* Posts by Dave 126

7160 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Freeze, lastholes: USB-C and Thunderbolt are the ultimate physical ports

Dave 126
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Thunderbolt started off as an Intel concept that used optical fibres called LightPeak but it proved too costly, so they reverted to copper, and Apple contributed the Thunderbolt name. Lightpeak seemed an attractive idea to me at the time, because a noisey computer / server / GPU farm could be kept in the next room - or indeed the garden shed - without much compromise. These days though, computers good enough for my purposes are generally cooler and quieter.

I keep hearing about photonic circuitry too, but it seems to be a few years off at the very least.

As regards consumer and desktop devices, copper-cable based solutions offer a usability advantage of optical connections* - they can carry power, so a single cable can do 'everything' (power, video, storage, peripherals etc).

*Yeah, some people are working on power-over-fibre, but the use cases remain specialised (underwater robots, MRI machines, physics labs etc). My instinctual reaction to 'consumer fibre with 5W lasers beams' is "Arghh, my eyes my beautiful eyes!!"

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Dave 126
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Fibre optic

I can see scenarios where a fibre optic connection would be useful.

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So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

Dave 126
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Re: And in other news...

>She dropped her phone and felt she would have been unable to dial 000...

The advice given in CPR training is to administer CPR first, and shout for someone else to call the emergency services afterwards, such is the urgency.

(FFS do NOT take my word for ot, but take a course yourself)

True, a Nokia 3310 *might* not have slipped from her hand, or might have been *easier* to dial [emergency number]. The nature of hypothetical questions is such that she might have left her Nokia in the car, instead of bringing it into her house to play Angry Birds.

The actual 'feature' she used was first seen on Motorola X handsets after they bought by Google. They made use of a smaller co-processor that could continually monitor the microphone for a 'O k Moto' voice prompt. Amazon have subsequently taken the idea and built it into a speaker-like device.

If Siri or its competitors can ring for an ambulance *and* relay location data, that would be a potentially life-saving feature. As it is at present, paramedic only have cell-mast triangulation dat, though in urban locations wifi-based location is often more accurate. Having the desk have the ability to instruct your phone to provide audio cues for the CPR rhythm - even better.

As always, the devil is in the details of the implementation.

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Dave 126
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Pint

>format sea cucumber

AND I have my new passphrase!

Right o', gotta get on and set it as the passphrase for my Linkdin, MySpace, AshelyMadison, Beano and HSBC Bank accounts.

Might as well change my username whilst I'm at it... how does BlueTiger97$ sound to you guys?

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Dave 126
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Re: I use it all the time!

When I do use Google voice search, I'm still surprised at how well it works. It's curious that I'm still surprised, I guess.

My accent is closer to RP than some people's, and for some odd reason I'm more likely to use it when I'm confident that it will understand me correctly (i.e, I know it find find 'star wars cinema' easier than some rare place name )

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Dave 126
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>Even then, privacy concerns were paramount. Yet there is no more or less privacy talking to a VAPDA than there is typing into Google.

Eh? That's clearly not true:

-Typing a Google search: Google knows you're searching for "Haemorrhoid cream".

- Speaking Google search: Google AND your friends / co-workers know you're searching for "Haemorrhoid cream".

A lot of people have made peace with Google, Amazon and KinkyStuff.com knowing things about them that their friends and neighbours in real life do not.

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Space exploration: Are Musk and Bezos about to eclipse Gagarin and Armstrong?

Dave 126
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Re: The answer is no...

Well that's kind of the point: Henry Ford went in for an assembly-line approach. When you say he only famous because he put his name on his cars, you are sidestepping the whole *reason* his cars became famous in the first place. He didn't invent assembly lines or internal combustion engines, but he put his resources behind a combination of the two.

Or: Is a man who invents cars a better engineer than the man who invents machines to make cars? It's clearly a nonsense question.

Sometimes a person becomes associated with a technology because they were in the right place at the right time, with whatever motivation and whatever resources (brainpower, reputation, money) they happened to possess.

Heck, Aldous Huxley adopted Ford's name as a signpost in a fork of human history in Brave New World. The novel Catch-22 was a warning about how the manufacturing techniques in WW-2, echoing Dwight D Esienhower's Farewell Speech, had continued into peacetime. Heller's mate Kurt Vonnegut was a straight-up journalist until his editor mistook his true-to-life reportage of a post-war factory as science fiction.

