@Blockchain commentard - it isn't a conspiracy theory exactly, and Bayliss didn't invent the wind-up radio, his patent was only for a very specific spring arrangement used in his radio, not for the whole concept (although he was more than happy for everyone to attribute the whole idea to him). There are patents going back at least to the 1940's covering the wind-up radio in general. Bayliss' patent was valid, but most of his complaining about IP theft was not, at least as regards his own invention; people moved on to using rechargeable batteries as the energy store in wind-up radios, which meant they did not require his patented spring arrangement, and didn't owe him anything.
432 posts • joined 2 Jul 2008
Wait ....., sorry ..... I was vaguely remembering the Stainless Steel Rat series. Oh god, I'm getting old.
I never read Bill the Galactic Hero, but the Stainless Steel Rat books were great! Now where can I get a porcuswine burger around here?
Re: Films - meh
That's the thing, though. The movies acts as a great illustration to the book, but without having read the book it's very confusing. I remember it came on telly a day or two after I finished the book, and suddenly everything slotted into place. And you could see which bits had been shuffled around just to shift the narrative along quickly.
Dune is a truly epic tale, and IMHO much too big to fit in a single movie, or even a mini-series. I would love to see it given a full Game of Thrones level TV series treatment, then you might get something worthy of the books. Not likely to happen, but a man can dream.
I read The Expanse in parallel with watching the TV series, and doing that it was really obvious how much you lose even with many hours of serialisation, although I still found the series pretty enjoyable (there was that aspect of it providing a visualisation of key parts of the story). But trying to squeeze an epic tale like Dune down into a single two hour movie, to my mind it just can't work.
Just to be clear ...
.. this is a phone we're talking about, right?
I know handset makers desperate to differentiate their hardware from the competition turn to secondary features such as the cameras to try to make their products stand out; fine. But journalists and reviewers don't have to pander to this kind of nonsense. There may be a few professional and pro-am photographers that choose to use a smartphone as a primary camera, and would care about having significantly above-average camera on their phone, but the vast majority of them are going to use a proper camera. And for everyone else that just wants to take a few holiday snaps that they'll probably never look at, or take a snap of their dinner to put on instagram or whatever, it really doesn't matter, the camera just needs to be ok.
This camera capability competition is little more than a marketing exercise, a way for manufacturers to try to claim bragging rights over their competition when the core product just isn't that exciting. And while I'm happy that it gives bored tech journos something to talk about, it just seems a bit silly to me. Maybe I'm alone, and everybody is going to pile in and tell me how having an amazing camera is their most important criteria in choosing a phone, I guess I'll see.
Re: Dumb question?
The only bit of good news in this story is that my contract term was coming to an end so I took the opportunity to mentally note to NEVER sign up with BT again and switched to a different ISP.
Although BT is not high on my list either, I'm not sure they are that much worse than any other big ISP, on the actual ISP front. I think the main lesson you should take away from that experience is do not use the ISP-supplied router. I've also had multiple bad experiences with firmware updates to a BT Business hub causing various problems, resolved only by junking the BT kit and replacing with a third party router. But was it worse than my Virgin Superhub 3 at home? It seems to be standard policy amongst ISPs to foist crappy kit on you, and then make matters worse by forcing sketchy firmware updates on you on their schedule that break things and are difficult to block or roll back. Never again if I can help it.
Re: ... Microsoft Store ...
It'll be the "year of Linux on the desktop" any day now.
Re: I actually don't mind this - much... but...
If a site can promise that they will only have some banner ads, no autoplaying videos, no third party scripts (potentially malicious) from the ad slinger etc, then I would be happy to white-list their site - there are sites that I do indeed to that with already.
In theory, that's about what you're supposed to get with Adblock Plus with "Allow Acceptable Ads" enabled. I use that setting, unfortunately it doesn't seem to give any stats on that, so I have no idea how many sites actually carry "acceptable ads", or what the ratio of acceptable to non-acceptable ads is (pretty bloody low, I expect).
Re: QUICK - SEND MORE POPCORN
"Campaign Owners are legally bound to perform on any promise and/or commitment to Contributors (including delivering any Perks).".
That implies to me that there is a legal contract regarding that obligation; I don't think they would use the term "legally bound" if they couldn't back it up. Then this;
By using our Services, you acknowledge that Indiegogo reserves the right to attempt to recover or hold funds from your Campaign, or the connected Stripe or bank account associated with your Campaign, for reasons including but not limited to: refunds, lost chargebacks, a Campaign Owner does not act in accordance with Indiegogo’s Terms, or other situations resulting in negative balances.
We may obtain reimbursement of any amounts owed by a Campaign Owner to Indiegogo by holding funds from your Campaign, or the connected Stripe or bank account associated with your Campaign, or seeking reimbursement from the Campaign Owner by any other lawful means, including by using third-party collections agencies. You authorize us to use any or all of the foregoing methods to seek reimbursement..
Endurance != Reliability?
I thought it was already well established that endurance, in terms of number of write-cycles is already well in excess of what consumer devices would ever reach (I thought there was an El Reg article on that, can't find it, but see e.g. Grueling endurance test blows away SSD durability fears.
Okay, you can't have too much of a good thing, and maybe these things will find themselves in some enterprise workloads. But all the SSD failures I've seen, which is several, including the 1TB Samsung in my own laptop, have not been because the drive got within a million miles of its rated write cycles, but because they just decided to stop working one day. "Boot device not found". Game over.
So by all means work on the endurance, Samsung, but if you could make it so they don't just keel over and die for no apparent reason as well, that'd be great!
(Note: I'm not saying Samsung has any kind of reliability problem, quite probably their failure rate is good, and we just got unlucky. Just pointing out the obvious, that non-wear-related failures are a thing.)
Re: Do we really need much more pixels?
@onefang - sure, I didn't say the we don't need any more resolution, just that we might not need resolutions so high that our PCs will melt. I mentioned 4k displays at the end of my post, and 8k displays are being demo'd right now with current, albeit high-end PC hardware, e.g. Pimax 8k (some guy's video review), so that doesn't seem too crazy.
The Pixel in a VR headset is a bit lower resolution than the Rift, it's 1080p, so 960x1080 per eye, versus 1080x1200 for the Rift, but it's not too bad.
Do we really need much more pixels?
The biggest problem at the moment is not so much resolution as fill factor; the so-called "screen door effect". You can see individual pixels not so much because the resolution is too low, but because you can see the gaps around the individual pixels. Things don't look blocky as when the resolution is too low, but it looks as if you are looking through a fine mesh. Even just using my Pixel and Daydream headset, not the highest resolution rig, I rarely really feel like resolution is what's lacking.
Now you could solve this simply by throwing pixels at it - the higher the resolution, the finer the "mesh", and if you go fine enough, then it will seem to disappear. This will, as noted, require a great deal of processing power to render all those pixels, however, and seems like a pretty brute force way of dealing with it.
Foveated rendering doesn't sound to me like much better of a solution. The complexity of getting the eye tracking to work well enough and fast enough, the variable-resolution rendering, and the other issues mentioned, sounds like an absolute nightmare.
Now I don't know displays, but I do know a bit about image sensors. Image sensors also suffer from fill factor issues - light falling between the pixels is wasted, thus the sensitivity of the sensor is less than optimal. One common solution to that is micro-lenses - as it sounds, an array of tiny lenses is bonded over the pixels, and the lenses capture light that would have fallen into the dead area around the pixel and focus it onto the active area. I don't see any reason why something similar wouldn't work for displays, and a quick bit of Googling says I'm not the first to think that way. No idea of the practicality or cost of manufacturing that kind of thing, but it may well be that we don't need so many pixels to make VR less crap after all, a 4k display plus micro-diffusers (or whatever those things end up being called) to fix the fill factor may be more than good enough.
Re: Tastes like chicken...
There seems to be either a pun-hater, or possibly a vegan, down-voting you guys. Whichever it is, if I find him, I'm not going to mince my words.
Re: Let's just accept that the UK
Yeah, there's nothing like a dodgy dossier or two to ensure that the right policy decisions are made, eh? When will we learn?
Re: From the beginning
Yes, I'm still trying to get my head raptor-ound the idea that they ever thought this would work.
True, but it was a funny article anyway, in fact I was positively owling with laughter.
Re: android envy
Siri/Alexa whatever voice assistant you choose simply passes the request to shazam and waits for the response, so either way this kind of integration is not something you would need to buy the company for.
Except that you don't get the associated data about, for example, what the customer ultimately buys from their Shazams, or where they buy it from, or how they respond to choices presented to them during the process. Remember, in this day and age, it's all about hoovering up all that lovely behavioural data people leave behind.
Re: Ah well
The speculation I've read elsewhere is that they want to give Siri the ability to recognise songs etc by integrating Shazam. No idea if they will crapify the standalone Shazam app in the process; it shouldn't be necessary, and would probably only drive people to Shazam alternatives more than driving them to use iTunes or whatever, but companies don't always seem to act rationally about these things.
When I first got on the internet, I had a 9600 baud modem, so that 0.68Mbps speed on the slowest street there is still more than seventy times faster than that, if it makes them feel any better. I have 100Mbps now though, and it's pretty sad to think that their 0.68Mbps speed is actually closer to that old 9600 baud modem than it is to my current cable connection.
@ I ain't Spartacus - ACs posts may well be childish, but there is a valid point lurking under there. As long as people don't consider the availability of regular updates as a significant factor influencing their buying choice when purchasing a phone, there is little incentive for manufacturers to change their attitude to providing said updates. And the fact is that the majority of people seem to vote with their wallets to say that regular updates are not a big deal, in fact no few of them explicitly say they'd like less updates. You can hardly blame manufacturers for focusing on things that their customers actually care about.
Re: "That said, the market is at an early stage."
It's the age old problem - you need compelling content to persuade people to buy the equipment, but nobody wants to spend the money creating content when there isn't an existing user-base to sell it to. Every so often I pull my Daydream View off the shelf, spend an hour or two trying out a few apps from the play store, then usually end up on youtube watching a few 360 degree videos. There's lot's of stuff that hints at the potential of VR, but I have yet to come across any really compelling experiences.
Re: Count me unimpressed
Amazon is great at recommending things I want to buy ... after I've already bought them. Hey you bought a nice TV; here are some more nice TV's. Thanks, already got one. I guess I probably don't buy enough from Amazon for them to properly profile me though, so maybe that's not fair, but on the surface, that seems to be about the level of intelligence behind their recommendations.
Re: Unnecessary cloud linkage
There is a tiny bit of rationale to it, albeit not much. This is a sous vide cooker, and cooking times can be several hours (I've done a 24 hour pulled pork recipe). If you had a two hour cook, for example, you could prep it before you went to work, and then start it with the app two hours before you head home, and that would work even if you weren't sure beforehand what time you'd be heading home. Never done that, but you could.
Unnecessary cloud linkage
Completely unnecessary cloud linkage of products is one of those things that's going to come to a head one of these days. I have one of those Anova Culinary Precision Cookers, and earlier in the year they updated their app and all of a sudden, you had to create an account online and sign in to use the app, a requirement which they dropped on users with no warning or explanation. Bear in mind that all this app fundamentally does is set a temperature and a time on the cooker. They subsequently claimed it was something to do with security improvements and Google Home integration, but somehow requiring signing in to a cloud account in order to set a timer between two devices on my own LAN seems like more of a security hole than an improvement, maybe it's just me. Fortunately the thing can be used on manual, and as far as I can tell they can't do remote firmware updates, so they can't brick it. But this kind of thing just seems stupid.
Stacked SLP, often referred to misleadingly as a "stacked logic board"
Okay, you told me what Stacked SLP doesn't mean, but what does it mean? Is this one of those things everybody else knows except me?
None of the acronyms on wikipedia seem to fit, and all 129 search results on "stacked slp" seem to refer to regurgitated iPhone X stories with no explanation of the term.
However searching for "slp" alone, it seems to stand for "Substrate-Like PCB". From this article;
The SLP, a main substrate for next-generation smartphones, is an advanced type of the current mainstream High Density Interconnected (HDI) PCB technology. Integrating the HDI PCB with chip packaging technology, the new substrate has a better efficiency by increasing the number of layers while reducing its area and width.
So as far as I can tell, SLP basically means PCBs with more layers and smaller, higher density features, and commensurately smaller chips. One can only assume that "Stacked SLP" means, well, multiple SLPs in a stack?
The Roku Ultra is great. But its limitations are showing
It's limitations serve well to highlight the limitations of the streaming market as a whole. Because all those things that you point out that the Roku can't do, it's competitors can only do for their content, via their UI. So using those features across all the content you subscribe to, via a consistent UI, is only possible if you're willing to live in a single ghetto, and eschew the content only available elsewhere. And with the proliferation of streaming services, increased fragmentation of content availability, and ratcheting up of prices, that is heading towards a worse and worse experience.
In a fantasy future world, some sort of meta-streaming service will emerge, and people will be able to access shows from all the streaming services via it. Providers will realise that it's not practical for everybody to subscribe to every streaming service, and that it's better to make their content available to a wider audience via such a service than to use it as a tool to make people choose one service or the other. Well, a man can dream. For the moment, cable TV plus downloading and my own personal streaming service is about as close to the ideal as I can get.
If there is one plus side to the whole sorry affair, it's that the response from some of the celebrities involved may have shifted attitudes on such things. Movie star Jennifer Lawrence, whose private photos in various states of undress were leaked, pointed out that those viewing and commenting on the pictures were "perpetuating a sexual offense and you should cower with shame."
Have attitudes changed though? Do they even need to? Some major sites may have implemented policies to ban stolen photos, more through fear of lawsuits than any moral shift I suspect, but the Fappening pics are all still readily available online, and I can only speak for myself, but I'm certainly not cowering in shame for having looked at them.
At the end of the day, they were pretty tame, mostly not-particularly-sexy pics of people I don't personally know (and in the cast of most of the "celebs" involved, had barely heard of), which I checked out to satisfy some mildly voyeuristic curiosity, shrugged and moved on. Regardless of J-Law's hyperbole and similar, I just can't make myself feel too bad about it. It's like rubbernecking at a car crash; you didn't make it happen, you wouldn't wish it to happen, but there it is, what can you do?
Re: I've read this book
@ THMONSTER - that's the one!
I've read this book
I don't recall who it was by or what it was called, but I read a sci-fi book which covered the dying off of insects worldwide. It was pretty scary; according to said book, without fungus gnats, we would be pretty much overrun by fungi, so what crops didn't fail due to lack of pollinators would be taken out by fungi, and everybody would starve and die.
I don't know if I need to warn about spoilers in a book I can't name, by an author I can't remember, but spoiler alert! In the book, however, the cause of the die off was some sort of shared genetic time-bomb, and the eventual solution was to jurassic-park some fossilised insects whose genetic clock had thus been paused for a long time, and so wasn't on the same cycle as the insects that were dying off. Presumably the cause and solution of our die-off is somewhat different.
Never mind the security aspects, but if it involves anything outside of standard protocols, consider me fundamentally unimpressed. Faster wi-fi ... as long as you use our routers, our phones, our tablets, etc? **** right off. I'm sick of manufacturers trying to hook people into their little "ecosystems", with features that only work as long as you buy all their kit. My money goes to manufacturers whose gear works best with everybody's kit, and who put there efforts into ecosystem-agnostic improvements, thank you very much.
Re: Hollywood being moribund
Can I vote for Consider Phlebus (Iain Banks)?
