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* Posts by Dave 126

4072 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Dave 126
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Re: Cured !

I almost bought a load of cheap cheerful junk from China last week, but I took so long assembling my order that the website cleared by virtual shopping basket. I escaped!

I haven't yet placed an order - let alone be in a position to recommend them after receiving my goods - but banggood.com is somewhere I can waste a lot of time just looking at things.

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Dave 126
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Re: stuff that is plugged in with 13 amp plugs draw less than 300mA anyway.

>Or did you have something else in mind?

Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I meant energy lost in the cabling between the end device and the step-down transformer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maplins real purpose...

Haha!

Eleanor Shaw of Bristol, whose husband is a Maplin regular, said: “I knew he couldn’t need that many external hard drives. Deep down, I knew it.

“It even has pulsing disco lights in the window.”

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Dave 126
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Re: stuff that is plugged in with 13 amp plugs draw less than 300mA anyway.

>No-one has too many adaptors and never will until someone standardised a low voltage home rail circuit

You do realise that the lower the voltage the larger amount of energy is lost as heat?

At least a good number of my 'wall-warts' are USB-based these days, so phones, mice, tablets, ereaders etc are catered for. Half the time you don't need the wall-wart because there will be a device (PC, TV, stero etc) near by that has a USB socket.

A 12v standard would be nice, but to be honest I don't have much in the way of 12v kit... and in any case, I guess 12v kit might vary too much in the amount of current it draws.

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Dave 126
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Re: Great headline!

I spent an hour wandering around Maplins last week - again, I didn't actually need anything. After inspecting spray cleaners and lubricants (IPA yes, acetone no, alas), flashlights, something called Sugru, and some self-adhesive magnetic tape, I came away with a USB-OTG cable, three little keyring screw cannisters for storing small things, and a microSD card which was, amazingly, very reasonably priced.

I did notice that they were selling microHDMI > HDMI cables for £45, whereas an independent computer shop near me sells them for £6.00.

Still, being able to get parts for a project the same day is often invaluable.

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Windows 8.1 Update 1 spewed online a MONTH early – by Microsoft

Dave 126
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Re: Brilliant

>Applying updates with no description of what the update is supposed to be doing. And with no idea if these are the final, official updates, or some kind of beta or internal rc release. And no idea if they have any impact on your drivers.

Well, there is only one way to find out, hey?

Seriously though - the sort of people who are keen for these updates would make an image of C:, and just restore it if things go pear-shaped. No problem.

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Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Dave 126
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Re: Drifting OT ... one thing I recall

If you want a Chorded Keyboard case for smartphones with Bluetooth, throw some money at this lad - or encourage him to get on Kickstarter:

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

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Dave 126
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Chorded typing!

Maybe Qwerty keyboard are inherently unsuitable for writing text on the hoof? [Discuss! : D]

Chorded typing, a la Microwriter, is fairly quick with one hand, or so I have been led to believe. Has anyone here any experience of it?

This lad has knocked together an Arduino prototype of a chorded keyboard case for smartphones:

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

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Bloke rattles tin for giant 3D two-headed beast

Dave 126
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>someday I'll be able to e-mail a file to my local 3D fabbing shop for either pick-up or delivery.

You can today, just as you have been able to do so for years.

In the last couple of years we have seen websites such as Ponoko.com aimed at 'hobbyists', whereas previously such services were aimed at, though not exclusive to, commercial users.

Alternatively, search the web for your local 'maker group' and negotiate a price.

3D CAD software has had 'File'> 'Print to...'> [3D printing bureau] for a few years now. Otherwise, STL files usually come in at under the max size allowed by most email services.

Hell, even my local timber yard offers CNC cut materials at around £100 per hour (but their machine is so fast that in reality this service only adds around 20% to the cost of 4' x 8' plywood or MDF).

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X-rated Android antics: Motorola's Moto X puts boot in chunky brother

Dave 126
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@Craigness

You're right, most phones have gyroscopes these days. What many phones don't have, but the Moto X does, is a dedicated low power co-processor that can constantly monitor the gyroscopes and microphones for input... if it validates a signal as a deliberate human input it can wake the main CPU.

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Dave 126
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> [ Shaking the phone ] a surprisingly quick and easy way to fire the camera up. It’s not a feature I recall coming across on a mobile phone before which, on reflection, I find surprising.

I would have thought that this feature was a by-product of the same low power chip that also monitors the microphone for 'touchless voice commands', and so is not seen on other phones because they lack the hardware. I might be wrong, but if you are going to include an always-on chip to wake up the main CPU in response to sensor input, this seems a good use of it.

Apple have implemented an always-on low power chip for similar purposes - capturing accelerometer data without waking up the rest of the (new) iPhone.

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Reg reader rattles tin for GoPro camera 'Stubilizer'

Dave 126
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Re: In software instead?

Rubbish In, Rubbish out.

He covered this in his first post... to stabilise digitally would require a lot of cropping.

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Alcatel unveils 'cheaper-than-Chromebook' Lapdock-alike phablet-powered laptop

Dave 126
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Re: The Future

I'm not sure that a hub exists that will be let you use MHL and USB-OTG at the same time. Maybe a Bluetooth keyboard is your best bet: (scroll to near the bottom of the thread)

http://androidforums.com/samsung-galaxy-nexus/457427-simultaneous-otg-hdmi.html

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Dashboard Siri! Take me to the airport! NO, NOT the RUNWAY! Argh!

Dave 126
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>Really why would a manufacturer design a dash around what seems basically to be a screen that will work only with one type of phone?

