* Posts by Dave 126

9957 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Loser Trump's last financial disclosure docs reveal Tim Cook gave him $5,999 Mac Pro, the 'first' made in Texas

Dave 126 Silver badge

> Six grand for what I would describe as eff all storage!

Anyone in the market for a Mac Pro will have redundant network / Thunderbolt storage, which the Mac can access at blistering speeds. The internal SSD is really just to buffer it. Why? Because 1, data on just one machine is vulnerable so it's not kept there, 2, the quantity of data they might need in a month could dwarf the amount of storage you could fit in to any desktop machine 3, if you don't need stupid IO speed for all data (archived) and so use spinning rust, you keep it in away from the workstation because it is noisy.

The value of hard disks from a day's video shoot is equivalent to the day's wage bill for all talent, extras, crew, transport, accomodation, insurance fees etc etc. Yeah, it gets very pricey very quickly. Storage redundancy is designed into every part of the workflow.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: $5,999

It's not a personal computer, nor is it sold as such. It makes the jobs of some specialised professionals faster.

It takes up the same space on a desk as a personal conputer once did, and it consumes roughly the same amount of electricity - but we've had about twenty years of Moore's law since then.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: A HUNDRED AND FORTY QUID!?

Hacker: "But I have a valuation here that says it's just a cheap reproduction and sononly worth £50"

Sir Humphrey: "The Treasury tends not to accept valuations written on the backs of menus, Minister"

Bernard: "But it is a very fine menu"

Screw you, gadget-menders! No really, you'll need loads of screwdrivers to fix Apple's AirPods Max headphones

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: £550 headphones

The job of an audio engineer is to mix audio to bring about an emotional response in other people who are listening using a whole range of speakers and earphones. Often they are doing this job sat down in a noise-insulated room, where open-backed headphones are suitable. They require headphones with a 'neutral response' which convey faithfully what the mixing desk is outputting. A cable between them and the desk is no inconvenience.

(Note: recording studios in the 1950s had listening rooms with cheap speakers of the type found in domestic radio sets... since the radio is how most people would hear new music, it made commercial sense to mix music to sound at its best on low quality speakers. I daresay some music produced today is also tested on, for example, bass-heavy headphones)

However, the end listener when listening to music might be jogging, dancing, sat in a quiet room or in a subway. They require headphones that work in those contexts. Additionally, the listener may have their own tastes, both in musical genre and in EQ. Furthermore, the sound is changed by the fit and seal of the headphones over their ears. Open-backed headphones are not suited to noisier environments or where other people might hear the sound that leaks from them.

Dave 126 Silver badge

> I read somewhere...

Then it *must* be true. /s

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/apple-airpods-max

https://www.techradar.com/uk/reviews/airpods-max

Dave 126 Silver badge

In the grand scheme of discretional spending, £600 is nothing compared to a leather seat option or B&W speaker option in a German sedan. It's naff-all to someone who chooses to fly business class instead of premium economy. £600 is far less than the difference in price between an OLED TV and a normal LCD TV of equivalent size.

Perhaps a more enlightening way of looking at the question is 'What is the buyer giving up in order to afford these headphones?' - and the answer for many buyers is 'they are giving up nothing'.

Traditionally Noise Cancelling earphones were marketed at airline passengers (as was the very first Walkman, which cost around the equivalent of £600, the first gen iPod ditto), but with less travel and possibly more family members staying in a single house at any one time, the domestic use of ANC headphones seems appealing.

Sidenote: when Concorde was retired, lots of BA-branded Sennheiser HD on-ear headphones were auctioned off... I'm just wondering if the mothballing of passenger aircraft due to Covid will result in their noise cancelling headphones being sold off?

Dave 126 Silver badge

>Surely only an utter idiot (or an Apple fanboi) would buy this at this sort of price

The wireless Sennheisers with ANC are around the £300 mark - much like the Sonys or Bose. Much as I value sound quality, I can't justify spending that much on headphones that leave the house (thus liable to be lost). However, for someone who has no money worries, the decision to spend £300 or £600 really has little to do with their intelligence (maybe they have no money worries because they used their brains, or were just born lucky, or combo of above)

Leaked memo suggests LG is thinking about quitting the smartphone biz in 2021

Dave 126 Silver badge

IIRC, the G2 was the first Android device able to output 24bit 192Khz audio natively. I believe LG gave the necessary software bits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

Dave 126 Silver badge

The LG G2 was a very good all-rounder, and pioneered features that are now common - such as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

However, some of their subsequent flagships were just weird for the sake of being weird.

Dave 126 Silver badge
Unhappy

Well, smaller 0hibrs tend to have smaller batteries, since a smaller screen uses less juice.

You might look at the Samsung XCover Pro - flat screen, ruggedised, 3.5mm port, FM radio, swappable battery, just 6mm wider than your desired width. Enhanced 'glove mode' for wet conditions, user mappable extra button. No IR though. And the aspect ratio is taller than the specs you gave (more text on screen for the same width).

https://m.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_xcover_pro-10001.php

Samsung tones down sticky stuff in the Galaxy S21 series, simplifying repairs massively

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: very hard to make a phone waterproof with a removable battery

@onemark03

Don't worry about it. Your phone likely has a hydrophilic coating inside in addition to whatever gasket it has around the battery cover.

What is true of every waterproof phone is also true of yours: waterproofing can save your phone from a clumsy moment, but don't tempt fate by 'testing' it!

Dave 126 Silver badge

Waterproofing nothing related to sealed-in batteries

It's an oft repeated myth. There have been plenty of phones with swappable batteries *and* waterproofing in the past, from Samsung and Sony. Also note that the trend to seal in batteries started long waterproofing became mainstream.

These days the waterproofing largely depends upon a factory-applied vapour-deposited hydrophic coating to the phone's innards.

The reason batteries tend to be sealed in to phones is that a swappable battery (unlike a replaceable battery) needs protection from the elements - a hard casing, just like the swappable batteries that power digital cameras. A swappable battery needs a few mm of material to prevent it from being punctured by whatever else lives in your glovebox / handbag / toolbox / rucksack. This few mm of material, translated over the area of the battery, results in a phone containing a fair volume of inert plastic rather than actual battery.

I don't think any phone vendor wants the bad press or publicity that might ensue if some idiot puts a damaged battery in their phone and caused a fire. Or leaves a naked battery on their dashboard in hot weather.

Samsung still make a phone with swappable battery, waterproofing, SD card slot and headphone socket - if you want it, buy it. Otherwise, a lot of people can justify to themselves spending 5-10% of their phone's initial cost every few years on an official battery change, less if they go backstreet or DIY.

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The hour grows late, the enemy are at the gates... but could Intel's exiled heir apparent ride to the rescue?

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: They should rebrand themselves as Penelope...

You don't have to be into pastel colours and Swarovski gems to feel that computer hardware doesn't have to look like a Lamborghini stealth jet as drawn by a 15 year old boy with fluorescent marker pens.

Hmm, I'm thinking a workstation that looks like a scale-model mini Cray supercomputer - the cylindrical ones with the vinyl-clad donut-shaped bench seats around the base. The supplied action man figure comes with a chance of clothing, white shirt and pocket protectors, or shorts, tie die t-shirt and beard.

Or: some cases for NUCs that are 1/4 models of Silicon Graphics workstations... the purple one or the weird teal coloured one. Soooo 90s.

What do I know? My computer looks like a Sony transistor radio, and my speakers are big and have wood veneers!

Apple reportedly planning to revive the MagSafe charging standard with the next lot of MacBook Pros

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: The irony of 3rd party "magSafe"-like adapters...

I'm tempted by a Magsafe style adaptor for my USB C phone, but unless it's very low profile it will sit proud of my phone's case - potentially transmitting shock from a fall directly to my phone rather than being reduced by the rubbery case.

I might invest in a couple of Qi wireless charging pads instead, and pop a rubbery blanking piece in the phones USB C socket.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Tempting fate?

Magsafe and USB C PD are not mutually exclusive on a laptop, any more than Willing charging and USB C are on a phone.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Magnetic adapters are a thing...

Sony also implemented a magnetically-secured charging system in their Xperia Z phones some time ago. I had the phone but didn't buy the official magnetic cable - or even a cheap 3rd party knock-off (Amazon reviews of the knock-off versions suggested that their magnets were too strong, eventually damaging the phone)

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: MagSafe was awful.

I can't image Apple moving away from the idea of docking a laptop to monitor, power, storage etc with just a single cable.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: SD card reader? Really?

Back in the say, you couldn't realistically use a PC for colour accurate work. This was one of the reasons that Macs survived the 19990s. This thankfully changed some years ago. However, high resolution displays took a long time to be properly supported by Windows (i.e, so that you could view a high Res image without the UI elements of your application be too small). Sadly, even after Microsoft sorted Windows out in this regard, Adobe dragged it's feet for several years, meaning that Photoshop on Windows laptops with high resolution displays was a PITA for viewing high Res images.

Photographers often stayed with Macs.

Dave 126 Silver badge

> Magnetic USB-C cables do exist, and I need to buy one to see if it can withstand long-term high-voltage charging

I might be wrong, but the wall charger will start at 5v 2.1A, and then, only after a handshake with a compatible device, bump up the voltage to 9v (depending upon which fast charging system is in use*). Since this handshake requires a good connection, there isn't a high voltage present at the moment that pins are brought into contact with each other.

* Qualcomm and Samsung use a system that bumps up the voltage, but it appears to be compatible with some tier of USB C PD (which is a standard). I.e, my Samsung Galaxy S8 will fast charge from a USB C PD charger made by Apple for MacBooks. I believe that OnePlus used an adaptive system where the wall charger would bump up the current instead of the voltage.

Dave 126 Silver badge

> Think about it, though: if the problem was as endemic as is implied, why don't other vendors come up with alternatives?

Because for a long time most other vendors sold their laptops based on price, knowing that many would would-be customers would, if offered two machines for the same money, buy the one with the faster CPU or most RAM. Fitting extra features, or more refined features, would make a laptop cost more but wouldn't allow it to command a premium over rivals unless the market saw the advantage in it.

Okay, that's a gross generalisation. Vendors like Sony, IBM and Toshiba would compete on features and refinement too (eg, all of the above, like Apple, had charging circuitry that meant a laptop could be left plugged in indefinitely without killing the battery - this sadly isn't true of all laptops) - but Apple had an easier job of communicating such things because they have been consistent in their attitude to cost and features.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: I like the Touch bar.

I guess it depends upon how much you used the Function keys. Certainly many laptops are inelegant in how they consign things like Screen Brightness and Audio Volume to a [Fn] + [F12] style key combo. Most laptop users have need to for these functions, but a lot of software doesn't require the user to use F1 - F12: there is a basic issue with 'discoverability'.

The other unknown (at the time of its creation) was how widely the touch at would be adopted by 3rd party applications.

In the late nineties, Sony VAIO laptops (as well as Sony phones) had a jog dial. Many of the functions that Apple would have on the touch bar (brush tool size, zoom, volume, brightness, etc etc) could work well on a jog dial, with a screen pop up providing visual feedback. However, a lot of these things can also be well controlled with [Keyboard modifier] + [ Mouse Scroll Wheel]

Dave 126 Silver badge

Haha, it occured to me how much data about accidental laptop damage Apple gleans from its repair centres (my guess is, as much as it can), with a view to informing later refits, revisions and models. I then imagined a scenario where a repair technician can view the last 5 seconds of video seen by a laptop's webcam immediately before it is knocked to the floor and 'killed' ("Benson!"). My chuckle is because it is a familiar premise from science fiction - a wetware hacker / psychic cop / time traveller uses the last images a murder victim sees to identify their killer.

Dave 126 Silver badge

I guess people aren't removing their Macbooks from their home desks* as often, now that they're not taking their laptop to a client, an office or a coffee shop.

This means that a MacBook may be left plugged in for a greater fraction of the day - increasing the chances of the cable being tripped over.

Also contributing to the chance of a MacBook's power cable being yanked is that children are present in more homes more of the time.

* Or likely a kitchen table (that isn't against a wall) in lieu of a proper desk, further increasing chance of cable trip.

Samsung rolls out new Galaxy S21 range, including extra-lux Ultra

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Samsung Galaxy

It takes less than five minutes to permanently disable Facebook on the S8. It takes a bit longer to read up on and then install BX Actions to get rid of Bixby - and in return you a very handy hardware button that you can remap to an app or function of your choice (double click for flashlight, for example).

No, Facebook shouldn't have been installed. And yeah, not being able to delete it means a miss a few Mb of my Gbs of storage.. but deal breakers they are not.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: "starts at £1,149"

You might consider:

https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-brings-back-rugged-galaxy-with-xcover-pro/

Samsung Xcover Pro, removable battery, SD card, headphone socket, waterproof, ruggedised,...

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Yet again ....

> Does your GPS have roads you've personally never driven down? But your roads are other peoples roads!

Unfortunately my GPS also thinks some bridle tracks are roads, leading me in unwise directions. Point is, some roads aren't suitable for all users.

I've lost data because of micro SD cards (being so damned small) or because an app has saved data into it and after I've moved the card to a different device and back, the app hasn't reintegrated its data.

If you use an SD card to regularly transfer data between devices, then it can't easily be encrypted.

There are niche use cases where an SD card in a phone is useful, but there are pitfalls. It's generally better, and definitely safer, to use USB OTG to transfer data between a phone and a thumbstick, SD card, or camera etc.

Now, I'm sure you are experienced enought to sidestep these potential pitfalls, and more power to you. However, I wouldn't recommend using SD cards with phones for most people (nor are they likely to ask me).

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Yet again ....

> Or it just works, and the only warning they get is when the card is detected and it warns them the card is slow to write.

How does the phone know the speed of the SD card prior to recording video? Remember, many SD cards get significantly slower at writing the fuller they get. It's a variable outside the control of the phone that can easily result in the phone failing to capture video. Data loss. Not good.

Yeah, you could have the phone buffer all video to its built-in in storage before transferring it to the SD card, but then you need a mechanism to prevent the user removing the SD card before the write is complete.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Yet again ....

> So, you can't record to the SD card and swap it out when its full.

It causes consumer confusion when the phone has to alert the user that higher resolution / frame rate video can't be recorded to SD card because either the card isn't fast enough, or the bus that it sits on can't keep up.

The phone also has to alert the user that video recorded into an SD card isn't by default encrypted, so that a thief could view the user's videos just by placing the SD card in a different device.

It might be noted that amassing days worth of video footage upon a phone's SD card is vulnerable if you lose the phone before you transfer the SD card. If you more regularly back up (via USB C to computer, USB phone as host to external drive, or wirelessly) your data then you're less likely to find yourself needing to free up the phone's storage in a hurry. Plus your data protected against loss and theft, as well as phone malfunction.

Qualcomm pays $1.4bn to acquire ex-Apple and AMD Arm server chip engineers (and the biz they set up)

Dave 126 Silver badge

Possibly, but even an outfit like Apple (that holds perpetual, irrevocable ARM licences irrespective of who owns ARM) still had reasons to go beyond ARM's IP.

It's not unreasonable to assume that Qualcomm might share those reasons.

Backers of Planet Computers' Astro Slide 5G phone furious after shock specs downgrade

Dave 126 Silver badge

> Not exactly innovative.

Who cares?

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Peak Planet

> and it had some unobtrusive way to draw power from the phone instead of having to hassle with charging two sets of batteries.

True. Options are:

- keyboard has both a USB port and a low profile USB C plug. (This method was used by Apple on their battery cases, using Lightening instead of USB C)

- similar to above, but keyboard is supplied with Magsafe-style USB plug for phone.

- keyboard draws power wirelessly from phone. This ability of a phone to transmit power is present in the latest Samsung and Apple flagships. It's thought it is done to charge earbuds (Samsung) or for an iPhone to act as an Apple Watch charger. Wireless keyboards use little power compared to phones, so even a small battery will keep them going for days - it'd just add ten minutes to the time it takes to fully charge your phone.

- extinct or proprietary solutions such as those used by Apple (pogo pins on iPads for stylus and keyboard), Essential phone or Moto Mod system.

There are some minor downsides to the above approaches, but the alternative is making a combined keyboard and phone so reliable that the chance of *either* component failing within a few years is acceptably low. Not to mention, it might be desirable to upgrade your phone but bring your keyboard with you.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Peak Planet

One component breaking - be it in the phone part or the keyboard - is one reason why having a slim discrete keyboard that works with a range of phones from various vendors is probably the better option. The end result won't be quite as streamlined, but the advantages of a detachable keyboard may make up for this.

UK Space ponders going nuclear with Rolls-Royce: Hopes are to slice the time it takes for space travel

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Suspend all space travel

> So basically no, only cowards downvote without explaining why.

Presumably because they disagreed with your statement - which, by the way, was just as short of argument as their downvotes. Had you expanded upon your statement, you would have provided more jumping off points for discussion and debate.

So, to start the game, I'll lob this over the net:

You take it as given that balancing resources between space exploration and sorting out the Earth's myriad problems (one of which is power production ) is a zero-sum game.

The relationship is clearly more interconnected than that, and in many ways, too.

How many people in the early environmental movement were inspired by a photograph of the entire Earth, taken by an Apollo astronaut?

International Space Station scores powerup with solar panels that 'roll out like a tape measure'

Dave 126 Silver badge

Dozen spacewalks

I know the engineers know their onions, so it's my ignorance that made me think that a dozen spacewalks seemed like a lot. Until I remembered a documentary about spacewalks and how the astronaut is describing every movement they make to mission control, and periodically checking their gloves for signs of wear - i.e, they likely can't do as much work per spacewalk as Hollywood has us think.

That said, I'd love to see solar panels and modules maneuver and assemble themselves... that would just appear to be a solvable engineering chalkange that would lessen the need for spacewalks.

That's it. It's over. It's really over. From today, Adobe Flash Player no longer works. We're free. We can just leave

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Doomsday Book

Are you referring to the Domesday project on BBC analogue laserdisc?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Domesday_Project

Fearing she had stumbled across a body, dogwalker reports pota-toe to police

Dave 126 Silver badge

Some folk suggest the colloquialism 'coppers' derives from Robert Peel's Auburn ginger hair. Peelers, for coppers, from the same chap.

Lenovo reveals smart specs that let you eyeball five virtual displays, with strings attached

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Strings attached

There's no point in actually rendering more than the display device's native number of pixels, save for antialiasing.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Tracking

And AC can state with confidence that you're not that special - he's been spying on you for months and he hasn't found your browsing tastes to that weird.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Wassat?

Maybe 2021 will be the year of chorded typing on the virtual desktop?

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Mark can't see a use case so the tech is junk?

I miss the multiple virtual desktops in whichever window manager I last used in Linux. (SolidWorks and other applications tie me to Windows)

Crowdfunded Asahi project aims for 'polished' Linux experience on Apple Silicon

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Counterpoint

>daily driver?

The term is from the USA, from cars, i.e, a daily driver might be a reliable Toyota you use to commute and shop, as opposed to the vintage muscle car that you keep in the garage because you're doing it up as a hobby.

The term is also borrowed by wearers of wristwatches - a 'daily driver' might be a Casio, as opposed to your grandfather's watch that you only wear on formal occasions (for fear if losing it damaging it).

Assembly language, arcade games, and YouTube: The Reg speaks to former Microsoft engineer Dave Plummer

Dave 126 Silver badge

XP MCE

I had such a computer, came with a MCE remote. The MC was an IR-blaster driven UI that was fairly civilised, geared towards viewing photos, movies and music.

That said, I didn't have too much use the it since i didn't have it connected to a big TV, so mouse and keyboard were generally better.

The UI lived on into at least Vista, since I had a laptop with an IR port.

I think MS wanted Media Centre to be a bigger thing, since there were attempts to get PMP vendors on board - the idea being your media player physically docks into your desktop computer. I guess the time period was the last days of computers never being quite fast enough, LCD screens not being cheap or good enough, and so there was still a big market for desktops.

New year, new rant: Linus Torvalds rails at Intel for 'killing' the ECC industry

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Don't blame Intel. Blame the customers who didn't value valid results.

Given the lower quantity of RAM fitted to OCs during the period you describe, and the larger process size (bigger transistors are harder to flip) such RAM was built on, is the issue corrected RAM the same then as it is now?

Dave 126 Silver badge

> Don't understand. The error rate is unchanged

Rate is unchanged, but time period is greater. The local office PC terminals were being left on overnight with programmes and data in RAM instead of being loaded at the start of the working day.

And you thought that $999 Mac stand was dear: Steve Wozniak's Apple II doodles fetch $630,272 at auction

Dave 126 Silver badge

The keyboard...

Dunno if it's the same keyboard as described here:

https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/what-i-learned-from-steve-jobs/

After the above article, Woz responded on Facebook saying that it must be the only Brit if kit with both his and Jobs' signitures on it.

This product is terrible. Can you deliver it in 20 years’ time when it becomes popular?

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: Just for the record...

And the sports field of a NZ school which showed a giant member, after miscreants unknown applied weedkiller.

Also, the Cerne Abbas giant, rendered in chalk on a Dorset hillside.

Dave 126 Silver badge

Re: "wrapped in sandpaper"

Acetone will dissolve ABS, but not PLA - and both are commonly used in 3D printers. The desired surface finish for the above use case can be achieved by Acetone Vapour Polishing, though it should go without saying that you should only do it if you know what you are doing and have the correct ventilation equipment. It will produce, in ABS parts, a smooth, near mirror finish, and potentially negate the need for a smoothing, waterproof coat of silicone.

PLA parts tend to be harder, sharper, and near impossible to sand to a smooth finish. Nor does kissing it with a flame make it smooth (flame polishing is used for acrylic parts. )

Additionally, PLA degrades in contact with water - so a silicone or similar coating would be required.

Another approach of course is to print a negative mould, and then cast the male part in a suitable material. It is possible that the fine ribbing of the printed mould would, when rendered in a flexible material, actually be desirable, though making the end part harder to clean.

Dave 126 Silver badge

If anybody here does decide to 3D print a phallus, it's only good manners to coat it with silicone conform spray. Intended for potting circuit boards, conform spray cures to give a smooth, waterproof finish to your creation, making it much more hygienic and, one imagines, comfortable.

Dave 126 Silver badge

If any of Mr Dabbs' loved ones are reading, it would appear that for Christmas he would like a LCD TV screen rehoused into the case of a big old CRT TV, with the space that would once have housed the CR tube instead filled with loud speakers. (Those 32" 4:3 Sony Trinitrons sounded great)

Whilst he claims to like IR remote controls, he evidently has forgotten the virtues of ultrasonic remote controls, namely a, they don't require line-of-sight so perfect for watching TV from behind the sofa (good for Dr Who) and b, they annoy the cat. Wired remote controls too are sadly underrated, since a, they are impossible to lose, b, discourage people from walking in front of the TV set, and c, don't require batteries.

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