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Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 3, Insightful) 316

Five square metres of solar panel on every single domestic roof in the USA would produce a very significant energy change. 125 million houses * 5Kw is 625 gigawatts. Germany has 23 gigawatts of domestic solar panels, which, on a sunny day, is sufficient to power the whole country. Yes, obviously, it doesn't work twenty-four hours a day, or in bad weather. Yes, obviously, you need to find some way of storing energy, such as compressed air, hydrogen hydrolysis, pumped storage or whatever. None of this is rocket science.

Bottom line: the USA could power its whole economy, including road vehicles, on domestic solar panels alone.

Comment: Re:The moan of sour grapes (Score 1) 450

by Simon Brooke (#49229691) Attached to: Reactions to the New MacBook and Apple Watch

I don't have a Rolex. In fact, I actually had to look to discover that it's a Tissot. It's been on my wrist for getting on for thirty years, and I have no doubt at all that it will go on 'til the end of my life without any problems. If, when I die, one of my heirs decides they want it, it will go on 'til the end of their lives, too. It needs a new battery once every three years or so, and it needs the date reset at the end of every month with fewer than thirty-one days, and, err, that's it. It tells the time. It just works. And I don't have to think about it.

If I amortised it over the time years I've had it already, it's cost me about £15 a year; if I amortise it over the time it's likely to be useful, that drops to about £4 a year. By contrast, a 'smart' watch - any smart watch, I'm not making a dig at Apple - will be obsolete in three years, so that's about £100 for each year you own it, or £2 a week. And I'd have to take it off every night to charge it, or if I forgot it would run out of battery just when I needed it most.

A reasonable quality mechanical watch is a very long way from obsolete; and, despite their price, they are very, very inexpensive to own, because you're only ever going to need one.

Comment: Connector life? (Score 2) 392

My current laptop, an ASUS ZenBook, is dying because it has a damaged power input port - the motherboard is cracked, and it is becoming increasingly unreliable. In the past year, two tablets in my household have died because the micro-USB ports which serve as their power connectors had ceased to work - presumably due to wear. And now Apple are bringing out a new laptop with just one port which is technically similar to a USB connector. How durable is it? How will it stand up to knocks and accidental falls? If that port fails, the machine is dead - and replacement of the port inevitably means soldering the motherboard, which is skilled and consequently expensive work.

The nature of a laptop which is used on the move is that it has a hard life. The Apple MagSafe connector is a brilliant design because it is not susceptible to wear and relatively invulnerable to knocks, trips and falls. I had already made up my mind that my next laptop would be a MacBook, simply because of the MagSafe connector. So I'm aghast at the decision to abandon it. It seems perverse!

+ - How to prevent an idea from being patented? 6

Submitted by Simon Brooke
Simon Brooke (45012) writes "I have an idea for a simple medical device which would greatly help in the monitoring of a disease I have, and several other diseases as well. Sooner or later one of the medical device companies is going to come up with this idea, patent it, and make a monopoly profit from it. I would much rather it were in the public domain, so all device manufacturers could use it freely, and it would therefore be available to patients at lower cost. Is there any way I can publish it that puts it in the public record, and prevents patents? Or should I actually apply for a patent and then give it away royalty free?"

Comment: Re:i'th Post (Score 1) 366

It actually doesn't matter whether it's man made or not. If our cities and our farmland are going to be flooded and rendered unusable, we have to respond. Climate change could be 100% down to aliens from the Planet Bolg, and we'd still have to take action. Pretending it isn't happening, or claiming it's not our fault, is not adult behaviour.

Comment: Re:i'th Post (Score 1, Troll) 366

Are we all going to die from it? No, so quit making it seem scary.

The overwhelming majority of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to die - not directly of global warming, but of the war, pestilence, famine and general destruction which will ensue when coastal cities flood, the area of agricultural land (much of which, globally, is also low lying) reduces, and the temperate bands move towards the poles.

Not everyone will die, no. And probably the big die-off won't happen in the lifetime of anyone now alive. But if we don't halt global warming soon, the population of the Earth is going to fall very sharply, probably by an order of magnitude.

Comment: Re:never heard of this jMonkeyEngine (Score 1) 184

I think software by nerds is for nerds.

Not Joes. Apache, linux, freebsd, samba, cordova, openssl, and others are invaluable but are for developers.

Exactly. And the people who write games are necessarily nerds. So the fact the jMonkeyEngine is build by and used by nerds is just fine - non-nerds do not have the skills to create games.

Comment: I use jMonkeyEngine (Score 1) 184

And prefer it to Unity, which I also use a little. The reasons I like it are:

  • It's platform agnostic.
  • It plays nice with Java and other JVM languages, including Clojure in which my AI is written
  • It's open source, and since if I ever get to a place where I've a releasable game I'll want to release open source that matters.

What do you need from your community? Is it feedback? Is it actual engagement (like, do you want people to take responsibility for particular bits of functionality?) It is money? Frankly I'd be happy to subscribe maybe US$100/year to help fund the development of jMonkeyEngine, provided it keeps developing and stays open source.

Comment: Re:A BASIC fan's step-by-step curriculum (Score 1) 215

I know it's not really what a platform-builder wants to hear, but please use BASIC only for purposes for which it's the best tool. It's ideal for highlighting the often-missed initial concepts, such as the facts that statements are executed in order, variables can store information and change...

In declarative languages instructions are not executed in order (indeed, modern compilers frequently reorder instructions and, as we progressively move away from Von Neumann architectures, very few computing environments will guarantee instructions are executed in order). In functional languages variables cannot change. If those are the ideas you've internalised about software, you aren't going to go very far.

BASIC is just the ultimate bad language. Like King John, it has no redeeming features.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll