4218 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010
Re: Danger Will Robinson
Yep, I looked into this approach a little while back.
Many people will be using XP machines that came with an OEM version of XP. Unlike retail versions of XP, the OEM licence can't be transferred to a different machine. Windows 7 Professional, of course, includes a valid XP license so this isn't an issue.
Normalisation of hearing aids/protectors
Just some thoughts on making hearing aids 'normal':
Many people are beginning to wear ear-plugs to live music concerts - costing a little more than the the earplugs you might wear in a workshop, they are designed to attenuate all frequencies evenly, so as to reduce the volume without colouring the sound.
The musicians on stage often have discreet, custom fitted IEM (in-ear-monitors) to protect the hearing upon which their livelihood depends.
People wear spectacles to correct their vision. People wear sunglasses to prevent damage to their eyesight in the first place - or to pretend that they look like rock stars.
Consumer IEMS are normally designed to be visible as a fashion accessory, just as many people wear spectacles with larger than necessary arms.
I occasionally use my IEMs as earplugs when in a loud environment.
Maybe their is a market for a consumer device for both protecting hearing, and for listening to music - or for chatting to people in loud nightclubs.
Re: What's new?
>you could also buy a landfill android phone built specifically with a small screen and a large battery
Landfill Android devices don't tend to have Bluetooth LE. AOSP only supported BLE a couple of versions ago, though some higher-end Samsung Android devices sported the hardware earlier.
>I would have thought that it would be possible to get similar behaviour at a fraction of the cost using an app and a normal high quality bluetooth audio device designed for listening to music, rather than phone calls.
It wouldn't. These hearing aids contain microphones themselves (not just supporting the use of the mics in the iPhone), as well as containing their own audio processors. All this, and they last for around five days between charges.
Basically, if you are using a device all day every day to help you with all aspects of your life, you don't want to compromise.
>Facebook has started informing users that they'll have to download the social network's separate Messenger app if they want to keep messaging from their mobile phones.
Er, users can still message from their phones by using the Facebook mobile website.
Re: Jack Off?
Use 'Sugru' to make a tactile guide for your fumbling fingers, perhaps.
Or use a USB hub.
Re: So now I will be able to go through three or four different types of cables
Well, you could buy a few short USB extension cables, or a USB hub... not ideal, but surely easier and cheaper than buying all new kit?
You could use a lower power device than a laptop for watching video or making slideshow presentations... then you can use MHL 2.0 (5 V DC/900 mA with MHL 2.0) to charge a device whilst watching video, or using an app.
MHL 3.0 can provide up to 10W.
Making every TV able to power every laptop, though occasionally convenient, isn't going to happen anytime soon. Maybe time to invest £30 on a Raspberry Pi, a Google Chromecast dongle, or some other media streamer?
The Sansa Clip+ lets yuou choose between Mass Storage or Media Device USB connection, so is compatible with everything.
Re: A question
You might conider a Sansa Clip+, available for as little as £27 for the 8GB model. It has a microSD card slot - and 32GB microSD cards works fine. The sound quality is excellent.
You can install the RockBox firmware to overcome any limits on the number of tracks.
If 40GB is not enough, buy another SD card, or hell, buy two Sansa Clips of different colours!
Pass on that one. If the batteries are cheap to make from abundant materials and biodegradable, then it is less important if they need to be replaced annually.
... but personally, I'm more excited about TVs (and accompanying video capture) with high dynamic range output.
Re: Designed to sell screens
It depends on the territory, maybe... it reminds me of the reviews of the first MS Kinect, with many UK reviewers suggesting the sensor was tuned to a larger living room than they possessed.
Purely anecdotal, but I get the impression many US homes are larger than UK houses.
Well, the over-the-top solution would be to have the the TV remain flexible, so that it can transform from a curved set (for a single or couple of viewers) into a flat set for family and party viewing.
Professor Sir Andre Geim on Desert Island Discs, worth a listen:
Not a man to mince his words, dark sense of humour, rejects the Bible and takes a cellar of wine... he's like a Reg Commantard, but cleverer.
"...off and on again"
I won't lose any sleep if I learn that somebody has pissed off/on Jeremy Clarkson.
Re: Oh noes...
>This should piss off a lot of people when they find out that Elon is watching them.
CEO Elon Musk says: “Tesla data logging is only turned on with explicit written permission from customers, but after Top Gear BS, we always keep it on for media.”
I won't lose any sleep if I learn that somebody has pissed Jeremy Clarkson off.
>This does not make them idiots and deserving of being extorted, it makes them victims.
On a similar note, lay users aren't encouraged to back up their machines on an hourly basis... I mean, most PCs or laptops are sold with a single HDD, so they aren't designed for near-continuous back-up by default. For sure, this requires extra hardware (and cost) but PCs are pretty cheap these days, so it's an issue of educating the customer than an extra 20% cost is a worthwhile investment.
Does anyone know how prone HDDs and NASs attached to the PC are to this sort of malware?
Re: Software Defined *.*
A very wise old man with a sense of irony, I assume?
'Generic Price Per Pound Calculation' [ of the Space Shuttle programme vs one-use launchers:
The Space Shuttle wasn't the cheapest way of getting mass into orbit.
Re: Not the point of the patent
>But it exists to overcome a basic problem, which is the fragility of the iPhone.
Er, if you have enough leverage, *anything* is fragile. That's just physics. "Give me a long enough crowbar, and I'll crush a Sherman tank" - to paraphrase some ancient Greek geezer.
In this case the problem is not so much the case material of the phone, but the small diameter of the bayonet mount around the lens (compared to that on an SLR, which in any case tend to be used more carefully and with straps, so less likely to be dropped)... again, just physics.
Okay, torque, or 'bending force' is directly proportional to the distance of the force to the fulcrum, hence the SI unit of Nm. Force X Distance. Adding an 80mm long protrusion to a phone and then dropping it will result in orders of magnitude more stress on one part of the phone than would have been the case without the protrusion. 'Beefing up' phone case wouldn't be practical solution - it would add weight and bulk.
Re: a patent on a bayonet fitting?
>What bunch of idiots would grant that?
Er, the sort of idiot who would comment on a patent application that they clearly haven't read? Oh, the irony.
Read the patent application (as linked to in the above article) and you will see that they are NOT trying to patent 'the bayonet fitting'. They ARE trying to patent a mechanism, incorporating a bayonet system, that makes use of elastomers to allow lens attachments to 'break off' if subjected to a certain threshold level of force, such as would be cause by dropped the phone and lens assembly. The rationale behind this is to protect the phone casing from large bending moments.
I have seen this sort of concept on sports equipment (clipless pedal systems, ski bindings etc) to protect users knees, but I haven't personally come across it used with a bayonet mechanism. If you have, please do provide a link!
Re: a patent on a bayonet fitting?
>Yeah, bayonet mount for lenses, like my 30 year old camera at home?
Not quite. This patent describes bayonet fittings that 'break off' if the phone is dropped, thus reducing the force applied to the phone casing.
If the phone had even only a 3" lens attachment fitted to it, the bending force on the phone's bayonet fitting would still be considerable. It is better if it breaks away if the phone is knocked or dropped. If read the patent, you will see references to 'elastomeric compliance'. The abstract is cryptically written, but the 'detailed description' section of the patent application is fairly straightforward if you just parse out the mumbo jumbo.
This is akin to bindings on skis - it is better for your boot to become detached from the ski than it is for your knee to bent the wrong way round.
Re: Bayonet lens mounts?
It is not a patent for a generic bayonet fitting, it is a patent for a novel type of bayonet fitting. It describes a system that, unlike light bulbs and SLR lenses, allows the attachment to 'break off' if a threshold level of force is applied, (e.g by dropping the phone), so that less damage is caused to the phone casing. It is the method for implementing this 'break off' mechanism that this patent describes.
An analogy is found on the back of mountain bikes. Rather than attach the rear derailleur mechanism directly to a protrusion on the main frame, the derailleur is attached to a 'break-away' hanger boss. In the event that the rider smashes the derailleur against a rock, the break-away boss snaps. The break-away boss is far cheaper to replace than the entire frame is.
Re: Great Sound?
People who think its acceptable to play YouTube music videos to their mates in the pub beer garden should be barred, it's true.
That said, I often use the internal speaker in my phone when it can't bother other people. Listening to a podcast in the bath, or to spoken word radio when doing some housework - a passable internal speaker is a useful feature. Music, however, requires either big speakers or earphones.
Sounds convenient. The biggest problem I found for paying for stuff in Bolivia was the national shortage of small denomination notes and coins. Shops, taxis and stalls were all loathe to 'break a note'.
