* Posts by Dave 126

7500 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

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

Dave 126
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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!

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Dave 126
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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!

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

Dave 126
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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

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Tim Cook has never been very good at executing Jobs' "wait then dominate" strategy

The Apple TV might have been a missed opportunity to develop a Netflix style business, but I don't think it has lost money. It started out as a x86 based machine, effectively a mini Mac Mini, running a stripped down OSX - indeed some customers squeezed the full-fat OS onto it. These days its effectively an iPhone inna box.

The thing is, the Apple TV just isn't essential. One can browse Netflix or YouTube comfortably on an iPad or Android device, and then send the content to a PS3 or cheap Chromecast wired to the TV.

This might be why Jobs always described the Apple TV as their 'hobby project'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

@ Richard Jones

I was aiming at more playful than sarcastic or snide, and whilst I thought the link was unlikely to hit your 3% I thought it equally didn't qualify as a another Police Procedural, talent show or

Super Hero adaptation!

As regards the ergonomics of reading - which can encourage the spine to stay in one place for too long - I wonder if two Kindles can be harnessed together, so that the reader will scan from page to page? On a wider accessibility front, certainly the ability to display any book at larger font sizes benefits some readers, where once such titles were kept in a specialist section of the bookshop or public library.

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

> Perhaps the issue is that too many offerings mine the same mother load so their output falls consistently into my no thanks 97%.

Here you go, Elvis Goes Lambing (in the Cotswolds):

https://youtu.be/2-oWlQh93v8

You're welcome! I guess I'm making a case that more people can create and distribute video content than ever before, so something might hit your yes-please 3%!

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Dave 126
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Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

I prefer the recent XKCD hypothesis: we had 60s music and fashion because it's easy to label, ditto 80s music and 90s music. Since 2001 we haven't had an easy phrase (naughties music? Aughties music? Teensies music?) to describe where we're at!

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Dave 126
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Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

> just wanted to chuckle about how your TLDR statement is as long as the original :-)

I'll get the hang of this internet malarkey one of these days!

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Dave 126
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Re: Must watch tv ?

There is still good radio (spoken word) being made, it depends upon what you want. For documentaries, the Australian equivalent of Radio 4 is very good - try the Science Show and its sister programmes. For comedy, you might be well served by podcasts from around the world, of which there are thousands. Well-produced audio books have seen a surge in popularity, now that MP3 et al have liberated them from requiring a briefcase full of cassette tapes.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/

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Dave 126
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Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

I've scan-read a few blogs that are bored of the numerous Marvel TV shows, with one exception -'Legion'. It's run by Noah Hawley of the excellent Fargo TV series, and is a wonderful homage to the 1960s in terms of set design, costume and music.

tl;dr: TV execs aren't all stupid and are willing to allow diversity of style and tone even within a studio's imagined world. Just as the movie Deadpool was a black comedy with Fawlty Towers and Viz references, though still ostensibly an X-Men movie.

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The good kind of data sharing: Reg empties its storage news warehouse

Dave 126
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Now, Kanye West 'headlining' the Pyramid Stage with two hours of Autotune karioke was atrocious. At least JC was in keeping with the ethos of many of the Glastonbury staff and organisers.

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Dave 126
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Re: It is the Monday after Glasto

And yet pop music is full of politics, from the clearly labelled Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy, to Hendrix, Marley, Future Sound of London. But yeah, adversarial political talk in pubs bore me, I just feel that 'Tories are bastatds / Labour are muppets' to be unproductive and getting in the way of more interesting chats about where we, as a society, nation, planet go in the future.

That said, could there be a trade? If Corbyn spoke on the Pyramid Stage, could we have The Prodigy play in the House of Commons?

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NASA? More like NASAI: Brainy robots 'crucial' to space exploration

Dave 126
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Re: And . . .

The Songs of Distant Earth

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Dave 126
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As long as nobody, in response to a discovery of a Lunar magnetic anomaly for example, hurriedly bolts on some extra orders at very a late stage of the mission planning process, the crew should be safe from the shipboard AI.

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Dave 126
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Re: Autonomous exploration of Alpha Centauri

There are lots and lots of unsolved problems. You can find more links and discussion here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/12/yuri_milner_stephen_hawking_interstellar_space_mission/

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UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

Dave 126
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A recent Radio 4 Book of the Week was the account of the man hired to be Assange's ghost writer . As it turned out, Assange kept promising to provide notes and read through the drafts but never did, stringing the publisher along.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08vk79l

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Researchers take the piss with pee-powered liquid energy project

Dave 126
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Take a dumb phone to a festival - battery will last ages, SMS and calls sufficient for finding mates, no tears if you lose it.

That said, last festival I went to had an oversubscribed cell, so SMS messages took 5 minutes to send.

I lost my smartphone several times, but always found it the next day in a dance tent (honest people), and being on a lighting crew, I had access to 13 A sockets around the site. Having two 5000 mAH power banks (one left on charge, one in use) works well.

Top tip: a 12 V solar panel of the type used to trickle-charge car batteries, and a couple of computer cooling fans - when the sun comes up the fans kick in and delay your tent becoming an oven for an hour or so, giving you more time to sleep off the hangover.

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Google may follow Apple, design mobile chips in-house

Dave 126
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Re: Google shareholders pays for it

You tend to think quite narrowly, don't you? There's no reason that a Google designed bit of silicon couldn't be used by other Android vendors, for free or for a modest fee - that would easily give them the volume.

Apple have done very well tweaking and designing silicon to work with their own OS, and their split with Imagination Technologies could well be that they want a GPU that can be efficiently used for AR and DSP duties - indeed, a recent Reg article suggested that using Apple's AR toolkit on existing iPhones depleted the battery too quickly for consumer use. This sits well with what an ARM rep (in this article) said of the power savings of AR-optimised silicon over existing mobile GPUs.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

> Google has NEVER HAD ONE SUCCESSFUL consumer product

Chromecasts are pretty handy, and not too uncommon.

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Dave 126
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Re: Maybe an SoC, but maybe not for mobile

Any design Google come up with could be licensed out to other Android ODMs. It can't hurt to have the strategists, software and silicon guys working more closely together on upcoming products.

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Dave 126
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Can Imagination Technologies supply the kind of GPU/DSP Google need for AR? Apple's hiring of GPU talent over the last few years prior to their publicised split from Imagination suggests otherwise.

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Dave 126
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Re: As they say....

Actually, it's the design of Android that gets in the way of timely updates. True, Qualcomm don't always release blobs to ODMs for older chipsets, but then they have no incentive to - and such costs will always have to be paid by the downstream customer anyway.

Google are beginning to put the pieces in place so that Android handsets can be effectively updated without the code first going through the chipset and Original Device manufacturers; if it were that easy, Google would have done so years ago because *they* do have a strong incentive to do so.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Dave 126
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The shielding is largely governed by the square power if the radiation is largely from the sun, whilst the inhabitable crew volume is governed by the cube power. This means that for a bigger ship and more populated ship less mass of shielding is required per passenger.

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Dave 126
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Re: Another taxpayer-funded Ponzi scheme

Musk will soon be saving US tax payers money by undercutting United Launch Alliance, who currently get US hardware into space for about $400 million per launch - though the contract with ULA was drafted so to make comparisons difficult.

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Dave 126
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Re: Wonder....

See above.

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Dave 126
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Re: Carbon

tfb misunderstood me. I meant that there are alternatives to burning low grade dirty oil to power container ships, such as less dirty oil, solar and wind. I wasn't saying that there are alternatives to using rocketry to get to orbit.

Someone crunched the numbers, and the carbon emissions of terestial transport are many, many orders of magnitude greater than those of rocketry.

If tfb wants to push his point, he's free to show his numbers and his working.

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Dave 126
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Re: One Way Trip

Radiation on a trip to Mars (outside of the Earth's magnetic influence which largely protects astronauts in Earth orbit) is likely to do you some damage, in addition to known effects of living in micro gravity. The trouble with shielding is that it is heavy. However, the scaling laws that govern surface area (your shielding facing the sun, a square power) against volume (where the crew reside, a cube power) mean that bigger ships with more crew would be best.

Potentially, shielding could be the drinking water for (and later, waste products of) the crew. Some very early research has also been done in generating artificial magnetic shields - though I stress *very early*.

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Dave 126
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Re: Fuel on Mars

> Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails.

Eh? So, the probe would find a cosy new star system, bully for the probe. What use is that if no humans can get there?

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Dave 126
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Re: Venus is too nasty, Mercury too hot and the moons of Jupiter or Saturn too distant.

> Making Technology critical for all survival is not a smart idea, because it can break, then everyone is dead!

Fertiliser is a technology, as is birth control, education, societal organisations... Any which way we will have to use a fallible technology to stave off death - in fact we have already done so.

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Dave 126
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Re: Carbon

There are other areas of human industry that use a lot of fossil fuels in a very polluting form - cargo ships, for example, use fairly dirty fractions of oil. Technologies exist that can reduce pollution from these sources.

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Dave 126
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Or indeed an urban network of smoothly concreted walkways, so people can scoot or skateboard efficiently in all weathers, whilst enjoying themselves and keeping fit (thus reducing medical costs as a bonus).

Changes in working patterns (see: autonomous technology) would play a part - if people have more free time they will be in less of a hurry to get places, and might choose to walk (and smell the flowers) instead of drive a car). What Bertrand Russel called 'Active Leisure' is good for the mind, body and soul.

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Dave 126
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Hence Musk's work on reducing the pollution costs of terrestrial transport - the Hyperloop train using far less energy than an aeroplane yet gets there faster (for some distances, due to its faster acceleration), his battery Gigafactory (which he's said he will open source in time) to reduce the cost of batteries, and Tesla to help popularise electric cars.

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Dave 126
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Re: So many flaws

> However the very idea is arrogant, elitist, unpractical. We need to make fairer (the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources) and better use of this planet

We could do that (and indeed Musk puts effort into reducing the resource and environmental cost of terrestrial transport - Tesla, Gigafactory for batteries, and Hyperloop). But it'll be for nowt if a huge damned asteroid hits our planet.

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Dave 126
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Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

1M-tall humans usually weigh less than 2M-tall humans, thus saving on fuel (and bed linen)!

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Dave 126
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Re: Old news

Destructive Testing of pressure vessels is fairly routine, so I imagine it was deliberate. If nothing else, the difference between the predicted failure point and the actual one is informative.

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Dave 126
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Re: Not optimal ...

Moon dust plays merry havoc with machinery - imagine razor sharp fractal-edged sand and you'll be close. It clogs, it abrades and pierces, it settles on solar panels and heat radiators...

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

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Dave 126
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Re: Venus is too nasty, Mercury too hot and the moons of Jupiter or Saturn too distant.

> Of course, the distance from Sun means some other energy source [ in Saturns clouds] would be needed

Could we not

just use mirrors to concentrate the weaker sunlight?

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Dave 126
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Re: Venus is too nasty, Mercury too hot and the moons of Jupiter or Saturn too distant.

> Yebbut, how nasty does Musk think Earth will get to ever make Mars preferable?

A whopping great lump of rock hitting the Earth at a stupidly high speed is not only plausible, but considered nearly inevitable on a species-level time-frame.

Perhaps our nascent ability to move bigger bits of hardware around the solar system might allow us to counter such a threat before it hits our planet, but that still leaves many other threats to human life on Earth.

If one were to list them (okay, nuclear weapons, disease, depleting resources such as fertiliser, uncontrolled technologies etc etc) they might be accused of being all doom and gloom, but the point is that such risks can be addressed with positive action. Well, we might as well try, hadn't we?

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Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

Dave 126
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Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

Why would you throw it away instead of taking it back to the shop?

Apple et all aren't incentivised in any way to make a user-repairable device, but they are incentivised to make a more easily recyclable device (by statute in the EU and some US states). Whilst Reg readers prefer screws to glue, recycling is easier if you can just dissemble products in an oven before separating the nasties in the screen and motherboard (bulkier plastic and metal parts are separated from each other after shredding, but it's the rare or dangerous stuff in the screen and motherboard that causes worry). That's just the way it is - feel free to read up on it, if only out of courtesy to professionals in a discipline other than yours.

The repairability of a laptop has to be weighed up against its reliability in the first place, how long it will be actively used, how likely someone will be to actually repair it instead of just taking back to the shop under warranty, how easy it is to recycle etc. The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful - this becomes such a small factor that recyclability, reliability and useful function are given priority.

If you want to save the planet, the best laptop to buy is one from the most reliable manufacturers - you can Google who that is (judged by a range of metrics) for yourselves - and to use it for a long time.

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Dave 126
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Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

Around 25mph, they sound like tractors, are relatively expensive and are nicknamed 'cars for the blind' - none of which a French teenager wants. However, the French do let teenagers with L plates carry their girlfriend on the back of scooters, making rural life that bit easier for them!

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Dave 126
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Recycling difficult with screws

Sorry, link above should be:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0308/p13s02-sten.html

Bloody Google AMP keeps hijacking my search results.

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Dave 126
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Re: Recycling also difficult

Glued products are EASIER to recycle come end-of-life, because they don't require the labour involved in unscrewing a dozen bolts per machine. Instead, they can be batch processed in a low-temperature oven before the component parts are sorted.

The key is to move away from "fast and nasty" designs that use too many clips and fasteners and move toward products that are easily disassembled in bulk, says Joseph Chiodo, chief executive of Active Disassembly Research, "The more robust we make these products, the less expensive they are to recycle."

- https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/2007/0308/p13s02-sten.html

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Dave 126
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Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

The MS Surface Laptop isn't a tablet, it's a laptop. The clue is in the name.

It has a 3:2 screen, so other than Apple MacBooks (16:10) it's about your only choice if you don't get on well with 16:9 displays.

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Insert coin: Atari retro console is coming back

Dave 126
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Re: F*ck Atari

The Atari ST usually had good ports of Amiga games (from Sensible Software, Bitmap Brothers, Codemasters, Psygnosis amongst others), though the usually Amiga got them first. However, the Atari had MIDI ports built in, so lots of fun with keyboards, guitars and GM modules. As such it was usually found in the homes of your schoolmates whose dads left a strange herbal smell about the place.

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Dave 126
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What you describe is not dissimilar to a Steam Box, and the idea of a Steam Box hasn't been a wild success even with Steam being a huge presence in PC gaming.

If I go to my local ironmongers, I can buy wood-effect adhesive plastic by the metre and stick it on any PC case I want. For a few quid more, I could buy some real wood veneer and some contact adhesive!

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Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

Dave 126
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Re: They actually respect user's privacy.

Appearing to respect user data - most easily achieved by going some way to actually respecting it - is an important way for Apple to distinguish itself from Android handsets, and thus retain their large margins. Saying that Apple slurp and sell user data in the same way as Google just doesn't make any sense.

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Essentially puzzling: Rubin's hype-phone ties up with… Sprint?

Dave 126
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Re: Sprint is desperate, the other carriers are not.

Mechanically, the Project Ara was always going to result in a sub-optimal handset, in terms of size and ergonomics (you'd be using physical connectors many times bigger than the actual components that they connect), and not to mention dust ingress and the like. There were also issues such as matching a camera module with a DSP on the SoC to handle its output. An enticing concept, but just that that.

However, lots of people would like to slap on a bigger battery, a specialist camera, a good microphone, a keyboard or a gamepad to their phones - and they already do, via microUSB or Bluetooth - but again, these approaches can be suboptimal (eg placement of USB port). These addons are all supported in Android by the GreyBus standard, but currently the only sane physical connector is sadly proprietary to Motorola.

By contrast, the Essential phone just uses two power pins, and uses a wireless link to connect modules, limiting what the modules can do and presumably using more battery power than a wired link. Motorola's phones have been reasonably well received (even ignoring their Moto Mod connector), and the Moto Mod connector has been supported over a couple of generations of handset (unlike LG's modules) and has even sparked a crowd-funded project to make a Psion-style snap-on keyboard. If Moto can't make their modular system work in the market, what chance does Essential have?

The most popular modular phone was the perhaps the Nokia 6210 - its bottom-mounted docking plates continued into its battery bay, so new features such as Bluetooth could be added by buying a new battery with a Bluetooth chip in it.

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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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