It is only being offered as an 'option' on cars - the buyer pays their money, they take their choice. Honda and GM are part of both Apple's 'Carplay' *and* Google's ' Open Automotive Alliance' efforts.

Google is working on a rival system, but one that doesn't require a phone - all the 'brains' are integrated into the car. One can imagine just plugging a Android 'black box' into this Apple-led system to turn it into a Google system.

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Apple investors fall for CEO Cook's product-presentation prank

Dave 126
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Re: This article bore no resemblance to the actual news

I've met/known a few very wealthy individuals... one of them, worth billions, comes into work everyday at the engineering company he founded. Before Christmas each year, he spends two weeks travelling to all his sites and greeting every employee - and he listens. He asked one junior assembly worker who didn't recognise him, if anything could be better, and the reply was "Yeah, the f$%king computers are a bit shite". The middle managers, who had failed to escalate the issue, squirmed where they stood, and IT services were in that assembly cell a day later, installing new kit.

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Open source 3D sensing libraries kiboshed, maybe by Apple

Dave 126
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The code will remain available, so in essence all this news means is that PrimeSense are no longer supply staff and hosting for the website. It was already known that they would stop selling their sensors.

The Kinect 2.0 already uses a different technology, as does Creative, Intel and others. I don't know what that 3D sensing Google phone (for developers) uses.

http://community.openni.org/openni/topics/future_of_openni

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Apple fanbois DENIED: Mac Pro deliveries stalled until April

Dave 126
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Re: American QA?

Its a little unfair to use this example to compare Taiwan and Texas, since the manufacturing processes are different.

Assuming that delay is not due to component suppliers like Intel or AMD, my guess would be that it is the deep-drawn aluminium enclosure that is causing the delay, only because it is a manufacturing process that takes some fine tuning.

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Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

Dave 126
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Re: Already been done

Whilst we're all geeking out on things deep:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/02/the-exosuit-a-wearable-submarine-for-visiting-deep-water/

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Dave 126
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It's just assumed that the Rolex in the books is an Oyster Perpetual, since the first book was published a year before the Submariner was released.

Come the first Connery film, Rolex wouldn't lend the production a watch, so they used a Submariner belonging to the film's producer, Cubby Broccoli.

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Dave 126
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Re: Rolex?

Bond had a few Seikos in the 1980s, between his Rolex and Omega periods. One of them printed out messages, another had a camera and a display - which 007 uses to snap a picture of a lady's décolletage. Looking at the Seiko G757 Sports 100 (device for tracking Fabergé eggs not included), I'm reminded of the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch - especially the four crosshead bolts on the face.

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Dave 126
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Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

Looks more like the Operation Hennessey Underwater SeaLab from the film the Life Aquatic.

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Apple's Windows XP moment: OS X Snow Leopard left to DIE

Dave 126
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> Apple asks you to buy new hardware for its whole cost because your six years old one is no longer supported, quite not as bad as MS.... ooooh, Apple is so nice to customers....

You're talking about hardware that struggles to play back HD video, FFS... most people have moved on by now.

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Lenovo banks on $1 BEELLION Moto turnaround in SIX quarters

Dave 126
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Re: If Lenovo do to Motorola what they did to ThinkPad

The only vendor of laptops with 16:10 screens is Apple.

If I'm wrong, PLEASE do include a link!

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Dave 126
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Eh? The Moto G already runs stock Android, KitKat.

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Pine trees' scent 'could prevent climate change really being a problem'

Dave 126
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Re: Why the fuck would he bother?

You must have missed Lord Lawson on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, then.

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Dave 126
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Re: Art for Art's sake

>You can always rely on a sculptor to be so arrogantly fixated on their own idea of 'Art' that the subject matter gets completely ignored.

That's not really a problem if you have lots of sculptors submitting proposals for the same commission... it is then the selection panel that chooses the final piece.

Infact, one would use a sculptor *because* they have their own idea of art (you wouldn't expect them to fixate on somebody else's idea of art, surely? It's not as if there is a public consensus on what art is, either); otherwise you'd just use a 3D scanner and a 3D printer to create a mold for casting.

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NASA could have averted near DROWNING TERROR in SPACE

Dave 126
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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')

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Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Pronouciation

Fascinating:

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_speakers_learning_r_and_l#Perception

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0028393271900273 (Abstract)

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Dave 126
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Re: Pronouciation

>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).

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Dave 126
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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.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369702112700925

"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."

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Samsung brandishes quad-core Galaxy S5, hopes nobody wants high specs

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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).

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Say WHAT? Qualcomm, MediaTek scrap over who has best 'marketing gimmick' octocore

Dave 126
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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.

- http://www.theonion.com/articles/fuck-everything-were-doing-five-blades,11056/

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DARPA wants help to counter counterfeits

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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What's up with that WhatsApp $19bn price tag? Answer: Voice calls

Dave 126
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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)

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1bn down, 6bn to go: Zuck to grow Facebook by touting 'free internet onramp' for the poor

Dave 126
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Re: Selfies

> 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.

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Dave 126
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Re: It's funny people use messaging apps...

It's not that email is 'too complex' for teenagers, but that it is less efficient (in terms of user interaction) for the sort of messages that people use What'sApp for.

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.

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Sony enlists Michael Jackson's GHOST to flog Xperia Z2

Dave 126
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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.

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We nearly MISSED OUT on iOS7 redesign: But someone snatched Jony Ive from the jaws of quit

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Help! Apple has snaffled the WHOLE WORLD'S supply of sapphire glass

Dave 126
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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.

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