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Comment: Personal Hub (Score 4, Interesting) 56

by Simon Brooke (#47422709) Attached to: The Future of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, and Everywhere

Probably the future of wearables is the personal hub.

The problem with wearables is that a radio capable of sustaining a connection to the outside world - be it 4g or wifi - needs a fair bit of power and consequently quite a lot of battery. So devices have to be fairly chunky, or else have to be recharged more often than you'd like. But your bluetooth mouse probably goes months on one charge - mine certainly does. So the solutions is to have a device mounted discreetly on your belt or in your handbag, or carried in a pocket, which just acts as a personal hub/firewall, doing backhaul for your wearables. It doesn't need a screen. It doesn't need apps. But once it's paired with your wearables, you can use a device which has no backhaul capability to make phone calls or to access any service on the Internet.

This is an extension of how Google Glass or your Pebble watch already uses your smartphone. The smartphone acts as a personal hub. But if the display you actually use is the one on your Glass or the one on your Pebble, you don't need the big, fragile, power-hungry screen on your smartphone any more; so the personal hub can be cheaper and much more durable than any smartphone.

Once you've got that concept, there are other services that a personal hub can supply to your wearables, for example storage.

Comment: Re:Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 3, Insightful) 401

by Simon Brooke (#47414851) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Ain't going to happen, sadly. As the temperate zone moves closer to the world's poles, and the regions we're currently growing cereal crops on become progressively more arid, there is simply less area of land (square miles or kilometres or however you want to measure it) on which crops can be grown - and that's ignoring the costs of clearing and draining that land, and all the effects of ecocide.

At the same time as this is happening, of course, all our critical infrastructure will become unusable unless we make huge new investments in flood walls. For example, I work for a major international bank, which, obviously, has its critical data infrastructure replicated in seven cities across the globe. Only one problem: in six of those seven cities, our data centres are within ten metres of current sea level. Most major financial centres are old port cities, and all old port cities are on the coast. So over the next fifty years we have to either all relocate our trading infrastructure, or else abandon it. What I expect will happen is that we'll delay and dawdle until it's too late, and then our whole civilisation will collapse under the combined pressures of hunger, refugees, and rising water levels.

We're already past the point where there's any hope of the planet being able to support even half its current population in 100 years time. The real policy question is how we now radically reduce the population without war, pestilence, famine and death.

Government

Comcast Executives Appear To Share Cozy Relationships With Regulators 63

Posted by timothy
from the how-totally-amazing dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes A month before Comcast's announcement of a $45B takeover of rival Time-Warner, Comcast's top lobbyist invited the US government's top antitrust regulators to share the company's VIP box at the Sochi Olympics. A Freedom of Information Act request from Muckrock reveals that the regulators reluctantly declined, saying "it sounds like so much fun" but the pesky "rules folks" would frown on it, instead suggesting a more private dinner later.

Comment: Re:Text adventure game (Score 1) 100

by Simon Brooke (#47323865) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

Yeah i think it has 8 galaxies with 256 star systems in each all in 64K

Errr.... no. The BBC Micro had 32K, but in the mode Elite ran in the screen was eating about 20K of that. So it had 8 galaxies with 256 star systems in each - each with names, systems of governance, markets, et cetera - about twenty different ship types, and the physics and rendering engines - all in less than 14K.

I still think that's awesome. And, while I'm very impressed with what I've seen of No Man's Sky, the procedural universe of Elite Dangerous looks even more spectacular.

Full disclosure - I spent most of my final year of university playing Elite.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 193

by Simon Brooke (#47307993) Attached to: First Phone Out of Microsoft-Nokia -- and It's an Android

If Windows Phone were a good platform, or even an average sort of platform, why would Microsoft (who get it for free) sell a phone with anything else installed?

I've (personally) never used Windows Phone, so I don't have an opinion; but their choice of Android for this device is hardly a ringing endorsement of their in-house technology.