Rhiiiiight. And what sort of budget did you have in mind for that? I'm a huge fan of the Banks' work, but I hope nobody ever attempts to make a movie out of any of them. The amount of butchery required to squeeze a huge-scale epic space opera of that kind into a two hour movie ensures that it will lose all its character, and nobody is ever likely to spend the kind of money that would be required to do the stories justice. Just look at the adaptations of Frank Herbert's Dune as a cautionary tale. Some things are best left on the printed page, and visualized in one's imagination.
Re: One use card numbers
I tried a virtual credit card (Entropay), the plan being that I'd top it up with only the amount needed for a particular purchase, and not leave it with more than a few quid balance. However I had a lot of trouble with it getting rejected, so I stopped bothering with it.
Re: Sub heading should read
Me? Dodging taxes? I donner what you're talking about!
Why is that? Serious question, I have no clue about parachuting. But this thing claims an altitude of up to 10000ft, and Google says you can typically deploy a parachute down to 2000 feet, or even 700 feet for a reserve chute. So to the non-expert at least, it looks like there's parachute potential from an altitude standpoint. Presumably you'd have some sort of break-glass-to-access emergency button that would stop the rotors if you wanted to bail out, so you wouldn't get diced. As long as you have the altitude, it seems like it could work.
Re: Not legal in the EU
Wrong. The GDPR specifically does not apply to anonymized data, so this would be perfectly legal in the EU.
Recital 26: The GDPR does not apply to data that are rendered anonymous in such a way that individuals cannot be identified from the data.
Re: Another nail in the coffin...
Firefox started off with a great idea - a small core browser, which the user could then customise by using various Add-ons (Extensions, Plug-Ins, Dictionaries) that were important for what they wanted to do.So you ended up with exactly the browser that you wanted. That vision has long been lost :-(
I hate to point this out, but that was never Mozilla's vision" that was what people outside of Mozilla decided Firefox was good for. Mozilla primarily trumpeted the core features of Firefox - tabbed browsing, pop-up blocker, etc etc - things that were ground-breaking at the time. The minimalist, extensible browser idea didn't come from Mozilla. To quote the goals from the Firefox charter 1.0 from 2004, first line; Delivering the right set of features - not too many or too few (the goal is to create a useful browser, not a minimal browser) .
Yes, they aimed for a bloat free browser, but that mostly meant not shipping it with a suite of other applications in the way of the Netscape Suite. And yes, they promoted the hundreds of add-ons as a benefit, but those of us who've used Firefox since the pre-1.0 days, when add-ons were free to shit all over each other and all over the browser, will recall that the Mozilla devs attitude was that if a given add-on worked for you, great. If it didn't, don't use it. As far as they were concerned, add-ons were just a bonus, and a way to experiment with new features, and their job was the browser's core features. It took them literally years to engage with the fact that people were using Firefox primalrily because of the add-ons and extensions, and start working towards stable and secure add-on APIs. I quote another goal from the charter; Develop and maintain an extension system to allow for research into new areas without affecting the core and to allow for techies, early adopters, web developers and other specific communities to customize their browsers to suit their specific needs without affecting usability or download size for the mass market.. Extensions were not intended to be part of the mainstream Firefox experience. Which is probably a large part of the reason why we are where we are today.
Re: I think that's a good idea
Mozilla isn't a for-profit corporation so they don't have the incentive to 'cheat' others collecting data might.
"Not for profit" != "Doesn't need money". Mozilla burns through plenty of cash, and with Firefox's dwindling market share, the current sources of that cash, such as money they get from certain search engines for making them the default provider, definitely aren't guaranteed. So there is certainly reason for Mozilla to think about additional revenue sources.
That point aside however, I tend to agree; they should just collect the data, bury the note about what they're doing in the small print like everyone else, and make sure that for those that do go looking, there is a very clear description of what data is collected, how it's anonymized, and what it's used for. Having a public debate about it, as this has now become, just makes all the privacy nutjobs flip their lids, and hilarious as that is to watch, it's not really productive.