Re: Suspense of disbelief
This has actually been done before! When the Welsh philosopher and drug dealer Howard Marks was asked how his memory was good enough after decades of dope smoking to write his autobiography, he said he just submitted a Freedom of Information request to the FBI, who gave him all the notes they had been keeping on him for years.
I enjoyed that, thanks!
Re: I'm a Barbie Girl
Hehe, 'Panorama' aside, the bottoms of some 3D prints do resemble spaghetti - is the extruded filament isn't properly supported.
Haha! Lego bricks could be used to build a very tall tower. Dr Ian Johnston, an applied mathematician and lecturer in engineering, explains his tests and reasoning here:
Yep, there's that old technique of building silos by pouring concrete into two short concentric steels sleeves. As the concrete cures, the sleeves jack themselves up on the now solid concrete, more fresh concrete is added and the process continues until the desired height is achieved.
Re: Rolf Apilo?
I thought it plausible for the first couple of sentences but only because Boeing have a 'secure' phone division. Then the penny dropped pretty quickly, but in fairness to the Reg I had already stumbled over a couple of other wind-ups this morning.
Re: A slice off the top
@Saul, re 1920 x 1200
Good luck, and if you do find a laptop that sports that resolution, kindly report back here. Thankyou!
Various theories regarding the disappearance of 16:10 laptop screens that I have heard (I'm not commenting on plausibility):
1. Panel makers are used making to 16:9 television sets
2. Laptop makers think that people only use them for watching movies, or using spreadsheets with lots of columns and few rows.
3. Laptops are increasingly being sold on battery life. A 16:9 laptop screen of a given diagonal dimension is smaller than a 16:10 screen, which is in turn smaller than a 4:3 screen. Smaller screens use less power.
4. laptops are often sold on cost. For the same reasons above, a 16:9 15" screen is cheaper than a 16:10 15" screen.
None of these theorised reasons benefit the end user. From an ergonomic standpoint, the centre of a widescreen monitor is lower than that of a taller screen, so is worse for the posture of the user.
There is a laptop maker that doesn't try to compete purely on numbers... but they don't start cheap, and may not make the hardware configuration that one requires. You know who I'm talking about. For all their perceived faults, I'm glad they exist. When my Core 2 1920 x 1200 Dell eventually dies, I will give them serious thought.
Re: Head to head
>Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century
Ultimately, an OS by itself is of little use to anybody. For most people the OS is just that thing that lets them run the software that they use. Increasingly, the software that most people use is either available for most platforms, or can run in a browser. However, there will be many who use software that isn't available for some OSs, and the whole idea of OS 'choice' is for them meaningless. Its a chicken and egg situation - why bother developing your $0000 software for a platform that currently has very little market share, if your customers can easily afford a Windows licence?
Things are changing, but it is a long road.
Some people are having a bit of headache migrating from XP to newer versions of Windows (so may as well investigate Linux) - lots of custom worksheets plugged into an old accounts package, for example. In another workplace I know, where most staff are just entering data, the switch to Linux was pretty straightforward and cost-effective- a no-brainer.
Re: mac book air screen
>I have sympathy for the manufacturers - they're being challenged to make devices smaller, thinner, prettier, more resilient to dust etc and still being pushed to make them repairable. The goals are (mostly) mutually exclusive.
Actually, they've been challenged for a decade to make the device more recyclable - the legislation placed some of the onus of 'end of life' onto the manufacturers.
Ironically enough, using glues instead of screws make disassembly for recycling easier - devices can be batch-processed through ovens at certain temperatures, and the parts separated. This approach is cheaper than employing lots of people with screwdrivers, since it lends itself to automation.
Re: Apple DON'T repair your iThing
>My son's 160GB ipod classic had a flaky headphone socket.
I don't know if the iPod Classics have the same internals as the, ahem, classic iPods, but the older ones were repairable (though I only ever took one apart to get its HDD to repair an iRiver H320). The hard part is getting inside - though iFixit or a wealth of YouTube videos will help you out. A guitar plectrum was the tool of choice. On the older models the headphone socket was on a ribbon cable, so the first thing to check would be whether it has become dislodged...
I remember an old Creative Nomad jukebox in which the headphone port was soldered directly to the main PCB... not a good design decision. With no flexibility, it didn't respond well to the large 3.5mm plugs found on oolder headphones or on 3.5mm > phono 'Y' cables. I've also had a Sharp MiniDisc player with the same flaw, and a myriad of screws that looked like they came from a Swiss wristwatch, never two the same length.
I've just remembered - my latest Sansa Clip is due to drop through my letterbox today (I tend to lose them before I break them... I might have to paint it hi-vis orange!) : D
Re: Apple DON'T repair your iThing
>Apple's policy of replace rather than repair usually means you lose your data permanently.
'Data that you only have in one place is data you don't care about', Shirley?
If you lose your phone, or have it stolen, you will also have lost your data permanently... unless, of course, you have synced your phone to your computer or a cloud service. Indeed, it is possible to clone an iPhone in its entirety, so that the replacement unit is indistinguishable from the original.
Android is a bit more piecemeal in this respect, though the important stuff such as phone numbers and photos can be uploaded as they are created. It also gives Google the WiFi passwords that are stored on your device. Backing up apps requires 3rd party software, and possibly rooting.
Mike Bell's positive experience is reflected by surveys conducted by the British Consumer Association, and published in their journal 'Which?'. The other highly rated retailer for customer service and support was John Lewis.
Re: Unit police
>Should really be Joules. mAh implies a particular voltage and makes comparison squiffy.
Well yeah, but it isn't the battery capacity that is of interest to users. What users want to know is how long it lasts. So a smaller battery on a Snapdragon 800 will last longer than the same battery on a older (larger process) chipset. Likewise, a phone with a smaller screen can be reasonably expected to be more frugal.
So, prospective buyers usually have to take qualitative assessments, such as "a couple of days of medium to heavy use"*.That sounds about right for this Z1 Compact, given reviews of other phones with a Snapdragon 800 chip, such as the LG G2 and Nexus 5.
All the mAh figure does for the layman is allow some comparison to batteries in other phones. It's my assumption that most phones batteries have 3.7 V units, so a mAh figure is just fine with me.
Your point being?
Re: Required reading
A classic example is the development of the video game 'Halo: Combat Evolved' which was done by a relatively small team at Bungie. Whether you like the game or not, the team made an effort to re-examine the actual game-play of first-person shooters to remove the tedious parts of the genre, then set it against a fairly straightforward plot in a world inspired by Niven and Iain M. Banks.
The sequel, Halo 2, was a mess by comparison. Bungie have said since that because they felt expected to make a much larger game, they recruited a far larger team - which of course meant the overall vision became fuzzy. The sprawling plot was hard to follow, and new features that sounded good on paper ('Wield two guns at once! Wow!) detracted from the simplicity of the original game.
Re: @David W.
>I'm afraid you're reading the wrong website then. There's plenty of other websites if you don't like this one.
That is true, but some intelligent people read the Reg and comment on its articles, so it is a shame when an opportunity to discuss different approaches to technology is wasted on tedious slanging matches. Fortunately, this thread has been left relatively unscathed.
Re: And this is whats missing today
No, having lots of cash isn't the only required ingredient, but it helps! Apple have a track record of not being Microsoft.
>"Steve thought it was foolish to do a split screen on such a small display," Christie added.
Splitscreen in hardware, or in the OS as two windows side by side?
Though perhaps niche, a device like the aborted MS Courier would be handy for collating and annotating content. It was a clamshell device with two touchscreens, offering some fair screen realestate yet still fitting in a jacket pocket. Obviously it wasn't ideal for video, but it would have been fine for webrowsing, and indeed the two screens lent it to working with a 'source' and a 'destination' document.
Only Sony have tried to do a similar device - a flavour of a 'Z' Android tablet, in which the second screen could act as a keyboard.
Re: And this is whats missing today
>with Steve Jobs gone, Ive, sorry Sir Ive will be pushed and in return the corporate decision makers again
Nah. Steve Jobs was ill for a long time, and knew to have plans for an Apple without him - indeed Tim Cook was acting CEO for months on end during Jobs' illness. Tim Cook, by recently telling some investors on where to get off, has shown that he knows better than to think short-term.
Sir Jony might look like a big softy, but he isn't the sort to be pushed around easily. If he was, he'd still be in the UK designing bathrooms.
Of course, there is no guarantee that it will be Apple who dominate profits in a new product sector (as they did with phones and tablets) but they are in a better position than most (enough cash to buy any company or talent they need).
Re: Follow the money
You raise a good point... whilst the gaming market drove CPUs to ever faster for many years, these days sites like Tomshardware suggest that few games benefit from anything more powerful than an Intel i5. That means that people who have tasks that do benefit from more powerful CPUs are no longer in the mainstream as once they were.
That said, software is changing, and *some* tasks can be performed on GPUs, or farmed out to CPUs on other machines on the local network - or on CPU time rented from the cloud.
Re: Follow the money
>This is what the PC market is turning into - super-expensive high-margin performance hardware for content creators, leaving toy-comp tablets to the proles.
>Not an entirely good thing, IMO.
What do us proles need a PC for, beyond some spreadsheets, email, web-browsing, and the odd bit of video encoding? The last I checked, all that can be achieved on a cheap n cheerful laptop, Small Form Factor PC, or even an ARM based device. As a benefit, these things can be done on passively-cooled hardware - blissful silence!
The causal use of productivity applications (video editing, CAD) that require a little more grunt can be powered by some gaming-grade hardware. If one really needs the stability and accuracy of the professional kit - certified workstations, pro drivers, ECC RAM - then there will be a business case for stumping up the money for it, and probably tax-deductions, too.
Don't get me wrong, TheOtherHobbes, I'm not dismissing your concern, but I feel I don't exactly understand what it is without you expanding upon it.
My personal concern - perhaps parallel to yours - is that 16:10 laptops like hens teeth these days (other than Macbooks, that is)... 'widescreen' displays require the user to do more scrolling up and down. Also, I would like higher-res PC screens, but by all accounts 3rd party applications for the desktop side of Windows don't behave as sensibly as they could - Photoshop, for example, has ridiculously small toolbar icons on high res screens.
It amazes that some niche software, such as Solidworks, has a more civilised UI than many 'mainstream' productivity applications - for example, it offers the option of large toolbar icons, so it can be used comfortably on very high res monitors.
Re: Waterproof kindle?
Until that day comes, you could just buy a plastic pouch for reading your Kindle in the bath / on the beach.
Re: Yes please.
Cameras are a bit harder- the electronics will work fine, but the lenses are harder to seal against water ingress, and pond water on the inside of the lenses won't help image quality and also upset the delicate moving parts (focus, zoom, image stabilisation mechanisms).
But yeah, essentially solid-state devices are easy.
Re: The ultimate test
My Sansa Clip MP3 player has survived a cycle through the washing machine... I couldn't remove its battery, but just left in on a radiator for a couple of days before attempting to charge it up. It worked fine.
Two months later, the washing machine wouldn't drain, so I investigated the filter... amongst the horror of hair and gunk, I found the microSD card that the washing machine had knocked out of the MP3 player - it worked fine, too.
I've heard of other Clips surviving the same - one user dropped it amongst sachets of silica gel. A nice little machine, even if the clip on the back always snaps off (they are easy to lose, so I've had a couple of them!)
A cheap source of silica gel is cat litter (unused, please!). A caravan owner swears by leaving trays of cat litter around his caravan whilst it is unused in winter, to absorb any dampness. The cat litter can be gently heated in an oven to restore its effectiveness.
Re: re. bokeh
There's a fair chance that most phone users just want a subject's head to 'stand-out' from the background. Artists they aren't - they just want a nice picture of their friends. They won't be too fussed if this is bodged in software.
As we know, many Reg readers aren't most people.
It reminds me of the days of hand-rendering product designs - the object is drawn sharply, but often presented against a smudged pastel background (or similar). It makes the product images 'pop' out from the page for more impact.
Re: Wheres the proper keyboard?
Ah c'mon ted frater, is it possible that you're being slightly arbitrary?
You bash phones for trying to be cameras, yet you then bash them for not trying to be Psion organisers.
For sure, a Psion-style keyboard would be nice, but you could carry a discrete bluetooth/OTG keyboard with you. You could carry a discrete camera with a big lens, and a dedicated sat-nav, a separate calculator, and a stand-alone personal media player, too. Why these gadgets have converged into one unit is because they require many of the same hardware elements - battery, screen, speakers, DAC etc.
You could buy an old-school dumbphone and a 7" tablet.
My own preference is for a 4" Android phone, a wristwatch, a Lumix LX camera and a Sandisk Clip media player. Each of the discrete devices is slightly better than the phone for its specialist function- plus the phone's battery lasts longer! If I needed to conduct time and motion studies, or regularly tot up figures, I would probably invest in a stopwatch or calculator, too.
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