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Comment: Re:Efficient? (Score 3, Insightful) 176

Whether or not it catches on will depend mostly on efficiency. If the losses are minimal, it makes sense to eliminate mechanical connections.

Efficiency will definitely play a part, but I think more important will be Convenience, Cost, and Coverage.

When you get an electric car, you need to plug it in every time you get home so that the charge is topped off and you never leave with a near empty battery. If all you have to do is drive over a special mat or the technology is embedded in the floor/pavement/whatever then that will be infinitely more convenient because it doesn't add any extra steps when you park your car.

If the mats cost a fortune to install or require significant upgrades to a home's existing infrastructure (a la a 220V system) they'll be less likely to be deployed. If they're sold separate from the car purchase, that could cause another issue.

Finally, if there are a bunch of competing standards or the technology doesn't catch on very widely the coverage for installations in semi-public areas like parking lots would likely never happen, leaving a large amount of city dwellers unable to get on the bandwagon.

Comment: Re:Rail? (Score 2) 666

by Z_A_Commando (#45303755) Attached to: Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH
It's not that it wouldn't work, it's that it's too expensive to build new rail lines, especially out of the east coast. If you want to use existing rail lines, those are all owned by a hodgepodge of different companies who (rightly or wrongly) give their freight trains priority. This is why Amtrak is so slow, because they don't have priority on the main line (along with stopping at every station between here and their destination). None of those rail lines are permitted by law to offer intra-city passenger service (commuter rail excepted). This is why everyone in the US either drives or flies to their destination.

Comment: Re:key wording of the law, "on a computer" != new (Score 1) 150

by Z_A_Commando (#44698501) Attached to: New Zealand Bans Software Patents

You raise a good point. However, the utility of something that's patented is that it (ostensibly) solves a problem. It's a way for an inventor to say "I/we figured out how to do X in a way that's novel and unique to me/us". In the spirit of the patent, the actual method for solving X is detailed in such a way that its uniqueness and utility can be independently verified by experts. The actual patent application is public domain so other inventors can figure out another way to solve X or make sure they don't violate someone else's patent inadvertently. The opportunity to skin the cat differently provides a spur to innovation. As an incentive to sharing this knowledge, the government provides a time-limited monopoly for the inventor to leverage the patent for financial gain. Moreover, a patent cannot be granted for a problem that does not have alternate solutions.

In the case of software, the "problems" that the solutions solve have gotten too large or broad. Instead of a single novel way for compressing audio, you get a method for end-to-end streaming music that gets patented. We may be better served if the patent were denied on the basis that the problem is "too large or broad" and the patent needs to be broken up. A good (and requisite) car example of this "too large or broad" application would be Tesla patenting their entire Model S sedan under a single patent. The components of the Model S solve a multitude of problems (propulsion method, vehicle management, secure APIs :), etc.), but patenting the entire car would never happen, and, in fact, the car's components are individually patented. The same standard should be applied to software. Break the software up into its component parts and have those patented individually or not at all. (I realize this would likely result in a deluge of patent applications, but forcing the source code for the solution to be included in the patent would make a huge difference here.)

A completely separate problem are that many patents are granted and the inventor(s) simply sit on the technology. Such a failure to actively attempt financial gain from a patent should be grounds for invalidating the patent, but that's a separate vein entirely.

Comment: Re:Only relevant line (Score 1) 629

by Z_A_Commando (#44582935) Attached to: Google Blocks YouTube App On Windows Phone (Again)

The real question is whether Google is imposing conditions on MS that they are not on anyone else. The sticking point is that third party apps must use the HTML5 API according to both Google and MS. However MS is crying foul that Android and iOS apps use native APIs. Here's the thing that MS is missing: the Android and iOS apps are not third party. They were written by Google.

Which sounds eerily similar to the "unpublished APIs" that the Win32 API was famous for back in the heyday of anti-trust against Microsoft. I don't think Google is wrong to insist that Microsoft use HTML5, but if Google won't build one for its own platform (i.e. Android) how can they force others to do it? I also think the bigger point here is that apparently the YouTube HTML5 API isn't as rich as the native one, which is why Microsoft says they reverse engineered the native one.

Comment: Re:wrong choice (Score 1) 684

When I was in grad school their VP of Human Resources came to speak to our cohort. She laid out their base financials and personnel information: $4.5B in revenue with 110,000 employees. The point of the talk was that Infosys trains and hires upwards of 10,000 people per day. While that's impressive from a training perspective, it also means their turnover has got to be incredibly high. What was more troubling is that the average revenue per employee is about $41,000. She wouldn't disclose what their profit was, but if they're only making $41,000 per employee they have got to be paying them less than that to turn a profit.

She then posed an open question to the cohort that she didn't know the answer to: "Why is Infosys having problems hiring top-tier American and European talent?" Moreover, she wanted to know why the Americans/Europeans Infosys did interview weren't willing to move to India! All I could think was, because top-tier talent won't work for $41,000/year on average.

Comment: Re:Two Drive Around My Florida Town (Score 1) 452

by Z_A_Commando (#44319651) Attached to: Tesla Motors May Be Having an iPhone Moment
You've hit the nail on the head: the reason the Teslas stand out is because they aren't common. Before I moved to a major city, it was uncommon to see a Porsche. Now that I live in a major city, I see Porsches (especially Panameras) everywhere, and it's not uncommon to see a Maserati, Bentley, or Lamborghini either. So the talking point is the novelty of the car (like the iPhone was a novelty when it first came out) because you don't see that many yet. It's not the fact that the car is the second coming of the Model T (it isn't in my opinion, but that's a separate discussion).

Comment: Re:Just curious (Score 4, Informative) 79

by Z_A_Commando (#44218197) Attached to: The Physics Behind Waterslides

Having worked at a water park, I can tell you that they primarily keep the water clean by constantly upping the levels of chlorine and other chemicals. However, it depends on the attraction. Some attractions like slides and flume rides are emptied every night or every week for inspections. A big example is Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. They drain the water every night and pump it out to a treatment facility. New water is pumped in from a retaining pond just outside of the attraction.

Some attractions, such as large wave pools, can't be drained and refilled overnight and instead are typically drained during the off season or during refurbishment only. However, these attractions are constantly having new water added because of evaporation and because some water is drained as it passes through various filters and cleansing agents. An extreme example would be Schlitterbahn, where they siphon part of a river into their park and the water runs through once before exiting back into the river without recirculation. Of course, treatment is done when the water comes in and when the water leaves so it's safe to swim in and safe for the environment.

The most likely source of infection from a waterpark are areas where water does not circulate effectively and thus does not pass through the filters. This is why waterparks have tons of moving water and very little (if any) standing water. Of course, MRSA is also a tough bugger to fight. If you were actually diagnosed with MRSA and your doctor believes you got it while visiting a waterpark, I recommend you contact your state board of health so that it can be taken care of. Waterparks have tons of reporting they need to do, but most of it revolves around chemical levels. Knowing they may have MRSA in the water will result in extra precautions and a more thorough investigation. Blood borne pathogens are not something waterparks take lightly.

Comment: Check With Your Credit Card Company (Score 1) 329

by Z_A_Commando (#43624601) Attached to: Is Buying an Extended Warranty Ever a Good Idea?
Most Visa and American Express cards come with a perk that will extend the original manufacturer's warranty for an additional year simply by purchasing the item with their credit card. The additional year is covered by the credit card company and usually has to be negotiated through them, but buying accidental protection coverage with that credit card extends that coverage for a year too. YMMV, check with your credit card company.

Comment: Re:Biggest? Really? (Score 3, Insightful) 83

It's a Tier 3 data-center built to withstand F5 tornadoes and earthquakes. All the pretty glass stuff doesn't really survive in 300MPH winds. Also, the main receiving area in the back looks like something out of Jurassic Park. And in Bloomington, they think limestone is very pretty.

Comment: Re:WAN (Score 1) 284

by Z_A_Commando (#39495717) Attached to: Comcast Not Counting Their Video Service Against Bandwidth Cap
Since we don't know where XFinityTV.com is located, it's possible that the traffic is leaving the Comcast network at some point. As far as I am aware, you can't access the XFinity XBox app if you're not on the Comcast network. This is similar to ESPN3.com where the app is useless if your ISP doesn't pony up for access.

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