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Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 2) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49515639) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

If the end of the coil that is hanging is grounded (earthed), it becomes an autotransformer. As it's shown, it's a variable inductor and the disconnected end is irrelevant and has no meaningful physical effect at the frequency a spark transmitter could have reached.

This comment seems to get closer to what they actually mean in their scientific paper. But the article about it is garble and the paper might suffer from second-language issues, and a lack of familiarity with the terms used in RF engineering.

Comment: Re:Hmm, I guess I invented this as well... (Score 1) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49513567) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

Damn, I wish I would have patented that and all its quantum magic...

I noticed that my vertical transmitting antenna often works better if I connect a horizontal wire about the same length as the antenna to ground at its base! The wire isn't connected to the transmitting side of the circuit at all! And how well it works varies depending on the length! Obviously there is some deus ex machina at work here...

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 1) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49513517) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

Clearly you missed the bit where they invoked quantum mechanics, surely that explains away all the inaccuracies, like the fact you can already buy chip scale dielectric antennas

The thing that I really hate about Innovation Stories is that the reporter invariably doesn't understand what's going on, and invariably is easily convinced that The Obviiously Very Technical People have some very valuable invention.

Comment: Stop trying to guess what I'm trying to do (Score 1) 271

by dackroyd (#49502613) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

It would be very useful to be able to control what the search engine thinks I'm actually searching for. Taken from: http://unqualified-reservation...

A more intriguing question is whether the Graffiti approach can be applied to full-text search. Many modern search engines, notably the hideous, awfully-named Bing, are actually multiple applications under the hood - just like WA. If Bing figures out that you are searching for a product, it will show you one UI. If it figures out that you are searching for a celebrity, it will show you another UI. It may also switch algorithms, data sets, etc, etc. I'm sure Google has all kinds of analogous, if more subtle, meta-algorithms.

While generic full-text search, unlike generic data visualization, remains a viable application and a very useful one, specialized search might (or might not - this is not my area of expertise) be an even more useful one. If the user has an affordance by which to tell the algorithm the purpose or category of her search, the whole problem of guessing which application to direct the query to disappears and is solved perfectly. A whole class of category errors ceases to exist.

My guess is that if there is any "next thing" in search interfaces, it will come not from smarter UIs, but from dumber ones in which the user does more work - the Graffiti effect. If a small quantity of user effort can produce a substantial improvement in user experience (which is a big if), the user will accept the bargain. Hey, it made Jeff Hawkins rich.

Comment: Re:vs. a Falcon 9 (Score 1) 75

by Bruce Perens (#49501071) Attached to: Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine

They can carry about 110kg to LEO, compared to the Falcon 9's 13150kg. That's 0.84% of the payload capacity. A launch is estimated to cost $4 900 000, compared to the Falcon 9's $61 200 000. That's 8.01%. That means cost per mass to orbit is nearly an order of magnitude worse.

Yes, this is a really small rocket. If you are a government or some other entity that needs to put something small in orbit right away, the USD$5 Million price might not deter you, even though you could potentially launch a lot of small satellites on a Falcon 9 for less.

And it's a missile affordable by most small countries, if your payload can handle the re-entry on its own. Uh-oh. :-)

Comment: Re:You Can See (Score 1) 113

Microminiature accelerometers are really cheap and very very light, and you don't have to wait for them to spin up or deal with their mechanical issues. I doubt you will see a gyro used as a sensor any longer.

Similarly, computers make good active stabilization possible and steering your engine to stabilize is a lot lighter than having to add a big rotating mass.

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