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Comment: Re:Somewhat cheaper... (Score 1) 496 496

I have a 2014 Subaru with a back-up camera that displays on the radio ONLY when you are in reverse. I expected it to be redundant with the internal rear view mirror, but it is not. It is mounted just off center above the license plate. It is under the ledge above the plate and points down. The clear lens cover is about 1 CM so a small smudge of mud or droplet of water can obscure a large areas of the viewing field . I've learned to rub my finger over the lens every time I walk to my car. With a side mirror you can bob your head and work around a little dirt.

Over laid on the back-up image are two dashed "runway" lines with each dash showing one foot. It shows the ground right up to the back of the bumper. It the past if I were backing up to a low object object I have to guess. Now I'm parking within a couple of inches of where I want to be. I've put a small mark on the floor of my garage and I can back in to exactly where I want to be - every time. I'm sure there are useful ways of adding simple "VR" data to replace the parallax benefits of head bobbing and stereo vision.

Comment: Re: Cost of Components (Score 1) 41 41

Digikey is amazing. Use them all the time for Protos and some production. Where tracking Digikey fails is the roll of truly innovative stuff barely out of the lab in small production as we'll a the other end custom ic. Sure they do fpga but try buying a full intel chip set, a GPU or what ever Qualcomm is selling to phone makers. They really are more trailing than leading edge. And the county airport is being expand to handle larger federal jets just for Digikey. They probibly have several million skews and many of those skews are for reels of 5 thousand resistors per real and many multiple reels of a skew in stock. They must be tracking billions of pieces of stock.

Comment: Re:Unionize (Score 1) 630 630

In the US unionism as settled on "craft" or "trade" unions that are organized by specialty. The alternative is industrial unions that represent workers by industry. Before world war I industrial unions drifted more into social movements and lost ground to trade unions in the work place.

Comment: Two visionaries from MIT & Stanford (Score 1) 196 196

The era leading up to and during WWII generated some amazing leaps in technology. Mostly led by two people. If you really want to see an amazing computer visionary take a look at Vannevar Bush. He is the grandfather of digital computing, information theory (Shannon was his grad student), hyper text/web, nuclear bombs and so much more. Douglas Engelbart was directly inspired by Bush.

The godfather of hardware was Frederick Terman at Stanford. Steve Blank has a great talk of the founding of silicon valley and Terman role in driving innovation (hint, radar's needs created the valley). These two people did not do the heads down work, but were really the two greatest product managers in history who had the resources of a nation as their development teams. For example Bush was the champion of the Manhattan Project so pretty cool having Oppenheimer as your technical lead on a project.

Comment: Call your California Legicritter. (Score 1) 190 190

There fixed it for you. Congresscritters are at the federal level. Therefore it would seem that Legicritter would be the matching honorific at the state legislature level. This a California state bill. Although asking for it in other states seems to be a good idea.

Comment: Re:Sockpuppets for hire (Score 5, Interesting) 232 232

Anytime energy, climate, guns, oil, taxes, nuclear, smoking, pesticides, pharmaceuticals or evolution gets mentioned you can expect to see the sock puppets come out. I would welcome a corporate flack who shows up and articulately say, "I'm VP at company X and here is what I want to tell you about our product..." Instead all we get is 3rd rate sub-contractor who just copies and paste, perhaps with bad edits, some anti-science drivel. I guess if you have a loosing argument the only choice is to give up on making your case and muddy the waters. Now that I've entered all those keywords, just watch how many sock puppets come out and respond out of context. So welcome shills, but just for kicks please list your employer this time. Any ex-shills out there?

Comment: Re:doesn't sound like idle. (Score 1) 249 249

Correct. There are several modes in the EnergyStar spec. They boil down to active play, idle (think mario tapping his toe waiting for you to wiggle the control, but you've not pressed pause. same power as active play), paused (usually close to active power levels), at the home menu (also close to active levels), background network activity and sleep. Any reasonable bit of modern electrics should be able to listen to an IR/Bluetooth signal under 1/2W. Also, game developers really need to cooperate, do some book marking and drop into sleep if the user has not been playing for a few minutes and have a quick restore capability.

Comment: Old News + EnergyStar (Score 1) 249 249

The NRDC has an excellent and easy to read study on console power demand. Some x-box models average draw more than two fridges. Video consoles have long been mentioned under the EnergyStar specification , but the game industry has done an excellent jog of foot dragging such that their are zero EnergyStar consoles out there. The console makers are betting that you'll not notice that you are spending more on electricity than games every year. The heart of the problem is the lack of a real sleep mode. Until they come out with hardware that can sleep like a '90s era laptop the solution is simple, just add a smart power strip that tuns on/off associated electronics for you when you turn on/off your TV. Or you can simply enable auto sleep mode by following the instructions on the NRDC site for x-box & ps3 or turn off WC24 on the wii.

A very simple thing you can do to get the attention of the console makers is to call them and ask them how much power your particular system draws when playing and when sleeping, how this will cost you where you live, what you can do reduce the power usage, how to enable deep sleep mode and when they will come out with a reduced power model. Also let the game makers know that you want them to support auto power down.

BTW, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is really an amazing environmental group. They are just the environmental group that shows up at those deadly dull EnergyStar standards meetings and they do it with a full time electrical engineers. The NRDC engineering team is very bright and well informed. Very much worthy of your support.

Comment: Geographic Prefrence (Score 1) 163 163

Typical consumer preference is really driven by their environment, i.e., how big are their homes. Americans hate multifunction devices. The only really successful one is the clock radio. If we want more stuff we just build homes with more rooms to house it, even if it does not make our life better. Europe has smaller homes so they are more receptive. After all, its called the Swiss army knife, not the Bowie knife. Asia has the smallest homes so you see the greatest acceptance of multifunction devices. There are of course broad variation to this generalization and computers being the universal device are blurring this generality further.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming