67 posts • joined 20 Mar 2012
Stupid on many levels
They're just going to have to build FTTP one day anyway, baring some massive totally unexpected leap in mobile data capabilities. All the National Liberal Coalition is doing is ensuring that a decent network has to be built in two phases for a much higher cost.
The government here keeps emphasizing that most households don't need download bandwidth greater than what is available on ADSL, completely ignoring network aspects like latency (that anyone playing Call of Duty is aware of).
They are also implicitally discounting any future products and services that may require more bandwidth or lower latency. 4k TV, 120 frames per second sports broadcasts, Pseudo Holographic TV, proper videoconferencing spring to mind. None of those may come to be popular, but I'd bet that the internet isn't done coming up with intensive services that we will all want to use in the near future...
An intelligent movie except...
... it relies on Paley's watchmaker argument that a complex object like a watch or an eye can only have been designed by an intelligent being, rather than by making untold billions of copies and picking those that keep working. This is totally counter intuitive to human innate reasoning (something complex like a campfire must have been created by intelligent other humans - danger!). But that is part of the reason why it was 200 years from the start of the renaissance before anyone figured this out.
Scientifically this movie is just as silly and mildly annoying as one where true love cures mental illness.
Wires, wires, wires
I think the biggest problem with home theater is all the wires that you need to run to connect and power the speakers. Witricity are doing some interesting stuff with wirless power, but don't yet have a product on the market. Personally I wouldn't mind getting rid of all wires in my living room if possible.
The second problem as pointed out by the article is the absolute Zoo of content delivery systems. I think it will take something like "Apple TV with Dolby Atmos Beats fully wireless speakers" to sort this out. Or some other company like Google or Netflix could produce there own set top box and speaker package.
My Nan's house in New Zealand already has FTTP. I don't understand how NZ can do it but Australia can't?
FPS > Pixels
I was in the Brisbane Sony Centre the other day picking up my SRS X9 and Sony's latest and greatest 4K TVs were out on display showing 4K content from the world cup.
Firstly more pixels does look nicer. Whether you are standing close up or further away.
But what I thought could really improve things and make the TV more like a window onto reality would be a much higher frame rate. The detail was really good on the footballers at 4K but the movement was still flickery.
Pseudo holographic TV and VR
One of either pseudo holographic TV or VR will probably be popular by 2019.
I think the biggest problem faced by games is that they are currently just simulating simple mechanics such as aiming, timing button clicks to onscreen action (rythm action/platformers) etc. To get out of this ghetto and towards a holodeck where you can actually talk to NPCs is going to require strong AI.
So we'll either end up there, or failing to produce better AI we'll have FPSes with ever more lifelike graphics and physics. I think this is where the Analyst's pessimism is coming from as one day diminishing returns on better graphics will set in (maybe around 2019)?
Unlike the new classic it doesn't have a trackpad to move the cursor around in the text, meaning more awkward poking of the screen to try and get the cursor in the right place.
If they had been more ambitious they could have maybe made the spacebar into a trackpad.
Country Bumpkins can do one
Hold on. I am one of those metro apartment dwellers, but if I am reading this correctly the NBN wants to stop TPG giving ne the option of fibre because it wants to charge me more to subsidize building fibre out to country towns? Seems like a bit of a statist solution if you ask me.
Qwerty Slider + Moon on a stick
I know they already tried this with the torch, but ended up with the worst of both worlds. The screen was smaller than an iPhone 3.5 inch job, and the keyboard was awful. Plus the whole thing was 1.5cm thick.
Still if they could produce a thinner torch, with a bigger screen, and a keyboard rivaling those on the classic designs, they would have a very nice phone. Whether that is physically and technically possible I don't know?
Also the keyboard is a bit worse than onscreen ones by not being contextual. Could they use a white and also a UV backlight to highlight different characters on the keys? Or make changeable e-ink keys? And for a reasonable price?
I do think the Torch failed not just because of its design compromises, but because BB7 was bloody awful as a smartphone OS for downloading and using aps and surfing the net. Messaging still worked outstandingly well, but Android and iOS were good enough by then.
