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Comment: Making ENIAC run again (Score 2) 122

by erice (#48463399) Attached to: How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap

Gleason realized early on that he couldn’t make his portion of ENIAC run actual calculations—such an endeavor would require all 40 panels

I wonder if Gleason of other preservationists have considered building functional replicas of the missing panels. Doing so would be the first step is bringing the relics to life again as a functioning computer.

Of course, that would not be the end of the project:

, not to mention thousands of new components and technical know-how that had long been forgotten.

But perhaps a workable project to restore ENIAC to working order could inspire the re-discovery of such knowledge. Often of technical knowledge thought to be lost is not really lost, just misplaced. Somebody knows or knows who knows but they need to be inspired to come forward or follow up on their hunch.

Comment: Re:Bullshit Stats. (Score 1) 495

by erice (#48427889) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Because person by person is how you hire people. I would think that the last thing we would want would be "take it or leave it" job offers. Look what it has done to cell phone contracts, EULAs, utility contracts, heck just about anything.

"take it or leave it" works just fine for shoes, hotels, electronic equipment and most everything else we exchange money for. The key is you need enough competition that "leave it" becomes a real, practical choice.

Comment: Not a jet pack (Score 4, Informative) 54

by erice (#48420761) Attached to: Martin Jetpack Closer To Takeoff In First Responder Applications

Despite appearances, there is no "jet" or "rocket" engine. It is a pair of ducted fans driven by a four cylinder gasoline engine.

It isn't a pack either. The weight of the machine is borne by a large frame that the pilot steps onto.

It is really an odd sort of helicopter. It looks really cool and it is much more compact than a normal helicopter but it is not a jet-pack.

Comment: Last generation to die (Score 3, Interesting) 187

by erice (#48335407) Attached to: I expect to be conventionally alive ...

I expect to live just long enough to be told "we can not extend life and health substantially, possibly indefinitely, but not for anyone already as old as you"

Or maybe not. Given that I expect it will take 20 years from the big breakthrough to a practical treatment and I'm already 46, I should be seeing signs already that the research is getting close.

Comment: Re:TV on the pocket screen.... (Score 4, Insightful) 40

by erice (#48331005) Attached to: Aereo Shutting Down Boston Office

Aereo was an attempt to make local TV be receivable on cell phones and computers, but the copyright license wasn't negotiated properly. Why can't the iPhone have a ATSC chip inside it?

What would be the point? You need a rather large, well aimed antenna to reliably receive broadcast TV as anyone who has tried to use "rabbit ears" can tell you. Even the largest phablet is not large enough for such an antenna and no one will want to aim it at the tower.

Comment: Re:Don't we already do that? (Score 1) 110

by erice (#48321845) Attached to: Study Shows Direct Brain Interface Between Humans

No, that only works for those who speak or read the same language.

Vs "thought language" which is likely to be unique to each individual. At least with spoken languages there are strong incentives to iron out the differences so that a different people in a group can communicate. And still there is continuous drift. In the history of human kind, there has been no incentive or even influence to make internal thoughts compatible.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 201

by erice (#48154061) Attached to: Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

The Z3 Compact is no exception. It has a 4.6" screen, making it much closer in size to to the 4.95" Nexus 5 than the 3.5" Iphone 4 that is the usual benchmark for a small phone. It also has a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. That's not bad but it is definitely cut down from the 1080 x 1920 pixels of the full size Z3.

The other mini's are worse, of course, but the Z3 Compact is the not the savior of small phone aficionados.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 3, Interesting) 201

by erice (#48152911) Attached to: Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

The page that the Nexus 6 is presented on still has a link to the Nexus 5. My personal theory at this time (unproven) is that they're keeping the Nexus 5 around as their lower-end model, since they don't have anything to replace its price point with. Hell, the Nexus 5 page now shows the device running Android L (Lollipop.)

While the Nexus 5 is not as enormous as the Nexus 6, it is anything but small.

Which is the chief problem with the various "mini" models available today. Not a one is actually a small, well featured phone. They are simply old and/or reduced spec phones every bit as big as the first wave of large phones.

Comment: Re:This one is easy. (Score 1) 399

by erice (#48043455) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

You will observe Microsoft has been talking up Windows 9 for some time, but now all talk (and apparently all memory) of it has ceased. Newspapers suffering amnesia is amost acceptable. Slashdotters??? WTF??? I'm sorry, but there is no-one in or around IT that has a single, solitary excuse.

You are expecting Slashdotters to be tuned into the Microsoft rumor mill? Why? Windows is something other people use and care about. I think the last time I (indirectly) gave Microsoft a dime was 2010 when I bought a net book bundled with XP.

Comment: Exponential versioning (Score 2) 399

by erice (#48030991) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

It's actually in hex, you see, and Microsoft is going to win the versioning war by going exponential. It will become obvious in the version after that when 0x10 (16) is followed by 0x20 (32) but by then it will be too late for the competition to catch up!

They were considering using 2^x -1 to get past the "never trust an even number" rule but a summer intern pointed out that "Microsoft Windows F" might be tough sell.

Comment: Re:Red dwarfs form from so little matter (Score 0) 31

by erice (#47877233) Attached to: The Exoplanets That Never Were

I'm not surprised that there are no planets. Red dwarfs form from very small amounts of matter, and don't have the luminosity or stellar wind to stop the in-fall of matter into the central star. I don't doubt they can form, the same way double stars form, but the odds are lower. Just a lot less initial material to start with.

What a strange statement.

1) The star in question was a pulsar, not a red dwarf.
2) Red dwarfs while small for stars are still much bigger than planets.
3) Exoplanets have been found around red dwarfs
4) Pulsars are the remains of large stars.

Comment: Re:Improving on the lethality of nature (Score 2) 68

by erice (#47874815) Attached to: The Grassroots Future of Biohacking

The statement "it’s extremely difficult to ‘improve’ on the lethality of nature" dodges the fact that one does not need to 'improve' it, one needs only 'combine' existing forms of lethality:

You don't even have to combine different forms of lethality, just combine lethality with ease of propagation. Airborne ebola, anyone?

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