There is technology, and then the is use that technology is put to. Would the name Oppenhiemer be as well known had his bosses not decided to finace the Manhatten Project?

Maybe individuals are important, maybe not - I don't know - though the telephone is held up as an example of very similar invention patents being filed on the same day by different people on different continents.

If inventor X had been 'run over by a bus' as a child, would inventor Y have invented the same thing within a year?

If a Salesman or Military Commander had not promoted invention A, would others have done sooner or later?

tl,dr If you are interested in technology, study the scientists and inventors. If you are interested about how technology impacts upon people's lives, study people, scientists, inventors, manufacturers, salesmen, generals, presidents, etc

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Dave 126
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Re: Back to the Future

I once worked in a UK nuclear site... Down some scarcely used corridors would be black and photos of the physicists from the early days... Most of them smoking a pipe.

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Dave 126
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Re: Back to the Future

http://www.readanybook.com/ebook/day-of-the-moron-229

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Dave 126
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Re: The answer is no...

Yeah, but isn't the name Henry Ford as well known as Karl Benz or Rudolf Diesel?

For that matter, Isambard Kingdom Brunel is famous too - again, for the scale of his implementation of existing inventions.

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Dave 126
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>Nowadays you’re as likely to need an out of this world ego and background in Silicon Valley financing.

That'd be Buzz Aldrin, then! But seriously, his science fiction novel Encounter with Tiber (1996, written with John Barnes) reads almost as a manifesto for private enterprise getting mankind into space on routine basis. It's actually a good primer on many of the spaceflight concepts being planned in the near-to-middle term (the parts of the book based around Sol) and longer term (the technologies used by the Tiberians of the title).

I'll see if I can dig out a link to a good outline in the next ten minutes!

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Mars One puts 100 Red Planet corpses colonists through fresh tests

Dave 126
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Re: "Ah, but we're on Mars now"

>Who else read the Dr Strangelove lines in his voice? lol.

How could I not? :)

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Dave 126
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50:50? Dr Strangelove disagrees!

Dr. Strangelove: Well, that would not be necessary, Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha, ha. But ah, with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present Gross National Product within say, twenty years

... ...

Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious...service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

Russian Ambassador: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

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Dave 126
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Re: selected from applications sent in by the public

I'd rather send them to Venus and leave Mars unsullied for when we can send decent people there!

In this same week, Elon Musk has been outlining his ideas for how a Martian direct democracy might work - simple ideas, such as laws having an expiry date after which they must be actively renewed. A direct democracy sounds like it wouldn't benefit from IP lawyers and reality TV idiots.

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You've got a patch, you've got a patch ... almost every Android device has a patch

Dave 126
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Re: Weurd

I'm not downplaying the importance of regular updates (or defending the chain of OEM > ODM <> Carrier > Regulator > User), but Planty has made a valid observation - News coverage, or personal accounts, of attacks on Android in the wild are a a bit thin on the ground. I say this not because I don't think they exist, but because I am curious.

Again, I'm not saying ignorance is an excuse for complacency.

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Dave 126
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Re: Real shame

Nice article, but doesn't Sir David MacKay FRS, FInstP, FICE deserve to have his name mentioned?

"In his final interview before his untimely death, DECC’s chief scientific advisor called it an “appalling delusion” that the UK could meet its energy needs from renewables."

Perhaps In his final interview before his untimely death, DECC’s chief scientific advisor David McKay called it an “appalling delusion” that the UK could meet its energy needs from renewables. might work just as well?

Also, it should be noted the the conductor of the interview asks viewers to "please do not quote him out of context or sensationalise what he said."

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On her microphone's secret service: How spies, anyone can grab crypto keys from the air

Dave 126
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Re: Before I believe this I want to see it replicated by another, unrelated, group.

If the countermeasures to this attack are cheap and easy to implement - just have your computer run some other encryption code to create noise - why not implement them, even if you are doubtful that the attack is viable? The only 'cost' is slightly greater power consumption. I for one can't be arsed, because i don't work with state-level secrets - I'm just not worth the effort! Those people who do have state secrets will have their computers administered by folk who are in a position to replicate this - if replicated it can be.

