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Comment: Re:Horse already left the barn (Score 5, Informative) 233

by ScottyB (#45520315) Attached to: Is a Postdoc Worth it?

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Have a concrete plan to feed yourself. Or save the schooling for retirement, after you've saved up enough to live on. Digging yourself a hundred thousand dollar hole isn't a great idea right out of the gate.

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They're talking about science and engineering postdocs in the article, not humanities. Science and engineering postdocs are paid, just not very well, and science and engineering graduate students are also paid as well as having their tuition covered, so the point about debt is moot. Grad school and such in these disciplines is mostly about opportunity cost (years in your 20s potentially squandered) and potentially limiting your future career opportunities depending on your field and/or continued desire to remain in the academy.

Comment: Nonsense, this is just interference (Score 1) 241

by ScottyB (#35238540) Attached to: Scientists Invent World's First Anti-Laser

This is just constructive or destructive interference of two beams of light, no different than a resonant-cavity photodiode, which has existed for 20 years. Lasing, if you recall, is stimulated emission, represented by one of Einstein's coefficients. The opposite physical process, which is the opposite Einstein coefficient, is absorption, which is always stimulated (there's no such thing as spontaneous absorption). We've long known about "anti-lasing"--it's called absorption.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Comment: scaling of webOS (Score 4, Insightful) 236

by ScottyB (#32029332) Attached to: Does HP + Palm = Facepalm?

In some of the news reports on this, I saw repeated references to the fact that "webOS can scale" or something to that effect. I don't know too much about webOS vs. Android vs. Chrome, but my guess here is that HP is buying Palm for tablets and MIDs, not for smartphones. I doubt HP has much desire to go against the HTCs and Samsungs of the smartphone world in hardware, and they're not naturally a software company (a la Google and Microsoft with their respective mobile OSs).

More likely, I would bet, is that HP has doubts that Android will scale well to tablets (current offerings in the market notwithstanding), with their relatively higher computing power than phones, and their experience with the Slate is probably indicating that Windows 7, despite being a good desktop OS, is not scaling too well down to the netbook level and below. Thus, they might be leaving open the option of pushing a tablet/MID level of computers based on webOS to compete with the iPad on iPhone OS.

And, if that doesn't work, as others have said, Palm has both a valuable name and lots of talented employees that can become HP's mobile arm, thus allowing them to have their asses covered and prevent shareholder panic.

Comment: Re:A false choice, of course... (Score 2, Interesting) 2044

by ScottyB (#31541358) Attached to: Health Care Reform

FYI, the reconciliation package removes all these "sweetheart deals." Filibuster reform will help prevent more of such deals, but considering the fact that most red states (I'm looking at you, Mississippi) get more back from the Federal government than taxes they pay in thanks to such earmarks and deals, I'd say neither party can take the high ground on that issue (the so-called sausage making of legislation).

Comment: Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 377

by ScottyB (#31453472) Attached to: IBM Stops Disclosing US Headcount Data

Yeah! Race 'em to the bottom!?!? Or, maybe structure our government's trade laws to be more beneficial to American workers? And tax the IBM executives at a higher rate if they're going to be living in the comfort of the United States while making their money off the poor in the developing world and destroying the American middle class (whose provide soldiers, policemen, firemen, and the government that make living and running the company in the US so comfortable)?

No, definitely the unions' fault.

Comment: Easy, George, Let Somebody Else Direct It (Score 4, Insightful) 474

by ScottyB (#31099002) Attached to: Star Wars TV Show Tainted By Memories of Jar Jar

George, there's an easy way to go back to the "good old days" before the prequels (if you haven't seen the 7-part, 1+-hour-long review of the Phantom Menace on youtube, go now and find it). Let somebody else direct them, and you just be a producer. It's clear that nobody on your staff is willing to contradict your "artistic vision," and thus we end up with crap results. Let somebody else direct, and then you throw in some criticism for a back-and-forth, and maybe these won't suck.

But smart money would be on them being terrible.

Comment: from an ignoramus on all things Chrome OS (Score 1) 435

by ScottyB (#30214488) Attached to: Would You Use a Free Netbook From Google?

Here I've just gotten my head around Android, and now there's Chrome OS. Will someone please explain, why? Why would anyone bother with Chrome OS? I mean, weren't we just talking about a netbook with Android?

I get Android. It's the open-source, linux-type competitor to Windows Mobile and iPhone OS, being helped by Google's name and stature in the mobile market.

But Chrome OS? I understand netbooks will run slightly faster with linux or some lightweight variant than with Windows XP, but really, the hardware's the limitation here, not the OS. Taking a 4-cylinder Honda Civic and reducing the weight may give you better gas mileage and a slightly higher top speed, but we're not talking much, and certainly not enough to make me at least (and I like linux!) switch to linux on my Lenovo netbook. It's a netbook. It surfs the web. Learning a new OS for a netbook just doesn't have much appeal when my main system is still running Windows.

Comment: Err, forgetting some things much? (Score 3, Informative) 1137

by ScottyB (#27867999) Attached to: Your Commuting Costs By Car Vs. Train?

Owning a car costs far more than just your monthly loan payment. I had an old piece of junk which cost me just $1000 a year in insurance since I did not need comprehensive. My guess is that you're looking at least at $2000-3000 a year in insurance alone for a standard newish car (banks require comprehensive for anything they have a loan out for). Add to that a monthly payment for the car of say $300-400, which gives a total of $4000-5000 a year, and you're easily at the $12,600 estimate.

Comment: Re:mindless drivel about the future of computers (Score 2, Interesting) 245

by ScottyB (#19001985) Attached to: The End of .Mac and Google Apps?
There's one major wildcard in your predictions--batteries (or mobile power solutions, in the case of things like methanol-based fuel cells). I think you're on the mark with respect to the home environment--laptops and off-site storage--since we're almost there now in major cities where bandwidth is plentiful (e.g., FiOS) and with people storing everything on gmail and photo sites.

The mobile landscape outside of the home, though, will be heavily dependent on how batteries develop. Without some breakthrough in power density and miniturization, we'll still be stuck with mobile devices like laptops and iPhones that are limited to 3 or 4 hours of use, which is just not enough to provide the reliability needed to really achieve the integration to which you refer because of people's cell phone needs. Plus, physically it's impossible to achieve the quality of a typical Canon digital camera with your mobile device because you need a retractable lens. So, I think for the moment, barring any clever innovations for improving cell phone cameras or lengthening battery life, the mobile device landscape in 2017 probably won't look too different than what we have now.

And, people won't want to pay twice for the computer they use in the home and on the go, so we'll still be using a laptop of some sort in 2017.

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