A qwerty slider would be nice. But the keyboard on the last one they made a few years back was horrible. Not sure if it is possible to produce a slider with a decent keyboard. That would be the best of both worlds... provided they somehow kept it to 9mm overall thickness somehow.
The problem is remembering what is missing at the supermarket, and having to go to the supermarket
You are right that the fridge won't be able to identify a half full carton of milk.
What could be done though is to stick a touchscreen on the front of the fridge that has a grid of all the fridge items on it. When milk is running low you just tap the milk icon on the front and it is added to your shopping list. If you click order now all the items on the shopping list are ordered online and delivered via Amazon Drone or Google's self driving delivery vans within 30-60 minutes.
All that is required is a cheap bar code scanner (or camera).
Yes you could probably do this on a tablet, but then you'd have to grab that and set it up. Far easier if the fridge just has this functionality built in. You can use your smartphone or tablet to change channels on yor TV, but I don't think anyone has switched from the remote yet.
The real problem
Is that this is only a newsworthy story because the recipient of the NESTA cash is fairly high profile. How many other absolutely worthless projects have had taxpayer money thrown away on them? The funding system is quite clearly broken and needs to be fixed... or binned. I'm sure there must be examples of successful government assisted startup schemes that can be aped? I've heard that Finland and Israel have successful scenes despite not containing silicon valley within there borders.
Microsoft on the right track, but horrible execution as usual
i actually think that the end game for tablets will be a 12 or 13.3 inch model that has a 4k 'retina' OLED screen, is very light, and has an attachable keyboard that rather than relying on a kickstand on the back of the tablet (making the tablet square edged like Microsoft's Surface) has a bit of plastic or metal that pulls out backwards out of the keyboard to prevent the 'laptop' from falling over. This, along with some magnetic rotating hinges on top to hold the tablet would allow the tablet to be as thin as an iPad in the users hands.
Of course making a 4K 12 inch tablet that light and with enough processing power to run a 4K screen without draining the battery in no time is not quite possible at the moment. But Microsoft or Samsung could sort out what seems to be a very obvious design flaw in the attachable keyboard (at least to me).
Then again, Microsoft seem to be making a lot of crazy design choices such as getting rid of the start button in Windows 8, or forcing every Xbox One to be bundled with a Kinect. So perhaps I am judging with the benefit of hindsight?
Re: Now that we all have large, HD TVs,
I totally agree with Mr Plant that 4 player co-op with randoms from online sounds pretty horrid.
But I remember the days where you could link two Xboxes and play Halo on two separate TVs. The downside was that someone had to lug the console and all its cables and controllers around to their mates house.
But... this sort of thing should be easier now that everyone has mutliple LCD tvs in their houses.
I think this could actually wind up being a good use for PS TV if Sony can get Playstation Now working lag free (a big if). You could lug the bedroom TV into the living room (not too hard if it is a thin light LED backlit model) and use PS TV with Playstation now as the second console.
Re: I think it's a lenticular display
Yes I think it is a lenticular display too. Unless amazon have figured out some way to steer beams of light emanating from each pixel a lenticular display is the only way to prevent the image intended for the left eye from reaching the right eye.
Seereal technologies proposed putting cells filled half with oil and half with water in front of LCD pixels and moving the oil about using magnetism in the sides of the cells to control the light direction. But never developed a practical demo.
The problem with lenticular displays is that there are only so many viewing angles.
Someone once said:
Technologies arrive later than the public expects, but sooner than they are ready for them.
I think a lot of the knee jerk "this will never work" responses are just people not being ready for change.
Yes self drive cars will not be as good as some things as people driven cars. But that doesn't mean the infrastructure cannot change to accommodate driverless cars. The US authorities are already looking at vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication. And they are looking at mandating automatic mobile phone to vehicle communication.
My dear old Gran can no longer drive a car. So I will be queuing up like an Apple fanboi to buy one for her when when they are publicly available.
"A button on your TV remote that sends you an email or message identifying the music that's currently part of the program you're watching."
I just use Shazam on my mobile.
Voicemail sent to my mailbox as an MP3 attachment
Back in 2005 I was working for a Hedge fund and all voicemails turned up in your inbox as an MP3 attached to an email (we did have a ninja IT department).
"Oh this is really useful, hope it is on my mobile by Vodafone soon" I thought at the time. 9 years later and I still have to call up a number and navigate around a stupid menu using touchtones, even though my Note 3 is probably more powerful than the PC from '05.
Ultrabooks are the future of business computing
Pretty much the Macbook pro and the Macbook air, and competing devices from Dell and Lenovo etc.
They have a proper keyboard, and a screen on a hinge. Until Microsoft or someone else's hybrid matches these hybrids will be neither fish nor fowl.
I've always thought the kickstand was a stupid idea, why not have a bit of plastic (or metal) that extends out horizontally from the back of the detachable keyboard so that you can balance the whole thing on your lap? Then you could just use a regular hinge mechanism to adjust the angle of the screen.
Rather than blowing hundreds or thousands on supplements
Just donate money each year to the SENS foundation. They are working on repairing the (seven) classes of damage caused by metabolism and not repaired by the body.
David Sinclair and others working on Resveratrol are seeking ways to slow the rate at which metabolism causes this damage. But as metabolism is fairly insanely complicated and no where near fully understood at present, all metabolic interventions have failed so far. In fact Glaxo bought David Sinclairs company for around $750 million dollars, but have got nothing out of it (unfortunately).
A lot of the metabolic interventions that work in mice and and nematode worms seem to be related to caloric restriction, which doesn't appear to work in longer lived animals like primates (why bother when a 6 month famine is not 50% of you wild lifetime?).
The SENS damage repair approaches have not yet had much experimental evidence in mice (apart from the removal of senescent cells in a mouse progeria model). But these studies are, or soon will be getting underway.
If you are interested in reading more on this topic I would recomend:
Nice trial but needs way more data
Unfortunately there were only 21 people in that trial (6 ppl got 5 shots, 9 got 4 shots, and 6 were not vaccinated).
It is a promising start, but that is all it is, they really need a clinical trial with a much larger number of participants to get a real idea of the effectiveness.
Virtual Boy 2
Bring out a new console next year that is actually powerful enough to run VR games. I very much doubt that the PS4 is actually up to running two times 1080p at 60 to 120 frames per second.
Give the 3 milliion or so folks that have splashed out for the Wii U a big discount on the new console as a 'sorry'.
Re: But I wonder
"But I wonder
How well can it tell the difference between a plastic bag blowing between some parked cars into the path of your car, and a soccer ball? In the latter situation you need to slam on your brakes in case it is followed by a child, but you don't even slow down for the bag. Slamming on your brakes when you're driving isn't a big deal, because you know it is coming, but if you're sitting in your car enjoying a beverage while the car is driving you want to minimize unexpected emergency stops!"
In the future pedestrans' and cyclists' cellphones will broadcast their position to cars. The federal transport authority already has a proposal for this over the next few years. If I was a parent with kids playing in the street I'd make sure their cellphone/smartwatch/smartchip in their clothing was working. To protect them from regular drivers as well as robocars.
Also how often do you actually drive through blowing plastic bags and soccer balls? Not really frequently enough to make slowing down for both a problem. And I already slow down when driving on residential streets where kids could be present anyway.
Apple should just buy Seereal technologies patents, bring out a pseudo holographic Television set. Bring out a few iPad games that can use it, as well as a similar screen on the iPhone, then make money of licencing the tech to all other TV makers.
I'm dreaming of course, but it would be nice if they did.
Are said by some people to be what is needed for taller buildings. As buildings get taller more and more of the interior needs to be turned into lift shafts in order to keep travel times down. If you could have more than one lift in a shaft then you'd have a much higher throughput.
This has a lot of similarities to PRT (personal rapid transit) systems.
Re: Congratulations SpaceX
Well the US government is paying for it, so the government is doing something properly too.