Contrast this to the people who believed the trash about MMR, and as a result the lives of some people have been damaged.

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Dave 126
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Re: How?

Some posters above have had a good bash at explaining...

Basically, the attackers aren't trying to get the key directly, but to reduce the number of 'guesses' required ('reducing the search space'). If you know what noises a computer system makes when performing encryption / decryption, then you can, over time, start to build a picture. So, to come back to your analogy:

>To me, it sounds like trying to decode a spoken conversation with a sample rate of one per minute... the orders of magnitude seem far too disjoint.

If the conversation was actually a looped snippet of speech, you could recreate it even at a sample of rate of 1Hz - if you had enough time. Note that in the article the attackers require an hour.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mobile computing

>Why is a Faraday cage not realistic?

A Faraday cage wouldn't help. This attack works by listening to sound waves, not electromagnetic waves.

A window pane protects you from the wind, but not from peeping toms. A lace curtain protects you from peeping toms, but not from the wind.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mobile computing

>Why is a Faraday cage not realistic?

If the encryption is being used to encrypt communications, then the computer has to be able to, er, communicate. If the connection to the wider world is wired, then okay, but a Faraday cage would stop any wireless RF data from being transmitted or received.

You could, I suppose, have your Faraday-clad computer use light to communicate to a modem.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mobile computing

With acoustically transparent cloth - y'know, the sort of thing hi-fi speakers are clad with - a parabolic dish can be disguised as a suitcase. Or indeed, a loudspeaker.

It appears on first thoughts that a easy enough countermeasure would be to generate noise - maybe just have your computer run through some redundant, unused crypto algorithms.

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Dave 126
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Well obviously. I wouldn't have escaped the Noodle Incident relatively unscathed had I not fashioned an antenna from the underwire of my companion's bra. But we don't talk about that.

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Dave 126
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If you wear a tin foil hat, a duck-tape belt and a wrist-band of self-amalgamating tape then you'll have the materials at hand to deal with most situations!

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Dave 126
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Well yes, but the article referred to it as a parabolic dish. If you put it on your head it won't work!

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NASA 'naut to boldly enter pump-up space podule

Dave 126
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Re: Has he got a 27B/6

Haha, It's been while since I've seen Brazil, so had to Google '27B/6'. Of course the result i got was http://www.27bslash6.com/ home of David Thorne of 'drawing of a spider as payment for overdue bill' fame.

Nice.

Especially since my most recent televisual entertainment has been the excellent second series of 'Utopia' [Au]' (known as Dreamland in the UK and US) by Aussie comdey types Working Dog Productions.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why not try and burst it

The challenge in performing such an experiment would be to simulate the sheer velocity of a micro-meteorite. Probably easier to examine the results of the real thing.

The Soviets test-fired a canon in orbit in the 1970s, but it isn't around any more. Also, it shot rounds at around 700 metrews oper second, compared the *average* speed of a micrometeorite of 22,000 metres per second - though of course its slugs were bigger than a micrometeorite.

This sort of destructive testing is probably much easier on Earth, with pressure differences and temperatures controlled in a lab.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a18187/here-is-the-soviet-unions-secret-space-cannon/

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Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Dave 126
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Re: Chromebooks

For many workflows, Macs are bought because other people are using the same hardware and software combination - this makes troubleshooting easier.

I've never owned a Mac, but have found them pretty civilised to work with - especially when working with audio. Or should I phrase that as I found Windows' audio systems to a pain in the neck. (And no, the software I use precludes me from jumping to Linux)

Macs hold their value well on the resale value.

They are also recognised as having better than average screens, trackpads, quietness, speakers and battery life.

Still, Windows laptop vendors have upped their game in recent years and 3rd party Windows applications are getting better at supporting very high resolution displays, so everybody is a winner.

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Dave 126
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>If Chinese industry in general is anything to go by, then a Huawei Dollar buys a lot more work than an Apple Dollar.

Huawei may or may not get more value for money on their R&D spend, but it's not as clear cut as you suppose. Apple have an R&D centre in Shanghai, for starters. And if Apple thought they could do all their R&D cheaply there, they wouldn't have R&D centres in Cambridge and Tel Aviv (I don't know what they do there, but I associate both Cambridge and Israel with silicon chip design).

Conversely, Huawei have eighteen R&D centres in Europe and employ 1500 in research.

EDIT: As far as I can make out, most of Huawei's European R&D is geared more towards 5G and infrastructure than it is handsets.

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Dave 126
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Re: Chromebooks

Until OSX switched to Intel (and thus Bootcamp was available on Macs), Apple would have used product design software on non-Mac hardware. These days the CAD software Apple use (AutoDesk Alias, Rhinoceros 3D, Unigraphics NX) all have Mac versions, but I don't know how well they compare to their original Windows versions (though of the three, parts of NX were originally Unix-based back in the 90s). Obviously only a tiny percentage of Apple's workforce use CAD, and Jony Ive is more of a physical foam model kind of product designer.

Macs have always had a small market share compared to DOS then Windows, but in some specific sectors - graphic design, audio, music, video production - they have enjoyed a much bigger market share.

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Dave 126
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What derision?

>“Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be demonstrating in two to three years' time. So should everyone else,” I wrote at MWC 2014 – to general derision.

Eh? I actually remember posting a comment under that article, along the lines of 'nano injecting molding sounds bloody cool!', and I didn't recall any derision. And hey, if you're due any derision, you'd expect at least some from the good commentards who loiter around the Reg!

But no! Reviewing the comments that were made under the 2014 article, there is no scoffing at AO's claim. The comments roughly broke down into four types:

- How do you pronounce Huawei?

- nano-injection molding and ion beam cutting sound cool - how do they work? and

- I've got a Huawei and I'm impressed with it for the price.

- Huawei have been gaining momentum through their non-handset businesses.

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Dave 126
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They are spending less money than they are making, that is true (and a sign of a successful business!), but they are still spending shitloads, far more than they were in the run ups to the original iPhone and iPad releases. This suggests that are working on something big, and Apple wouldn't be Apple if they told you what it is (though Elon Musk takes it as a given that Appel are making a car due around 2020).

http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/10/28/apple-rd-spending-hit-81b-in-2015-suggests-continued-work-on-massive-project

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Dave 126
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Re: "I'm not sure it's all that meaningful to compare Huawei and Apple R&D spending. "

Not all of Apple's R&D spending is in California:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/01/28/apple-shanghai-rd-center-confirmed-for-summer-2013

EDIT: Apple also have R&D centres in Cambridge and Tel Aviv - though one imagines the cost of living is higher in these places than it is in Shanghai.

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Dave 126
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It's tricky to compare R&D spending btween companies, because Huawei, like Samsung, make many products that Apple don't. One imagines that Samsung throw some money at televisions, just as Huawei do at network infrastructure - their largest sector by revenue.

The 'Huawei spend more than Apple on R&D' statement is a little disingenuous, even if we agree with Mr O's general point that Huawei are to be taken very seriously.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple have other priorities than R&D

Also, not all of Huawei's R&D budget goes into products that compete with Apple. The largest chunk of Huawei's income comes from network infrastructure, so it's plausible that a few $billion of their R&D budget goes in that direction.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Dave 126
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Re: Went back to a mechanical watch

I'm sure you have a good point, but your lack of paragraphs reminds me of the end of Catch 22 or an experimental Will Self novel. I'm drunk and can't cope with that.

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Dave 126
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Re: Way back in 1982 ...

Cos the countryside has been shown to reduce blood pressure?

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Dave 126
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Re: It's a Veblen good

I think you'll find that that the status symbol market is already well catered for by traditional watches.

Smart watches actually do have to be useful.

Try again.

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Dave 126
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Re: This was a good article

If you click on my moniker you'll see that I'm occasionally critical of this Reg writer Orlowski, so I thought it only fair to say when I think he's done a good job today. I would have posted this view earlier, but I got distracted.

And hey, you fellow commentards: This has been a nice thread. Give yourselves a pat on the back too! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: I just dont get it...

You can get G-Shock batteries very cheaply, it's just the pressure-testing that they do after replacement that adds to the cost. If you don't go diving and can trust the person in your local watch shop to not be a complete clutz with the case gasket, you should be fine.

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Dave 126
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This was a good article

I came here to say this.

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Dave 126
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Re: Screw the smartwatches...

Haha, that's lovely! To save you other guys having to read through the link, here's the gist:

Pluto is a programmable digital watch that re-uses case and LCD panel of the Casio® F-91W*. This is the hardware repo, for the software side of things, see pluto-fw. Looking for pictures? There you go.

Features:

Displays time in decimal/binary/hexadecimal base

Multiple alarms

Multiple countdown timers

Uses RTTTL ringtones for alarm sound

Stopwatch

Compass (WIP)

Generation of time-based one-time passwords according to RFC 6238 (WIP)

Menu-driven interface

Infrared receiver for software updates and TOTP secret transfer (WIP)

Useless customisation (Key beep frequency, etc.)

approx. 1 year battery life (estimate based on current consumption)

* You know the one. It's the Casio 'Terrorist' watch, commonly seen on young folk near you. Its nickname came from the idea that if you were writing a time-bomb construction manual, you would choose a cheap, reliable, and easily available timepiece. Alas for the US authorities who started the story, possession of a F-91W is about as much use as a proxy for 'terrorist' as possessing a beard.

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Dave 126
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A touch-screen isn't a great solution for a watch. It would be better to have:

- A rotating bezel, that can double as a D-pad,

- Capacitive sensors in the strap, above and below the face.

Both of these options allow familiar interactions (up, down, left, right, scroll, enter) without obscuring the screen.

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Dave 126
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It would be perfectly possible - in fact, already done - if it wasn't for the map function. Citizen and Casio make Bluetooth watches for notifications, both with over a year's battery life.

The map too would be possible, if it is slaved to a phone for (A)GPS/WiFi location (the latter of more use in cities). You don't need a colour screen for maps.

Really though, you don't need a graphical map for navigation, you just need a hint to turn left at the next street or whatever. Heck, this could be done with a analogue watch face - either by re-purposing the hands, or by using a ring of otherwise hidden LEDs.

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Virtual reality will take over the world by 2020, reckons analyst haus

Dave 126
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Re: Is that a virtual bridge they're selling?

It's enough of a market that a few years ago a wide-angle lens camera was sold specifically for estate agents. (Though these days, wide-angle, relativity large sensor compact cameras are more common and cheaper, and many phone cameras are good enough and simplify the work flow)

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Dave 126
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Re: levels of smart.

It would also be a good way of making sure granny is alive and well without using spy cameras - the old system of spotting whether full milk bottles are accumulating on her doorstop doesn't work now she gets her milk from Tescos.

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Dave 126
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Re: And

You could also plant a deciduous tree in front of your South-facing windows... it allows warming sunlight through in Winter, and the leaves create shade in Summer.

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Dave 126
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Re: Control devices through an app

>Option 4. Flick the switch, which you'll find just beside the door, as you enter the room. Flick it again as you leave.

That's a not good option for dimming the lights when already seated (dinner finished, now watching film), or turning on lights after dusk has fallen, or for controlling lights (floor-standing lamps, table lamps) that aren't wired to the wall switch, or for turning off the lights as you fall asleep on the sofa, or for people with mobility problems.

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Dave 126
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Re: It is NOT paranoia if they really are tracking you and listening to your conversations...

@BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

Thanks for the tip - I have been told that good CFLs do exist, but sadly they were not the ones encountered by the "You can prise my incandescents out of my cold dead hands! [Bloody Brussels!]" brigade.

Unless I'm doing colour-sensitive work (in which case I'll do some research first) I'll be using LEDs from now on.

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FAA to test Brit drone-busting kit

Dave 126
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Re: 40Kw will do it

> That system only shoots physical missiles and uses varying methods (Radio/LASER/LIDAR/RADAR/etc) for control and targeting,

You missed the point, Dadmin. What AC said is that whilst Rapier uses physical missile to shoot down enemy aircraft, Rapier's radar targeting system was powerful enough to upset the electronics in amateur radio-controlled aircraft - after all, it was designed to be powerful enough to defeat any jamming attempts. Given the targeting radar used a narrow beam, and required a separate generator (let's use that as a rough proxy for its power output) it is plausible.

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Dave 126
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I came here to say LOS... it doesn't even have to be LOS to the operator, either, if a second, relay, drone is used.

Maybe someone down-voted you because they misread your comment as condoning drone use near airports?

Autonomous drones are also an option, especially given the investment in machine vision and the like that everybody from MS, Intel, Google to Qualcomm are making.

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