* Posts by Dave 126

7152 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

Dave 126
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Newspaper and other printed materials were often used to insulate rooms, pad old furniture and lag pipes... I can't imagine today's online news text resurfacing in a hundred years in such strange places.

Whenever the Reg might feel superior to the Daily Mail, remember that you can't use the Reg to light a campfire, wipe your arse or bulk out some drying boots.

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Dave 126
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Re: This ain't no shit ...

No poop was found *after* they installed a pigeon trap near their apparatus.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-scientists-confirmed-big-bang-theory-owe-it-all-to-a-pigeon-trap-180949741/

I made a mistake though, it wasn't a dish but a horn-shaped receiver that they were using.

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Dave 126
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Re: Re-crimp?

A temporary solution is just that. With luck it'll hold til someone with a different toolkit (hammer drill, anchor points, steel support cable and crimps, zip ties etc) can give it some attention.

Self-amalgamating tape is commonly used to waterproof cable junctions. And I've just discovered that if it is lightly wiped with a suitable solvent such as Sticky Label Remover, it works a treat for holding items on dashboards when semi-permenant is what you want. You can use it fashion tool handles, and many other things. A really, really handy thing to keep in your toolkit or car. Sometimes sold as 'leak repair tape'.

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Dave 126
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Pigeon poo, once described by a team of radio astronomers as a 'white dielectric material' on their telescope dishes. After discounting the effects of this shit, they went on to discover cosmic microwave background radiation, thus giving strong evidence to the big bang theory.

Biologists, I am sure, would have had a different term for it.

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Science megablast: Comets may have brought xenon to Earth

Dave 126
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Re: Oh thanks, now I'll have bloody Bomb the Bass stuck in my head all day!

You ripped-off Colin the shopkeeper? You bastard!

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Dave 126
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Re: Oh thanks, now I'll have bloody Bomb the Bass stuck in my head all day!

Well obviously - The PC version never reproduced the soundtrack well!

(Though on PC press F7 instead of Enter at the graphic mode selection screen, and then press i in game to toggle invincibility. Without that, I would never have seen the gorgeous artwork past level 2!)

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DeepMind takes a shot at teaching AI to reason with relational networks

Dave 126
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08qy1sl

Desert Island Discs.

"Born in 1976, he was introduced to chess aged four and, by the age of twelve, was the world's second-highest ranked player for his age. With his winnings, he bought himself a PC and taught himself to code. "

Hats off!

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Dave 126
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One of the guys who founded DeepMind, Demis Hassabis was on Desert Island Discs the other week. It was quite astounding. He chose a Prodigy track to remind himself of how Cambridge had been a "holiday camp" to him - he'd been home schooled to allow him to train as a chess master, but at the age of twelve he had an epiphany that professional chess was a waste of human brain power. He then left home to become the chief coder on Bullfrog's Theme Park game. Therefore, Cambridge was the first time in his life he hadn't been working or training full time, so he partied. He still got a double first, though!

He comes across as a really warm, articulate guy.

Wow.

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The harsh reality of Apple's augmented reality toolset ARKit: It's an incredible battery hog

Dave 126
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Hehe! I posted such a comment a few years ago, only my implementation involved a fixed projector facing down onto the gaming table, taking input from a Kinect-like device. Not only could it provide special effects, but it could aid in the play - for example marking how far a unit could be moved on one go.

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Dave 126
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Re: Makes sense

MS's Hololens uses custom chips for scene tracking. Apple announced it will soon be using a GPU of its own design. Apple announces its AR toolkit.

I suspect battery drain will be less of an issue by the time AR comes to consumers.

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Dave 126
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Re: Improves with age?

Indeed. And let's not forget that Apple will soon be using GPUs of their own design and not those of Imagination Technologies'. When that news was announced, the more informed speculation was that it was because Apple wanted its GPU to do more than just shunt pixels, just as MS's Hololens has custom DSPs.

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

Dave 126
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Apple could make a Surface desktop if they wanted, but they'd rather you use an iPad Pro in tandem with an iMac. For some workflows, it'd be the better solution for the user too (cost notwithstanding).

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Dave 126
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I'm with Hans - it's odd the article compared a Surface desktop with the upcoming iMac Pro - sitting between their respective releases has been new CPUs from Intel, which also have a bearing on maximum RAM available within a thermal design range. This stuff should be fairly objective and clear cut.

The subjective (or rather harder to quantify objectively) stuff is the ergonomics... One could have a workflow that involves using a stylus and a mouse and keyboard. A case could made for either using a separate tablet for the stylus input (I.e iPad Pro + iMac), or for integrating the stylus input into the desktop (I.e Surface). I suspect that software support (both 3rd party and native OS support a la Continuity) could well be a deciding factor. Other stylus input options are available!

I find these interesting questions. It's a shame to gloss over them just for the sake of oft-repeated snark.

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Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

Dave 126
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Tangential note re GUIs of yesteryear

You can a quad core 64bit machine running AmigaOS!

http://www.generationamiga.com/2017/03/02/the-upcoming-amigaone-x500040-64bit/

No relation to SGI, I know, other than both systems were used for CGI back in the day.

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Sons of IoT: Bikers hack Jeeps in auto theft spree

Dave 126
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Re: Are Jeeps that expensive?

If you tried to build a car from its parts catalogue, it would cost you several times the cost of the new vehicle from the dealer. So, dont use the sticker price of a Jeep to estimate the resale value of its parts.

The price charged by manufacturers for replacement parts actually subsidies the price of the new car, because the price of a new bumper or headlight is often paid for by an insurer and thus not considered by a prospective car buyer on the forecourt. One you've bought a car, you're tied to one supplier of parts, much like printers and ink cartridges (okay, okay, I know that by law in the UK car manufacturers can't discriminate against owners who have 3rd party parts fitted by independent garages, but whilst several people make replacement coil springs or starter motors for my car, it is likely that only the original car manufacturer makes suitable headlights or bumpers, due to tooling costs)

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Boffins play with the world's most powerful X‑ray gun to shoot molecules

Dave 126
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Researching proteins that have gone awry is indeed an aim of this laser technique. Only last Saturday a protein researcher was on ABC's radio Science Show, talking about how his laser wasn't powerful enough but he knew a lab who would let him have a go with theirs: (link to page with MP3)

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/understanding-protein-structure-may-allow-treatment-for-amyloid/8561868

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Boffins spot 'faceless fish' in strange alien environment

Dave 126
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Re: Faceless alien

Dunno, but the Goblin Shark is pretty damned Giger-esque! It's found off the coast of Japan.

Here's GIF: http://imgur.com/pBGgLvn

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Andy Rubin teases next week's launch of Essential phone

Dave 126
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GreyBus is a standard that allows Android phones to treat peripheral resources as internal components, akin to how Thunderbolt allows peripheral components to be seen as being on the computer's PCIe bus.

USB Type C is a physical connector that supports various protocols. Thunderbolt is a protocol that has used USB A (Sony), Display Port (Apple and others) and USB C connectors (ditto) over the years.

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Dave 126
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The only issue (albeit a big issue) with Moto's Mods are that they are proprietary to Moto. Specifically, the physical connector is proprietary, built atop a standard called GreyBus.

USB C isn't as elegant a solution for adding a battery pack, keyboard, IR camera, 3D scanner etc as a magnetic connector on the rear panel of the phone is.

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The revolution will not be televised: How Lucas modernised audio in film

Dave 126
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Re: Beg your pardon?

Also, if the role of a director is to choose and direct the team on both sides of the camera, then Lucas getting John Williams to score the movie and going to pains to have it reproduced well in cinemas is worthy of credit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Beg your pardon?

He may have become the merchandising monster you describe him as, but it's wrong to say he was never a good director. American Graffiti, THX 1138 and Episode 4: A New Hope.

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Industrial Light & Magic: 40 years of Lucas's pioneering FX-wing

Dave 126
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> Sixteen years later, and by the time of The Phantom Menace computers had long become mainstream. The film introduced us to a Star Wars universe almost completely realised using CGI

It looks that way, doesn't it? However, there were a lot of physical effects in Phantom Menace, including huge miniature (yeah, I know) sets. The waterfalls on one planet were actually falling salt.

http://makezine.com/2015/10/07/the-surprising-practical-effects-of-the-star-wars-prequels/

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Armstrong's moon-purse set for $4m bid-off

Dave 126
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Moon dust - nasty stuff.

I enjoyed the following podcast from the public Australian broadcaster ABC:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/chinese-missions-to-study-lunar-dust/8425898

"The dust is like fine sand, but with sharp edges. Despite being the biggest environmental hazard, organisers of the Apollo missions took little account of the dust. It was a real problem causing batteries to overheat. It pierced space suits, and clogged equipment. The Chinese have already deployed 3 robotic missions to the Moon. Brian O’Brien, a professor of space science who helped astronauts prepared for the Apollo missions says the Chang’e 3 rover Yutu which landed in 2013 moved 100m on its first day, but hasn’t moved since, due to the effects of lunar dust. Studies of lunar dust will now be a priority for future"

The IT angle is that Prof O'Brien had to dig out his old computer tapes of the data from his lunar experiments cos NASA had lost theirs.

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Ur dumped lol: Folk may be able to leave mobile contracts via text

Dave 126
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I'm on a SIM-only tariff. When I ran out of data three days before my monthly refresh, I was appalled by EE's top-up pricing.

Whilst leaving them by text is tempting, it takes the fun out of ringing them up and saying "Your top-up rates with no roll over are just customer-hostile. Up my monthly data allowance for the same money or I'm leaving for GifGaf."

Just buy your phones outright, even if you need to use a credit card to do so. It gives you greater consumer protection against the phone vendor (Sales of Goods Act) and gives you greater leverage over the network operator.

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

Dave 126
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I only noticed AMP the other day... and I tend to notice things more if they are irritating. I was commenting in a Reg forum and wished to paste in a link to another news article, but the results returned by Chrome Android weren't behaving as they normally did - I couldn't

find the address bar, let alone copy it. What the heck is going on?! I asked myself in frustration.

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Self-driving car devs face 6-month backlog on vital $85,000 LIDAR kit

Dave 126
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Yet again somebody here is suggesting that a device should be sold at its bill of materials, whilst wilfully ignoring development costs.

This isn't the only company making Lidar kit, yet its competitors aren't able to drastically undercut its current prices. That observation should cause a thinking person to pause and examine their assumptions before commenting.

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DeX Station: Samsung's Windows-killer is ready for prime time

Dave 126
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The serious CAD vendors are looking at browser-accessed cloud systems. The ability for several engineers to work on the same documents is of more use to bigger firms than it is to the amateurs and hobbyists, as indeed are the security advantages and document control. Serious CAD was largely mainframe-based until the very late nineties so the above conventions are familiar, and what CAD applications that were on the desktop then were dismissed as being toys.

There will of course be situations where CAD will be essential in areas of no internet, but for the large part engineers will get online - Bob can't design part B until Alex has finalised part A, so Alex has better connect to the company network as he is paid to.

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Dave 126
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I'd like all tablets to have the ability to be used as dumb monitors. Would be cute to extend a laptop's desktop onto a tablet.

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Dave 126
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By some definitions, yes. If we looked at 'most tasks done by most users' then browsers cover communication (email et al), organising travel (buying tickets, reserving rooms), chasing deliveries, checking inventories... the list is nearly endless across a wide range of jobs and trades.

CAD is moving to browsers - quickly deployable to users, OS agnostic, modest client hardware requirements, centralised file management for team working, no local files to be stolen, extra processing power on tap. Offline working isn't desirable when other team members need to work to changes you have made and vice versa.

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Dave 126
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> Wouldn't it be great to have a standardised mechanical form factor and electrical interface for a credit-card sized compute module?

Like Intel's Compute Card? They are trying to sell the idea to TV set vendors, as an easy way for users to upgrade the 'smart' innards. Of course, it is proprietary and not 'standard'. As I understand it, its capabilities are on a par with Intel's HDMI 'Compute Stick'

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Dave 126
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Re: ORLY?

The idea of using your phone as a desktop is cute, but the small size and low cost of a discrete ARM or X86 computer that plugs into a monitor and keyboard offer some advantages - for starters, you can pick up your phone to make a call, and also you have a redundant device should one develop a fault. Say you lost your phone - you could still use the discrete 'compute stick' to track or remote-wipe your phone.

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Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

Dave 126
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Re: expanding from?

> If so, where is the center of the universe?

Point your right arm to your two o'clock, and just a smidge to the left... now up a bit, a bit more, that's it: about fifty gazillion yards in that direction.

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While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

Dave 126
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Re: Eh?

Just wondering - would it have been possible for the NSA to have developed a patch at the same time they wrote the exploit? I'm just thinking of old movies where the moustache-twiddling villain has the poison, but also the antidote should he or his incompetent henchman mishandle it.

I'm thinking of an image of Dick Dastardly and Mutley.

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Never mind custody decisions, let's AI up our police cars

Dave 126
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In the implementation described, this kit is working with officers, not supplanting them. Today, you could have traffic cops read every number plate manually and compare it to a list... but that process is probably too slow to be useful in real time. It's a job best automated, leaving the officers' eyes available for other tasks.

That said, many people anecdotally talk of how their spelling has deteriorated since they used spellcheckers for most of their writing. Could it be that using a system that flags known bad guys might make human officers less vigilant? I don't know.

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Dave 126
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Re: "those that have nothing to hide so nothing to fear"

There is also the possibility that the system might rule out an innocent person, whereas a human officer might mistake them for a wanted felon.

We humans vary greatly in our ability to recognise faces... some people literally can not recognise their own mother, whilst at the other end of the scale are people whose natural ability means they have long been employed by casinos and intelligence agencies.

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Dave 126
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Re: technology like this will lower crime rates

Criminals tend to be sad, mad or bad, with the genuinely bad ones making up the smaller number. The sad and the mad wouldn't be as good at adapting, i.e adhering to good operational security.

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Dave 126
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Re: I'll bet there are lots of lawyers salivating

Presumably the system would alert an officer that the person stood on the corner resembles wanted bad guy Joe Blogs, and then show the officer a mugshot of Blogs from the records. The human officer would be the entity making the decision to question the person on the corner. In this respect using an automated facial recognition system doesn't change anything legally.

I'm assuming that it is currently legitimate for an officer to talk to someone resembling a known wanted criminal based on a photograph or other image.

Where the lawyers might get some business is if this nVidia system, through a fault or bad data, causes an innocent person to be questioned ten times a day.

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America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Dave 126
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Re: Define laptop

> Define laptop. What is a laptop?

That's moot my friend. The original ban explicitly barred Kindles and iPads by name, as well as other devices bigger than a smartphone, including portable games consoles.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wouldn't it make more sense...

Airport security have used lists of how much empty suitcases of different brands weigh for decades. "Hmm, this 'empty' Samsonite XYZ300 weighs 0.5 Kg more than it should... "

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Dave 126
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Re: Have to hand it to Microsoft

The original ban explicitly mentioned Kindles and iPads - basically anything bigger than a smartphone was not allowed.

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Dave 126
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Re: That Samsung S8 dock doesn't look quite so silly now eh?

Similarly, there are quite a few 'compute sticks' based on either ARM or Intel that plug into HDMI sockets. I guess you're moving the issue of trust onto the keyboard you pick up at your destination.

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Your 90-second guide to new stuff Nvidia teased today: Volta V100 chips, a GPU cloud, and more

Dave 126
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Its been a common practice for CGI rendering workloads (which are suited to distributed across GPU/CPU resources) for a few years now - you install client software on machines on your local network to use their CPUs and GPUs to do the job quicker.