Economists have been banging on for ages about the idea that just because there is a public good (space access) that should be paid for via taxation to avoid free rider problems, it doesn't mean that the good/service needs to be provided by a government owned entity, and that competition between private providers can drive efficiency.
This doesn't just apply to rockets, look at the Swedish school education system.
I think this is the twenty teens version of BBQ.com being valued at millions of dollars by investors at the turn of the century..
I can understand that government run funding schemes can occasionally fund rubbish ideas like this. But... surely there have to be some criteria that have to be passed before money is handed out?
Re: Still got no proper depth of field
Seereal technology have some tech for producing a pseudo holographic display. But you would need some way of turning an LCD or OLED display into a lightfield display. They proposed having tiny half oil filled cells in front of the pixels.
Whether anyone could make that work at a reasonable price in the near future is unknown.
I think you can view this future already
Upper middle class and Rich families in California all seem to have Mexican nannies/housekeepers.
Robots will perahps eventually do this job, and will be cheap enough that even the 'poor' have them. This will be a big change for society. Probably as big as everyone being able to afford cars in the 20th century.
Chuck in cheap Liquid Fluoride Molten Salt reactors for much cheaper energy (if the Chinese can get them working) and extended healthspans and lifespans (if Aubrey de Grey can get his SENS program working) and you have a very different future.
Carmack now works for Zuckerberg
If you had said that two years ago you would have been laughed at.
Also, Facebook have overpaid for Oculus, it would not have taken them $2 billion to develop something superior to what Oculus have now. And Oculus don't have any patents or even a monopoly on the tech. Sony are doing it. Valve are doing it. Microsoft can't be far behind. This is shareholder value destruction.
The Surface 2 is still a stupid compromise
The Surface 2 has horrible thick edges, so that the keyboard cover can be attached to turn it into a laptop.
The surface should have been designed as a tablet first, with thin edges like the iPad and google/Samsung Nexus 10, instead we have something blocky and ugly. Microsoft should have done what google did and cloned the shape of the iPad (as much as their lawyers thought they could get away with) then tried to add extra features to win users away from Apple's camp. For google the value add was a 300 pixel per inch screen beating that on the iPad 4 and iPad mini.
Having a keyboard is a value add for the customer. But the extra thick square edges and weight more than detract for it.
Why not just Borg the android runtimes?
Blackberry OS 10 has done this (I assume successfully). It is the thing that is making me think of getting a blackberry with a proper keyboard and optical trackpad for my next phone.
Is there any reason windows phone can't do this to run Android apps?
I think one of the reasons that iPhones are easy to use than android phones is that Apple control both the hardware and OS. So I'm surprised Sony, Samsung, LG etc aren't moving in a similar direction. Or does having someone else's runtimes mess this up a bit?
Today's gaming rigs aren't powerful enough
Sony is probably dreaming if they think they can get a 2 x 1080p at 60fps on the PS4. And Valve are talking about 120fps being necessary for a good experience. And Oculus are talking about going to 1440p or higher resolutions.
I think that the first Oculus Rifts will run well on 2015's or later beast gaming rigs.
Pardon my ignorance
But why can't Blackberry make it so that you don't have to sideload an app like snap first before installing Android apps??
They haven't dealt with the other problem that El Reg identified
Everyone is now used to context sensitive on screen keyboards, and a physical keyboard can't do this... unless they somehow used white LEDS for the regular symbols and UV LEDs and had 'blacklight' secondary symbols on the keys that are normally black and invisible (I don't know how this would work).
Also the screen is still tiny compared to Android/iPhone due to the physical keyboard taking up so much space. Whatever happened to the idea of a decent slider?
Skylon or Beamed Proplusion
I still suspect Skylon or that beamed propulsion research NASA are working on will be better in the long term as you would have only one stage, not a vehicle that breaks into 3 or more parts which all return separately.
But in the short to medium term this could be fantastic.
The only problem with this working is - will we get stuck with this 'old' Spacex technology for another 60 years rather than going on to make Skylon or laser beamed propulsion work?
Admittedly the NASA beamed technology spaceplane glides back to earth like the space shuttle, and both Skylon and the beamed propulsion vehicle are useless for landing on Mars, which is what Elon ultimately wants to do. They might be better technologies for earth however.
Losing the magic
Totally agree with the author that the Wii was an aberration. I think it succeeded because the TV ads promised one to one control of an onscreen avatar with the wii-mote. Once anyone used the thing for more than 5 minutes they realized this wasn't the case. But this bait and switch combined with a knock down price was decisive. Microsoft repeated the trick with Kinect, but most consumers are warier now.
The other reason was that Nintendo had built up a lot of goodwill with great games on the N64 and Gamecube (even if the gamecube came 3rd equal with the Xbox). But contrast Mario Cart 64 with Mario Cart Wii. Nintendo horribly compromised the controls just to shoehorn the wii-mote into it.
Also, you can't keep churning out the same games forever, no matter how fun they are. People got sick of guitar hero. They'll eventually get sick of COD multiplayer. The next big thing will be something slightly evolved and different. The more processing power you give developers, the more chance they have of improving things.
I think Nintendo's days as a hardware manufacturer are now numbered and it will go the way of Sega sooner or later.
The next experiment definitely needs to be attaching a mind controlled touch enabled chainsaw. Just like Ash in Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness.
Regular Home Sceen
Does BB10 have one of these now?
They are going to need to do something drastic soon perhaps. They should spend a bit more of that 250 billion on accelerating research of small modular nuclear reactors, or thorium molten salt reactors which can then be put into coal power stations to replace the burning of coal.
How about one version of windows
With an option to turn a windows 7 style start menu or modern interface on and off, and another clear option to turn automatic updates on and off.
And make it work across ARM and Intel chips.
I'm no expert, but I don't see why this is so hard to do? The only logical reason I can come up with is that Microsoft wants a large library of touch based apps for its windows 8 ecosytem, but is afraid that if they allow a windows 7 style interface on desktops and laptops no one will bother to create these. A better strategy might be to get loads more windows 8 phones and tablets out there in peoples hands by creating (or getting Samsung or some other OEM) to create a heavily subsidized 'hero' phone and tablet that they make little margin on, much like google did with the Nexus 10 tablet.
What PC games apart from FPS will actually work well on steambox?
I know that Valve are aware of the problem that a lot of PC games are click fests as they have designed a fancy new controller to enable this in front of the TV but... I just don't see their touch pad controller working anywhere near as well as a mouse.
Also, if I am going to be clicking on small objects on the screen, I prefer to be sat in an upright position with my face about 1.5 feet from the screen, not leaning back on the couch a few meters away.
I think I will always play PC style games at a desk, and console FPS, third person shooters, and driving games on the couch in front of the TV.
I'm happy to be proved wrong by Valve, but this device looks like falling between two stools.
Systems aren't there yet
I think Cage wants to create an interactive drama. But computers and AI can't yet understand a conversation (either spoken or written) anywhere near well enough to enable this kind of game. So instead we wind up with this 'choose your own adventure' style game, but without as many choices.
In a book the author can just describe a new outcome. In a game someone has to create the art assets, record the dialogue, create sound effects etc. Which is why the player just ends up getting funneled down one path. Perhaps in the medium term with a more simulated environment Cage will be able to create better stories. At the moment the best simulated environments/story generators are GTA V and Xcom. And they can only simulate action, not dramatic dialogue.
Wrong solution to the right problem
So Valve are trying to replace a mouse and keyboard with trackpads so that you can play RTSs and Diablo and other PC games in the living room?
And they've taken inspiration from Smartphones, just like the Wii U did.
But... a mouse and keyboard aren't just superior for 'clicking' games because they are more precise than trackpads. The position of the users body sitting at a desk with the screen 30cm away and his elbows and forearms rested on the table is a big part of the useability. This is the reason why people don't just use a wireless keyboard and mouse in their living room.
The problem is that we currrently have one computer (a laptop/desktop) on a desk in our study/bedroom/kitchen table for work and PC style clicking games, and another (a console) sat under our TV for games not involving precise clicking that benefit from the larger screen.
