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Comment Re:Sputnik? (Score 3, Interesting) 172

but the development of the Shuttle and the Soviets' failure with their equivalent

Actually, the Soviets succeeded in realizing that an airplane-shaped payload strapped onto the side of a rocket makes no sense after only one flight. It took us over 100 flights before we realized the same thing. I think they won that round.

Comment Re:Hating on Diesel (Score 1) 185

Yes, I wonder how much this politician gets to say this sort of stuff.

I don't believe anything that comes out of a American politicians mouth, and certainly not out of a British ass kissing Monarch cronies mouth.

I own a 2015 VW Jetta, and other than a software update to control the chemical infusion process of the diesel exhaust system, it does not belch black smoke, is not filthy in any way and continues to get excellent gas mileage.

Diesel's are a target because of their efficiency, lower cost production of fuel than petrol and those two things when combined spell cheaper operation costs, and a cleaner environmental impact.

Two things that continue to improve over time, which are proving to be the ire of environmentalists stuck in the 1980's.

Comment A system like this might be super-habitable for us (Score 2) 102

I think it's amazing that there could be a system with enough comets to block out such a big portion of starlight. It gets my imagination going because when I picture the future of human expansion, I don't see us living on the natural surfaces of planets, putting up with all the ways in which they are ill-suited to our comfort (wrong gravity, wrong color starlight, wrong day/night cycle for our circadian rhythm, wrong atmosphere, wrong temperature range, too much radiation, etc.). I know that people want to address some of these problems with some sort of transforming, and that will make sense on some planets, but most stars will not have eligible ones.

However, most stars will have enough ordinary junk in their orbit that we will be able to manufacture (with self-replicating AI machines) a perfectly awesome and huge spinning habitat that could have a habitable surface area comparable to that of the Earth. The easiest source for the materials for such a habitat are smallish rocks, because it takes so little energy to eject habitat material from a quarry on a rock with such a small gravity well. A colony would simply dispatch an AI-controlled factory that would convert asteroid material into duplicate AI factories, plus fuel and thrusters that get these to other asteroids. Then the factories retool to convert the asteroids into parts for a giant spinning space station, in which the interior light, atmosphere, gravity and temperature are optimized for terrestrial life, while the star-facing exterior is covered with solar panels, and the shady side is a spiky forest of heatsinks. If the orbit is close enough to the star, the panels alone should generate enough energy to power all the systems and more.

It's very 1960's thinking to picture ourselves living on the surfaces of other planets, and yet, even many scientists have not gotten past that obsolete picture. AI technology plus robotics will allow us to thrive even in extrasolar systems that have nothing but perfectly ordinary crap floating in orbit, because perfectly ordinary crap is exactly what we and every important feature of our biosphere are made of.

What's exciting about a system like this is that if there are lots of comets, it means that there's a lot of great crap within arm's reach from which to build a gigantic new home.

Comment Re: Will Apple be able to spec/source a good OLED? (Score 1) 225

No, these arw characgeristic of OLEDs.

LCDs have their own problems:

- Backlight leakage
- "Bright" and "dark" edges (relative to backlight edge)
- Dim corners (usujally just one, due to slight LCD warping)


The iPad Air IZGO display had tons of problems at first, too. I remember seeing them at a store and thinking, "geez, there's not a single good display in this entirew row of iPad Air units."

But that doesn't absolve OLED of its problems. I think for me the big issues arew the color cast issues. The pink/green gradient is probably the worst, followed by the yellow color cast esp. when dim and the uneven whites (usually not visible in when colors are being displayed).

Comment Will Apple be able to spec/source a good OLED? (Score 5, Interesting) 225

I'm actually a fan of OLED displays when they're perfect, yes, even the bright colors.

But dammit it's hard to find a really good *actual* OLED display in an *actual* unit.

Went through five phones before I got a Note 4 with a good display. Went through four Galaxy Tab S units to find a good one new out of the box. Let's see, what are the problems encountered in the various and sundry displays?

- Strong yellow cast, like ridiculously strong
- Pink/green gradient, usually from corner to corner, with "white" only in display center
- Uneven brightness, i.e. dark "splotches" on white backgrounds or "dark gradients" at one edge of the screen to about 1-2" in from bezel
- Terrible pixelation/pixel noise at low brightness, not unlike digital camera "noise" in low-light exposures
- Burn-in (even in supposedly factory-new devices)

Either QC or the production process or both appear to be nearly fatally flawed for Samsung, and they're currently the biggest shipper of OLED screens in gadgets, and have had years of experience. You'd think they'd have it sorted out by now.

I love the *potential* of OLED, but it seems like for the most part right now, attempts to actually ship them in consumer devices leave a lot to be desired.

Comment Though there *is* a question re: interest conflict (Score 1) 480

With regard to the issue of dealers, I'm not sure that it's just electric cars they don't want to sell.

In 2013 I was in the market for a gasoline-powered automobile. Did my research, selected a make and model. It wasn't the most common car on the planet, but it also wasn't extremely rare (a mainstream Japanese car). I identified three dealerships in the metropolitan area that, according to their websites, had a model on the lot.

I could not for the life of me get them to give me a test drive. The first dealership I visited, the salesman said they'd "lost the key" to that particular car and I couldn't test drive it or buy it that day, I'd have to come back "later." (He couldn't tell me just when "later" was.) But he put on the *very* hard sell for two other models.

The second dealership, they claimed to have lost the car, period. No, not on the lot, they said. The third dealership, they claimed that I didn't really want that model, it wasn't reliable. When I pressed, they told me that their (brand new 2013) instance was in the shop, that's how bad it is. "Honestly," they didn't want to sell me the marque's "worst model." *They* were looking out for *me*, you see. Which is why they really, really wanted to put me in this *other* model in the showroom....

I finally bought one online and had it driven in from out of state. It's been a great car and performed as expected with the features I needed.

I don't know exactly what was going on when I was trying to make my vehicle purchase, but to me it screamed "conflict of interest" as they clearly didn't want to serve me, the customer, by selling me a product that I came for and that they clearly *had*.

Comment Two, both for mobile devices. (Score 2) 508

(1a) Root/jailbreak everywhere, as an easy option (not called that any longer). Rather like the security control on Mac OS. "Security" on by default, but can be turned off with a click.

(1b) An unlocked SIM socket on every device, of every size, along with a dialer/calling app for mobile networks. So that I don't have to choose amongst the limited selection of "phablets" but can instead use an iPad Mini or a Samsung Galaxy S2 as my phone if I want to.

Comment Re:Institutional Knowledge (Score 1) 169

I've been pondering that subject lately. If what you say is true, then shouldn't the company with the experienced employees and the institutional knowledge have a competitive advantage in their markets? I would have thought that advantage would have manifested fairly early as the quality of the shoddy competitors declines, but I haven't seen such a trend. I'd also expect the advantage to widen as the companies composed of nothing but temps loses institutional knowledge over time. Again, not seeing it.

Continuing on with my hypothesis, shouldn't the experienced employees be able to easily form a new company and drive the outsourcing ones out of the industry? I'm starting to see a few hints of that through anecdotal evidence, but not enough to draw conclusions yet.

Comment Which Is To Say (Score 1) 110

A third if their time coming up with new corporate password rules, a third of their time architecting the Citrix solution that is going to propel the company into the brave future of 1998 and a third of their time requiring their employees to get training on whatever the bandwagon buzzword of the month is (This quarter it's Rally/Agile/Scrum.) You know, honestly, the company would be a lot better off if a freak software error caused that guy to fall down an elevator shaft.

Comment Re:Spare us the hype (Score 1) 93

If they need insect pollinators, they'll make sure they have insect pollinators in the right quantity, with the right pollinating ability, to make their crop a success.

I never knew that nut farmers had such godlike powers.

I wonder why they're not using those powers right now to bring the perfect amount of rain to California, though.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN