* Posts by Dave 126

7506 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Microsoft goes back to the drawing board – literally, with 28" tablet and hockey puck knob

Dave 126
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Re: I want!

You have two main issues:

1 - Protecting the screen area from scratches (bits of metal, dust from diamond tools etc). This could be done with a sacrificial plastic sheet, as many people use on their phone screens.

2 - Dust ingress into the base unit. You should be able to knock yourself up a slim enclosure with dust filtering, though you might have to actively drive air through the filters in order to provide sufficient cooling. Still, some 9 mm plywood, some vacuum-cleaner filters and a couple of fans won't break the bank.

The hinge areas can be protected with - at minimum - a plastic bag and some duck tape.

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Dave 126
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Re: Perfect for the wannabe creator market

>this specs seem to fall short of anything really useful for professional use , especially the weird screen resolution.

What the hell are you talking about? Damned near every non-Surface Windows laptop is 16:9, which isn't great for many purposes. Macs are 16:10 (the same as my ageing Dell) which is handy - even for editing full-res 1080 video you have some spare vertical pixels for a timeline.

Professional applications - CAD, Photoshop - tend to allow the user some freedom in how toolbars and palettes are arranged in the workspace. If you were a professional, you would know that.

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I've arrived on Mars. Argggh, my back!

Dave 126
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Re: Spin is the answer

>A spin that provides somewhat less than 1g, say 1/3 g + lead-lined helmets and shoulder pads!

Just a thought: A very wide brimmed hat, worn in a vertical wind tunnel (think of the opposite of those wind tunnels that sky-divers use for practice!

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Did Apple leak a photo of its new Macbook Pro in an OS update? Our survey says: Yes

Dave 126
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OSX lets you toggle between Function Keys and controls for volume and Wi-Fi etc on their existing keyboards.. By default, it's set to the latter.

For controlling volume (or Photoshop brush size, for example) a well implemented touch-strip may be a better than traditional keys.

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And for our next trick, says Google while literally wheeling out a humongous tablet ...

Dave 126
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Re: Let me "Google" that diagram

>Google's business is personalized and interactive advertisements - nothing more.

Er, no. If you are a business, you can pay Google for email and office suite* - no ads. So your statement is demonstrably incorrect.

Given this article made explicit mention of a $250 / year subscription fee for this device, it would appear that the grasp of your opinion is greater than the reach of your knowledge:

*Unlike Google's consumer offerings, which may show ads, we do not collect, scan or use your G Suite data for advertising purposes and do not display ads in G Suite, Education or Government core services - https://gsuite.google.com/intl/en_uk/faq/security/

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BlackBerry DTEK60: An elegant flagship for grown-ups

Dave 126
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Re: Nice as it may be to have oodles of camera info

>What is the phone call quality, good, bad, or indifferent? That is the one thing that always gets forgotten in reviews of phones

The article said this would be addressed in the full review. This article was marked as a 'hands on review', which by tech blog convention means a quick first look and feel.

However, one would expect the call quality to be on par with every other Snapdragon 8xx-based phone out there - i.e it works.

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Finally, that tech fad's over: Smartwatch sales tank more than 50%

Dave 126
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Re: Things that a smart watch is good for

>You are up there with car salesmen who wear giant divers watches, because who knows, they might have to adjust the time wearing thick neoprene gloves in 80feet of icy North Sea water...

The selection of conventional watches of a sensible size (the traditional 36 - 39 mm) is surprisingly limited these days. 43 mm seem to be the norm, which is just a bit daft.

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Dave 126
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Re: How about a watch that...

>To be honest, I do have a bit of a problem with the idea that people are to friggin' lazy to reach for their phone to read texts and pick up a call.

I'm too lazy to reach into my pocket for my phone if all I want to do is read the time. That is why I wear a watch (currently a £5 Casio, though I have a windup for when I scrub up). It is simply quicker and more convenient.

Every time I pull my phone out of my pocket there is a small (but real) chance I will drop it, and other the lifetime of a phone those chances add up. There is also a chance there will be water, mud, oil or some other grime on my hands, substances I would rather keep on the outside of my clothing and off my phone.

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Dave 126
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Re: Batteries

>The watch form factor is just too small to do anything much other than well be a watch.

A small display can communicate the time just fine - as traditional watches do by hands or segmented LCD display. However, there are other data or states that can also be communicated just fine on a small display, such as a message notification. Even if only using watch hands, lots of useful info can be read - speed, altitude, direction, time. Even a single RGB LED can communicate useful info (type of incoming message, battery level etc, as seen on Blackberry and some Android phones already).

Casio and Citizen both makes watches with this sort of functionality, both with 1 year + battery life.

Personally, I'll wait til SoC and battery tech allow a smartwatch to be smaller, and the cost of selective laser sintering of titanium becomes cheap enough to let me design (or rather, copy a 1969 Omega Chronostop) my own watch case. It will communicate to me by vibration and through its hands ( the hands will 'dance' at 6 o'clock for a text message, for example).

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Dave 126
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Re: Garmin

>I would have thought that doing anything based on wrist flicking may be prone to error, as in introducing a very badly timed variant of butt dialling :).

It's only to turn on the display :)

Even some conventional LCD watches have used a similar mechanism to temporarily turn on the back light (thinking of a late-nineties Casio G-Shock).

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Swedes ban camera spy-drones for anything but crime fighting

Dave 126
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Re: But cams on the ground are bafflingly just fine

It's baffling to the Reg's sub-headline writer, though he often gives the impression that he's neglected to take his dried-frog pills.

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Is Google using YouTube to put one over on Samsung?

Dave 126
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Fair Use through Parody was the first thought that came to me upon reading this article.

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Smoking hole found on Mars where Schiaparelli lander, er, 'landed'

Dave 126
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Re: Beagle 2

The good Prof did know that his wasn't the only Mars mission to fail. The Soviets took a few stabs at it before the US succeeded with Viking.

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Dave 126
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Re: 4 Kelvin Moles?

Grampa: "The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!"

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Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

Dave 126
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I know of a local billionaire who, despite a garage of exotica, drives a MINI on a daily basis - for the country lanes between his house and high tech factory, it's evidently the tool for the job in his opinion.

The police were called by a concerned citizen a few years back, boy racers in the car park of the factory pulling doughnuts, apparently. Plod arrived to find some gents in their late sixties and lots of tyre smoke. "Ah hello officer... ah yes, I see... well, my name is Sir David, this is my car park, and this is my Lamborghini... No, no problem at all officer, we'll be done in a couple of hours. Have a good day now"

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Dave 126
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Re: I am astonished

I liked my Renault 5. It was like a go cart, and lots of fun. It wasn't even a silly Ali-G turbo version with a dump valve, either.

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Dave 126
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Re: Are you saying the mini revamp was a success?

I don't like the MINI Coopers - mainly because they are usually driven very slowly given their sporty badge. I can only assume it has been bought by the spouse of the slow driver for when they need to borrow it.

However, the early BMW MINI wasn't bad, and one fella I know drives a red one every day. His other car? A 1963 Mini Cooper that he has lovingly stripped down to every component, painted, and rebuilt. Again, red, with British Racing Green inside the engine bay. Indeed, he's had it for decades, but told me that it was only with the rise of the internet that he was able to source some certain refurbished parts.

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Nintendo's new console-tab

Dave 126
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Re: Looks ok

Plus one for mentioning the social aspect. Too many games for XBox and Playstation only do multiplayer over LAN or internet, overlooking the idea that people might want to play with the people they are actually in the same room with. Even the new version of Halo, which traditionally offered split-screen multiplayer, has abandoned it.

Early reports suggest games for this new Nintendo console will buck this trend.

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Dave 126
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Re: I really only...

Backwards compatibility is 'nice to have', but not a deal breaker - people with a collection of older games will generally still have the correct hardware to play them on, and if the hardware fails then a replacement can be had for next to nothing from eBay or (eventually) a charity shop.

I've got two GameCubes I've bought for a tenner - both working. I only want a few choice games - but even second hand they still command good money.

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Here's how much HP's 3-in-1 PC replacement will cost you

Dave 126
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Re: So what happens...

>So what happens when you can't get a network connection... ?

Same as for any other application or task that requires a network connection, such as sending an email, booking travel tickets or consulting a supplier's online price list.

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DeepMind boffins are trying to help robots escape The Matrix and learn for themselves in the real world

Dave 126
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Re: Where are these projects that scare the Zuck out of Bill Gates & Elon Musk???

>Make me a robot that can manage to 'take the stairs', any stairs, all by itself, dependably without falling over.....

That's feasible, though its more of a mechanical engineering problem. Unless you're talking about a bipedal robot, in which case yeah, the devil is in the control system details.

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Microsoft keeps schtum as more battery woes hit Surface sufferers

Dave 126
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Re: Spro4 not too bad

Most are only 16:9, tho. Macbooks are 19:10, Surfaces 4:3. Exceptions are rocking horse shit.

Prove me wrong - citing a current machine! :) - and I'll be genuinely grateful!

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Dave 126
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Re: Just a thought...

That sounds plausible, and worth a try. Thanks! I've had a few issue on Windows machines that can be fixed (if only temporarily) by uninstalling a device on Device Manager and then restarting.

It used to occur on optical drives when a damaged disc would stop Windows from using DMA mode. Uninstall, restart, drivers reinstalled on start up - job done.

I still get it on the SD card reader on my Dell, though thankfully I don't have to restart.

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This speech recognition code is 'just as good' as a pro transcriber

Dave 126
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Re: To be fair to the woman calling local police getting the US ...

Back in the nineties there was a PC gaming magazine called PC Zone. As far as I can remember, the only game they awarded a score of 0% to was called GloboCop: World Police.

Genuinely, I don't know what to make of my inability to find any mention of it online. It might have been a game that enjoyed only very limited release (and PC Zone only reviewed it to take the piss).

!!!! [Just seen on Wikipedia that] Charlie Brooker wrote for PC Zone from 1995. That explains a lot. Shit, that probably explains why I'm on the Reg. Heck. I blame the Dennises (plural of Dennis, not of Denise, sadly) who gave me the first issue. Nathan Barley was a work of prophesy.

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Dave 126
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Bit of fun:

http://www.kissthisguy.com/

A collection of missheard song lyrics. The site's name, for you philistines, comes from Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze - 'Scuse me whilst I kiss the sky'.

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Dave 126
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>"Cortana evidently can benefit from further improvement. Last month, security firm Sophos advised against relying on Cortana for making emergency calls, based on an account of a UK woman who used the software to dial the local police in order to report an accident and was directed to authorities in the US."

What the hell is up with the Register shoe-horning in some tangentially (at best) related final paragraph into its articles?

Cortana transcribed the UK woman's speech perfectly. She said 'Barnstaple', and it transcribed that perfectly. The issue is that it supplied a telephone number for a police force in some USA town called Barnstaple, and not the town in North Devon*. There was an issue with Cortana in this case, but it wasn't in the area of speech recognition.

In any case, in an emergency you call 999 or 112 (works in Europe** and UK) - not the local plod's number. The emergency (999) switchboard are able to roughly triangulate your location if you are not able to describe it.

* If you are passing Barnstaple on the Atlantic Highway, a fifteen minute detour to East West Bakery on Butcher's Row (next to the town's covered market) will get you the finest pasties in the South West. They've won numerous awards, and as a bonus they'll annoy your Cornish mates!

**Please don't take my word for it. Check before you travel. I don't want you to blame me if you crash your car in Moldovia and 112 doesn't work.

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LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?

Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>Useless compared to a decent DAC.

Care to give an example of a 'decent DAC'? As far as I can find, the ESS Sabre Quad 9018 - as used in the LG V20 - is highly rated, and regularly used in external DAC/amp combos costing thousands.

The point is, sound quality on a phone will depend on more than the DAC chip - the power supply, shielding and amplifier all play a part.

- http://www.musicservertips.com/product-reviews/dac-buyers-guide/

- http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/ess-sabre-9018-vs-wolfson-wm8741-8976/

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Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>Now I have a Dragonfly DAC which works great... ...Anyway, 32-bit DAC from LG and B&O. Something to think about for my next phone for sure.

