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Comment: Re:Who cares if we are hungry... (Score 1) 419

by Brett Chandler (#42864203) Attached to: Corn Shortage Hampers US Ethanol Production
You're perpetuating some myths here. No, ethanol does not burn "worse than gasoline". There has been a suggestion that the entire ethanol life cycle generates more CO2 emissions than gasoline, but to actually make that statement work you have to conveniently ignore all the carbon that the corn removes from the atmosphere as it's growing. That carbon doesn't actually count, since it's going to return to the atmosphere anyway whether it be out your car's tailpipe or your body's. As for "taking more energy to make than you get burning it", yeah, actually, that one IS kind of true. Corn-based ethanol is, indeed, a political football and an artificial stimulus. Corn is extremely troublesome compared to other feedstocks. I suspect it's getting a pass right now in the hopes that cellulostic ethanol starts gaining traction, probably a bit of a longshot. Ideally, the US would take Brazil's lead in using cane-based ethanol, which is much easier to produce and doesn't impact a staple food. The catch being that there isn't a lot of area in the continental US that's suitable for growing sugar cane (though beets may work too). Hard to tell what kind of political cours would need to be pursued for this.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 184

by Brett Chandler (#42816005) Attached to: BlackBerry 10 Review: Good, But Too Late?
BB has an app store, yes. The barrier is pretty low, though; the tools are free, and there is no cost to set up a vendor account. BB has taken the smart move of limiting evaluation to basically confirm that a) an app functions properly and b) doesn't egregiously violate anyone's intellectual property (and in the second case they don't seem to be doing much). What makes this ecosystem more attractive to developers is that apps must be signed before they can be offered in BB World. Apps are self-graded for content, and "mature" content IS allowed (BB10 also seems to have some decent parental controls). Personally, I think they've struck a decent balance between a low entry barrier and quality assurance.

Comment: Re:Never too late (Score 1) 184

by Brett Chandler (#42815969) Attached to: BlackBerry 10 Review: Good, But Too Late?
Personally, I'd say the Z10 isn't a "homerun", but it is a decent double. Maybe even a triple. Great performance, competitive specs, some genuinely useful UI innovations, and a growing app catalog. Unfortunately, there are some things missing even for seasoned BB users (notification profiles being the most glaring omission at this point), but I think there's an excellent chance that many of these will be addressed by the time the device is available in the US. I think they've produced a product that's good enough to attract some attention. It's what they do with it from here that is crucial.

Comment: "Too late"? Who knows? (Score 5, Interesting) 184

by Brett Chandler (#42815917) Attached to: BlackBerry 10 Review: Good, But Too Late?
It may well be that no matter how good BB10 really is, it just might be too late to save BlackBerry. Or maybe it will turn out to be so spectacularly good that all other platforms will be abandoned. The thing is, we have no idea what BB10's impact will be on BlackBerry until it's been out in the market for a while. It isn't up to writers to determine BB's future, it's the paying customers who have the most say. Here's the case for BB's survival: 1) Smartphone market penetration isn't 100%, not even in the US--every month there are new users entering the smartphone market 2) Not all smartphone users even care about apps; in fact, I've come across a number of people who seem to be almost "anti-app"; these users won't be so invested in either iOS or Android that migrating to a different platform will pose much hardship 3) Many seasoned smartphone veterans have come to HATE the iOS keyboard, and I can tell you anyone who sees the BB10 walks away impressed (in fairness, there ARE good alternative keyboards for Android, but even there BB10 enjoys an edge) Finally, BB10 seems to have had more thought given to actual, day-to-day usability. That isn't sexy, and it isn't easy to demonstrate in 3 minutes in a phone shop. What I think it stands a chance of doing, though, is building a base of committed customers who will spread legitimate word of mouth.

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