Re: The Greats have gone
I wouldn't personally put David Weber on the same level as some of those greats, but there certainly are more recent sci-fi authors I would put on that level, or that might be headed that way with a few more titles under their belts. Not many, but that's the point about greats - they are rare.
Re: All they have to do...
It's pure censorship.
Actually it's worse than that - it's backdoor censorship.
If the content of these videos contravene any current laws, then Mr Khan or the police should prosecute the individuals concerned. If Mr Khan feels new laws are needed in order to criminalise the contents of these videos, well there's a procedure for that too.
But by trying to manoeuvre the likes of Google into performing the censorship without any law being broken, or any legal procedure having taken place, means the censorship would happen without any transparency or accountability whatsoever. Content would disappear into a black hole, administered only by internet companies' internal policies.
If Mr Khan wants to censor content that he finds distasteful, he should man up and call for a law that allows him/the government to do that, and take any electoral heat that results from passing such a law, instead of posturing.
Re: Is this to fund upgrades so they can fix the horrific congestion?
They were definitely a step up from TalkTalk I was with previously.
Okay, let's list who isn't a step up from TalkTalk. Any takers?
At first glance ....
At first glance, despite Hipsterman's ridiculous pitch, there are actually a few desirable features being proposed, but I am dubious about the practicality of the whole thing, in terms of implementation and cost. It does integrate several items that I sometimes carry around when I travel. And I did leave my phone on my windscreen again last night (doh).
But my wallet is already thick enough without adding a battery and a bunch of electronics; I just can't see any way that this thing is going to be something I actually want to squeeze into my pocket. And how's that global wi-fi hotspot going to work? Is that just basically an embedded MiFi that you're going to buy a local SIM card for wherever you, or are they talking about something more interesting? And you're now going to add your wallet to the list of things you have to charge up every day?
I will be amazed if this ever actually sees the light of day.
On the plus side ...
On the plus side, I'm betting these stamp machines will never be taken down by ransomware or hackers.
+1. I use KeePass too, and sync the database between my PCs and phones using Resilio Sync, no cloud required. KeePassDroid is effective (if a little aesthetically challenged) on Android.
It's the way things are going
It's a shame how fast this seems to be becoming the norm. I fixed many of my own phones over the years, up to my Nexus 5, which needed the screen and back replaced at different times due to drop damage. My current Pixel will be the first phone that I'd need to deal with heating up adhesive to get the screen off, and having had a bad experience doing that with my Lenovo ultrabook (it's amazing how fast thin plastic parts can melt under a standard heat gun, even on the lowest setting, if you're not paying attention), I'd be a bit scared of that process.
But the fact is that repairability is not likely to be a key consideration in most people's buying choices, since repairing the phone is something you probably hope never to have to do, and most people will probably upgrade before the battery dies, so it's going to come way down the list of considerations when choosing a phone. So with little incentive for manufacturers to worry about it much, I suspect they'll do whatever suits them best, and if that means potting the whole innards in resin and making it 100% non-repairable, that's what they'll do.
Re: Who actually uses the router ?
I do that with the SuperHub 3 that they forced on me. Can you believe that in router mode, you can't change the lan-side IP address of that thing? Must be the only router on the planet that brain-dead.
Cloudflare goes berserk on next-gen patent troll, vows to utterly destroy it using prior-art bounties
"In the past, patent trolls had to hire lawyers and law firms," Prince said. "These guys do away with it entirely and have the owner be a law firm themselves."
So basically Blackbird Technologies LLC is to patent trolling as Prenda Law was to copyright trolling? If so then I wish CloudFlare spectacular success.
Re: 'world's largest flying craft' - I think not...
Maybe they mean "at the moment", as in currently operational?
The hardware compatibility is an interesting twist, and that does make it a somewhat interesting proposition, although similarly not £200 worth of interesting. And the thing does look pretty cool, I have to admit. But I can't help feeling that a new, updated speccy is no more a "real" speccy than an emulator is. I no longer have a speccy, but if I got one, it would be for the nostalgia of having the real thing that I had back in the day. A clone, no matter how good, is still a clone.