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Comment Re:More and more cores? (Score 4, Interesting) 65

They'll do research and try and raise clock speeds, but the amount of heat required and the amount of cooling required is proportional to the square of the clock speed. The faster you try and change the state of something (electric charge), the more heat is generated. They might be able to switch to optical computing then the heat problem goes away. Maybe they'll get more efficient CPU's with fewer transistors and more parallelization.

But, it's far simpler to just add more cores as transistor sizes shrink by a half every year or two. That's guaranteed.

Comment Re:There is no left (Score 1) 323

If you ever saw a Californian phone bill, you would see that there are about a dozen taxes all tacked onto the phone bill. Some pay for 911 services, others pay for universal service (federal), then there's the state sales tax, local sale tax, state excise tax, local wireless 911, state wireless 911, and a few others.

Even if you buy a new cellphone, you'll find that theres a state code that requires that all cell phones are taxed on the full retail amount, not the actual discounted purchase price.

http://www.sfgate.com/business...

Comment This could be really useful for docks and ferries (Score 5, Interesting) 87

One of the most time consuming parts of a short journey is getting the passenger doors aligned with the port-side gangways. Unlike airports, it's not the gangways that move to the plane, it's the vessel that must align with the portside. Sometimes the portside gangway can move up or down, but many times, the crew have to tie down these mini gangways with ropes when the tides and ballast tanks aren't enough. It takes several minutes of maneuvering to get the ship aligned with the dockside, sometimes even having to reverse and try again, especially in heavy swells. If they could get GPS down to several inches, combined with the sideways movement that many catamarans have, docking could be done automatically.

Comment Re:GPS is just an aid (Score 1) 571

I've stayed in hotels where i don't know the local street layout. Keeping track of the position of the Sun or Moon when you go out to a restaurant or cafe is one simple way of telling which direction to go back home. Though this only works for short trips. Streets are usually numbered away from downtown. so if the street numbers are going downwards, you are heading into town. Streets that branch in an angle less than 90 degrees also point towards downtown. Satellite dishes point towards South. Moss usually grows on the North side of trees.

Comment Re:hyperloop without the hyper or loop (Score 1) 218

The original railways lines in the UK were formed by making lots of small connections at first and then connecting them up later. London's underground started off as a tunnel going underneath the Thames and avoiding the smell and muck on the bridge. Then others started building more tunnels, eventually they kept extending all the tunnels until they started going over land as well.

Comment Re:What's a DLL? (Score 3, Informative) 162

Dynamic Link Library or Shared Object. In the early days of UNIX, it was found that the huge amount of space was being used by GUI applications and command line programs statically linked to common libraries like standard IO, sockets, X-windows, GUI's, maths and crypto libraries. Huge amounts of disk space were being used to stored duplicate copies of compiled code. So they figured that it would be more cost effective to dynamically link at run-time instead of a compile-time with the bonus that they could be compiled into relocatable code only loaded into system when needed.

If you run "ldd" on a program, you will see all the libraries needed for that program.

By separating the library files from the applications, any bugs or problems could be fixed through a simple upgrade. The downside is that someone can rootkit a system by replacing a DLL used by applications that need system access.

Comment Re:Maybe it's not profitable? (Score 1) 244

I've noticed that - my old laptop (2.8Ghz dual-core with nvidia Ti5600) used to be able to run Google Streetview quite comfortably. Now, it just got slower and slower as new version of Firefox came out. My assumption was that the software was using a larger cache size or something.

Intel still has all those "extensions" like AVX, multi-core, Thread-Building-Blocks and hyper-threading", but there just isn't that many applications that require an overclocked 4GHZ twelve core vector accelerated floating-point unless it's some kind of supercomputing application. That's where they make most of their money. The markups on the latest high-end processors are usually three times that of the medium range ones.

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 1) 105

Astronomers have found ways to get around atmospheric interference. Amateur or pro-amateur astronomers used lucky imaging. They use a high-speed CCD to catch multiple images of a particular target and keep the ones that are in focus (or even just the bits of image that have a high level of sharpness). Then they can combine these together to make a perfect picture.

With the larger telescopes, they have adaptive optics to compensate for the refraction caused by air turbulence. They fire off a laser into the scape to determine the light distortion. They then adjust the direction of all those dozens of smaller mirrors to keep the image in focus.That allows ground based telescopes to rival the Hubble telescope.

http://www.nature.com/news/ast...

Comment Re: What's the viable alternative? (Score 1) 158

Back in the 1980's during the "Information Technology revolution", my high school used to have typing classes using big clunky mechanical typewriters. In a small advanced teaching subject room, they had a single LCD line word processor. Along side with an Apple ][ with dot matrix printer and color TV/monitor.

Everyone was really scared about what it meant. Some national companies had a 3:1 worker/manager ratio. Director : 3 x managers, 3 x engineers. With every department moving away from their own separate databases to a single national database, the workload was reduced by vast amount (no more paperwork being shuffled across in, out and pending trays to different departments). All those management jobs just disappeared.

When the first computers arrived with keyboards, email, word-processors and spreadsheets, some managers felt they were "just becoming glorified typists".

Comment Re:Who needs a startup? (Score 2) 25

"It's humid today" isn't exactly a scientific measurement. I'd expect some kind of electronic measurement with barometer, thermometer and hygrometer. You can get an all in one wireless system with automatic logging for less than £40. If you want to splurge out on a bit more (£130), you can get a wireless weather station that connects via the internet to a smartphone. There are probably others with more features and functionality, but it was the first I found.

Comment Re:What's the viable alternative? (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Parents just want to make sure their children "get into computers" because that is where the money is (working in IT compared to working at McDonalds). Computers are programmed, so therefore their children must learn "computer programming".

With high school education with BASIC, the teachers would start from scratch, introduce variables, arrays, strings, input and output, arithmetic, for/while loops, conditional logic, and each of those topics would be covered in a week. At the end of the course, you would be lucky to have got onto drawing graphs in ASCII. At the same time, the business community would make sure that you got to learn about mainframes, batch processing, punched card, magnetic tape and databases.

At home, the programmable toys in the past were BigTrak\and some robots you could build with technical Lego. With computer software, there was Logo and printer/plotters. The first thing anyone did was to run the supplied tutorials or copy some code in from the instruction book. Then they would combine bits from the different tutorials to make their own programs. Eventually, they could write an entire program from scratch once they knew what all the different commands would do. Local newsagents would have racks of computer magazines with guides on sprite programming, MIDI sound programming, generating mazes, player-missile graphics, how to connect sensors, weather stations and just about anything else.

It would make more sense to give students a catalog of home learning kits and let them order a couple for free. Anything taught in schools at a regimented pace is going to bore some students, and others still won't be able to keep up.

Comment Re:Lots of GMTO Articles (Score 2) 105

I don't think anyone is allowed near those telescopes. They don't have to as everything is accessed through the internet. Each astronomer gets funding for a project. A portion of the funding goes to booking time on a telescope. They specify the target, the time, the telescope, pictures are taken electronically via high-resolution CCD at the eyepiece of the telescope and placed on a server. There are some telescopes which are just continually recording data non-stop to high-capacity RAID array storage packs. When someone wants to investigate a particular object, they can retrieve all those images with that object in view.

In the earlier days, an astronomy student has to spend the entire evening in the observatory, aiming and targeting the telescope while taking photographs to be developed.

Comment Re:Is this really new? (Score 1) 49

Some systems work on detecting the direction the eyes are looking by measuring the shape of the pupil. Advertising and human-computer interaction people use eye-gaze detection systems that are used to measure how long and where a person is looking

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