* Posts by Dave 126

7035 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Your next PC is… your 'Droid? Remix unveils Continuum-killer

Dave 126
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> I'll believe an Android phone can replace the desktop then it can do Crysis...3...at 60fps at full 1080p resolution or higher. THEN it'll have the oomph to replace my desktop.

By which time your desktop will run Crysis 4 at 120Hz at 4K HDR across three monitors. A bigger box will always be more powerful (greater room for heat dissipation).

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Dave 126
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Re: Windows tablets - when the touch screen driver craps out...

I think you've described a 'workaround', not a 'fix'! :)

Still, I didn't downvote you.

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Dave 126
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Re: I remember when I pointed this out last year

>I said last year that it was only a matter of time before your phone IS your PC as well. Got a lot of down votes for it. Which was very surprising on a tech site.

There is a difference between 'could be' and 'will be'. Here's the thing; this article doesn't vindicate you because this Remix OS is intended for people in poor countries who can't afford a computer in addition to thier phone. Most of us in the UK can find easier ways of doing things than using our phones as computers for little additional cost, such as using a laptop, using a Raspberry Pi or similar, using an Intel Compute Stick, using our phones with a Chromcast.

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Dave 126
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The issue has never really been about whether the SoC is powerful enough for useful desktop applications. The issues are based around the UI, the connection, the bloated nature of contemporary applications etc.

Phones with as much RAM (4GB) as my laptop and far greater resolutions (though that's more the GPU than the ARM CPU) are not uncommon now.

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Dave 126
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Re: One can only hope

>No, No they're really not, unless all you do with your PC is surf the net and read email.

Er, that's what a Personal Computer is used for. And a phone SoC has more than a enough grunt to run office applications, some light CAD, some simple image editing. Just because today's average desktop is the equivalent of yesteryear's workstation doesn't mean it has to be used for intensive tasks - most people don't need to run physical simulations or edit 4K video.

Still this Remix OS isn't intended for us - we don't need to to have our phones double up as a desktop computer because we can afford a discreet device - anything from a Raspberry Pi to an Intel Compute Stick. As the article says, Remix OS is intended for poorer countries.

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Neuromorphic progress: And we for one welcome our new single artificial synapse overlords

Dave 126
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Re: That's how to do IT

There are criticisms of the Human Brain Project, specifically its scope, ambition and management, though they are possibly par for the course for a project of its size.

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'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

Dave 126
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Re: Disgustingly Evil

>To be fair, it's not really a use-case per se. He's right that Google maps display far, far less information than the paper maps from OS that we used when orienteering as kids.

He was explaining why he didn't find Google Maps useful; it's impossible to define 'useful' outside the context of use.

In any case, there will always be people whose use for maps goes beyond what Google Maps, Streetmap or even OS Landranger can deliver. There is a lot of geographic information available if you pay for it. I remember ordering some CDs from Ordnance Survey for around £100 a pop containing *.XYZ files. These files are exactly what they sound like, and the roughly two million points in each file described the terrain of a small area of countryside - when opened in AutoCAD, one could make out features on the scale of roads and houses.

Similarly, some Soviet-made maps of the UK were made that had even greater detail than the OS possessed, such as how wide and strong bridges were. Their intended use? Aiding in an invasion of Britain without getting your tanks stuck.

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Dave 126
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Mobile phones

In 2007 most people didn't have a big-screened (i.e 4"+, no hard keypad) mobile phone. Touch-screen iPhones, feature phones and later Android phones - all with data connections and GPS - became the norm in the U.K.

Now, I find it more useful to look at maps when I am out and about than when I'm sat at home or work (where I know where I am). I imagine this is true of most people. Back in 2007 I would sometimes print maps from a desktop computer to take with me, but haven't done so for years, because I have a smartphone., or failing that, a ring-bound road atlas.

I sometimes still use the road atlas, but as a food tray on my lap so that I don't spill brown sauce on my trousers. This trouser-protecting feature is one that StreetMap and Google Maps both have yet to implement.

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Huge if true: iPhone 8 will feature 3D selfies, rodent defibrillator

Dave 126
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???

(I had just wanted to post '???', but The post is required, and must contain letters.. Never mind, it's just zmodem being moronic again. )

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Dave 126
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Re: The Unbelievable Truth

My favourite from the Unbelievable Truth went alongthe lines of:

"The word 'Shark' was coined by seaman Mark Cooper, when he fell into the ocean and attempted to use three different swear words simultaneously..."

It sounds so plausible!

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Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

Dave 126
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Re: Power leads

I believe the microUSB connector is so designed that failure is more likely to occur on the (cheaply replaceable) Male cable side, and not on the expensive Female device side.

In the post-Nokia, pre-Android feature phone era, the likes of Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericcson were absolute buggers for seemingly never twice using the same power connector across their ranges. They really did deserve to have the EU knock some sense into their heads.

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Dave 126
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Re: Gotta be the Psion

>Perhaps something like Bluetooth pairing with a smartphone would be better for battery life.

Even better would be an industry-wide (or at least Android-wide) standard for a magneticmodule connector on the rear of the phone for bi-directional power and data, akin to the Moto Mod system. Such a connector, which could 'snap' components in place, would be ideal for keyboards, gamepads, batteries, special sensors (i.e Infrared camera, lens/sensor module etc), microphones, car docks, port extenders etc. I'm not talking about a full-on Project Ara system.

Bluetooth is more power efficient than it used to be, and more reliable (though I still sometimes meet a device that just won't connect) - but sometimes a physical connector is still better.

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Dave 126
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Re: Mr Fixit

Okay... you might have spent £25 on your Pi, or you might have spent £5, depending on model. You might conceivably find it cost effective to resolder the USB port if it became damaged... I'm hard pressed to think of another fault that would be.

When it comes to ecological concerns, it's generally better to make a very small reliable device than a big item that uses lots of materials. Just because something can be repaired doesn't mean that it will be, so lots of resources will have been wasted in making the components and component packaging bigger.

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Dave 126
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Re: Better than the Nokia 3310

Sadly the captain from Firefly fell into the Han Solo uncanny valley. If he was Han Solo, that would have been fine, had he been less like Han Solo that would have been fine... as it was, he was just too close for comfort.

Still, the Expanse is good, and both Killjoys and Dark Matter really find their own stride after their respective first seasons.

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Dave 126
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Re: Gotta be the Psion

>This is all theoretical anyway, because there's no sign there'll ever be an updated Series 5.

Who owns the IP on their keyboard? How easily could said IP be sidestepped to produce a similarly functioning keyboard? How easily could it be attached to a modern touchscreen phone with microUSB? Would you want to incorporate cylindrical batteries within the hinge so that such an implementation wound't be too top-heavy? What's the state-of-play of external phone keyboards on Kickstarter?

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Dave 126
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Re: Mr Fixit

The point of the glue is to reduce landfill - it is quicker to pass a batch of end-of-life products through an oven to separate components for recycling than it is to employ a person with a screwdriver.

Generally, I find modern kit more reliable than older kit, especially the older stuff with moving parts.

If you want some very good YouTube videos of old gadgets being repaired (usually strange audio kit) the you really should check out TechMoan:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Techmoan/videos

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Dave 126
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Re: Power leads

The 500mA limit was implemented by the receiving device if it was connected to a power source by a cable that didn't have its data pins shorted - the idea was to not to upset a computer's power system. These days most phones are happy to suck down as much current as they want, if the cable is of sufficient thickness and the power source can deliver it.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes for the Sony Walkman

It was a helluva better form factor than the CD DiscMan.

Some of the pricier Walkmans were barely large than the cassette itself, and indeed were smaller than some phones in their cases are today.

The early nineties saw the Wireless Walkman - never released in the UK - which paired a Walkman with a matchbox-sized wireless audio receiver and transport control transmitter.

There were hundreds of Walkman variations, so I was mildly surprised to just see a generic 'Walkman' in this poll! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: Gotta be the Psion

>If they launched a new model with some hardware updates (Wi-Fi,

Aaaaaaand there goes your week long battery life! :)

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Dave 126
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Re: tones of battery life

Do Re Mi Fa Sol!

Looks like he fell between an Imperial and Metric measure! Actually, yesterday I was thinking about a battery in terms of weight - I'd stopped in a layby to make a call, and saw that someone had dumped a large truck battery in the hedgerow... thought of weighing it in at the scrapyard. Whilst it might not weight a ton, or even tonne, it'll weigh at lest an 'Ooffyoubugger'.

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Watch how Google's starving DeepMind AI turns hostile, attacks other bots to survive

Dave 126
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Re: Do no evil

Well, if Boston Dynamics have taken money from Darpa, and Darpa have chosen not to use BD's robots, that's Darpa money not spent on guns.

Darpa think that the robots are too loud for infrantry support... That doesnt rule them out for disaster relief applications.

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Dave 126
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Re: Do no evil

Mr Diesel, a pacifist, invented an efficient type of engine because he thought it would help people with food production and distribution. The diesel engine became a weapon of war.

It's hard to think of any technological advance that hasnt been put to use killing

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Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia

Dave 126
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A machete only has one function, but it performs it better than any Swiss army knife. However, it's useless if you need a pair of tweezers or a corkscrew.

Horses for courses.

I dare say that some people here might want a Nokia 6210 but with the ability to bridge 4G to WiFi so they can use a tablet.... but hey, we get all sorts of lovely perverts around here!

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Dave 126
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Re: The 3210 was so much cooler than the 3310

If you rewatch the original Zoolander, one joke made at the fashion elite is that they have tiny phones (as that was the real trend when the movie was made). Poor Derek Zoolander is using a phone about the size of a matchbook.

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Dave 126
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Re: External antenna! (Aerial)

Many Nokia phones of that era had ports for external antenna, even if they were covered by a rubber bung. If you look at the side of the phones, you'll spot two triangular indentations on each side... again, for 'snapping' into car docks. The exposed rails on the underside of the phone? Ditto.

Now, I've never advocated full on modularity for phones, (a la Project Ara), but some move towards common power / data / mechanical retention would be handy.

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Dave 126
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Re: At 7 bytes per stored phone number

>My 2005 Moto RAZR could store numbers on the flash memory in the SIM card. Have you ever used an older, non-"smart" cell phone before?

Oi, behave! :)

SIMs could only store so many numbers - additional numbers would be stored on the phone itself, and in fact Nokia used this number capacity to differentiate between budget models like the 3210 and fancier models like the 6210 (if memory serves, 250 and 500 phone entries respectively, but don't quote me). This is common knowledge to anyone who has used "an older, non-smart cell phone", as you put it.

I won't make a snarky comment about you not realising the number limit on your SIM - the 6210 came out when I was at university, and so I picked up more numbers than a more mature person (or indeed, an Orange SIM) would know what to do with. However, quality is more important than quality.

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Apple joins one wireless power group, the other one responds with so-happy forced grin

Dave 126
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Re: @Archivist You can always be sure

>Chosen? Didn't you know Apple invented wireless charging. Just now.

There's a fair chance that Apple have chosen Qi because they have been unable to create anything better (i.e a system that charges gadgets where ever they are placed on a desk). Apple have filed patents that suggest that they have at least been looking at a wireless charging system

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Dave 126
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Re: Mis-named Wireless

>thing I'd really like is a wireless battery backup, but I guess the problem there is needing AC.

From what i understand about Qi, it is not as efficient as using a cable. This isn't really problem if your Qi mat is plugged into the mains, but it would mean that a Qi portable battery would have to bigger and heavier than its wired equivalent.

Tests suggest that Qi can be around 60% efficient. I don't have any data for power loss through USB cable, but a thicker-gauge short cable can be more convenient for using with a portable battery anyway (if you have the phone and battery in the same pocket... I appreciate that some people might want to us etheor hone whilst it is connected to a battery in a bag. )

http://www.batterypoweronline.com/conferences/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/WirelessConsortium.pdf

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Dave 126
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Re: Mis-named Wireless

That's a fair point - neither standard is essential for most use-cases (though some users with limited dexterity might find them helpful).

When I had an Xperia phone with a rubber bung over its USB socket, I was tempted by a magnetic charging dock (which used contact pins) but broke the phone before I bought one.

Similarly, I'm now tempted by a Qi charging mat for my Nexus 5, but not desperately. If I see one for a tenner, I might pick one up. Bizarrely, the main hurdle to me plugging a USB cable into my Nexus 5 is that the phone is symmetrical, so half the time I'm looking for the socket on the wrong end of the phone!

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Dave 126
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Re: "I never recommend lying to a border agent"...

>But I don't have a Facebook account... And yet you expect me to tell them I just can't access it ?

The article didn't say that! :)

If you don't have a Facebook account and say so, then you are not lying and thus cannot be caught in a lie. The advice in the article was not to say you don't have a Facebook (or Twitter etc) account if in fact you do, because the existence of said Facebook account can be verified.

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Totally not-crazy billionaire Elon Musk: All of us – yes, even you – must become cyborgs

Dave 126
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Re: I'm baffled.

>I'm baffled. How do these guys get rich?

Oh dear Mage. We touched upon the concept of you using the internet for obtaining facts and information (*before* commenting on stuff) the other day, did we not? Okay, here you go:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal

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Dave 126
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Re: Balderdash!

>Bullshit. I can't even get a hotels website to stop sending me emails recommending I book and go on a trip LAST MONTH, you know, IN THE PAST!

I've known of real human beings making similar errors, because they are poorly managed, hungover, or insufficiently motivated to give a damn.

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Crack in black: Matte iPhones losing paint at alarming rate, gripe fans

Dave 126
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Re: Seems like the apple fanboi isn't very smart...

Wow.

kyoukoku posts a demonstrably incorrect comment. I post a correction, with evidence. He gets a further 16 upvotes.

I'm sympathetic to what led to kyoukoku's error - and we all make mistakes - but not to those people who upvoted him after they were presented with clear evidence to the contrary.

The amazing thing is that 100% of Reg readers are literate and have access to the internet so can educate themselves - so I can't understand why they don't.

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Dave 126
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You can now use your phone in the bath to exfoliate those bits of hard skin on your feet!

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm not a major fan of Apple stuff (more Android/Linux for me) , but ...

>And some suit who decides that the proper coating is too expensive or doesn't suit their vision and to use something else.

Aye. The 'proper' coating would be Physical Vapour Deposition, as used on Rolex watch bezels, if you really want deep blacks.

From what I can make out, Apple are using an uncommonly thick anodising layer, which is porous and absorbs the black dye they have used. This hard anodisation process is often used on aluminium saucepans, but in not as thick a layer - hence the grey colour commonly found on cookware.

At this stage, we don't know if this chipping is due to a bad batch (bloody chemistry, with all it's fussy variables!), or an inherent issue with Apple's process.

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Dave 126
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Quite right. Now that the iPhone is finally water resistant, barnacles are now an issue!

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Dave 126
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Re: Seems like the apple fanboi isn't very smart...

>An anodised surface doesn't chip/flake off like paint because it isn't paint. If Apple are advertising it as anodised then they're lying. It's flaking off then it's because it's a crap paint/coating job.

Sorry, you're incorrect. Apple isn't lying. It is anodisation, but not the common form of 'Colour Anodisation' that you may be thinking of. Links to evidence at end of this post.

The common Type II - or 'Colour Anodise' - is often seen on bicycle components - metallic blues, reds and purples, amongst other shades. It takes a colour, isn't very hard, and is too thin to chip off. However, the process of 'Hard Anodisation' produces a thicker, harder layer* than can chip off. This kind of anodisation is sometimes seen on bicycle chain rings and cranks, and usually results in a dark grey or muddy colour. It is also very common on aluminium saucepans. I've seen parts where this coating has chipped. If you pop to your kitchen, there is a fair chance you can inspect such chipping with your own eyes.

* It's actually layers: the aluminium is penetrated by about a 0.025mm, and the chemistry results in an oxide layer of similar thickness 'growing' from the surface. It may be that Apple's process results in a thicker layer, making it more prone to the type of chipping that has been reported.

https://wickwerks.com/anodize

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcA7oE8yMvc

https://www.wired.com/2016/09/apple-jet-black-iphone-none-more-black/

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Dave 126
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Re: I'm not a major fan of Apple stuff (more Android/Linux for me) , but ...

>Sir Jony only dictates the appearance. Real engineers design it. Mechanical, Electronic, Software, Product, Manufacturing.

And just who do you think co-ordinates those specialist, Mage? Yep, the Product Designer. The design process is one of communication and liaison. If you ask an electronic engineer to 'design me a computer', they will look at you weirdly because you haven't defined any constraints, thermal, power, enclosure size etc. Ditto the mechanical engineer. And it should be self-evident that it is inefficient to just dump a 'finished' design on the desk of a manufacturing engineer - in reality, his team's input will be sought at all stages of the process.

If you have problems with Apple, that's fine. But please, don't denigrate the entire discipline of Product Design, because the last thing we need are more shit products in this world. It's about showing respect for professionals who work in a field you might not have taken the time to fully understand. If you need some case studies to grok this, let's work on some. Maybe a Reg article about Product Design is over due? The Reg did recently run an obituary of Richard Sapper (ThinkPad, Alessi), who was from a more conventional Industrial Design generation - and the differences are informative.

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You want WHO?! Reg readers vote Tom Baker for Doctor 13. Of course

Dave 126
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Re: Sean Pertwee

Hehe, it turns out that Sean Bean does have the highest death / film ratio, at 0.32 deaths per movie, narrowly beating John Hurt at 0.31. I think I might have seen a Ridley Scott film in which Sean Bean doesn't die, but instead is sacked and has to play golf, which may or may not be preferable to falling from a cliff, falling from a radio telescope, being shot with arrows, ripped apart by horses, left hanging from chains by his arm, left handing from a chain around his neck or beheaded. How he made it through the Napoleonic wars intact is anybody's guess.

John Hurt, who sadly died last week for real, is recorded as having that largest number of on-screen deaths in total, at 43, including the worst death-by-indigestion ever committed to celluloid (excluding Monty Python's Mr Creosote, obviously. At least the Nostromo wasn't covered in vomit.)

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Dave 126
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Re: Even for monkey shaggers

"I adore distilled whippet shit", amazing.

I enjoyed both his autobiography with its accounts of drinking in Soho with Jeffrey Bernard at al, and his short, blackly comic novella 'The Boy Who Kicked Pigs'.

He was also priceless when an impressionist from BBC's Dead Ringers as the Fourth Doctor rang him up:

"I never really knew what to do about the daleks you see, because I always rather fancied Davros"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ7uHzZYREo

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Prepare your popcorn: Wikipedia deems the Daily Mail unreliable

Dave 126
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Re: Irony

>At best this is the kettle calling the pot black. Nobody will accept a wikipedia citation as credible in any of the STEM fields or in college.

There is no reason to do so - Wikipedia pages cite the [often peer-reviewed] sources it has used. With Wikipedia you can look at its sources of an article and drill back through its history, including discussions between contributors. (Of course I don't mean to understate the danger that many readers won't do so)

It's not perfect, but it's no Daily Mail.

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Android Wear: The bloatware that turned into gloatware

Dave 126
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Re: To every one who is slagging smart watches off as utterly useless...

Sony also make a little device about the size of a finger. It can clip to a shirt pocket.

It displays phone notifications, and can be used a make telephone calls over Bluetooth (held to your ear like a teeny-weeny telephone!) It is also a discrete MP3 player and FM radio (with 3.5 mm socket).

I've been tempted by one, but knowing me I'd lose it unless it was strapped to my wrist (which would make the headphone cable tricky to manage!)

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Dave 126
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Re: Doomed from the beginning

>2.) They're decidedly nerdy. No matter how elegant they are made to look, they are, at their core, a reincarnation of the pocket protector.

It is perfectly possible to make a connected smartwatch that looks indistinguishable from a traditional analogue watch. I would suggest that the 'nerdy' appearance is an issue of current implementation, and not an insurmountable problem.

Making a watch vibrate in response to an incoming call or text doesn't change its appearance. Useful information can be conveyed through the watch hands, or even a single RGB LED.

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Dave 126
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Re: Yes that's very clever,

Once upon a time, I might play music by physically plugging my phone into an amplifier. In such a scenario, a smartwatch that would let me skip a track without walking up to the tethered phone would be handy.

However, these days the phone just instructs a Chromecast Audio - there is no need to leave the phone on the other side of the room, and so less use for a 'remote control for my phone'.

That said, I would like to see more control options for phones. I'm probably not the only one. I've seen quite a few people hear their phone ringing from deep inside their handbag - they might benefit from a little screen that clips to the top of their bag so they can see whether it is worth rummaging to take the call. I also know people who get genuine use from their 'Tile' - about the size of a bottle cap, it allows them to 'page' theior phone if they have mislaid it. This paging works both ways, so that their phone can be used to find whatever their Tile is attached to - usually a bunch of keys.

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ITU-T wants video sizes to halve again by 2020

Dave 126
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Re: Like a suitcase.

>Is there a way to tell how close we are to that limit?

Not really, because to do so would require a perfect understanding of what we humans perceive; it' not purely a mathematical, computational question. Our eyes can only resolve a small area of our visual field at high resolution - for arguments' sake, let's say that the DVD player had control over which part of the screen our eyes flitted over - it would then only have to render the parts of the screen our eyes flit over at maximum resolution. Obviously this wouldn't happen, but it makes that point that our brain does a lot of filling in the gaps, and that a lot of the data sent to a screen is wasted on us. The trouble is, which data is 'wasted' on us varies from viewing to viewing, and from viewer to viewer.

So, the question becomes 'what is the human-relevant information in the video?'. It doesn't matter if we are only viewing Humphrey Bogart in grainy black and white - we are still taking in the emotional content that the director intended. Watching him slap a bad guy around isn't improved by using high res and HDR. On the other hand, a David Attenborough nature documentary would benefit.

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Dave 126
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Re: Is this even possible?

Such an approach would require a daft amount of processing at playback, and actors in the background might look like humans but won't necessarily look like the actual actors that were present. If taken to its extreme, this approach would be akin to just telling the computer 'Dark-haired man in white t-shirt walks into a room'. It relies on the output computer already having an idea of what a 'man' looks like.

If it could work for video, it could be useful for rapid story-boarding.

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Dave 126
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Re: Is this even possible?

It will be a lossy format. Non-lossy compressed formats are only used for capture and editing etc

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Departing Autodesk CEO says he became dumber and less funny the moment he quit

Dave 126
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Re: Got one thing to say to this ex-CEO

Indeed, CAD has always had a high price tag, traditionally lost in the $100K cost of the hardware required to run it, or the millions invested in the car plant or oil rig being designed.

I've seen small manufacturing shops running happily on Rhinoceros 3D, more affordably priced at 'only' £700ish, especially considering the thousands that a modest CNC mill costs.

Here's the lovely thing though - these design tools allow for hardware to be made less expensively. We're used to the idea of silicon becoming cheaper every year, but advancements in manufacturing tools allow physical objects to be made at greater quality for the same price.

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Dave 126
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Re: Got one thing to say to this ex-CEO

Just to clarify: I wasn't knocking the quality of Blender, but it a tool that serves a different purpose to things like AutoDesk Inventor (or D'Assault's Solidworks, Siemen's NX etc etc)- engineering and construction PLM software. The open-source equivalent to these isn't Blender but FreeCAD (though it doesn't look to be as developed). As the OP observed, Blender does the same sort of things as AutoDesk Maya - animation, game assets, special effects, product rendering etc. You might use Blender or Maya to create a CGI car for a movie, but you wouldn't use it to engineer a real car.

For may people's purposes ( modelling and a bit of light Compuer Aided Manufacture) the relatively low-cost Rhinoceros 3D is good enough, and it as some strengths of its own such as support for procedurally-generated geometry via a plug-in. For some people, it justifies its cost just as a file conversion utility.

One exciting trend in the last few years has been the integration of parametric CAD (a la Inventor) with free-form modelling (a la Maya) within the same environment.

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Dave 126
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Re: Got one thing to say to this ex-CEO

Blender isn't an alternative to many of Autodesk's products. If Blender works for you for visualisation and animation, good for you.

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