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* Posts by Dave 126

4210 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Xenon: Bitmap Brothers' (mega)blast from the past

Dave 126
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Re: Bitmap Bros...

This is probably the first time that I've seen Linux cited in a celebration of Gold Age British game development. What the living feck? Bitmap Bros, Team 17, Sensible Software, Psygnosis, Bullfrog, Codemasters... classic outfits. The PC did feel like the poor man at the gaming party back then, but like the ugly duckling it would mature into a swan that hatched a load of first-person shooters... cheers iD.

Just the other day, a website with .EXE Amiga games was drawn to my attention... downloaded Dune 2 'cos I read about it in PC Zone back in the day, then I realised that there was an Android port. I've wasted too much of my weekend on it!

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Dave 126
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Yes!

/stupid tin hat

See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/01/29/nasa_sued_over_claim_that_mystery_martian_rock_is_a_fastgrowing_fungus/

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Dave 126
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It is aliens, obviously, contracted by Putin to distract from Crimea. As someone who runs with the wolves, and holds several PhDs (awarded to myself by myself, because nobody else is worthy), I am about to sue NSA, NASA and NHS for deliberately not investigating this matter. I don't need to have read more that half of the first paragraph of the article to comment on it.

/stupid tin hat

Seriously, though:

This search for the missing Malaysian jet is happening in the same week that the mainstream media - Al Jazeera, The Daily Telegraph - is asserting that Al-Megrahi, and indeed Libya itself, was framed for the bombing of the Pan Am flight above Lockerbie. The evidence against Libya was always flimsy (see Paul Foot), and it appears more likely the bombing was carried out Syrians under orders from Iran, though at the time the US and UK wanted Syria's cooperation re the invasion of Iraq.

Naturally, Iran is claiming that the evidence against them is a conspiracy by 'Zionists'.

Oh well.

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Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

Dave 126
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Re: @Mike Bell

>So every laptop charger, no matter how small the laptop, should come with a charger capable of charging the largest, power hungry laptop?

No, every laptop come with an adaptor that can supply enough current for its needs. The tip of the cable should be peculiar to the voltage, unless a higher current draw demands a larger diameter connection. I have bought an after market laptop adaptor, and it came with 17 different tips - ridiculous.

If you buy a a candy-bar phone, you might get a 500mA USB adaptor, but if you buy a tablet you will get a 2.1A USB adaptor. Both are at 5v, and at a push the smaller transformer will charge the tablet... eventually. (though a Samsung Tab 10.1 will play dead for a couple of hours before it shows any signs of life)

Basically, a USB A Female socket denotes 5v.

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Dave 126
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Re: @Anonymous Coward

>Yeah, honestly, never mind that. The Micro-USB is good enough.

Good enough? It could do with being less fiddly to insert, and less scratchy. For someone who has arthritis, an old 'Nokia' power connector is easier to insert, and thus fitter for purpose.

Lots of 'good enough' compromises eventually add up to a poorer experience.

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Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

Dave 126
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Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

>I think that pretty much sums up the MS Office fanbois.

>It's all because they have been locked in, they don't want everyone else do use something else because they're afraid they'll be locked out, since Office doesn't handle open standard formats.

Eh? I don't want anybody to be locked out of anything. I'll just use what works for me, here and now. I think that makes me a pragmatist, not a 'Office Fanboi', but whatever.

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Dave 126
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Re: But do all Macs run OSX?

>Let's say I have xcode on screen one, photoshop on screen 2. Working in xcode. Now I need to do something in photoshop from a menu. So I have to mouse over to photoshop on screen 2, activate it, mouse back to screen one, select from the menu, mosue back to xcode.

Use the keyboard to switch tasks. Alt-Tab, usually.

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Dave 126
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Re: Talking Scroticus eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

>Seriously, give me one technical feature [in OSX] not already offered by Linux and Windows and then admit your fanboism is just the result of fashion-driven masochism.

That's the point. OSX isn't sold on *technical features*, it is sold on 'features for the user'. Apple might take a bunch of technical features and give them a polished GUI, like TimeMachine, or no GIU at all like FusionDisk. The user doesn't have to understand how they work, so a simple name will do. Easy to market.

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Panasonic slaps Freetime EPG on 2014 smart tellies

Dave 126
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Re: Ratios

It's my mate's TV, but yeah, it must be set to 'Auto' or somesuch. What can't be turned off is its 'feature' to turn off after X minutes of inactivity on the part of the viewer... since my mate uses a Freeview box, the TV remote isn't touched after the TV set is turned on.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ratios

I hate the stretching of older content. I might be a couple of minutes into an episode of Father Ted when I notice Dougal's head is strangely wide, placing him in the 'uncanny valley'.

Is it actually broadcast like that, or is the TV set trying to be helpful? If the former, could a TV be told to 'unstretch' the content? Or is it easier to just download the content off the internet that someone has ripped from a DVD?

When the BBC show older content on iPlayer, they don't stretch it. However, since I have a 16:10 monitor, I have black bars at the sides and at the top and bottom of the image, since it isn't very smart about filling the screen.

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Dave 126
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Re: All I want

I enjoyed the Alec Guinesss version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on YouTube... More recently, True Detective was excellent. There is a world of good stuff out there, but discovering it can be tricky. Who knows, you might develop a taste for Soviet-made 'Easterns' films...

However, good content benefits from a coherent way of finding and viewing it. Using an IR remote control to navigate on-screen menus isn't a great experience. One of the better methods I've seen is using an app on an iPad that allows you to search YouTube and then instruct a PS3 to play it on the big screen. There's no technical reason that a generic tablet couldn't be used with a generic set-top-box to navigate both broadcast and streamed video services in a similar fashion.

It'll get there.

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Actually, there is an Arapaho word for 'pliers'

Dave 126
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Re: Journalistic Integrity

>Having in the past removed a pair of pliers from a document feeder, I can attest that they will in fact jam one.

I can see how that happened. After all, photocopiers have a sticker on them telling people to remove paperclips from their papers, but Xerox et al have neglected to place 'No Pliers' stickers on their machines.

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Dave 126
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Paper clip Vs Pliers

Another situation in which I have used pliers instead of a paper clip:

Needing to restore a router to factory settings, I used a pair of pliers to 'nibble' a larger hole in the plastic casing so that the reset microswitch could be accessed with a screwdriver.

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Dave 126
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Re: Journalistic Integrity

>Maybe an article on other uses for paper clips?

Resetting / restoring routers?

It's worth noting that some of the advanced uses for a paper clip require the intervention of a pair of pliers.

If you need to hold some papers together and can't find a paper clip, you can use a pair of pliers and an elastic band to achieve the same. The pliers will double as a paper weight. An additional bonus is that they won't jam the sheet feeder in a multi-page photocopier.

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Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

Dave 126
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Re: One slight niggle

> I assume the wee is filtered out into a tank for direct use on the fields, otherwise it'll take a lot of sunlight to boil it all dry.

I don't know, but I did stumble upon this:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/pee-power-recycling-urine-to-powder-makes-superior-fertilizer.html

And the Swedes have been making toilets with a pee part and a poo part:

http://www.ecovita.net/ekologen.html

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Dave 126
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Good idea!

It would only take a mirror to deflect the energy to a cooking pot, thus making the most of the investment in the reflector assembly.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ AC

Poor farmers could afford more things (seed, schoolbooks, medicine) if they got a fair market price for their produce. With a mobile phone (or just their own SIM that they can use in a shared phone) they don't have to take a middleman's word for the current prices.

We lucky blighters might use most of our bandwidth for cat videos, but that doesn't mean that a little data can't go a long way. Just think of of the utility that we used to get from Teletext (weather, stock prices, news etc)

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Dave 126
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There have been sunny Glastonbury festivals, but not enough for these to be the bog standard bog! I dare say that a demonstration unit might be displayed in the 'Green Fields' area.

To be fair, festival toilets are better than they used to be. The cleanest are those by the mixing desk islands in the middle of the crowds in front of the big stages. You'll need to ask the security guards permission to hop over the scaffold partition, but they can be understanding. Always carry your own absorbent material. Beer and cider will make your trips to the dunny far more frequent, so remember that other mood-altering substances are available.

I wish I had appropriated the door of a Portaloo (TM, the 'Hoover' of the toilet world) at Glasto about a dozen years ago... some Bristoliann bloke had stencilled a picture of a monkey on the door, and apparently such things are worth a lot of money now that some shark/cow-worrier collects his efforts.

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Dying for an Ubuntu Linux phone? Here's how much it'll cost you

Dave 126
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Re: "emotional connection"?

>But then, with Linux he's only targetting the Linux crowd, which is tiny.

That can change. Lots of people use a Linuxy OS on their phones, and the Unix-like OSX enjoys double figure market share in some territories. Valve are marketing a Linux-based gaming OS.

At the same time, some people are using browser-based productivity software - which means they aren't tied to any OS as much as they once might have been.

Specific CAD software ties me to Windows, so I'm not a regular Linux user - but software-as-a-service and remote hardware resources for rendering mean that the idea of cloud-based CAD isn't without merit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Smartphones

> Every so often I have to reboot this damn thing because it claims to have signal but acts like it doesnt.

You can also try turning 'Airplane Mode' on and then off again... its quicker than rebooting the whole phone. A work-around, not a solution, for an annoying situation.

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The browser's resized future in a fragmented www world

Dave 126
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Re: TBL is MS!

Can't copy text from curry.co.uk on Chrome... Win 7 64. Fair enough- it was just that i was reading up on the pessimists views, and the inability to copy text was one of their fears. I'll try Curyys again with a difgferent browser tomorrow, when I'm sober.

Cherrs all

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Dave 126
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Re: TBL is MS!

>Once you unleash DRM you'll regret it. It won't be applied sensibly.

Er, last I looked DRM is already unleashed. Websites are already able to frustrate attempts to copy text (to check reviews of a product they are selling, for example). An example of silliness can be seen on the Currys site. Just try copying text from the webpage below:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/clearance-photography-1902-commercial.html?intcmp=home~Camera-clearance~clearance~r4~half~c7~cp1902~070314

But hey, people are free to shop with someone else.

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Dave 126
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Re: TBL is MS!

>So T B-L is going to personally ensure that every DRM system is implemented on Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Firefox OS, Tizen, Blackberry, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora.... is he?

Look it up [that is the joy of the connected web]:

TBL was only ever talking about DRM in relation to an API in HTML 5 for discovering and using DRM systems.

The alternate situation is one in which content providers only release content through propriety applications that only run on a small number of OSs, such Windows, OSX, iOS and Android.

In real life, people are free to make agreements with each other. I can choose to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. If I choose not to sign it, I accept that I won't get to see the interesting McGuffin that the other party might have shown me.

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Dave 126
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Re: re - "Fragmentation is hurting the PC and the browser, yes"

>The IOS web browser is by far the worst one out there, maybe because there is no 30% Apple tax on the web.

Websites, say IMDB or eBay, release free apps. Hold on a moment whilst I do the maths... 30% of $0.00 is... lets see now... um... yep, I got it: $0.00. What figure did you arrive at AC?

What is irritating is that number of websites that throw up a 'Install our app!' when accessed through a mobile browser... but this annoyance is common to both iOS and Android.

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Dave 126
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Re: TBL is MS!

>DRM is anti-freedom, anti-openness, anti-user. It should not be encouraged.

You've confused the current flawed and propriety implementations of DRM with the concept itself.

All T-B-L suggested was that if DRM is to be used, it should be cross-platform and sensibly implemented. Then content creators will have the freedom to choose whether to implement it, and users will be free to engage with it or not. The user may choose not to, in which case the content creator can choose to reassess their business model. Choice and freedom.

Most users are quite happy to pay for a DVD or Blu-ray. Most people consider their Netflix subscription to be fairly priced. If there is a legitimate way to watch paid-for protected content on a portable, off-line device, most users wouldn't have a problem with that either, as long as it is reliable, easy and device-agnostic. User friendly.

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Finally! Some actual, novel tech: Apple patent to revive geriatric gear

Dave 126
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Re: Your power supply already adapts

>Hang on... why does it make any sense for a tech company to prolong the life of shiny and extend the product refresh cycle.. [?]

Because some products are sold as being more reliable than rivals. There have been several studies, using different methodologies, that suggest that Toshiba, Lenovo and Apple laptops are more reliable than some other brands. (My Dell is soldiering on handsomely. Sample size = 1, though!). Reliability is a factor that some people take into account when they purchase equipment, especially if they intend to resell it a few years down the line.

In addition, it costs a company money if a device fails within its guarantee period.

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Dave 126
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Re: Prior art

Er, that's the case with most most ECUs. For that reason, the ECU firmware is specific to the vehicle, not the model.There, making a modification to it requires the mechanic clone the firmware, alter it, and then re-flash the ECU.

But prior art? Read the penultimate paragraph of the article.

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Does Apple's iOS 7 make you physically SICK? Try swallowing version 7.1

Dave 126
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Re: Date-castrophe

I'm with you there, SonderTwyful.

I've had Samsung feature phones and Sony Android phones that think that spinning wheels are a suitable form of date/time input.

Why?! To remind that I'm setting an alarm and not using the calculator?

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Dave 126
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Context, AC, context. Appelbaum was talking about an NSA tool for compromising iPhones, and his suspicions that Apple were aiding them.

Not even Blackphone are claiming their offering is NSA proof.

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Dave 126
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Re: Sensible keyboard

> I find it rather disconcerting that the iOS keyboard just stays stuck looking the same.

The letters on my laptop's keyboard are in caps all the time.

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Snowden: You can't trust SPOOKS with your DATA

Dave 126
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Re: I know the Reg hates Google but @Howverydare

>I doubt what I do on the internet really interests them that much. And if you think your internet activity is that interesting to them, might I suggest a room with nice, soft walls and a big jacket?

True, what I do as an individual doesn't interest the NSA. However, it gets insidious when you consider that political groups are monitored - The US gov has been happy to subvert democracy in the past by undermining legitimate political groups that have been deemed to be 'un-American'.

Of course, one man's political group is another man's bunch of nutters. And one man's political group can be painted as a group of nutters if that serves another man's interests.

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Projector on a smartphone? There's a chip for that

Dave 126
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Re: This one *is* different

"We could put this in your phone" is often just a shorthand way of saying "smaller / fewer moving parts / lower power consumption than the existing way of doing things".

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Not just for Glasswipes: Google to drop SDK for all Android wearables

Dave 126
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lmgtfy is 6 letters, so I can't be arsed to patronise him.

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Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap

Dave 126
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Re: Is it that time already?

24 bit describes the dynamic range of each sample point, and khz how many thousand sample points each second. We use the same unit, hz, for describing pitch, but it is a different thing.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another one?

Fair dooes! My late mate's solution was to have, in addition to his separates and 12" for his own use, a real jukebox loaded up with 45s for use during drunken parties- Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Kinks, Small Faces etc - and a tray of old-size 10p coins for guests.

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Dave 126
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Re: “high resolution” albums

> Almost no one seems to care, most people just use their phone now.

The LG G2 can playback 192khz 24bit FLAC files natively. Reviews I've read of its audio performance are subjective, as you would expect, but generally positive.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another one?

Your vinyl will wear with time, and then there situations when perhaps you don't want to handle your precious discs (drunken parties etc). There is some software that captures vinyl at 192 khz before the pre-amp, and then applies the RCA curve on playback, but it's OSX only.

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Dave 126
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Re: Am i being a numpty

It can do lossless compression. It can also compress 192khz 24bit audio. There are already online stores that will sell you music in this format, as well as some blu-ray discs.

To play it back in the home doesn't require anything too exotic- a good quality external DAC, or some AV receivers. On the hoof, there is the Colorfly player, or the LG G2 phone.

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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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