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Comment: Re:Somewhere... (Score 1) 244

by QuarkofNature (#43479723) Attached to: Researchers Report Super-Powered Battery Breakthrough
Close, only off by an order of magnitude or so. Taking specs from a Tesla S, it's got an 85 kWh battery good for an estimated 300 mile range. To go from NY to Florida (even, say, Key West, as far as you can drive) is about 1400 miles, or about 400 kWh. But, of course, you can't drive 1400 miles on a tank of gas either (in your average production car). So let's say you stop every 300 miles, and put 85 kWh into your battery (presumably one a little larger than the Tesla...you wouldn't want to drive it right to empty). If THAT takes 5 minutes, you're talking 1 MW power transfer, or 250A at 4KV. I sure wouldn't want to get shocked by that cable, but it doesn't seem crazy, physics-wise. Tesla already has in operation "supercharger" stations that can handle up to 100kW transfers (250A at 400V). I gather that's not a physics limitation, but rather practical limits on what the battery can handle.

Comment: Re:AudioQuest has been at this for a long time (Score 1) 369

by QuarkofNature (#38496170) Attached to: Customers Gleefully Mock Best Buy's $1,095.99 HDMI
A few years ago I went to an audiophile gathering (meatspace meeting for members of an audiophile forum) for kicks. I held back a chuckle when someone showed me the $1000+ power cable for their hand-made tube amplifier for their $4K Sony MDR-R10 headphones. I specifically asked this question, assuming a full-active sine-generating UPS behind it. But no, the power cable owner stated he was specifically told by the manufacturer that the cables worked best directly plugged into the wall, without any surge protector, UPS, or other devices to "color" the sound.

So yes, pure, unadulterated bunk. Sometimes the big lies work best... a $50 cable might be just overpriced, but a $1000 cable...well, there has to be SOMETHING to it, right?

Comment: Re:Umm (Score 3, Interesting) 153

by QuarkofNature (#38417932) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Entry-Level Robotics Kits For Young Teenagers?
A friend of mine has a son who's interested. Every time they come over, he's asking me about my latest computer / electronics / whatever project. He hid a from-scratch crystal radio he was building under his jacket, last time they were over, to show me and ask me questions, without telling his parents. He is interested. As cool as it is in concept, getting a $200+ kit for a kid who hasn't shown any interest because "maybe they just haven't been exposed to it" seems like a waste of money to me. If you actually interact with a kid of that age, you should have a pretty good idea if they're interested or not. Having said all that, if OP has reason to believe they really ARE interested, I'd suggest that $40-100 is tough for the suggested application. You can buy some basic parts as some have suggested, an arduino, USB interface, and a shield or two, but unless a kid is really motivated, they won't make heads or tails of it without a lot of help, not just a couple hours of your time. Plus, they'd likely nee to need to spend lots of additional money (their own?) to get the additional parts to make anything useful. The reason Mindstorms and the Fischertechnik kits are expensive is because they're easy to approach, have instructions, and come with enough stuff to allow creation of interesting things without buying additional parts. Compromising and getting something that is doesn't stand on its own or isn't suitable for beginners could backfire...you're probably better off getting a more simple, but approachable kit, like a snap circuits kit in your price range.

Comment: Re:This just makes sense (Score 1) 1345

by QuarkofNature (#37557018) Attached to: Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

Science is the empirical study of how things are.

Religion is the normative study of how things should be.

I agree with the first part, but would submit that philosophy is the domain of normative study of how things should be (among other things). I find it interesting how you summarily dismiss "logical positivism" (which, as I understand it, has at its core simply the idea of using observation and empirical evidence as a foundation for philosophical arguments), yet in your first sentence you argue that "Moral teachings that have largely been proven to work in building relatively peaceful and successful societies ... So I'd include some religions and not others". That sounds like you are saying that we should be using evidence of particular religions' success in building peaceful societies as the arbiter of whether they should be considered worthy.

I, on the other hand, would say that a prime discriminator between religious interpretation and discussion, versus a more "pure" philosophical approach, would be the acceptance of a basic religion-driven framework (pick one of your choice) without such evidence.

It sounds to me like you want to have your cake and eat it too.

Comment: Re:Linux failed on netbooks. (Score 1) 348

by QuarkofNature (#28958257) Attached to: Microsoft Acknowledges Linux Threat To Windows
There's another reason why most people are buying netbooks with Windows. Try and find cases where you can buy the same netbook, at the same price, with your choice of Windows or Linux presented to you, just like any other option (extra memory, bluetooth, etc.) I was looking at the Asus netbooks a little while, and for those few models that were offered in both Linux and Windows, they kept the prices the same, but bumped some other HW spec instead (i.e. 1 model with Linux and 16GB SSD, another with Windows and 8GB SSD). Dell now offers some models with either, and (finally!) lets you configure them the same. I did that for the mini 9 and 10, and found that in one case the difference was $5 and in the other, *they were the same price*, both spec'd with identical hardware.

Aside from diehards (I'm currently struggling with getting UNR running stably on a mini 10 for my wife...no thanks to Intel's GMA 500 chipset), what incentive is there for people to switch from what they know, to Linux, when companies like Dell are keeping every cent of the "Linux savings" for themselves, rather than giving the consumer a fair choice?

Comment: Re:CentOS, FOSS, and leadership problems. (Score 2, Insightful) 211

by QuarkofNature (#28909689) Attached to: CentOS Administrator Reappears
At my company, we vet the software we use, both proprietary and FOSS, prior to using it in our systems. I think you raise some good points here...one thing I have observed is that our "standards" for doing this analysis are very commercial-company-centric.

The folks who do trade studies "get" how to look at company financials, strength, size, etc., to ensure that we aren't going down a bad path with a piece of proprietary software. Yet, in most cases, I see people at a loss of how to do equivalent analysis for FOSS products. It might be surprising to some people around here, but many still don't grasp just how different a developer-and-user community for a product is, compared to a corporation that produces software. And even for those of us who do understand the differences, it's still sometimes tricky to do a fair comparative analysis.

Just as the OSI has tried to formalize what open source means, and helps vet licenses to make it easier for people wanting to use FOSS software, it might be very useful to come up with some standard measures of the health of FOSS projects, and start gathering that data in one place for popular ones.

Comment: Re:Blu-ray is the new ... (Score 1) 1276

by QuarkofNature (#25138363) Attached to: Bad Signs For Blu-ray

I think another instructive analogy is the SACD versus DVD-Audio war. Sure, it's audio, not video, but in other respects it seems more apropo. A next generation format war to replace the CD. Cons: New players required; expensive players; expensive discs. Pros: Slightly better audio quality.

Ironically, the successor to the CD has turned out to be the mp3...slightly (or imperceptibly, depending on who you ask) WORSE quality, but greatly improved convenience.

I've got a pretty substantial DVD collection, a Blu-Ray player (which also can play games, when the occasional good one comes out), and a nice HT setup (Sony 1080p projector, 96" screen, 8 good quality speakers, etc.). Even on this setup, I'm quite happy with DVD quality video and audio.

So, is Blu-Ray perceptibly better? Video, yes, but not to nearly the same degree as DVD to VHS, and only if you've really got a sufficiently large display. Audio...not really, perhaps discernable in ABX testing, but not for real world use.

I typically buy Blu-Ray for big budget, audiovisual-feast-oriented new movies, but I wait and look for good deals, and really haven't found myself buying many. I still buy DVDs for everything else, because the difference in quality just isn't worth a significant premium. And I know far down the snob-spectrum from the typical user.

If Sony wants Blu-Ray to catch on, they're just going to have to view it as a "keeping pace to make piracy harder" play, not a "let's extract MORE money from the consumer" play, and get player prices to the sub-$100 range, and the disc premiums to only a couple dollars or less. Staying in the top 1% to 5% of the market just isn't a good survival plan for format.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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