Dragonfly use either the ESS Sabre 9010 DAC or the 9016, depending on the model. The LG V10 and V20, as well as the B&O add-on module for the LG G5 also use ESS Sabre DACs. The DACs themselves are 32bit, but Dragonfly say they limit them to 24bit so a not to require the user to install extra drivers.

Again, these are the same DACs as used in expensive stand-alone kit. They have a reputation for sounding superb when playing back 16bit audio. Why they are capable of greater depth I don't know, but it seems the engineers who created them know their stuff.

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Dave 126
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The lesson is to just buy the phone outright. In addition to getting a refund immediately from the retailer should it fail, it also means you take out a rolling monthly SIM-only tariff with your network operator. Doing so gives you leverage against them, i.e: "Knock a couple of my monthly bill or I'm switching to Vodaphone... they offered me much the same as you but for just £12"

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Dave 126
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Re: I have a LG g4 Stylus here ...

So, to recap... Korean software isn't the best, fix easily available from the Play Store. I'm shocked.

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Dave 126
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Re: Phone features? What phone features?

>A lot of stuff gets missed in these smaller reviews, actual Optical Image Stabilisation performance,

OIS isn't super useful, because often your human subjects will still be moving - their faces will exhibit motion blur even if OIS is compensating for your hand movements. For that reason you should be shooting at 1/30 second or faster, at which speeds most people can hold the camera steadily enough. This is only achieved at acceptable 'ISO' (grainy noise in the image) by having better sensors, bigger sensors and brighter lenses.

If you want longer exposures of static subjects, you'll usually be better off placing your phone on a solid object.

Of course there are niche cases where this does not apply, but they remain just that: niche.

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Dave 126
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Re: "a 32-bit DAC, part of a burgeoning partnership with Bang & Olufsen"

>... and scientifically proven to be completely useless,

No, but the ESS Sabre DAC that they use has been scientifically shown to be the dogs bollocks. True, 24 bit audio for playback for mastered music is useless, but the ability to play it back is a convenience to the owner since it saves them having to transcode any 24but FLAC files they might already have. Anyway, the 32bit capability comes with the DAC, so why should LG hobble it?

Regardless of how they achieved it, the previous LG V10 is said to have very good sound quality indeed, and all subjective hearings of the V20 suggest it just as good - with the promise of being able to drive an even wider range of headphones (obviously that's the amp part. If you want 'science', then wait for Anandtech to run it past their laboratory kit.

If a company wants to sell a phone on its sound quality, then it has to somehow communicate the extra money that has been spent on the audio pathway. Customers who are then interested can seek out independent reviews and tests, such as Compared with the quite superb sounding LV V10, the newer V20 DAC and amplifier’s paper specifications are a very close match. The V10’s ES9018 and 9602 amplifier combination offer an ever so slightly better dynamic range and lower distortion characteristics than the V20’s ES9218. However, the ES9218’s new Quad DAC design lends itself to a superior signal-to-noise ratio of 130dB versus 122dB.

- http://www.androidauthority.com/lg-v20-audio-capabilities-714807/

- http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en/news/newsroom/ess-technology-brings-advanced-audiophile-features-mobile-devices-first-time/

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NFL is No Fondleslab League: Top coach says he'd rather use pen and paper than Surface tab

Dave 126
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Re: Oh dear

Just to clarify:

Another news outlet used more direct quotes from this coach when reporting this story, in which he said it wasn't the Microsoft Surface per se that didn't suit his work flow, but all tablets.

That's not too shocking; designers such as Marc Newson and Jony Ive are known for known for preferring pen and paper for parts of their work flow.

There was also an episode of Have I Got News For You, when Jeremy Clarkson threw a pen at Ian Hislop. We do not know if Clarkson would have preferred to have thrown a 2lb computer at Mr Hislop instead.

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Apple's car is driving nowhere

Dave 126
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Re: Frankly...

> Anyone who needs blind spot assistance or auto-backup needs to have their license taken away until they can learn to adjust their mirrors properly themselves.

And how the hell do you [the authorities] distinguish between the people who check their blind spot 99.9% and those who are perfect and check 100.000% of the time?

As always, the issue is the implementation. Volvo are in the camp that believes that semi-autonomous carts are dangerous, because in the case of events that confuse the car it will be up to a human to suddenly take over, a human that is either attentive and bored, or else distracted.

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Bits of Google's dead Project Ara modular mobe live on in Linux 4.9

Dave 126
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Re: What other phones are modular and would need Greybus?

More info here:

http://www.modularphonesforum.com/news/greybus-protocol-an-application-layer-for-unipro-491/

It's still all Greek to me, but less Martian than the Github link in the article! :)

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Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi

Dave 126
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Dear Mr Curtis,

The last entry on your BBC blog was a trailer for Bitter Lake, and until the last month I have only been able to find one mention of you - attending a film festival to receive an award for Bitter Lake. Was your 'radio silence' deliberate, or have you just been very busy?

Also, what's your relation to the Internet Video channel on YouTube?

Cheers!

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Dave 126
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Re: Ahem...

>That subject (Adolf) has already been addressed, here,

And in the Stephen Fry novel Making History

>just in case you thought Germans couldn't possibly have a sense of humour regarding Der Führer. :)

I didn't think that - not after hearing a BBC radio adaptation of a German novel, and watching the film of the same: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_Who%27s_Back_(film) :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Would it pass the Kobayashi Maru?

My understanding is that hitting moose can be very bad for the occupants of the car.

As regards 'this system'... we're not talking about a specific system.

I was having a nice chat in the pub the other week with a military systems engineer though... some interesting stuff about specifically narrow-band IR sensors (for detecting mood in humans, so likely able to differentiate twixt moose and person)

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Will Microsoft's nerd goggles soar like an Eagle, or flop like a turkey?

Dave 126
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Re: Fact Check?

>the modern era Microsoft is showing signs of calling trends correctly well in advance.

Maybe yeah, but a large part of the Hololens is the Kinect technology that MS invested in after seeing the commercial success of the Nintendo Wii. That sort of thing happens all the time - had Apple computers not had FireWire, they wouldn't have made the first generation iPod. Apple only had FireWire because high-res scanners needed something like it, and Apple survived the nineties in DTP and later video. Apples were used in DTP because their user-friendly GUI originally required greater graphical power than was the norm, and software grew around it. The Motorola architecture and consistent FireWire implementation of Macs at one point meant they were favoured by musicians after their Atari STs died, and so the first iPhone was made with Wireless MIDI and sub 10ms latency baked into the operating system. Having your product adopted by high profile musicians doesn't hurt.

The point is, sometimes you develop a technology for one reason, but end profiting from your investment for another.

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Dave 126
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Re: What term can we come up with to destroy this?

>THe question remains though, will this be enough to kill it stone dead.

Are you hard of thinking?

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Dave 126
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Re: Fact Check?

>Also, didn't MS come up with the tablet design years before Apple?

Arguably the production designers of 2001: Space Oddessy came up with the iPad design before MS or Apple even existed - though it carried an 'IBM' badge. As shown in the film, it is only used for watching telvision news ('content consumption'); 'real' computer work was done by speaking to the computer directly, or else ripping out its daughter boards. There may be earlier prior art in film or Science Fiction illustration - in literature, casual references by the likes of Asimov to 'pocket computers' are too vague.

MS had Win XP: Tablet Edition for years, but the devices were usually heavy and didn't last long on battery. Sony had some unusual WinXP.TE devices with keys on either side of a 9" screen - but hey, Sony did the colour CLIE running PalmOS, too.

Psion had the original NetBook - I can't remember it being touch screen, but it was an 'ultrabook' form factor long before its time.

The idea of a tablet has been around for ages, but Apple did it well - they even released a phone a few years beforehand in order to teach their users how to use it. They used ARM instead of Intel, and of course had control of both the OS and the silicon. Rewind further, and we have the Newton - which gave us ARM - though the Newton wasn't the first Newton-like device.

The Microsoft Courier was an interesting device - a dual-touchscreen clamshell device focused on collating and annotating content like a scrapbook. Since then, Sony released a spilt-screen clamshell Android tablet, but since it was sub-optimal for watching movies nobody bought it (I miss you, crazy Sony!)

