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Comment Re:3.5mm? (Score 1) 183

If Apple could make a phone just 3.5mm thick, then I could understand having problems putting a headphone jack in place... But if it's even 4mm thick, them this reflects that they just aren't capable of designing something this thin...I guess the lack of Steve Jobs is starting to become apparent.

After all, why can't they just redesign the audio socket so it's a couple of millimeters thinner?

Comment Re:PMT (Score 2) 106

Not just photomultiplier tubes, but Image Intensifier tubes also - or more commonly known as "night vision goggles". These vacuum tubes have progressed so far that even the best solid-state technology doesn't come close to replacing it, and the best technology that exists still uses around 10 to 100 times the power required for the same approximate level of image.

Yet these tubes can, depending on manufacture, image single photons.

Even the new solid state tube hybrids ( eg, Electron Bombarded CMOS ) is still a vacuum tube.


Comment Re:editorialize much? (Score 2) 71

Just because something is done all the time, it doesn't mean it's a bad strategy - in fact, it usually points to a very good strategy.

Surface has gouged out an entire market from under Apple's feet. People who use tablets with active stylus tend to love them ( and they use their fingers too, but sometimes, you just want a pen... ) - And Apple's contempt for pen-based input as a marketing strategy ( eg, Macbook Air will never feature touch/pen ) allowed Microsoft to just walk in and take the place without any resistance.

It may have taken, even needed, apple to make tablets cool enough for the market to seriously consider them, but they don't know how to innovate and now Microsoft is using the same ads that are so effective in the demographic that usually buys Apple to sell them Surface.

I suspect the OP has identified this.

Reminds me of the old Apple vs PC ads. Except it looks like PC went on a diet, got ripped and is stealing chicks from Apple... Not only is he good looking now, he's funny too. And he can run real-world programs, not just apps. So he might as wear the turtleneck sweater and too eh?


Comment Re:Obvious prior art (Score 1) 126

I despise patent trolls, but reading your linked article, I see where the patent issues here were really only detrimental until the start of WW1. 1906 to 1917 is not "nearly half a century."

Please, when framing arguments against patents or climate deniers, or anything else that is important to you, do not exaggerate or use such hyperbole. It lessens the impact of your argument, however true, significantly.

By half-a-century, I mean half-a-century. Just because the original issues were resolved by around 1917, it takes a lot longer to recover from this damage - Consider this period as the original wound, and later time as healing to understand what I said - A lot of US based aviation decisions through to the end of WW2 and the early 1950's were very poor. This doesn't mean that the US didn't progress quickly, but it imported most of it's technology and ideas, even during WW2 - Often leaning on concepts and ideas that were present much earlier in german and english aircraft. Both the Germans and English had already developed jet engines during this time and it was only well into WW2 that the US began to develop unique and original ideas - eg, Turbosuperchargers.

If you damage an industry for more than 10 years, the impact doesn't just go away because you remove the problem, it continues long after the event - Knowledge and skills that should have been obtained and gained during that period are lost and it takes a long time to recover a position within the international community equivalent to a country's original potential. The US had to import a lot of technology from other countries - There's a reason most aviation terms are French - Sad when you consider that the US invented the aircraft.

Patents, when used as weapons or obstructions, only damage innovation.


Comment Re:Obvious prior art (Score 5, Informative) 126

It would be, if the wording of the patent was something like "A craft, that travels through the air, by means of lift generated through the passage of relative airflow across a curved wing section known as the aerofoil, and of sustained airflow by means of propulsion caused by the action/reaction of a propulsion unit, which propels the craft forward against drag caused by the craft's passage through the air."

The same wording would also cover missiles, but not helicopters. Patents are like that.

Of course, it wasn't that simple - The Wright Bother's patent wars were kind of like Samsung Vs Apple, and only served to severely damage the US's ability to produce aircraft for nearly half a century.


Comment Can't fix or better not to? (Score 1) 840

In the current world, it often costs more to repair something than to replace it. The only reason people will avoid attempting repairs is because replacement is more economical. There seem to be far more people familiar with repairing stuff now than ever before, especially with so many decent guides on the internet.


Comment Soft tokens... (Score 1) 247

Verisign VIP is one ( commercial ) system that uses soft tokens, and the same token works on your ebay and paypal and other accounts, making it useful to users outside of work - since they start to introduce the same security to their outside-of-work use - Soft tokens are free and work on phones and PCs, hard tokens can be ordered ( they even have credit cards with the hardware token built in, and can print name badges with them ) -

Generally, it's a pretty good system - you can download and try it too -


Comment I See this as Walmart's fault... (Score 3, Insightful) 287

Walmart was not obliged to sell other than by it's own actions... They could have challenged it or otherwise...

It's actions were made on the intent of beating it's competitors and this backfired... Only consumers really need to be protected from their own stupidity and ignorance - Corporations are big enough to make their own miscalculations and live with the consequences.

caveat venditor would be more appropriate -


Comment Re:But but but (Score 2) 55

Depending on your perspective and use, 3D printers can pay for themselves in a single day, and if you use Shapeways as your yardstick, they can pay for themselves with as little as a single roll of plastic ( Sub $1000 printer + 1 Kg of plastic vs $1 per gram standard post-print charge )

I use an UP Mini - I've reliably put about 15 to 20 Kg of plastic through it already, and it's still working... It did start to fail once, so I put some silicon grease on the linear bearings and all was good. One day I'll get the next model, but this one has paid for itself 15 times over in about 2 years, and people buy entire arrays of Up Mini's to run as limited production - they are very reliable and rarely fail to print correctly. It's been about 4Kg since I had my last misprint...


Comment The problem isn't the format of the data... (Score 4, Informative) 23

The problem is that 99%* of data is actually trapped behind paywalls...

Which is more of a problem than the format. If the data was available without the paywall, then the format probably wouldn't matter as much.


*99% is a made-up statistic - just like the original article. I assume it means "lots..."

Comment Another possible reason... (Score 1) 167

Anyone who ever designed circuitry regularly enough with the Z-80 ( I would have designed over 40 boards using the z-80 during my career ) always used to think they did it that way so you could put the ROM chip next to the processor, while only using a few through-board connections. A 16k ROM could easily be connected to the Z-80 on a single-sided PCB with just 6 jumpers that fit neatly beneath the Z-80 chip itself.

Maybe that's not the reason it was built that way, but working with other designers at the time, that's what we all though -


Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.