I thought Valve got this, and were going to come up with some solution to use the steam box to power both screens from the one processor. Maybe some special lag free wifi (if such a thing is possible?) or some extended HDMI cable that is easy (without a professional install) to plumb through from your bedroom/study wall to the living room wall behind your TV(again if this is actually possible?).
That way when you want to play Diablo/Rome Total War/World of Warcaft you just use the screen, mouse, and keyboard sat on the desk in your bedroom hooked up lag free to the steam box under your TV, and when you want to play a console style game on your bigger TV screen you do that on the couch in your living room with a Xbox One controller.
This is really stupid
So Valve have decided to bring out a Linux microconsole. Except that there won't even be a standard hardware spec.
Shugyosha is completely correct in that one of the big selling points of consoles is that they just work with no messing about. Trying to judge weather your hardware can run a new game in a decent state because everyone has different hardware is just a headache.
What value does a linux console offer over the PS4 or Xbox One that the PC doesn't already offer?
I can sympathize with Valve's dilemma in that every operating system is now shipping with it's own app store that cuts Steam out of the picture.
But to beat the incumbents they are going to have to do something radical. Apple did it to the smartphone market with the fully touchscreen iPhone and Nintendo did it to Sony's Playstation with the Wii motion controller. A simple 'me too' console product will wither and die.
The only radical things I can think of (which are probably rubbish ideas when you dig into them) are to cool the console with mineral oil rather than air allowing massive overclocking of the current chips, or to somehow keep the simplicity of the console but make it upgradeable once or twice in it's lifecycle like Nintendo tried to do with the memory clip in module for the N64. Perhaps with a plug in memory module and second processor to be released in 2 years time.
The maddness continues
I don't know why Microsoft won't follow the Reg's suggestion and just have two operating systems - Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8?
Both Google and Apple have a mobile operating system that works on both phones and tablets. I don't see why Microsoft can't manage this too?
Why don't they follow the Reg's plan?
And have two operating systems - windows phone 8.1 for ARM devices and windows pro 8.1 for x86 devices?
Also that kickstand sucks and means that the tablet is a horrible blocky shape. Why can't they have a bit of plastic (or metal) that can be pulled out of the back of the keyboard so that it doesn't fall over when the screen is attached? That way they could have a slimmer curved tablet. It's like they are channeling Nokia when they insisted on designing horrible blocky Lumias.
Also I suspect the tablets will only be 1080p when their rivals have already moved beyond that.
Once again Surface will be a day late and a dollar short compared to other offerings.
Fatal flaw, hyperloop is DOA
This thing is a city to city system with no stops along the way in the San Joaquin Valley, meaning that they will see no economic benefit, meaning that this Hyperloop is Dead On Arrival. Musk is a perhaps a bit disingenuous when he states that Hyperloop will be a "statewide mass transit system".
One of the reasons that the proposed high speed train is so slow and costly is all the stops and stations in the valley. An ideal futuristic system would allow fast LA to San Diego transport, but would allow people to get on and off along the way, perferably with the 'train' not having to stop at each station. Something like that proposed docking trains by Priestmangoode:
Underpowered, and with a gimick that's not fooling anyone
The Wii was underpowered, but cheap and with a gimick (control an onscreen avatar 1 to 1) that looked amazing on TV spots.
The Wii U is underpowered, and it's gimick doesn't look interesting on TV spots (what is interesting to joe public about 2 screens?). And it is not as cheap as a Wii was due to the cost of that second screen.
Releasing a console only as powerful as a PS3 or 360 was a huge mistake too.
Ninty can't go ahead and release a new more powerful console (or could they?). I think Ninty have painted themselves into a corner this generation, and need to just hang on until the next hardware refresh.
Microsoft is making the same error with Kinect 2, most of the public expect it not to work (and if it is not allowing 1 to 1 tracking with no perceptible lag, then it isn't working). Luckily Sony have learnt the lessons of 'gen 3' and look set to clean up in 'gen 4'.
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