Speaking purely as a consumer, it doesn't matter to me who did what first. It just matters who did what well. Doing something well usually involves judiciously balancing compromises.

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Dave 126
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Re: £4,529 ?

>What muppet would part with that for an MS product?

NASA, JPL, D'Assault Systemes, Autodesk, Volvo, Saab, amongst others. I know who they are - who the hell are you?

CAD hardware used to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, if not more. The software was typically a tenth of that. Companies would pay it if it payed for itself, and then some. And it did. FFS, a few thousand quid is only the cost of a professional graphics card a few years ago.

You've betrayed your ignorance of this sector, N2, so I'm confused as to what it is you feel you can add to this topic.

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Dave 126
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Re: What term can we come up with to destroy this?

@Planty

Google Glass was designed to worn in public spaces.

Microsoft's AR goggles are designed to be worn in private studios, offices, construction sites, workshops etc.

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Dave 126
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It's very different to Google Glass. The Hololens is the price it is because of the sensors and silicon in it, which allow it to:

- 3D-map the room in near real time

- Track your eyeballs so your gaze acts as a cursor

Google Glass only presented visual information to one eye (to-do lists, simple graphics like maps etc), wheras the Hololens projects slightly different images to both eyes so that virtual 3D objects appear to be a part of your real environment.

You might as well say that tablet computer is no different to a pocket calculator.

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Dave 126
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Re: Microsoft Nerd Goggles?

Really? It seemed like a sober discussion of MS's product strategy to me. The article did contain a link to another article in which the experience of using the Hololens was described in positive terms, but then most people would expect several thousand quid's worth of sensors and custom silicon to work fairly well, regardless of who made it.

I'm not MS's biggest fan - and I assume you aren't, either - but I've looked at a list of their current software partners, some of whom make some very good software indeed. If you were in any of the target sectors, you would know that. If you are not, I don't know of what value your inferred opinion is.

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Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

Dave 126
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>I love it, just love it when someone who doesn't know anything about a market feels compelled to give their two-penneth.

Yet we can still learn from them. In this case we learn than people can confuse the Galaxy Note 7 with the Galaxy S 7. It is not unreasonable to assume they are not the only person to do so, which may concern Samsung.

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Dave 126
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Stop

Re: No thanks.

I'd rather remove a piece of burning fabric from my skin than I would a piece of burning ABS plastic. [If you want to know my reasoning, there is an easy experiment that you can perform at home. Or perform next to a medical centre with a good burns unit. It's up to you, but I strongly suggest you don't. ]

Anyway, I'd rather have a phone catch fire when it is a few inches away from me than have one combust when it is in my pocket - or next to my bed when I am asleep. [Again, you can demonstrate this to yourself using some readily available materials...]

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Dave 126
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Re: Volume or niche?

Thank you Whitter for a sane and measured comment.

Sadly, Subtle = Invisible, on the internet.

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Dave 126
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Re: VR

> Until we're able to fit the equivalent of a GTX1080 in a phone in another decade or so, mobile VR will remain very much limited to strapping a phone to your face without any chance of that "immersing yourself in VR" part.

Games can still be just as fun without the latest fancy graphics, and even gaming PCs don't fool anyone that they are looking at reality.

Heck, the only games system to make a success of more immersive games, the Nintendo Wii, had underpowered graphics compared to its peers - the fun came from how players interacted with it, not how many polygons it was pushing around.

Your level of 'acceptable' appears to be arbitrarily chosen.

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Dave 126
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Then pay for it.

If that business model is not viable, then no number of comments on The Reg (preaching to the choir) is going to fix it. Sorry folks.

If you really want it, start a discussion about how this might be achieved... probably best to start with AOSP (because Tizen, Maemo, Meago, WebOS, BB10 et al have been so well supported by developers /s), but you'll need a huge investment in alternatives to Google's services and propriety APIs - ask Amazon, Samsung or Blackberry. Then bear in mind that many people who care about their privacy decided iOS was the lesser of two evils some time ago.

Microsoft was attempting to use user privacy on phones as a selling point a few years back, but yeah...

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