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Comment: Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (Score 1) 399

by shellbeach (#46863683) Attached to: Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

$350-$500 puts you into the range of cheap trash and knock-off timepieces.

Well, the watch I'm wearing right now is a Seiko automatic that cost well below that price range; yet it has a fully in-house movement (right down to Seiko's own oil formulations) and it's accurate to within half a second a day (technically it loses 8 secs every 30 days on average, after regulating it myself). As you may be aware, Seiko's movements are so good that Tag Heuer famously used one of them as the basis of their own "100% in house" movement several years ago :)

Getting back to topic, though, I agree that real watchmakers aren't in any danger from smartwatches. Mechanical watches are highly fashionable elite items that are valued because they are rare, handmade works of art. It's like suggesting that oil paintings will be threatened by digital photo frames -- the markets for the two products are pretty much non-overlapping.

Comment: Re:@AC - Re:*Yawn* I'll Wait for the Mint Edition (Score 1) 179

by shellbeach (#46810289) Attached to: Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr Released

I still miss sawfish. So customizable, and the undo feature on window move/resize was awesome.

Yeah, but -- lisp! :( (Personally I was rather fond of IceWM back in the day, and contributed a bit of code to it. Customisability wasn't it's strong suit, but it was so damn fast on the crappy hardware I had fifteen years ago ...)

FWIW, Ubuntu still has both sawfish and icewm available as packages, not that'll stop the clowns here complaining that Unity took away all their desktop choices ...

Comment: Re:I kind of wouldn't mind a less fancy one... (Score 1) 103

by shellbeach (#46519937) Attached to: Google Unveils Android Wear

And there's other problems that really sound lame. I'd hate having to charge my watch every night.

Have you actually seen battery life estimates for the Moto360? I really hope it's not a charge-once-a-night scenario ...

I know a couple people who ordered Pebble watches. I haven't seen anyone who wears one regularly.

I have, and it's not pretty. I've got higher hopes for this Moto watch -- at least it's actually stylish.

Comment: Re:Round and square screens? (Score 1) 103

by shellbeach (#46519903) Attached to: Google Unveils Android Wear

This means apps won't risk showing important information in the corners of the square watches.

Not a bad thing if it pushes manufacturers away from the fugly square smartwatch screens, but it'll be interesting to see how they're handled in the software. And to be fair, important things like message text will wrap in the space available just fine, whether that's round or square.

Comment: Re:so what does it do? (Score 2) 103

by shellbeach (#46519863) Attached to: Google Unveils Android Wear

other than tell me the weather that i can already do by looking outside or checking my phone in the morning

Was this a serious question? It tells you the time (that's the watch bit) and it displays notifications and information (that's the smart bit), all without you having to dig your phone out of your pocket/bag and unlock it. Presumably the intended market is executives in meetings -- something like this allows you to remain connected far more discretely than playing with your phone. (Although FWIW having a feed of a hyperlocal weather source such as would also be significantly more useful than looking outside the window ... and navigation whilst cycling would also be kinda handy.)

Personally I like mechanical watches and I'm not going to buy one of these. But this (or at least the Moto360 version) is at least the first smartwatch that's actually appealed to me, and the interface Google's dreamed up (swipe-based without apparent multiple touch targets) seems sensible and intuitive. Even if you didn't care for the "smart" bit at all, it's a good looking watch in its own right ... and that's a first for the wearables industry.

Comment: Re:Crazy tech? (Score 1) 177

by shellbeach (#45060243) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

The real point behind having a large camera is to restrict the focal depth of field. This allows you to highlight a subject in the foreground whilst blurring the background (think portrait photography). And the laws of optics aren't going to allow a pinhole camera to ever manage that, sadly.

Incidentally, the laws of optics also mean that most of these camera phones are diffraction limited around 8mp (and that's being generous). I'm not sure why more manufacturers don't stick with a decent 5mp rather than throwing away dynamic range on silly sensors packed with unnecessary pixels ...

Comment: Re:We need more memory (Score 1) 177

by shellbeach (#45060003) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

Well, 32Gb isn't exactly acres of space these days, but I think it'll be enough for me. 16Gb definitely isn't anymore.

I do wish they'd use SD cards (ext-formatted, of course) mainly because I'd know at least some of my data was safe if my phone ever died or bricked. But I realise it's never going to happen with a Nexus, and I'm more-or-less happy to pay that price.

Comment: Re:This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (Score 1) 177

by shellbeach (#45059935) Attached to: Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

Without digging into it for more than 30 seconds, I see a phone with a different screen, different camera, different battery, different physical button layout, and different UI, and with significantly different physical properties (e.g. wireless charging on the Nexus)--these might be distant cousins, but they are most decidedly not "mildly revamped" versions of the same thing.

But the screen, camera, battery and buttons are all extras; the point is that at the core of both devices is the LG G2's mainboard with a Snapdragon 800 sitting on it. If I take my desktop box here at work and change the monitor, keyboard and mouse, it's still the same box, and that's pretty much how most of us are viewing the Nexus 5.

I see this as a good thing, mind you. LG does the low-level stuff well; they just have no idea how to make an interface (either physical or graphical) to save themselves. Mate LG's tech with Google's design sense and you've got what should be the best phone of the year.

Comment: Re:Same price ? (Score 1) 323

by shellbeach (#44554205) Attached to: Have eBooks Peaked?

I wouldn't begrudge paying for ebooks, if I though the balance of the money went to the author instead of some publisher who is doing what exactly? Editing? Possibly.

Editing is a huge job. An education editor will spend a lot of time working on the layout of the work as well as on the writing; a trade (i.e. popular fiction/non-fiction) editor will also interact with an author at every stage of the writing process and help sculpt the finished work. Just look at how much thanks fiction authors give to their editors in their acknowledgements to get an idea.

I'm still amazed that most authors don't self publish. Especially well known ones. What do they need the publishers for? To set up book tours?

Amongst other things, yes. Publicity is pretty vital in getting your book noticed. But I suspect most go through the major publishing houses to (a) get the services of a good editor and (b) get an monetary advance ahead of publication to support their writing.

Yes, I'm sure that publishers are making a bit more profit on ebooks than on p-books. But I'm not sure it's as much as you think it is, and most authors don't have the ready cash to be able to replace all that infrastructure and support through hiring freelance staff.

Comment: Re:Mint Update Hell? (Score 1) 627

by shellbeach (#44546113) Attached to: Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

When I have several Firefox windows open and want to access one, there is no way to go directly to it.

Fair enough. Personally, I like that behaviour (I have so many windows open all the time that I'd never have any space for a description left in a taskbar if I had one (hell, I often have so many PDFs open at once that even when they do their expose-thing I can't find the window I want ...) But I can see why it would irritate. FWIW, I believe the latest incarnation of Unity allows you to scroll on the dock icon to cycle through the windows of that app (but since I haven't upgraded from 12.10, I can't verify this ...)

Hell, want to launch more than one instance of the Calculator? It cannot be done.

Actually, you can do this one -- just middle-click on a dock icon to launch a new instance (the middle-click-opens-new-window paradigm is standard in many apps, so it shouldn't be a surprise). It's a minor point, though.

I guess I'm lucky/unlucky in that Unity fits my brain absolutely perfectly -- it's by far my favourite WM ever (and I've used pretty much every WM that was ever written for X over the years). Both the dock and the dash make my life so much faster, it's not funny. But I agree it's not a very customisable WM (and I'm not sure why either -- Shuttleworth and his design-gurus are clearly very particular!)

Comment: Re:Same price ? (Score 1) 323

by shellbeach (#44535469) Attached to: Have eBooks Peaked?

I agree, but I feel that the reduced ownership and lower costs of production and distribution should be reflected in the price.

Well, I agree with that too :)

With regards to your first point, I do hope that ebooks will eventually move to a DRM-free format just as has happened with digital music. But we'll see ... in the meantime, thank god it's easy to strip the DRM straight off my kindle books.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly