Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Submission + - IBM Scientists Find New Way to Shrink Transistors (

MarcAuslander writes: In the semiconductor business, it is called the “red brick wall” — the limit of the industry’s ability to shrink transistors beyond a certain size.

On Thursday, however, IBM scientists reported that they now believe they see a path around the wall. Writing in the journal Science, a team at the company’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center said it has found a new way to make transistors from parallel rows of carbon nanotubes.

Submission + - Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes ( 1

MarcAuslander writes: Eneco, a Dutch-based energy company with more than 2 million customers, said Tuesday it is installing "e-Radiators" — computer servers that generate heat while crunching numbers — in five homes across the Netherlands in a trial to see if their warmth could be a commercially viable alternative for traditional radiators.

Comment They've forgotten the Microsoft Diode (Score 1) 445

Microsoft long ago took over areas dominated by others with the Microsoft "diode".

Step one was the run the leader's stuff - for example their document format.

Step two was to "enhance" the support in a way that made new work incompatible with the former leader.

If they ever want people to buy their smartphones, they will have to start by running Android apps until they get to the point where Windows phone is a necessary app target, just as Apple and Android are today.

Comment Net metering is unstustainable (Score 5, Insightful) 374

The current system lets the home owner use the power grid as a battery, storing excess energy for later use. And this battery is free. But it's not free - someone has to pay for the power lines, meters, and generation or storage capacity that makes it work.

Electric bills have two components, the supply cost and the delivery cost. The supply cost is what the electric company should be paying for electricity it buys from the home owner. But the electricity the home owner buys back should include the delivery cost.

In effect, the utilities are subsidizing home generation, which may make sense for now, but is not a plausible end game.

Comment Ignores how disks often fail (Score 2) 258

My understanding is that disks often fail when a head touches the surface, or a piece of dirt gets between the head and the surface. Once that happens, more dirt is produced, increasing the probability of more head crashes, leading to a failure cascade. As a consequence, once one of my drives starts to show unrecoverable errors, corresponding to damaged surface areas, I replace it while it can still be read.

The spare platter strategy does nothing to reduce this failure mode. In fact, all modern disks already have spare space for bad block relocation.

Comment How do you know? (Score 1) 275

People always claim that bad beer tastes like piss. And I always wonder how they know! Which reminds me of a childhood memory. We were in the Catskills in what was then called a bungalow colony. One day, for some reasons, the owner had to siphon some gas, which he started by sucking on the hose. My dad asked what it tasted like - it tastes like manure he said. Once we were away, my dad wondered aloud how he knew.

Comment Marketing to cover weakness (Score 1) 153

The story prompted me to look at bing maps. Very first direction request produced a poor route. When dragging the route to change it gives less time and distance, you know it's not the source to use! There is no way to reset a drag! etc. etc. I'll stick with google.

But one wonders how this government agency was co-opted.

"The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray." -- Robert G. Ingersoll