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Comment: Re:Uniball Vision Micro (Score 1) 712

by Phantom Gremlin (#41838845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: The Search For the Ultimate Engineer's Pen

Yes, the Micro is an excellent pen, with a 0.5 mm tip. It's "fade and water resistant", which is good. I'm surprised that nobody else has mentioned them.

My only complaint is a matter of logistics. I have no problem buying blue ones or black ones. But I've only found red ones in combo packs with other colors.

Comment: Re:oversimplified (Score 1) 403

by Phantom Gremlin (#41371891) Attached to: The Linux-Proof Processor That Nobody Wants

now, as we well know, power consumption is a square law of the clock rate. so in a rough comparison, in the same geometry (e.g. 45nm), that 1.6ghz CPU is going to be roughly TEN times more power consumption than that dual-core ARM Cortex A9.

You have mis-remembered the power consumption rules. It's directly proportional to clock rate. It's a square law with respect to voltage. That's why Intel takes great pains to constantly vary the voltage of its chips as they operate. C.f. this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_voltage_scaling

Of course, there are a whole lot of details beyond the simplistic formula of v-squared times f. E.g., until recently, the "leakage currents" (i.e. power drawn even at zero clock rate) were getting worse and worse (as a percentage of total power). That's why when Intel announced Ivy Bridge it was a big deal. Their tri-gate transistors are much better in terms of leakage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multigate_device#Tri-gate_transistors

Comment: pop quiz, Mr. J. Peter Bruzzese (Score 4, Informative) 364

by Phantom Gremlin (#39651301) Attached to: Assessing Media Bias: Microsoft Vs. Everyone Else

Which of the following four companies is a convicted monopolist?
a) Microsoft
b) Apple
c) Facebook
d) Google

The correct answer is "a" (Microsoft). The leadership that festered that predatory behavior is still at Microsoft. Bill Gates is Chairman, Steve Ballmer is CEO. That's why Microsoft's actions warrant careful scrutiny.

It's unfortunate that the "editors" allowed themselves to be trolled this way.

Comment: Re:News for nerds? (Score 1, Informative) 995

by Phantom Gremlin (#39651153) Attached to: Zimmerman Charged With 2nd-Degree Murder

I agree, this is not news for nerds.

Others have already agreed with you, but I wanted to "pile on", in the hopes of influencing the "editors" who select these stories. Yeah, I know, it's silly for me to think this post might make a difference. Most of the time, the "editors" can't be bothered to even read the story; I have no realistic expectation that they might actually read our comments.

Comment: Re:Negroponte and IT fundamentalists are the probl (Score 2) 274

by Phantom Gremlin (#39616015) Attached to: OLPC Project Disappoints In Peru

That olpcnews link was very informative. And your comments are exactly to the point.

A while ago I saved a comment (I think from slashdot, I'm too lazy to google for it) that summarizes the situation:

OLPC is a rich man's idea of what poor men need. It's like donating an expresso machine to a homeless shelter.

Comment: Re:One MIT Engineer to Another (Score 1) 328

by Phantom Gremlin (#39603611) Attached to: World Is Ignoring Most Important Lesson From Fukushima

This was just plain bad management

That's the problem. I don't care about technical solutions, because PHBs will invariably do whatever it takes to fuck things up. This was true for the two space shuttle accidents, for Three Mile Island, for Chernobyl, and most recently for Fukushima.

How do we solve the management problem? Without a solution to that, the only technical schemes that could work long term are those that can be proactively designed to survive actively hostile management for the entire operating lifetime of a nuclear plant. That just doesn't seem possible, does it? PHBs are lazy and stupid, but, given 50 years of effort, they will figure out how to fuck something up. That's as universal a law as gravity.

Comment: change can only come from the top (Score 4, Insightful) 375

by Phantom Gremlin (#39359087) Attached to: Reversing the Loss of Science and Engineering Careers

The decline of engineering as a career in this country is primarily because of two groups: a) top management and b) government policies. MBAs control top management, lawyers control government. Nothing will change until and unless those two groups understand that things need to change.

I'm not optimistic.

Comment: Re:It's about the film. (Score 1) 200

by Phantom Gremlin (#39193357) Attached to: Reasons Behind the Demise of Kodak

They tried PhotoCD

I don't remember if it was Photo CD or its successor Picture CD. But this thing was *worthless*. I paid about $7 extra exactly once for one of these. Never again.

The reason was quality. I was taking full frame 35 mm images. For $7 extra they put crappy 1 MB scans of those onto a CD for me. Really? That's $7 of value added? Screw them.

Comment: Re:Something wrong here... (Score 1) 205

by Phantom Gremlin (#39167265) Attached to: Hard Drive Shortage Relief Coming In Q1 2012

Thanks for your posting.

Yes it's simple "Economics 101", but too many nerds here on Slashdot don't understand it. Unfortunately they probably still won't understand it even after reading your post. Because their minds are closed, and they're just saying to themselves "that's not fair" without thinking it through.

Comment: Re:Disturbing (Score 1) 50

by Phantom Gremlin (#37800730) Attached to: Nasdaq Intrusion Spreads To Listed Companies

What's worrying is that this is promoted by a stock exchange for the sole purpose of private communications and documents in public companies.

Exactly right.

Why the fuck is *NASDAQ* promoting this program? They're a stock exchange. Let them do that. Let someone else write and sell garbage like this.

Security breaches like this taint NASDAQ's reputation. And for what? The amount of revenue this could have generated is peanuts compared to revenue from running the exchange itself.

Oh, for the good old days, when "heads will roll for this" was meant literally, not figuratively. Just think of it as a little chlorine in the gene pool.

Comment: Re:The schools could gotten laptops for less with (Score 1) 456

by Phantom Gremlin (#35927212) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

The schools could gotten laptops for less with a bigger screen, more ram , more hdd space and more software.

How the fuck did this drivel get modded +5 insightful??? Anyone who considers that comment +5 insightful is either a total imbecile or has never used both an iPad and a laptop. I've used both. Extensively. They're not equivalent. Not even close. They each have their place.

This drivel completely misses the point of the iPad. It's *not* a laptop. It weighs a third as much as much as a small laptop. It has a much better display than the typical budget laptop. It exits standby instantly, quite unlike a typical laptop. It's much more secure and easier to use than the typical laptop. It can easily run on a single battery charge for a full day, most laptops can't.

And there's more wrong with the second half of that sentence. E.g why does the typical middle school student need to lug around "a bigger screen"? Why does he need "more ram"? Why does he need "more hdd space"? Now you're out of the range of a small laptop. With the bigger-is-better mantra, a 12 y/o kid should be lugging around a 6 lb laptop? Add how much more weight for a case and a charger?

I think we can debate whether middle school students even need an iPad. Without reading TFA, my initial reaction is *no*. But certainly middle school students don't need a laptop to drag around all day, every day. I can't even begin to imagine how many laptops would be broken by the end of a school year. My SWAG would be: more than 70%. The iPad is much more robust, but still would have a hard time surviving a year of daily classroom use by a typical middle school student.

I wish you humans would leave me alone.

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