* Posts by Patrick Moody

21 posts • joined 9 Nov 2011

Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

Patrick Moody

Touch-screen enthusiast down-vote magnet alert.

How much of the time during that video did the driver have their attention on what was happening outside the car? I saw precisely none. Would you expect to have to be parked to carry out all the operations he did? Doubtful.

If the EU were going to introduce any useful regulations for cars, it would be to ban the use of touch-screens in moving vehicles. Frankly, I think these kind of systems are a serious danger to other road-users due to the level of attention the driver must pay to the screen in order to interact with it.

As much as possible, the controls in a car should be used by touch alone so the driver's attention can stay focussed on what's going on outside the car, where it should be. This would mean no screens (for the driver - for passengers there's no problem), and only switches, rotary dials or sliders for controls, all of which you can tell the state of just by touch.

My 2003 Mondeo doesn't have a touch-screen, but it does have a ridiculous heater control which has 8 momentary-push buttons and an LCD. You can't tell what it's set to without turning it on because the LCD stays off otherwise. You have to look at the LCD for any feedback. It requires repeated presses of the buttons to adjust the fan speed or the temperature, along with further looking at the LCD to see if you've set it where you want to. It's far too distracting for something that was so elegantly and simply handled in most previous iterations. If it consisted of 3 dials like on a typical earlier-generation car I would be able to tell what its set to by feel, and I could adjust the fan speed or temperature instantaneously without even needing to glance at it to know I'd done what I intended. I'm quite happy with the rest of the car, but I think the designers at Ford should be ashamed of themselves for this aspect, and it appears that since then they've carried on even further in this lunatic direction.

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Patrick Moody

Re: Compensation has already been paid

Nonsense. The PRS licence in the workplace would only be fair if it wasn't also charged for just listening to a radio. The performers are already compensated by the radio station from the funds they receive from their advertisers and the listeners in the workplace, by being exposed to those ads, are effectively paying for it that way. The more people listen, the more exposure for the adverts, the more those adverts are worth and the more a radio station can charge for them by having higher listener numbers and this increase is presumably reflected in the fees paid to the record companies.

The only situation I can think of where it would be fair for an employer to have to pay PRS is if the employer has its own juke-box or other method of playing music that was purchased as a CD (or mp3 or whatever). Since the CD price was based on a single person's use, and the employer is playing it to many people and there's no radio-station collecting ad-revenue in line with the number of people listening to pass it on to the artist, this is the only situation where I think an argument can be made for the artist having lost out.

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Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK

Patrick Moody

Re: SYNC FAIL

From what I've seen, Ford abandoned intuitive gadget controls (the ones you can use without having to look down at them) sometime before 2003.

<rant>

My late 2003 Mondeo has an awful digital display for it's air-con/fan controls which you have to look at to work out what you're doing with it. It's crap in several ways:

1 - You can't tell how strong the fan will be, how hot the air will be or which vents will be active when you turn it on until you do, because the LCD only turns on when you turn the fans on. Unlike conventional controls which you can check on by feeling the position of the rotary switches and sliders.

2 - Once it is switched on, you still have to look at it to do absolutely anything. This is a major bug-bear for me.

3 - To adjust the heat requires repeated presses of the temperature adjustment push-button, along with repeated glances at the display to see if it's got to the level you want it at.

4 - The same applies to the fan strength. You'd think that this one you could at least get feedback on by feeling the air-flow, but as there's a long delay between setting the fan strength and it actually having any effect even that isn't very practical.

</rant>

If you don't want to risk getting prosecuted for driving without due care and attention you should park before adjusting the heater on your Ford car! Granted that's not much of a risk, though, since there aren't any real police on the roads to observe you doing that these days anyway.

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Who wants to be A MILLIONAIRE? Not so fast, Visa tells wannabe pay-by-bonk thieves

Patrick Moody

"Contactless is about convenience at the expense of some of the security controls." but it's only convenient when you only have one (including Oyster cards for London Transport). As soon as there's more than one in your wallet, it becomes equally inconvenient to chip and pin, as you still have to remove the card from the wallet to make sure you're using the right one.

At that point the only remaining advantage is not having to key in the PIN number - something that could easily have been done via the existing chip-and-PIN system, simply modifying it not to require a PIN for purchases less than £20. Modifying the chip-and-PIN system this way wouldn't have introduced the security vulnerabilities of contact-less, or the inconvenience of card-clash with Oyster.

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Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8

Patrick Moody

Re: IE doesn't work on Mac or Linux (which is where we benchmark right now)

Sad as it is, I'm pretty sure that unless you primarily use Windows you still don't count as "most people" these days.

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

Patrick Moody

That option definitely exists, because I'm using it now on my Virgin Media TiVo. Can't remember where it was exactly but I'm sure you'll find it if you search through the settings a little more thoroughly.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

Patrick Moody

Re: Schol Reform

He also said:

"change it from 9-3:15 (or whatever it is right now) to 8 - 5."

I'd estimate that you get 5 hours lessons from a 9-3:15 day and at least 7 hours from an 8-5 day, which would more than make up for the difference. I think the anonymous coward actually made some pretty good suggestions.

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Possibly EXPLODING or GLORIOUS Comet ISON: The (GIF) MOVIE

Patrick Moody

As any fule kno

The g in gif is pronounced the same as the g in graphics, since that is what it stands for (graphics interchange format)

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What's the first Kinetic Ethernet hard drive? Psst, it's the 4TB Terascale

Patrick Moody

Re: Not really impressed

Apparently they wouldn't be the first:

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/260210.html

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Asus NV550JV 15.6in full HD notebook - the one we didn't have to send back

Patrick Moody

Re: Also Mandatory

Wasn't that in the article? I'm pretty sure the answer was essentially "almost".

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Galaxy S4 phondleslab selling like lukewarm cakes, analysts reckon

Patrick Moody

I said all the same things about my Galaxy S2 when I got it less than 2 years ago. A couple of Android upgrades later and I find myself starting to wonder if I should look for something faster when my contract expires.

On the other hand, the main problem for me is I like the size of my S2 but don't like the 1-day-only battery life, and all the new flagship phones are much bigger and with equally poor endurance. Nobody seems to have really addressed that yet either. I think I might just stick with it on a cheaper rolling monthly contract until someone does.

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Bitcoin now accepted in London pub. In Hack-ney, of course

Patrick Moody
Pint

Re: Cyber tax

Perhaps the pub loans the customer the price of a pint in pounds, interest free for a few milliseconds. The customer immediately uses that money to buy the pint and so the pub pays it's VAT bill and whatever taxes based on this transaction as normal. The pub then pays the same money back to the customer for a currency exchange, which the customer uses to settle his debt. The customer then transfers the appropriate amount of BitCoin to the pub to complete the currency exchange transaction.

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Watching Olympics at work? How to avoid a £1k telly-tax fine

Patrick Moody

Re: Or...

I should have said, none of that is gospel. It's just my understanding of the situation.

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Patrick Moody

Re: Or...

There will be heavy fines for motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, horses, cats, dogs, mice, rats, flies or anything else spotted on the stolen tarmac (Olympic Lanes). You'll need to be extra careful you don't have a wheel stray over the line while you're filtering along past all the other motorists stuck in the inevitable gridlock. The rules on bus lanes are a different issue. Even there it's inconsistent. Motorbikes are allowed on red route bus lanes (managed by TFL) but it's up to the local borough councils whether or not you're allowed in on the bus lanes in their patches.

Assuming you manage to get where you're going without being fined into bankruptcy, do you think you'll still be able to find somewhere to park?

As a fellow biker, this stuff irritates me too.

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Forget internet fridges and Big Data. Where's my internet fish tank?

Patrick Moody

Re: "Two words: Power consumption."

Device selection is probably lacking because practically no-one is buying them. As a result there's little motivation for companies to produce more devices. If you talk to an average non-IT person, the kind of person who you would need to be prepared to spend money on these things in order for them to become popular, chances are they'll think of home-automation as something difficult and nerdy and not something they'll want to try for themselves.

Home computer networking by comparison is relatively easy. If they don't know how to do it themselves, they definitely know someone who does.

When you start telling them about the 3 standards that they have to choose between for the new network they will have in their house they'll almost certainly switch off from your conversation and start looking for someone else to talk to.

My point still remains that until it both is and is seen to be trivially easy to set up and maintain these things it'll never become mainstream and as long as it's not mainstream, the market won't be big enough to encourage device makers to improve their selection.

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Patrick Moody

Re: "Two words: Power consumption."

...and yet neither of these replies to my comment address my main point: People simply don't want to be bothered with setting up an entire new network if they don't already have it.

Very few people already have it (the exceptions to my previous sentence). The barrier to entry is still way too high for this sort of thing to become popular and I'd argue it will continue to be too high until it is practically zero. One simple way to make it practically zero would be to use the already existing wireless infrastructure in most people's homes, WiFi, instead of expecting them to install and maintain another one.

I'm no Apple fan but I bet if Apple did it it would be dead simple. Apple don't do it. It isn't.

I look forward to being proved wrong on this. I think it's a shame that home automation hasn't taken off yet.

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Patrick Moody
FAIL

ZigBee?

I don't understand why you wouldn't want these things just to use your WiFi network directly. By designing it with WiFi instead of Zigbee, the customer need only buy the shiny new fish-tank filter and absolutely nothing else. That is, of course, making the assumption that anyone whoi would be interested in the device likely already has WiFi in their home. Well enough designed, it should be absolutely trivial to install it and get it talking via email.

Make it with ZigBee but no WiFi and it might use less power (who cares? it's plugged into mains, not battery powered) and your customer must now buy another ZigBee device to act as a controller, then configure that controller device to connect both to the fish-tank filter and your home internet connection and then set up the rules for it to email you at the appropriate time. That's way more faff than most people are prepared to tolerate and an additional expense. Someone who already has a ZigBee network at home (If I had no digits at all I could still use them to count the number of people I know who this applies to) might be pleased to have an opportunity to do this. Normal people won't.

I think this is why home automation won't take off. The barrier to entry needs to be made so low as to be imperceptible first. I don't think we're anywhere near that point now.

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Hard disk drive prices quick to rise, slow to fall

Patrick Moody

I don't understand this term profiteering

Surely it just means "doing business". If maximising profit isn't the whole point of doing business, what is?

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Sony KDL-55HX853 55in 3D LED TV

Patrick Moody
WTF?

LED TV for £1800?

This is an LCD TV which uses LED for its backlight. When a 55inch proper LED TV is available for £1800, that will be genuinely interesting news.

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Nokia Lumia 900 WinPho 7 smartphone

Patrick Moody
WTF?

Letting Nokia off for Microsoft's imposed limitations

"...Still, Nokia’s not to blame here." They absolutely are to blame for any and all shortcomings of the phones they produce. It was Nokia's choice to employ an ex-Microsoftie. It was his (highly predictable) choice to decide to use Microsoft's phone OS for all future Nokia smart-phones. Being subject to Microsoft's demands are a consequence of these choices which they made themselves.

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Ofcom boss warns of low interest in 'superfast' broadband

Patrick Moody

re:CowardlyAndrew

Re-read the post you were replying to and I think you'll realise that he's not moaning that his cheap service isn't as good. He's actually saying he's perfectly happy with it and doesn't see the point in paying any more for a difference in service that he would rarely ever notice. I suspect that is a very common viewpoint, and there's no such thing as a killer app for broadband (over and above the bandwidth needed for iPlayer) that I'm aware of.

If you can't rely on having very high bandwidth all the time (especially during peak-periods which coincide with the time when the majority of people are going to want it) you wont want to rely on any service(killer app?) that depends on it. This is a situation that won't change for a very long time I suspect.

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