Copper Bezel doesn't have a personal statement currently.
Sea anemone. Can't unsee.
Mission, Kansas, USA
Creative writing, science news, little robot toys that turn into things, beer, etc. Also, ponies.
Joined: 22-December 02
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Last Seen: 24th April 2013 - 04:55 AM
Local Time: May 18 2013, 11:56 AM
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21 Jun 2012
I swear I'd started a Windows 8 topic, but if I did, I can't find it. In any case, there's a definite lack of non-iStuff in discussion here, and Windows 8 keeps coming up in the iThread every time I bring it up there for trolling purposes. Microsoft's announcement of the Surface earlier this week seemed to deserve a topic. (The title is contributing to the common misunderstanding that "PC" means "Windows," but it seemed required.)
The Surface was originally the brand for Microsoft's smart tables. The new Surface, meant to set the basic design concept for Windows 8 machines, is a 10.6" tablet with Retina-Display-like resolution and a built-in kickstand. There's the basic "tablet" version (that is, ARM-based with Windows RT, which is the tablet (but not phone) version of the OS) and a "Professional" ("slate") version, a slightly thicker model with the full x86-based Windows 8, an Ivy Bridge processor, and pressure-sensitive stylus support. They're both widescreen tablets designed around landscape use (like the Transformer and unlike the iPad) that include a magnetic snap-on screen cover with an ostensibly comfortable keyboard on the inside, including a teeny-tiny trackpad.
It looks as if the trackpad really is meant for moving the cursor while typing and not much else. The touchscreen is meant to be the primary pointing device even when the keyboard is attached, even moreso than on the Asus Transformer Prime. The magnetic clip for the keyboard and the kickstand also mean that the Surface demands a surface to sit on. I'm typing this from my lap right now, but I think creating the distinctive use pattern for the Surface is sort of a clever idiosyncratic selling point (like the fact that the iPad doesn't support pointing devices, which isn't for any technical reason.) In this case, when the Surface gets serious, it needs a desk. It's sort of cute.
Windows 8, if you haven't seen the demos, uses a fairly unique tiled interface called Metro. It's designed so that applications are borderless, and there's no system panel like iOS or Android's, but the screen can be split between two apps with a draggable border in between. On the x86 version, there's also a desktop "app" for running non-Metro apps (although it's been redesigned since the video to better match the Metro look.) To get to live in the Metro world rather than inside the desktop app, apps have to be distributed through the Windows app store (so Microsoft gets to do QC and security, but also reject competing software and take the "retail markup" cut Apple's enjoying with its app stores.) The RT tablets can only run Metro apps purchased from the app store (and come with a locked bootloader, so there's no chance of installing Android or a Linux.)
I really hate how much I love the look of this thing. There's a column on Gizmodo by Jesus Diaz celebrating its incredible more-Apple-than-Apple-had-balls-to-be-ness, and I'm almost convinced. In hardware and software, this actually seems like a hassle-free organizer of content with very little computer in the way. As slate-with-keyboard arrangements go, I don't think it's ultimately as practical as the Transformer Book, but it's more self-consistent in concept somehow. (For failing concept and functionality, see this thing from Acer, where the idea is apparently to have a touchscreen on a notebook so that you can say that your notebook has a touchscreen.)
One thing I'm curious about with the Surface is whether there are any plans for a docking station as with the Dell Latitude slate (as this was a neat trick) or whether the HDMI port can be used to extend the desktop (instead of mirroring the display, less neat a trick but more practical.) Part of the selling point for the docking station on the Latitude was the lack of a keyboard, which the Surface has covered, but the option of a larger (or, better, second) display would be nice. 10" can get cramped.
I'd never get over the Apple-like restrictions on software, but Windows 8 / RT does look like a much less clunky interface than Android, the windowing and task management is briliant, and I'm curious to see what the Metro-based MS Office suite will look like. The Surface itself is a very pretty design with a very unique visual identity, and it really plays off the Windows 8 visual design and use pattern in clever ways. In reality, I'd buy the Transformer Book and install Linux on it, but I really don't think anything out there at the moment is as striking as the Surface and Windows RT.
The only thing I don't really get is the name. It made a lot more sense as a table.
So, what non-iStuff looks interesting? What do you think of Windows 8 / RT? And the requisite inflammatory and meaningless question, will Surface kill the iPad?
7 Oct 2011
I apologize if this has already been posted - it's apparently from yesterday's news cycle, but I didn't see anything.
So, you've probably already seen the videos of monkeys controlling robotic arms with their brains via training and creepy cables, but this is new. Using wireless implants, these monkeys were trained not only to move the (simulated) arm, but to receive rudimentary touch feedback from it.
What's intriguing is that the researchers didn't have to hook anything up to intercept specific motor functions. The way it's described in an interview with one of the researchers, it sounds like they more or less crammed some receptors into the motor cortex and the brain did the rest - without hampering the monkey's own physical motor control. The implications for needed prosthetics are incredible. The implications for voluntary ones are delicious. = D
7 Sep 2011
WIP thread, as suggested. I have an embarrassing amount of free time at the moment, so I'm attempting sculpty stuff.
The MLP:FIM PVCs are adorable, but not very characteristic, and I dislike the "begging dog" poses of Applejack and Rainbow Dash. I'm reworking a Rainbow Dash more in line with WorkbenchManiac's cartoon-styled sculpts, in the same 4.5 cm scale as the PVCs (and his customs.) I'm taking a bit more time with this one than I did with the Mayor I showed elsewhere; I even started properly with an armature and everything. = ) (Creepy pony skeleton!) Fimo or Sculpey III, because I honestly don't know which was which in my bag, and they work more or less the same.
Haven't decided whether this is a wings-up aggressive bragging pose or a wings-down confident bragging one. = )
C & C welcome. More later.
4 Sep 2011
Well, TFGD has one; it's out of our hands; we must as well. So I'll start.
Finally got my arse to Target yesterday. Painting began immediately.
WorkbenchManiac's extras, along with my own shoddy resculpt of Fluttershy's mane, some much-needed lipo on Rarity's bizarre mutant baby dinosaur cheeks that seem to have resulted from some intense laziness in Hasbro's rotation of the head, and
one extra character, because I wanted somepony expendable to try painting first. The glasses, the collar, and the sea anemone that lives inside offered slightly greater irritation than I anticipated, and yes, I'm aware that the proportions are a bit off.
Party supplies? Never fear, primitive organic citizens of Ponyville! Wreck-Gar has third-party supplies for all!
My real reason for liking the PVCs so much? Yeah. They're totally in scale with the Animated Autobots.
And that's awesome.
16 Oct 2010
The stuff you already know: Star Trek communicators famously became cell phones. Multi-layer DVDs are a three-dimensional optical data storage medium. The PADD became tablet computers and slates like the iPad.
Now, engineers from three different groups are proposing a type of tactile feedback that they believe will be more popular than mechanical buzzing. Called electrovibration, the technique uses electrical charges to simulate the feeling of localized vibration and friction, providing touch-screen textures that are impossible to simulate using mechanical actuators.
Exactly the method described in STNG's story bible.
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