Comment: Re: Not likely. (Score 1) 365

My Asus machines have out lasted my ownership and the second owners are still using them.... Since when does everything fall apart because it's not apple? Lol Next time look at the Apple desks at the Apple store and realize that most of those people are receiving support or repairs

Work bough an Asus Zenbook Prime, one of the BEST Ultrabooks out there. Dollar for dollar, it beats the Macbook Air at its own game. Spec sheet wise, ditto - it simply outclassed it in every way we could measure - for the same price, you got a computer with a higher res screen, good construction, etc.

Just like mine...

But you know what? The power cable broke off the adapter! We ended up with an interesting jury rigged thing involving a Kingston Traveller power supply and lots of pigtails until our hardware technician saw the mess, and redid it nicely with solder and heatshrink tubing making a nice cable.

...also just like mine (except on mine it broke the motherboard, so the tech had to do some exceedingly fine soldering and bodge on a new external socket). The Macbook power cable connector is a thing of enviable excellence and pure common sense. Damaged power connectors are a main cause of laptop failure, and Macbooks just don't have the problem. Whatever you think of Mac software, the hardware is the best around.

Comment: Re:Not likely. (Score 1) 365

Absolutely. I thought long and hard about a MacBook Air before I bought the (superficially very similar, and nearly as expensive) Asus Zenbook which is my current laptop. My reason for not buying the Air was it seemed silly to buy a Mac when I was just going to strip MacOS off it to put Linux on... but I just stripped Windows off the Zenbook to put Linux on. About six months after I bought it, the Zenbook fell off the arm of a sofa onto its power connector, and although I've bodged a repair it's a bodge. If I'd bought a Macbook Air I wouldn't have the problem.

Macbooks are the best built laptop hardware available just now, whatever you may think of the software (and, if like me, you don't like Apple's software, you can just ditch it and put something of your preference on instead). Microsoft Surface? H'mmm, don't know, I've never actually seen one. But I very much doubt they're in the same league.

This is a very cheap offer for Microsoft to make, because my bet is they won't get a single taker.

Comment: Really? (Score 1, Insightful) 548

My salary has been steadily increasing and I certainly haven't found that there are skilled developers sitting idle at home. I can collect a small fortune in placement fees, if only I know some out-of-work developers I wouldn't be ashamed to recommend.

The simple fact from where I am standing is: There is a lot of work and there are not enough skilled people to do it yet we are only using 50% of the population.

But the sector has a massive negative image. Not even so much anti-women as anti-human. If you don't fight for yourself you won't get raises by just doing a good job and managers will happily have you do 80 hours with no compensation if they can get away with it. So a LOT of good developers I know have started their own businesses to get out of the rat race. You really got to love coding to stay with it when you can make money in consulting.

But part of the problem is the gigantic hatred you see on this site and sites like tweakers any time a story of this kind comes up. "The girls are getting some money, UNFAIR!". Crybabies. There are tons of initiatives to promote coding in general, plenty of competitions if you so wish, plenty of events to visit often with booth babes. No booth boys.

Let it go! Or at least accept that if this news story makes your blood boil, you got issues. And your issues are poisoning your work place or are even the reason you can't find a job despite your leet skills.

Nobody with real skills fears competition. If you see a new employee as anything but "FINALLY, some HELP, here is ticket 1000-9999, I take the remaining 1 million until you are up to speed", you are not a developer, real developers don't have enough spare time to worry about their jobs.

Comment: 1986 (Score 1) 204

by Simon Brooke (#47273127) Attached to: X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

I first saw X on Apollo workstations in 1986. At that date all the Sun workstations in the lab still ran a windowing system called 'News', if I remember correctly. I saw X on both Suns and Silicon Graphics workstations before 1988, and on DEC Station and RS/6000 machines shortly thereafter. We also had PERQ machines in the lab but I don't believe they ever ran X. In those days I used Xerox 1108 and 1186 machines, which didn't run X.

The first machine I personally owned which ran X was an Acorn R260 running Risc IX (BSD 4.2) in 1990. I switched to Linux at kernel 0.99pl11 in 1993, which is to say more than twenty years ago.

Gosh.

"Can you program?" "Well, I'm literate, if that's what you mean!"

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