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* Posts by Dave 126

4135 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

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

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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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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Dave 126
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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:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/05/apple_sapphire_factory_in_arizona/

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yeah right Anonymous Coward

Vertu used sapphire for their phone screens years ago. Shuttleworth's idea it wasn't.

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Dave 126
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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)

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Years of AWOL Windows Phone features finally show up in video leaks

Dave 126
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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.

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Project Tango: Google's all-ringing, all-dancing 3D-sensing smartphone

Dave 126
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Re: Re:

> 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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Elon Musk ADMITS he met Apple: iCar 'great idea', keeps schtum on Tesla hookup

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Loki, LC3 and Pandora: The great Sinclair might-have-beens

Dave 126
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Re: Brennan

>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).

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Dave 126
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Brennan

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.

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You'll NEVER guess who's building the first Ubuntu phones in 2014

Dave 126
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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.

http://www.engadget.com/tag/meizu,m8/

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Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

Dave 126
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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.

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Apple patents touch-sensitive controls for MacBook

Dave 126
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>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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Without a smartphone your reptile brain gets a workout

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Facepalm

>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).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_phone#Difference_between_smartphone_and_feature_phone

but as I said, it's a fuzzy definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Feature_phone#Needs_Work

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Apple Mac Pro: It's a death star, not a nappy bin, OK?

Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Google's SECRET contracts: Android lock-in REVEALED!

Dave 126
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>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.

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Dave 126
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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...

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/neither-microsoft-nokia-nor-anyone-else-should-fork-android-its-unforkable/

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Dave 126
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Re: He does understand it

>Only where the manufacturer wants to use google apps.

Chet, have a read about Google Play Services.

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Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

Dave 126
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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'.

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Micro Men: The story of the syntax era

Dave 126
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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)

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Investors throw cash at affordable 3D scanner

Dave 126
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More technical information is here:

http://www.fuel-3d.com/files/Fuel3D_Whitepaper_1.0.pdf [!! .PDF !!]

Even more technical info - it has equations and everything:

http://carlos-hernandez.org/papers/icvss_chapter2010_photometric.pdf

There is software available that can create - with some human intervention - 3D models from photographs, but it relies on the cameras being calibrated (lens aberrations will throw it off the scent) and work better for obkects that aren't moving. Moving objects can be captured, but that requires several cameras to synchronised. The cheapest way to do that is probably with some low-end Canon compact cameras, since many models support the use of a temporary firmware, CHDK, which allows home-made remote shutter releases to be used.

AutoDesk also have a service where you can upload a series of 2D photographs, and receive back a 3D model.

Personally, I'm tempted to wait and see how well Intel's upcoming 'RealSense' scanner performs - it's likely to be far cheaper than this, though aimed at a different market.

Ideally, I'd like a 3D scanner to be able to give positional feedback to a 3D printer during the printing process - i.e automate the axis calibration process and correct for any errors that occur.

For 'scanning' shiny things (machined metal) to a very high level of accuracy, you want want of these probes from the British company Renishaw (oh, and an expensive CNC machine to mount it on):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPFB7NiW0UY

Another of their probes was featured 4:57 the iPhone 5 video, without Renishaw knowing about it - it's rare for Apple to featured a branded object that isn't theirs in their marketing.

(The fancy house featured in the latest episode of Sherlock was built by Renishaw's founder)

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Rotten to the core: Apple’s 10 greatest FAILS

Dave 126
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Re: Have never ever heard of the "Pippin"

They were strange times, those early nineties when Nintendo and Sega ruled the console roost... weird things like Pippin, Amstrad Mega-PC and Sega Teradrve (PC/Megadrive combined machine), Philip's CDi, the 3DO concept, Sega Mega-CD, Amiga-CD were being announced... many of which were trying to get into the latest 'thing' at the time: multimedia.

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WHEEE... CRUNCH! iPad Mini tops list of most breakable slabs, mobes

Dave 126
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Would nice if they were waterprrof - like that Sony tablet.

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Gamers in a flap as Vietnamese dev pulls Flappy Bird

Dave 126
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[Spolier Alert:]

The Pearl by John Steinbeck reaches much the same conclusion.

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James Dyson plans ROBOT ARMY to take over the world

Dave 126
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Re: Ironing?

Agreed, better fabric technology would appear to be the simpler, more energy efficient route to smart looking shirts.

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STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

Dave 126
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Re: I'm obviously missing something...

Is it reference to the incidences in the early nineties (when RAM prices were very high) of thieves breaking into premises to steal RAM from computers? The left of the computers were left in place.

No one would break into a business to steal typewriter ribbons... though they might ink-jet cartridges.

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Inside Microsoft's Autopilot: Nadella's secret cloud weapon

Dave 126
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Re: Microsoft Autopilot

Was your source Cab Calloway? "The diamond car with the platinum wheel"

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Dave 126
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Re: Microsoft Autopilot

Indeed - I'd expect my multi-billion car to fly, in atmosphere at least if not in space!

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Dave 126
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> "the keys to a multi-billion dollar car."

My first thoughts on reading that were of the car that Homer Simpson designed:

http://laughingsquid.com/the-homer-car-a-real-life-version-of-homer-simpsons-dream-car/

(I didn't know some crazy soul had built a real life version of it until I went looking for an image a moment ago! Heck!)

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Woz he talking about? Apple co-founder wants iPhones to run Android

Dave 126
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Woz's comments make more sense in the context...

...of his previous musings... specifically, on the subject of The Ultimate Device for The Consumer. Basically, there may be aspects of iPhones and iOS he likes, and aspects of Android and of Android handsets he likes - and he knows that he will never see all these aspects rolled together into his ideal handset, because companies jealously guard what they believe to be competitive advantages.

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Baby's got the bends: LG's D958 G Flex Android smartie

Dave 126
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Looks good, but...

...compared to the LG-built Nexus 5 - available for around £320 - those extra features and bigger screen must really be worth it for the £560 quoted in the article. That said, I expect there will be savings over the RRP if you shop around.

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