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Comment Re:Solar Roadway Bull$it (Score 1) 405

Dave's argument starts with real-world numbers regarding solar insolation and PV conversion efficiency to establish a baseline. The exact details of a specific implementation won't change the broad conclusion that the energy balance alone, even if you take out the gee-whiz features of the Solar Freakin' Roadways design such as LEDs and networking, doesn't make sense.

When you add all the other stuff on top, it only gets worse.

Fundamental issues: Only so much sun hits the earth, and PV cells only convert a certain fraction to usable energy. When you mount them flat on the ground, you reduce their efficiency further because they're not perpendicular to the incoming light. When you put them under thick enough glass to support real physical loads such as cars and trucks, you lose even more. And when you distribute them over a large area, transmission losses become a Big Deal.

I'm personally skeptical you could build solar panels that would withstand actual vehicle traffic, at least the way we build roads here in the US. Real world roads aren't flat, and they change shape over time as they wear and as the road bed settles and degrades. But real world glass isn't very plastic, and won't conform to a changing surface. It's more likely to crack and break into many pieces. Likewise for the PV cells under it. You'd have to put some beefy steel plates under these to guarantee a sufficiently flat mounting surface to support the load-bearing glass.

Comment Re:Don't be so quick to take sides. (Score 1) 32


Given how much opposition there is to what facebook is offering, you'd think facebook got exclusivity or something and pushed every other free internet provider off the market. Or you'd think they'd get together and be able to offer an alternative that's freer and less walled.

The main source of opposition by the way is ordinary users, not corporations or telcos. The reason for the opposition is not that facebook will become a monopoly ISP. The reason is that facebook's service breaks net neutrality.

Ordinary users everywhere are fighting to preserve net neutrality, while corporations are fighting against it (for it gives them a chance to strong-arm websites and services and extort money from them).

Basic services need to be neutral. If toll roads started charging differently depending on the brand of car you are driving (because they get kickbacks from certain car manufacturers), there would be a shit-storm of controversy. And when it comes to basic services being monopolies, the irony is that the US has far worse monopolies when it comes to services like internet, cable, etc.

India has a rapidly growing startup culture, and a lot of these startups are heavily dependent on the internet for either service delivery or communication. However, if net neutrality breaks, the entry barrier for startups would be so high and cumbersome and expensive, that most of them would die.

You can talk about net neutrality being obsolete in a post internet world, etc. But the reality is that it only works in countries that have very very strong protection against monopoly abuse, so that they can guarantee that the free market works truly like a free market with a chance for everyone to try and succeed. However, this situation is already massively distorted because the big companies have become so big and rich and monopolized that small fry startups essentially pose no competition.

But heck, even in the US, with all the protection, monopolies basically do what they want.

A country like India *needs* its basic services to be open and neutral so the nascent growing companies have half a chance to succeed.

Comment Doesn't this just affect Chrome? (Score 1) 136

Seems like this should just affect Chrome / Chromium and anything derived from those, as it's an implementation issue in the V8 JavaScript interpreter. (V8 is the name for the engine in Chrome.)

That is, it's not a JavaScript / ECMAScript bug in the standard (as implied by the headline), but rather a bug in one company's implementation.

Compare/contrast with the comically bad PRNG enshrined in the C standard itself:

static unsigned long int next = 1;
int rand(void) // RAND_MAX assumed to be 32767
next = next * 1103515245 + 12345;
return (unsigned int)(next/65536) % 32768;

Thankfully, though, this is just an example, and not required by the standard. But, many simple C compilers use that implementation. It's got plenty of problems, such as always alternating between even and odd values. If the last value was odd, the next value is even....

Comment UX is not always UI! (Score 3, Informative) 192

A few thoughts

- UX is not always UI. Most discussions on this topic end up being about UI aesthetics, the Metro look, and what not. UX is about the user experience. Eye candy certainly has the bling aspect to it, and might even get you into the door with certain clients. However, I do feel that for complex products (ERP certainly is one!), what is more important is that the application functionality and application data should be structured around the way people *want* to use the application. It should not be based on how product designers or even UX experts think that people *should* use the product.

tl;dr - You can improve UX significantly by making small changes in a legacy user interface.

- From what I have seen, big bang approaches to UI overhaul (or even functional overhaul) almost *never* works for a large complex product. Think about chipping away at the problem instead. Think about the 80/20 rule of getting the most bang for the buck by making a few quick changes that can significantly improve the UX of your product.

- Consider a survey or face to face interviews or best, both. If you can measure the benefits of the changes you are making, or even get enough qualitative anecdotal feedback (especially from power users and from key clients), you will have a much stronger case for making more far reaching changes.

- This is a topic of debate and some controversy - but consider the Net Promoter Score. It gives you at least one way to measure what your clients think about your product.

Comment Re:Not actually that impressive.... (Score 1) 179

GPU floating point performance has been leading general purpose x86 CPU floating point performance by an order of magnitude - for many many years now. There's nothing new in what you are saying.

What is indeed new is that this is the first general purpose x86 based solution that gives you similar floating point performance as a graphics card. And you get all the advantages of the general purpose CPUs as well as all the x86 codebase you might want to support.

There must also be a reason why the number 1 supercomputer on the planet, the Tianhe 2, uses Xeon Phi.

Oh, and while the dedicated RAM allocation is much smaller than the nVidia card in question, it is also much higher bandwidth, and is stacked RAM, similar to AMD's HBM.

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