For example, Keyshot is a real time ray-tracing program. Input a 3D model and assign materials and lighting, and the output is a photorealistic image:

KeyShot Network Rendering allows you to take advantage of your network’s computer resources for rendering images, animations, and KeyShotVR’s. After the simple installation process, any user with KeyShot can send a “job” to be rendered on the network. The jobs are organized into a queue that all users can view. Jobs can also be sent from the internal KeyShot queue to network rendering.

- https://www.keyshot.com/features/network-rendering/

I didn't read the article as meaning that the the nVidia cloud will use *your* compute resources, a la Seti@home or Folding@home :)

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French drone bods Parrot wheel out 'prosumer' division

Dave 126
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> drones were a passing fad with consumers

Read the source article. Parrot do well serving the agricultural and construction industries with drones costing in excess of $10k, whereas DJI lean more towards cinematography. This new range of Parrot drones include a model for 3D mapping of the landscape, and another for thermal imaging.

Tools that save you money are not fads.

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Opposable thumbs make tablets more useful says Microsoft Research

Dave 126
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Re: Loss of freedom

I don't think it has to *rely* upon this method. Traditional desktop applications already have multiple ways of achieving a single command - menu bar, context menu, alt keyboard menu navigation, ctrl keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, mouse button modifiers, radial menus.

You are right that this control method can't be used all the time, so the return on investment of developing 'muscle memory' will be lower... but it appears to be an easily 'discoverable' input method.

Indeed, the main issue people had with MS's Ribbon interface is that removed the traditional menus. I use an application where a Ribbon-type control palette is an option in addition to menus, and I use both.

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Dave 126
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Re: Why?

Eh? It's Android and iOS tablets that are largely used as content consumption devices.

Engineers, artists, site surveyors, product designers amongst others would have a use for using tablets as productivity tools - indeed MS's Win XP Tablet Edition existed before the iPad and other ARM tablets. Your comment is a little curious, given that the ability to run a large range of existing producivity software is an advantage Windows tablets have over Android tablets.

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The radio environment is noisy – so use the noise as a carrier for signals

Dave 126
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Re: Disney

Knee-jerk reactions aside, there are potential application in toys and theme parks. Disney have also done some research into wireless power transmission - https://phys.org/news/2017-02-wireless-power-transmission-safely-devices.html

The downside is that that your room needs to have metal walls, floor and ceiling, and feature a pole in the centre.

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First cardboard goggles, now this: Google's cardboard 'DIY AI' box powered by an RPi 3

Dave 126
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Re: Why I feel uncomfortable...

Plastics like ABS will burn too - but burning cardboard is easier to brush off your skin than burning ABS or nylon.

I don't know how hot RPis get, but I've heard of no injuries from them. Given they are marketed at youngsters and sold without a case, it would be a massive design failure if they did hot enough to cause injury. Of course, chip temperature isn't the only fire hazard - higher temperatures can occur locally on short circuits (perhaps if a child dips the microUSB power connector in liquid before plugging it in) but it would take an unlikely placement of dry fluff (tinder) for that to cause any sort of risk to the user.

In short, the soldering iron offers orders of magnitude greater risk, and even then burning your fingers is an educational experience!

But hey, it's better to start out paranoid (and design out or eliminate risks) than it is to be blasé. :)

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Dave 126
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Google just didn't make that many. Demand outstripped supply for a while, but that's also true of Ferraris. Perhaps Google were cautious, knowing that the phone's standout feature - its camera performance - was implemented in software on top of the same sort of Sony sensor every high-end phone uses.

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Windows 10 S forces Bing, Edge on your kids. If you don't like it, get Win10 Pro – Microsoft

Dave 126
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Windows 10 on the computers that were upgraded from 7 & 8 doesn't have the Windows S limitations that were outlined in this article, regardless of what you or I define as a 'version'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Or just use anything but Windows

To many, an OS is just that thing they use to load up the applications they use. If that application is only available on Windows, then switching to Linux doesn't solve anything - regardless of what one thinks of MS.

People who support Linux would do better to acknowledge that straightforward fact than to ignore it. WINE is sometimes suitable, and some applications are suited to running off the cloud through a browser (OS agnostic). Interesting times.

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