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Comment: What about Microsoft in all this? (Score 1) 337

by Streetlight (#49791785) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier
Not to muddy the waters, and perhaps a little off topic, but I've read several articles that estimate Microsoft brings in between $2 billion to $8.8 billion in license fees from harware makers using Android. These are two year old posts:


The last link asserts MS makes five times as much from these fees than it does on the Windows Phone OS. There have been recent developments in settling disputes about fees paid by Samsung to Microsoft, so some of the numbers are not up to date, but one point that's clear, Android is not free to hardware makers and indirectly to hardware purchasers but do result in substantial Microsoft revenue.

Comment: Isn't HTTPS an encryption mechanism? (Score 1) 206

by Streetlight (#49740335) Attached to: Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption
Just askin'. Not an expert in encryption and not sure the number of bits employed in HTTPS, but wouldn't this basically ban a secure Internet in Oz? Many important non-Australian sites would not be available there. I'm guessing much, if not most, Internet traffic comes from overseas to Oz; again, not sure.

Comment: A Better User Interface from Apple (Score 1) 243

by Streetlight (#49730979) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television
About the only thing that Apple might bring to a smart TV might be a better UI. My Samsung smart TV UI is usable but certainly could be better. I don't own a Roku, but some have said its UI is somewhat clumsy. I think LG has new smart TVs with Roku build in, but I think an external streaming box is the best solution. Maybe TVs should really be just dumb monitors and even broadcast TV should use a separate box, but I think US regulation or law requires built in TV tuners.

Comment: Somebody else has a worse coffee maker (Score 1) 369

by Streetlight (#49643363) Attached to: Keurig Stock Drops, Says It Was Wrong About DRM Coffee Pods
I read somewhere (can't remember where) that some company has an Internet connected coffee maker. It's not a single serve device and looks like the "old fashioned" drip maker with a glass pot. This guy is connected to the Internet using your household LAN and if it can't connect it cannot be programmed to work. IIRC, Internet down = no coffee. No Internet at all = no coffee. At least the Keurig DRM can be defeated in several ways as shown on multiple YouTube videos.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 486

The suggestion I made is to use technology to be sure you would be confident you would have a battery when you need it. With GPS on board your vehicle and Wireless communication battery exchange stations would be in communication with your vehicle, know the state of your battery and could expect when you would show up. While driving you would be informed that you needed a battery in plenty of time and where to get it. There might be several choices where you could stop, too, and with a GPS map, you would get directions and distances. Useful on a long trip in case you might want to stop for more than just a battery change such as the call of nature, stretch your legs, find food or a place to stay over night.

One other advantage of this system is that you could be sure of the range of your vehicle. As batteries age their ability to hold charge tends to decrease and in this case the system could cycle out older batteries so any battery you have on your trip will give like new performance. I think your analogy of the battery is like gasoline is a good one. You really only borrow or rent gasoline one tank fill at a time. Here, the stored energy in the battery is the gasoline or fuel. How do you feel about recycling the batteries in a battery powered device even if they're rechargeables? Or the tires on a car that wear out? I expect you don't have a very strong affinity for them.

You'll not doubt pay more for this service than if you just paid for the electricity at home but if you charged on the road you'll not only pay for the electricity but also something for the cost of building the charging station and its maintenance. Another advantage could be that you might want to exchange batteries when at home so as to prevent a big surprise when your original battery won't hold charge any more and you would have a several thousand dollar expense getting a new one. Likely this cost will be spread out over the life of the car rather than in one big gulp.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 2) 486

What about a situation where your used battery can be swapped in five minutes for a fully charged, 400 mile battery? The discharged battery could then be hooked up to a solar, wind driven or on the grid charger depending on the time of day and made ready for another car. These battery change stations could manage inventory using a vehicle wireless internet/GPS connected database and experience to make sure there were enough batteries for long distance travellers.

Comment: Re:Driving down the cost of content (Score 1) 329

by Streetlight (#49563607) Attached to: ESPN Sues Verizon To Stop New Sports-Free TV Bundles
I haven't heard here anything about what ESPN pays the various sports leagues for their content. ESPN is willing to pay the USGA more than NBC for the rights to broadcast the US Open Golf championship or it's willing to pay more than some other network for tennis or college football, NFL football, etc. The high cost to ESPN for the right to broadcast sports entertainment is likely the reason for extracting high fees from pay TV providers and ultimately for those who subscribe to pay TV. Some of these costs are also attributable to the expense of running the individual teams in the leagues including high salaries for players, coaches or prize money in golf or tennis. As most of us know the highest paid employee of a major university is a sports head coach, sometimes in the millions of dollars per year. The university has to get that money back somewhere and TV revenue is an important source of those funds. It's a never ending bidding war: teams pay high salaries because they know they can get the money from some broadcaster and the broadcasters know they can get the money from over the air or pay TV channels, and round-and-round it goes. The only way to break the circle is for one of the radii spokes to refuse to pay and viewers to forgo sports entertainment for awhile.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, in other news (Score 1) 486

Maybe Oxygen created from CO2, H2O with sunlight and chlorophyll as catalyst. The other products are cellulose (in tree trunks, corn stalks, grass stems, etc.) and starch or sugars (sugar beets or sugar cane). This is done in green plants. Some research has been conducted using the same inputs on silicon with light, but I'm not up to date on that.

Comment: Re:Based on the /. headline... (Score 1) 486

You're right. The point I was trying to make is that it takes a lot of energy to convert CO2 and H20 into a fuel, an energy storage medium. However, a lot of the energy stored in the fuel by breaking chemical bonds and rearranging them into fuel is lost when the fuel is converted back to CO2 and H2O by moving a vehicle down - or up - a road.

You gotta' take into account the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a cyclic process entropy is created when work is performed like moving the pistons in an internal combustion engine to get the vehicle down the road so some of the energy content in the fuel will not be converted into motion. One consequence of this is the fact that vehicles have radiators to dissipate the heat that cannot be turned into motion. Even electric motors, which are very efficient, get warm. The power plant that produces electricity can't convert all the heat used to run turbines into electricity. Similar arguments can be made for wind powered turbines, though the wind is kind of "free" energy when it blows. The electric current used to charge batteries generates heat in the batteries. And discharging batteries to run electric motors in cars get warm. So, yes, the 1st law can be used to calculate the energy required to convert the combustion products back into fuel but more energy will be put into fuel manufacture than was converted into the work of motion. My guess is the total efficiency of the cycle (wind electricity, convert CO2 + H20 to fuel, burn fuel in vehicle, move vehicle) is somewhere near 15% or less.

According to a post above using wind generated electricity to make the conversion would require 40 acres for 200 liters of fuel. To give an estimate of scale: the USA consumes about 3.2 trillion liters of crude oil per day, so to make this fuel as a replacement using wind power would require 636 million acres. Not all the crude goes into fuel so the numbers may be off some. The land area of the continental US is about 1.9 billion acres, so somewhat less than 33% of the area of the US would be required to replace crude oil based hydrocarbon fuels. Considering wind doesn't blow well everywhere, a lot of land is used for agriculture, forests, national parks, deserts, etc., a significant contribution to a wind generated fuel source doesn't sound likely here. Nuclear fission or fusion generated electricity might do the trick considering the likely land area requirements for those plants. There are well known problems with nuclear fission electric production and nuclear fusion produced electricity hasn't been made commercially viable yet.

Comment: Based on the /. headline... (Score 1) 486

I assumed based on the /. headline that this article was just a delayed April 1 joke. Breaking the two double bonds in a CO2 molecule (depending how you count) and one or two HO bonds in water to produce a single carbon atom oxygenated hydrocarbon like formaldehyde [H(CO)H] or methanol [H3COH], both of which have low energy densities, is going to take a lot of external energy. Doesn't seem practical to me. Maybe I'll read the article.

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning