maybe mud can get stuck behind the buttons and stop them working?).
There used to be a range of G-Shock phones about ten years ago, but they seemed to for be Japan only.
Re: Peak Smartphone
To be honest, the new features in the S5 (waterproofing) seem less gimmicky than the new features that the S4 introduced (er, Eyeball tracking for pausing videos).
Re: Heart rate monitor!
>I really like that to make the battery last longer they restrict it's usage to just basic phone + text - bit of an admission that they do not have the power efficiency that Apple have.
Its not really an admission of anything other than human nature. No matter how big our fuel tanks, some of us will sometimes find ourselves driving along with the needle in the red, trying to cruise at 50mph in 5th in the hope we spot a fuel station soon.
Sony phones have had this sort of feature for a couple of years now.
Re: Heart rate monitor!
1. Android is open source, though the app store, maps and many APIs (location services, in-app purchasing etc) are Google's own propriety parts (and Google are encouraging more 3rd party app developers to hook into the proprietry APIs). Samsung would rather do without the closed Google bits, and has a Plan B (its own app store and its own equivalents to Google's mail, maps, notes etc apps) up its sleeve, but so far it hasn't taken the plunge as Amazon have done. Samsung also have a Plan C - Tizen - but its Open Source status is a bit fuzzy.
2. Battery life is a function of two things - the capacity of the battery, and the power draw of the rest of the phone. The newer Qualcomm chipsets, built on a smaller process, have been found to be more frugal than previous generations. True, some users would benefit from bigger batteries (some Motorola phones offered model variations with bigger batteries) but that obviously carries a size penalty. Personally, I get on quite well with little Li-ion battery packs.
3. Durability? They've made it waterproof! Other people here can give you an idea of how scratch/chip-proof the screens on previous Galaxy phones are. As for drop-resistance, this varies from user to user. If a phone is designed to be used by people who spend most of their day in carpeted rooms, yet you work on a building site - stick a case on it. It's physics- there is no escaping that protection against drops means adding thickness to the device, so it's better to let users add the level of protection that suits their situation.
Re: ultra-power-saving mode
I would imagine that it works much the 'Stamina Mode' on some rivals phones... calls and SMS texts still come through, but not emails etc because the WiFi, GPS and data connections are turned off when the screen is on standby. You can also set the level of battery at which the phone will take certain actions (reduce screen brightness, turn off WiFi etc).
Reviews of the LG G2 - that uses the same chipset as this S4 - highlight its better than normal battery life, and in part attribute this to the Snapdragon 800 process.
Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?
The first of the waterproof Xperia phones, the Xperia Go, featured a removable back and battery. I don't know what the seal was made of, but it felt like silicone. Materials technology has moved on, so the days of seals rotting after a few years is largely behind us.
True, wristwatches have to reassembled with great care after a battery change, but then they are rated to 50m submersion (though in practice they rarely see more than a couple of metres of submersion in a swimming pool) and the seals tend to be very thin and delicate.
Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?
There are Android phones available in a range of sizes, but most of the smaller (think 'iPhone' sized) models aren't as powerful as their 5" stable-mates. However, Sony make a 4.3" phone with the same quad-core (Snapdragon 800) chipset as this Samsung S5 (as well as the LG G2 and Nexus 5), waterproof and sporting a microSD card port. I'm not recommending it because I haven't used it, but on paper it ticks all the right boxes for some people.
I have used a couple of phones with the Snapdragon 800 chipset, and they are lovely and fast. The £300 Nexus 5 I recommended to my techno-curious old man, and the sheer fluidity of its UI has made it far easier for him to use it without getting frustrated. The one fly in the ointment is that Google have seen fit to make the KitKat phone dialler app 'smarter' than it needs to be, which can cause him confusion.
Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of shaving in this country. The Gillette Mach3 was the razor to own. Then the other guy came out with a three-blade razor. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the Mach3Turbo. That's three blades and an aloe strip. For moisture. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened—the bastards went to four blades. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling three blades and a strip. Moisture or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to five blades.
Re: "SHIELD, Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronic Devices"
>A better question though is, how do we know that this wont be used to spy on....well everyone, who has a device with one of these embedded in it?
Because this system requires either contact with a probe, or close proximity to it.
We citizens already often carry non-contact chips that can identify us - passports, some bankcards, Oyster cards etc, NFC tags - so I'm not sure why this article concerns you so.
Re: Sounds good but
There was nothing in the article that suggest that the electronics would suddenly stop working the moment there is a problem with the authentication process. It sounds in principle to be more like an anti-counterfeiting hologram on a piece of branded clothing than it does DRM
It would of course be at the discretion of the engineer (or the guidelines to which he/she is working to) to ground the aircraft if the authenticity of a chip cannot be verified.
Re: I would be much happier with Video calls
>Ask yourself why Skype is very little interested in a Linux client... do you believe FB/Whatspp would be more interested?
Er, because a) Skype is owned by MS, who make money from Windows, a competitor to Windows, and b) Linux doesn't enjoy the desktop market share either of WinXYZ or OSX, according to any of the fuzzy metrics available. As far as I know, a Facebook video chat session could be implemented in an HTML 5 browser.
What'sApp doesn't have a desktop client for any platform AFAIK... though might it work on an Android emulator on a laptop with a SIM? I dunno.
(I may be wrong, i haven't played with Linux for a while)
> Man can't live on data alone.
No, but data means that a farmer can find out what the market price for his produce is, and so not get ripped-off by middlemen.
Basic data services - based on WAP or SMS - have already made a big difference to the lives of people in the developing world. Some people just have their own SIM, and share a phone with other people in their community.
For sure we are data-fat in the developed world, so maybe we forget that a little data can go a long way.
Re: It's funny people use messaging apps...
WhatsApp presents a better interface than (the default) email client on Android for exchanging a few quick messages back and forth. If you were to conduct a time and motion study, you'd find it a better tool for the job. You don't need click on 'expand all', for starters.
In addition, SnapChat notifcations result in a different noise and notification-LED colour to emails, so you know that it a message written for you, from someone you know well enough to have your telephone number, and probably relates to something that is happening soon. An incoming email could be from work, SPAM, marketing, or something else that doesn't need your attention.
The lock-in is small compared to some other services, since your friends' unique identifiers - their mobile telephone numbers - is independent of SnapChat. Also, people don't tend to go back over old messages, since it tends to be used for 'conversations' about what time to meet up that afternoon, i.e the messages are of no interest or value six months later.
A few commentards here have expressed a desire in these forums for an Android handset with a smaller screen but still retaining high-end internals. It now looks like the 4.2" Sony Z1 Compact is now available in the UK. Unlike 'mini' variants of the Galaxy S4 or HTC One, the Z1 Compact shares the same chipset (Qualcomm Snapdragon 800), 2GB RAM and camera as its bigger brother. It also has a microSD card slot and is waterproof.
Re: Fairies vs Dwarves..
Manufacturing Engineers would be the boys and girls who transform the work of the Industrial Designers into products. The Product Design for Manufacture course was created as an attempt to bridge the traditional gap between the disciplines, by making the designer more aware of the manufacturing processes available - if not to make them an expert in the process, then to at least give them grounding enough that they can communicate with someone who is an expert.
Re: Reliant ?
And yet Tom Karen himself didn't like the whole 'fastback' car concept, like the Scimitar and the Ford Capri:
"nothing good to be said for them except that some people think they look all right. Aerodynamically they're lousy, headroom in the back is lousy, for visibility they're lousy, with a lot of glass they're lousy from a weight point of view and they give no boot access"
Still, as you say, though he didn't like the concept he just did his job.
If the designer has their heart set on some unmanufacturable design, they might merely be a frustrated sculptor. Design is the process of satisfying the constraints of cost, function, appearance, ergonomics etc. and some designers take satisfaction from satisfying these constraints in an elegant way. To do so requires a good knowledge of the manufacturing process that will be used.
Still, some designers will end up spending ten years designing the rear of television sets. Glamorous it isn't.
Re: Reliant Robin?
Yet both sold. They were successful designs.
The Robin was a solution to a real problem - people who only had motorcycle licences who wanted to stay warm, especially in the North East of England.
The Chopper was just dead cool, if you were a boy. It stayed in production for over ten years, and is credited with saving Raleigh. In fact it was updated and released a couple of years ago.
Re: Sapphire Glass is crap...
>I'm at a loss to think of something a phone's screen will encounter that will scratch sapphire but not diamond.
Two things for starters:
The diamonds on rings and other jewellery.
Diamond particles in the dust created when one uses a diamond circular saw blade.
Re: Sapphire Glass is crap...
You're right that sapphire isn't necessarily the way forward... only last week we had an article about manufacturing glass with micro-cracks, which allows impact energy to be dispersed without visible damage. Inspired by nacre, IIRC.
But sapphire prone to chips? I'm hardly the careful type, yet my watch face is fine.
Regarding cost, there is a more informed Reg article here:
Re: Other customers?
The only source cited in the article is Mark Shuttleworth - and his "Apple just snapped up the entire three-year supply of the same sapphire display we wanted for the Edge" quote suggests he was talking about a specific display or display component rather than all the manufactured sapphire.
Re: Yeah right Anonymous Coward
Vertu used sapphire for their phone screens years ago. Shuttleworth's idea it wasn't.
Oh well. You can't blame Shuttleworth for taking an opportunity to bring attention to his wares, but it's a bit rich to say Apple are copying him when Apple and Android phones are merely following the existing trend for ever more RAM, storage and processor grunt.
Wristwatches have sported sapphire faces for years, as did the Vertu phone (a stupidly expensive Nokia spinoff)
Re: Missed an actual selling point there, Andrew
Hehe! None of my iPhone-owning friends use Siri that much, so I'm not sure how much of a draw a similar system might be for WinPho users. I find the voice recognition system on Android phone surprisingly accurate, yet for some reason it rarely occurs to me to actually use it.
I do like the life-imitates-art aspect of this, though. The fictional Cortana was an AI companion in the game HALO, who acts as a PA and guide to the protagonist (the player), an enhanced 'super soldier'. A lot of the research, later picked up and integrated into Siri and similar systems, was actually conducted by the US military with a view to helping its military commanders make sense of the flood of information that can come their way.
Also, the idea of using a video game to introduce users to a concept is rather fun. After all, the Motorola StarTac wasn't that strange to people who had seen a StarTrek Communicator on the small screen some decades previous.
> don't care if that's what the Google people gave you - even if it is, repeating it like it's meaningful belies either terrible laziness or an atrocious misunderstanding of basic technology.
Kinect-like hardware has been around fora few years now - heck, even Intel are pushing their 'RealSense reference to Laptop OEMs - so it would appear to be that the current bottleneck is actually the processing of the raw data. And accordingly, the article expanded upon the custom chips used to power this - making reference to the company's past announcement of a GPU/DSP mashup and speculating on the process size now used. Kinect has been around fora while, but when people have demonstrated it capturing data whilst it is being carried around, it has been tethered to a laptop with a fairly powerful GPU.
The development of a device with novel sensors and accompanying processors - bundled with cellular radios (on the off chance that the user might wish to transmit the captured data elsewhere, shock horror) does not preclude the phone you want. There are plenty of applications for this technology. For example, some of us might want a device that allows us to scan a room, store it, and then consult that data when we get down to the hardware store - or perhaps just use it to send an order for X square metres of floor tiles.
Who knows what software developers might come up with - but they are more likely to come up with something useful if they are actually in possession of the hardware.
If you want call quality, security and decent battery life, get an old Nokia.
Re: Another hairbrained scheme...
As a phone it might not have much use, but that tech in that sized package is very useful already to some people. Time will tell if software is developed that makes it useful for more general users.
Maybe Jony's got bored...
...of designing minimalist computer gear and fancies having a go at a car. He does like his motors - as his appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed testify.
Fancy cars carry premiums of tens of thousands of £/$ over cheaper offerings, Apple computers a couple of hundred £/$ at most. When respected tech sites such as Tom's Hardware have attempted to build generic PCs with like-for-like specifications to Macs, they usually arrive at the roughly the same cost. Where Apple will cost above the odds is in upgrading the base specification. However, the automotive industry is already well adept at that game, and doesn't need any lessons from Apple.
>The sound is pretty good, but it really should have had wifi, to stream from net or network. Without that function its a bit limited really.
For you or me, I agree. However, the whole point of the device was to be sold to people who aren't au fait with ripping music on a PC and transferring it to an audio player, let alone sorting out network shares.
Including networking would have been wasted on the target market, and IMHO Brennan was right to leave it out. (He avoided mission creep).
Whilst most readers of The Reg will be able to put together a more flexible solution for less money, the Brennan JB7 'Jukebox' is a nicely designed bit of kit for people who take longer to get to grips with technology. Basically, it's standalone jukebox, including an amplifier - compact discs are placed in the drive, it rips them raw to its HDD in a couple of minutes and compares them to a (updateable) database on its HDD for tracks and album titles, and then it compresses the WAVs to MP3s at its leisure. It does this all without a PC or plumbing it up to a network.
It is the thoughtful touches that make it civilised... if you skip to the next track, the music segues instead of jarringly skipping immediately.
Reg readers, by contrast, might enjoy upgrading the capacitors on an inexpensive Tripath amp and installing XBMC on a networked Raspberry Pi or somesuch.
Of course we've heard of Meizu...
The Meizu M8 phone received a lot of attention in the popular gadget blogs (Engadget, Gizmondo etc) a few years ago, due to its uncanny resemblance to the iPhone.
