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Comment User Interface Hell (Score 2) 383

The user interfaces for different platforms have to be different. Otherwise you end up with Skype 7.x, where we have a UI on the desktop which has been designed for a smartphone.

Low pointing accuracy on smartphones means large targets and huge icons. Short conversations on smartphones means lots of space wasted on speech bubbles. Likely content on smartphones means emojis pop up when you're sharing code snippets, making them unreadable. Restricted input methods on smartphones means ignoring platform conventions like Ctrl+B for bold text.

Conversely, try getting 3DS Max 2017 UI onto a smart watch. Regardless of compatibility, it's simply impossibe.

Comment Skype UI also fails UI design 101 (Score 1) 224

One of the most common requests on the Skype community forums over the last year and a half is some (any!) basic configuration options for the UI.

There's no way to get a properly compact view, there's no way to set the color of the bubbles, and the support for high-DPI screens is abysmal.

In fact, once I started looking into it, I found a whole batch of UI problems with the new "improved" 7.0 UI, which I shared on the forums and then gathered into a handy blog post:

Skype 7.0 - A new entry for the User Interface Hall of Shame?

The 7.0 UI feedback thread is the longest one on the community forums, and can be found here:

Comment Starwisp (Score 4, Interesting) 381

Something like this was proposed many years ago by Robert L Forward, called Starwisp. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... for details.

The probe would be very light but extended, like a cobweb. Tiny processor/sensor nodes would exist where the wires touched. Some nodes and web filaments would undoubtedly be destroyed by dust collisions en route, but would be multiply redundant. On arrival, the probe would be tattered and torn but still functional.

Comment Interesting for UI fans (Score 1) 89

Since the release of Skype 7.0 (actually the preview version, 6.22), the largest thread on the the Skype community forum has been about one request - can we have our screen space back?

(My take on this at great length at http://moteprime.org/article.p...)

This news gives me some hope that, with appropriate HTML and RPC chops, we will see third-parties allow users some measure of customization of the Skype UI.

Comment Re:About time (Score 1) 89

This is the equivalent of ray tracing in graphics - nice effect, but very heavy on the computation.

With graphics, rasterization is faster, and the reason is that it can be characterized as "a bunch of cheats that happen to look good". Can we identify some similar cheats for sound?

Yes, I think so. Here's a paper I wrote 16 years ago outlining one possible, very simple, basis for soundscape generation.


Unfortunately, I didn't get to progress with it as VRML faded out pretty quickly after 1998.

Comment Re:Kevin Bloody Warwick (Score 3, Interesting) 57

As a more ragged and old alumnus of the Reading University Cybs Deprtment (1984-1987), I have to add my own observation.

Prior to Prof. Warwick being engaged, we were a backwater department of about 25 students per year, stuck in half of a drafty old WWII building at the Earley end of the campus, equipped wth a heating system inherited from early Pleistocene times. (The other half was the psychlogy department.)

Warwick was appointed one year after I left. Within a year after that, the department moved to a nice shiny new building with hot water and transistors so plentiful that they didn't have to be desoldered and reused at the end of a project. I think that he can be credited with at least some of this upswing in fortune, even if he is a regular figure of fun in the news.

Submission + - Chilean Start-up Prints First Mind-Designed Object 1

seanellis writes: Chilean start-up Thinker Thing has delivered on its promise, and has announced the first real object designed by pure thought. Using an evolutionary algorithm guided by emotional feedback, Thinker Thing's goal is to allow the creation of designs without having to first learn a craft to make them. Their current project is to allow schoolchildren to design toy monsters, which are ideal experimental objects as they are very flexible and emotionally charged.

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