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Japanese and Swiss Watchmakers Scoff At Smartwatches

shellbeach Re:Maybe they should ask corded phone manufacturer (399 comments)

$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.

about 2 months ago
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Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr Released

shellbeach Re:@AC - Re:*Yawn* I'll Wait for the Mint Edition (179 comments)

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 ...

about 3 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:For the people who can't see past their nose (103 comments)

I couldn't see riding without it...

... ah yes, but can you see the road, riding with it?? :P

In all seriousness, when did /. become so goddamn conservative? I can't believe how dismissive people are of wearables around here ...

about 4 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:I kind of wouldn't mind a less fancy one... (103 comments)

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.

about 4 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:Round and square screens? (103 comments)

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.

about 4 months ago
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Google Unveils Android Wear

shellbeach Re:so what does it do? (103 comments)

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 forecast.io 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.

about 4 months ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:Crazy tech? (177 comments)

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 ...

about 10 months ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:We need more memory (177 comments)

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.

about 10 months ago
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Leaked Manual Reveals Details On Google's Nexus 5

shellbeach Re:This is not at all a mildly revamped G2 (177 comments)

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.

about 10 months ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

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.

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

shellbeach Re:Mint Update Hell? (627 comments)

Well, at least with linux we have the choice to switch to whatever we want :)

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

shellbeach Re:Mint Update Hell? (627 comments)

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!)

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

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.

about a year ago
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

shellbeach Re:Mint Update Hell? (627 comments)

ooking for something which is easy to configure and doesn't hide my windows...

How does Unity hide your windows??

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

My point was simply that people shouldn't begrudge paying for ebooks ...

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

I don't know if other people are as cheap as me, but I sure can see how once you find Project Gutenberg you might purchase a lot less at $15/pop.

Personally I quite like supporting authors whose works I enjoy by buying their books. I have this naive theory that if enough people buy their books, they might write some more. But maybe I'm just dreaming ...

(Not dissing PG for a minute, incidentally, and more power to it -- but there's times when the classics don't cut it)

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Same price ? (323 comments)

you can't lend them easily to your friends or resell them, you can't rent them from the local library, depending on the device used, annotating or marking the pages is not effective and can't easily be shared between two people reading the same book at the same time (keep slowly browsing through to get to the current page)

Am I the only person who removes DRM from their ebooks?? (I mean, seriously, this is /. -- we're supposed to enjoy this sort of challenge!) A few google searches will tell you how to do it for most popular formats, and then you can give the book to your friends without issue.

What we should be pushing for is DRM-free ebooks at purchase, of course. A switch from DRM to DRM-free formats eventually happened with music files so I have every hope that it will happen with ebooks as well.

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Disappearance of E-Ink (323 comments)

The real reason to me to get a kindle over a table for reading is simply the weight difference. The tablets I held would be uncomfortable compared to a 6" kindle which easily weighs the same as or less than a fiction paperback.

Dunno ... a nexus 7 is pretty light. Personally, the reason I still use a kindle is because of the battery life. If tablets ever ran for a couple of months without needing a recharge then I might consider swapping.

Thankfully, neither a kindle nor a 7" tablet is particularly bulky or heavy, so when I travel I carry both.

about a year ago
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Have eBooks Peaked?

shellbeach Re:Piracy! (323 comments)

There's really no nicer way to say it... ebooks, in their current form, are a miserable failure for anything besides reading novels from start to finish.

Um, I think reading novels (and non-fiction books) is the market. E-readers obviously can't replace reference works that you need to jump around randomly in -- page turns are far too slow on e-Ink.

Much of it is just due to underpowered hardware. 2D text isn't sexy like photorealistic rendered 3D, but realtime font rendering at high quality is a demanding (and unappreciated) task in its own right.

Why on earth would you need any better font rendering than freetype happily provides?

about a year ago
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Google I/O 2013 Underway: Watch For Updates

shellbeach Re:Well, as long as they fix android's bluetooth (115 comments)

Of course, "anecdote" isn't the singular form of "data"

Not to split hairs, but an anecdote is very much a single point of data.

I think you were looking for "the plural of anecdote isn't data", which isn't quite the same thing ... :)

about a year ago

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