My friend posted on facebook the other day that he had just noticed it brought up a map of where a user was when then sent a message via the Facebook phone client and he didn't like it... Personally, I've never entered my credentials into the (not deletable without rooting) FB client on my phone, because it has more permissions than it needs (and because there was a story about it rewriting email addresses in your phone's address book with @FaceBook.com replacements)
Facebook has not earned my trust. Just the opposite, in fact.
>companies plumb out of ideas can get away with this kind of rounded corner type shit.
'Rounded corners' wasn't a patent. It was a Design Patent- a very different concept, albeit one with an unhelpful name. If you haven't got the distinction clear in your mind, your comments are not likely to be to the benefit of anyone here.
On the face of it, Apple had a point - the phones Samsung released after the introduction of the iPhone looked very similar to the iPhone, since they sported the same radius of corners as the iPhone, whereas Sammy's previous efforts hadn't.
Whilst the phrase 'rounded corners' might have featured in the complaint, it was merely a part of the description. It was the ratio between the specific radius of the corners and of the other dimensions of the device that was covered under the Design Patent.
My old man still asks to this day "Is that an iPhone?" when seeing any touch-screen phone (even though I've got him to buy himself a Nexus 5), suggesting that the charge of confusing potential customers is not without merit.
Lay it to rest, please.
Having read through the linked patent application, the prior art that springs to mind is that of the MacBook that some guy hacked about with some years ago... basically, he accessed the accelerometers in the MacBook's HDD and mapped the output to some common user commands. End result? Smacking the left hand side of the MacBook's lid made his browser go back, smacking the right-hand side made it go forward.
Without commenting further on this specific application (I do try and grok a patent application before commenting here, but I am not a patent expert), the OP is correct; the Patent Office might be stupid, whereas a company would be stupid not to try their luck.
Re: Why did you pick such a crap luddite-phone?
>Why did you pick such a crap luddite-phone?
I seem to recall that the writer gave the reasoning behind his specific choice of phone in an article a couple of weeks ago... though he hasn't linked to it in today's piece.
>But seriously... settling arguments in pubs is a *really* bad reason to have a smartphone.
It was the same reason that Guinness started publishing a Book of World Records every year.
>It can surf the web, take photos, take notes, play video, organize meetings, sing & dance. It's a smartphone, just a bad/poorly specced one one with a small screen.
The divide between a 'feature-phone' and a smartphone' is a bit fuzzy, but most people would describe the above Nokia as a 'feature-phone', to distinguish it from phones that run OSs supported by 3rd party software (besides Java apps, obviously).
but as I said, it's a fuzzy definition:
Re: £1040 for an extra 52gb of ram???
Video can be read off the PCI SSD very quickly, so there is less need to keep all of a project in RAM.
Re: Oooo, the shiny!
>Who needs them if you have room for internal upgrades. Just plug in a card instead of some stupidly expensive external apple specific box.
Maybe, but if you're using an external Thunderbolt box to house a $5000 RED Rocket accelerator card and swap it between users and machines, it doesn't seem so stupidly expensive.
Re: Oooo, the shiny!
It's been assumed by many pundits that AMD have given Apple a very big discount on the FirePro cards... Seeing as how 3rd party software for OSX is now supporting OpenCL and not just nVidia's CUDA as a result of the new Mac Pro, it could be worth it for AMD.
>Phone manufacturers are notorious for releasing a phone then simply not supporting it 6 months later. They can't be allowed to do that anymore.
That's one of Google's motives...
Google have abstracted so much into the propriety Google Play Services that Android version updates are now less important... Google Play Services and all its APIs can be updated through the Play Store, without having to push an Android update through the manufacturers and network providers.
Amazon had to source their Kindle hardware from a manufacturer that doesn't make a Google Android device. Amazon are one of the few companies who are in a position to make their own successful app store.
Then there is the propriety Google Mobile Services (Google Play Services) that provides a shedload of APIs and functionality. These are only available to Google sanctioned devices. So Amazon had to provide their own mapping services...
Re: He does understand it
>Only where the manufacturer wants to use google apps.
Chet, have a read about Google Play Services.
Er, its under 'Special Projects Bureau', which is a cover term for 'things that Reg readers and staff might like to play around with in their own time', such as unmanned aircraft, Arduino and small computers such as the Raspberry Pi, 3D printers and other gadgets. Think of it as the Reg's garden shed / garage.
Anyway, this is the Reg, where reviews of computer games were filed under 'Hardware'.
Re: Getting the year wrong
BBC will probably show it again at some point - perhaps if an eagle-eyed reader spots it in the TV listings, they'll tip off The Reg so we can all have a heads-up?
If the BBC do show it again, there are of course ways and means of keeping it, from using modified firmware on your PVR to using that piece of software that has 'iplayer' in its name (in essence no different to recording the show onto VHS or DVD, legal technicalities aside)