* Posts by Dave 126

7496 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

The life and times of Surface, Microsoft's odds-defying fondleslab

Dave 126
Silver badge

There's a difference to using a finger touch system to do things better done with a mouse (Metro UI) and a stylus driven system to draw and sketch (Surface).

18
2
Dave 126
Silver badge

Those OSX users who benefit from a high quality stylus driven screen (digital artists) have always had the option of using Wacom kit - for a hefty price. They have been in the past good reason why people in that sector used OSX and not Windows (colour management, display scaling etc - but I AFAIK Windows has caught up).

That use-case has to be a parent of the iPad Pro as much as the Surface.

7
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Still no.

The article was about the Surface range, but you've focused on the convertible tablet model.

Yeah, sone of them have had software issues at launch - in a way Apple MacBooks rarely do - but I suspect most of us here are the type to wait a few months after any product is released.

Form factor of the Surface Tablet is subjective and dependant on what it's being used for. The Surface Book appears to be not too compromised as a laptop.

Ultimately, the good news for users is that other laptop / convertible vendors have upped their game, especially with respect to touchpads and screens. And hey, there's now even some damned good laptops being sold with Linux and 1st party drivers and support.

28
2

Hackers able to turbo-charge DJI drones way beyond what's legal

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: underground groups of drone users

It's Iain (M) Banks, some Scotts use a second i in Iain, but at least it's more parsable than some Welsh uses of the letter to this philistine English monoglot. And yeah, drones that look like mosquitos would have an impact on our ideas of privacy. I believe Arthur C Clarke explored a post-privacy world, where the agent of change was millions of wormholes crossing the Earth... Hmm, maybe he spent more time chatting to beat poets in the Chelsea hotel than he claimed.

4
0

Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Nut Bush City Limits.

We'll keep the motorcyclists until artificial human organ technology has matured.

22
9
Dave 126
Silver badge

> How can data, like traffic information or whether the road is icy, be non-sensitive and sent without concern ?

Such data doesn't need to be associated with a specific vehicle or user - so it doesn't inherently raise privacy concerns.

Of course, given enough data, information can be de-anomynised, but there are mathematical techniques to defeat that (see: Differential Privacy)

4
0

Constant work makes the kilo walk the Planck

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Confused

I've enjoyed working in workshops where estimates are given in Imperial, and measurements always are given in mm. There's no confusing the two. "That's about four inches / That is 104 mm".

7
0

Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Trump listens to this guy

@Big John

There are other quotes from Trump in support of Alex Jones. I'm sure someone here can dig out a video.

18
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: An investigation is needed

If you amputate his limbs a significant mass saving can be achieved. If you just took his brain, then the payload would be measured in grams (for American readers, that's equivalent to say a $40 bag of weed)

21
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: School boy mistake

Umberto Eco passed away last year sadly, though Foucault's Pendulum only took the piss out of conspiracy theories from the Knights Templar up to the book that Dan Brown ripped off (The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail).

16
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: School boy mistake

Is Robert Anton Wilson still alive? It might be time for the Illuminati Trilogy to have a forth instalment, a la the HHGTTG

9
0

Fancy fixing your own mobile devices? Just take the display off carefu...CRUNCH !£$%!

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: I can understand

See above comments.

0
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: "Surface [...] is intended to be serviced by professionals"

To paraphrase the BBC: Other off-machine strategies are available.

0
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Scope of the study?

No, but it can't have been messier than dismantling the Etcha Sketch that it resembles!

1
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Older audio equipment

> The only downside, is my dog runs and hides every time I go near the stereo. :)

Everybody is a music critic

..

2
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Edit: I do use older audio gear. Very good speakers (1980s Wharfedale etc) can be had for absolute peanuts from charity shops and local newspaper classified ads, and will sound very good. Amplifiers similarly, or use a new inexpensive yet good Tripath Class D amp if you don't need to shake the room. Add a 15 quid Chromecast dongle to bring some 21st century convenience to the set up.

2
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

If you are reusing, cannibalising and repairing old gear, you're not buying new gear.

0
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Warranty

Japanese or Korean capacitors? African or European swallows?

1
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: LG G4

Similarly, swapping the battery in an LG-built Nexus 5 is a breeze. The battery was a tenner, and a bag of weird screwdrivers and 'spudgers' bought for a couple of quid was not required - the job can be done with a Phillips screwdriver in my Victorinox keyring and my thumbnails.

1
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Green lobby failure

Please note: repairability is not necessarily the same as recyclability, and these days often isn't.

Plastic and metal parts can be shredded together before separation. The harmful and or costly stuff is in the screen and motherboard.

Glued parts can be more economically separated for recycling than screwed parts, because unscrewing is labour intensive and ungluing just requires an oven.

Gluing is also used to reduce thickness, and to make things more reliable (stresses are spread across a part rather than focused on stress-rising bosses). It's likely that the flexible nature of glue is factored into to the shock resistance of the end product.

If Greenpeace* are trying to do a total environmental cost analysis, then they need to factor in how reliable a product is, how long it remain useful for, and how long a user will want to own it (i.e how pleasant it is to use and own). Repairability is only a factor after it has been multiplied by the fraction of people who would actually repair it, multiplied by the chance of it actually going wrong, multiplied by this failure not occuring within the warranty period. So, that's a small number, multiplied by a fraction multiplied by a fraction multiplied by a fraction.

*remember this is the group who protested against a GM crop trial in Australia by setting fire to it, thus dispersing the GM material over a wide area. Still, being an activist impresses some young women, so what the hell.

11
2

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: OT : Petrol Pumps

Sorry to hear that CrazyOldCatMan. Of course it goes without saying to the rest of us to get these things checked out by a medical professional and to apply critical thinking if researching ourselves online.

For those without the tendon/muscle interface affected by a condition, the gyroscopic nature of the Powerball keeps the wrist tendons straight.

2
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Don't give me no static ...

My mechanic tells me that sone CB radios used to interfere with the fuel pump measurement mechanisms, so petrol stations just erred on the side of caution and so displayed Do Not Use Mobile Phones.

0
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Polyester in 105F temperatures

I've never seen a lady slip *into* a bikini... the process inevitably involves her briefly balancing on one leg at least one point, and some bending.

I guess we can trace the phrase back to "Excuse me whilst I slip into something more comfortable" from films of a certain era, and one assumes the lady is referring to a silk dressing gown.

6
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Anti-static.....

> Unfortunately, the anti--static spray was in orange cans, almost identical in appearance to the cleaning agent

Haha, much like that shelf in Maplins, where all the aerosol cans are white. Some are air dusters, some are anti static spray, some are sticky label remover...

In the domestic household space, orange by convention normally denotes something pretty nasty and caustic, such as oven cleaner or drain unblocker.

This isn't the case in the industrial space. I remember cleaning my brush with what I thought was white spirits, because the label was tattered and mostly missing. Upon seeing weird smoke, I examined the label more closely to read ".......ic ..cid". I'm very glad I hadn't used it with saw dust to clean oil off my hands!

3
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: OT : Petrol Pumps

I just use one of the disposable gloves provided.

If you have trouble gripping, I recommend using a gyroscope 'Power Ball' to strengthen the appropriate muscles. It's also good for relieving RSI. They often used my musicians and rock climbers, amongst others.

4
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Carper?

A computer room (Win 2000 for Word, not the mainframe CAD suite) at my uni had a bad carpet for static, exacerbated by the skate shoes and shuffling walks sported by many of us students.

2
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Don't give me no static ...

Top tip there @steelpillow, thank you!

4
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Don't give me no static ...

> opening envelopes with self-adhesive flap generates static

Possibly the same effect as using sellotape to generate x-rays.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn15016-humble-sticky-tape-emits-powerful-x-rays/

13
0

It's the iPhone's 10th b'day or, as El Reg calls it, 'BILL RAY DAY'

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Apple changed everything

Steve Jobs liked the Motorola RAZR, hence the Motorola ROKR with iTunes (which Jobs hated having to present on stage).

I have no problems with phones requiring cases - the user can choose a case to fit their environment, just as we choose our clothes before leaving the house. Where it gets annoying is when chooses a waterproof Sony phone, buys the official case, and still wrecks the screen because the case didn't protect one edge of the phone (and its bezels are ABS and not aluminium).

There's currently a Kickstarter campaign for a Psion-style keyboard for the modular Moto phones... seeming a good implementation of a modular concept, with only its proprietary nature giving cause for concern.

0
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Don't mention the iTunes.

Oh yeah, Samsung Kies was also complete dog poo. Actually, that's not fair; dog poo is sonetimes useful (for providing nutrition to plants, or tanning leather)

3
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Don't mention the iTunes.

The Sony stuff was called Sonic Stage. New Scientist even reported that MS cited it by name in a BSOD error message.

1
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Uh, err, WHAT?

> Without the Android, iPhone would not be where it is today and vice-versa

True, iOS is probably better today for having had competition, but that competition could have come from a few places other than Android (Maemo, Meego, PalmOS, BB10, some weird Samsung stuff, some sort of Windows, Ubuntu, Firefox)

0
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Comparing with the competition at the time

I remember reading a Stephen J Gould essay about the pace of evolution. He made the point that creatures didn't evolve at a steady rate, but rather adapt (or die out) rapidly in response to a changing environment, and then often appear to remain in much the same form for a long time.

When the iPod was released, flash memory was expensive and so a small HDD was the way to go - and similar form factors quickly followed from Creative and iRiver using the same Toshiba HDD. The iPod satisfied a clear valley in the fitness landscape - cassette Walkmans were too clunky, portable CD players were too big, MiniDisc wasn't too entrenched and carrying another half dozen albums doubled the space it took up in your coat pocket.

The Mac Touchbar is limited, but we are about to enter a transitional period in Human Interfaces: machine vision blurring the divide between being in the workshop and being at the desk. As a CAD user, I don't use Macs, but am interested in Google's Project Tango (specialist hardware) and Apple's ARkit (software and soon to be specialist silicon, reading between the lines), Hololens (more sensors, more silicon), and Intel and nVidia's efforts. More modest 3D space-sensing HIDs such as Leap Motion haven't made much of a dent ( had no coverage here at The Reg), but then touch screen PCs (WinXP Tablet Edition, specialist gear from Wacom and Cintiq) were around for years before being refined into more mass market devices.

Apple's refinement over the last ten years is harder to see because everyone else has upped their game (heck, Microsoft's hardware efforts might not be to your taste, but at least they are not just doing yet another 16:9 laptop). That's something to be glad about.

Currently, the buzzword areas are home automation, autonomous driving and AR/VR... there are no clear winners yet (and Apple are unlikely to aim at the mass market anyway, preferring a smaller high margin segment), but who knows?

For all we know, a university spin-out company might create some magic battery technology next year, and all sorts of currently impractical form factors and applications suddenly become feasible (eg a useful smart watch with no compromises over a normal Casio watch)

1
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Or

Fingerworks made a multitouch keyboard, not a Graphical User Interface - a HID is linked to a GUI (just as we associate a mouse with icons and menus) but they are not the same thing. Parts of the iPhone GUI came from a small team in Apple who had been looking at a tablet computer concept. This tablet didn't progress too far because it would have been too expensive to market with the technology of the time.

The 'Jobs Reality Distortion Field' was a term coined to describe the pressure he would put on engineers to do in a week what they'd estimated would take a month - and yep, that was in full effect during the development of the iPhone. Staff were recruited from other Apple departments with the offer 'We want you for a project. We can't tell you what it is. If you accept, you will have next to zero free time for the next eighteen months'. The development of the iPhone resulted in a few divorces, apparently.

0
1
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: "apart from the intuitive UI"

At the time of the iPhone's release, most phones from Sony Ericsson, Nokia, LG and Samsung had proprietary headset sockets, which often varied from model to model within a single brand.

Since I've never owned an iPhone it doesn't bother me that they've ditched the 3.5mm jack, but I'm glad they showed other phone makers how to it properly over the last ten years.

4
5
Dave 126
Silver badge

What do mean by format? Copied from whom?

Nothing is completely new, but making good combinations and making the right compromises - and then polishing the result - are skills in their own right.

LG made a bit of a noise at the time, because they announced a capacitive touch screen phone before the iPhone was announced, but there's no doubt the iPhone was in late development before the LG Prada was made public. What's interesting is that both phones made the same decision to omit 3G in order to preserve battery life (presumably to make up for the large screen's power consumption) - an example that if you give different engineers the same constraints they may well make similar decisions.

The difference of philosophy was that the LG was not trying to be anything more than a stylish feature phone. The iPhone came from a computer company, and thus in it elements that had been developed for other projects... and perhaps a sense amongst its developers that it would be the start of a different way of interacting with computers.

2
2
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: They made it simple to use

The following link is an excerpt from a book about the origins of the iPhone. What one takes away is that though a capacitive screened phone with no buttons seems obvious in retrospect, it wasn't at the time. This excerpt covers the time up to Jobs going with the concept, after an internal competition (the other concept was an iPod with phone... yeah, entering numbers on a jog dial is no fun). Also, some of the iPhone UI concepts had been developed by an Apple team researching a tablet device known as Q79 in the early 2000s.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/13/15782200/one-device-secret-history-iphone-brian-merchant-book-excerpt

1
3

Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

Dave 126
Silver badge

> You underestimate your political masters.

You think? I did note that pubs are unfairly penalised if one accepts government's stated reasons (reduction in alcohol consumption) at face value.

5
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: "We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues."

> If they live longer then it is probably because they are healthier even if there is a cost in drugs to maintain that they are less likely to need high levels of care

Not exactly. Longer life spans are partly attributable to a decrease in cheap to treat conditions such as heart disease*, thus a rise in expensive to cope with conditions such as dementia.

*If you survive you may have a Stent or drug treatment and lifestyle changes - or else it kills you quickly. Dementia patients may require care for years.

3
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: "We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues."

Well, if we could build robots to build the robots that help us out of bed...

Taken all the way (eliminate all human labour) we eventually get to questions about the allocation of finite resources, such as land, minerals and power (energy)… and thus population growth.

1
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: "...................car could reverse the decline of the country pub."

Having a human take over the controls at a moment's notice is not safe. The systems need to be reliable enough that this is never required. I was referring to a mature tech (like your vehicle's brakes are mature), not current autonomous tech.

One way of increasing safety is to travel more slowly. Many would prefer an hour's journey reading a newspaper to driving themselves for forty minutes.

6
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Other cars are available …

Horses for courses. Musk's plans include the Gigafactory for reducing the cost of lithium ion batteries, the plans for which he intends to open source. Autonomous driving tech will further reduce the costs of public busses, perhaps allowing more, smaller busses (no labour cost employing drivers) which creates more flexibility in route and timetable. Alternatively, the human driver will instead become a conductor, assisting people on and off the bus, and cheering them up.

3
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: What a beautiful and glorious vision. Meanwhile...

We've just seen how hard it is politically to address these issues. Theresa May makes tentative noises about using using the assets of a generation who have done pretty well to pay for younger people to care for them and people start shouting 'dementia tax!' by people claiming to be 'progressive'.

I'm not saying I supported her plan, just that any sensible debate seems impossible with partisan views. If only sociable media could be used for education and learning instead of uninformed self expression.

And a form of social networking maybe could be so used - there are efforts to network experts to answer social and technological problems.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/how-to-problem-solve---the-ultimate-problem/8610108

15
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Seriously, the autonomous car could reverse the decline of the country pub. Well, it would address one factor; successive governments have been determined to keep raising beer duties on health grounds, despite the fact that booze can be bought for an eighth of the price from a supermarket and consumed at home. What we lose is community and the health benefits of society and laughter.

13
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Spritely?

> Can he get into and out of the Tesla without help?

One of the reasons that Japan has led the way in robotics (besides their high tech manufacturing base) is due to their awareness that their population is aging, and their are fewer young people to care for the infirm aged. This means that devices that aid in the care of older people are of great interest. A vehicle with a mechanised seat that raises the passenger up is not beyond the wit of engineers.

The infirm are of course only the extreme end of an older population. Japan (and Germany for that matter) have used design of the workplace to allow people to stay in work for longer. Indoor hydroponics farms for growing lettuce, with the plants grown on raised beds mean that they can be harvested without the farmers bending down.

7
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Dumb yanks

> You have to build public transport into the fabric of new cities.

Building infrastructure for the future is tricky - you don't know what you'll need. Take the first canals in England; they were relatively narrow, because it wasn't seen how popular they would become. Businesses and warehouses were built right next to them, which meant that they then couldn't be widened, necessitating the construction of new canals for service the same routes.

New cities... Interesting. ”If you want to go there, then I wouldn't start from here" goes the old joke. Can anyone here sketch out a portrait of any recent examples from around the world? In any case, the majority of the urban population, especially in the West, won't be living in new cities anytime soon.

9
0

Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: @Powernumpty

Don't worry, the HDD noise is definitely a hardware issue - the technical term is 'totally fucked' - and I never thought it was an OS issue. It's just that the event caused me to consider what I actually use the laptop for these days!

I don't think I'll ever get on with The Gimp, but in the 3D realm, especially with respect to 3D physical output, there would appear to be done damned handy FOSS tools.

Oh, I wouldn't reinstall Windows from scratch - I'd just restore the system image from external storage - about a twenty minute job by the time I've burnt a recovery CD to boot from.

Right oh, time for the pub!

0
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

I might start using a Linux distribution again - I haven't had need to use Photoshop or Solidworks for a while, and my HDD made a horrible scrunchy squeeky noise a few days back (I thought for a moment that a flesh and blood mouse was behind my laptop). Restoring my Win 7 image or installing a Linux distribution are about the same amount of faff.

It's time I played with Blender, and to get to grips with a different slicing application for my long-neglected 3D printer (Slic3r was misbehaving on some STL files).

Tempted to buy a new laptop, but the same money would buy a cheap and cheerful laser cutter from China.

No urgency though, it's summertime!

2
0

Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Apple could succeed only if it makes programming for the ignored demographics

You've got Micheal Portillo on a train, what more do you want?!!

- Signed, The BBC

2
0
Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Apple

Hehe, always fun to see someone criticise Apple for Intel's release schedule!

I believe the Macbooks (and indeed Microsoft's Surface range) have since been bumped up to Intel's latest suitable CPUs, but at the time of the computers' release (in the the run up to Christmas) there hadn't been enough time to incorporate the latest silicon with sufficient testing.

0
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017