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Comment: Re:I dont blame power amplifiers (Score 2) 110

by icebrain (#41841505) Attached to: Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power

I only got a smartphone two-something years ago. Prior to that, I had a dumb phone with extended battery; after three and a half years, I still got 3-4 days between charges. When new, I charged it once a week, and that was with heavy talk usage. So even today's smartphones seem to have short lives compared to that.

I have an extended battery on my current phone (rooted Samsung droid charge), and I still have to charge it every day, at least during the week (but that's also because I now work in a large metal building with very poor signal inside). I don't use much data, either, but "cell standby" is usually in the top two list of power consumers on my phone.

I'd be happy with just an extended battery option on future phones, though it would be nice if things like cases and covers were available for phones fitted with said batteries.

The "thin!" mantra is getting ridiculous, though; when I got my current phone I asked about an extended battery and the sales people just got a blank look. "Why would you want that?" they asked. "You could get the wireless charger and then the phone would still be thin! You could get a car charger! Why would you make the phone not thin?!" It blew their minds that someone might not care about thinness, or might even prefer a little thickness.

Comment: Re:I dont blame power amplifiers (Score 5, Insightful) 110

by icebrain (#41840135) Attached to: Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power

I think it's got a lot lot more to do with:
- Big, bright displays
- Multicore, gigahertz CPU's regularly kept busy with background apps
- Far more sensors embedded in the unit to power - GPS, accelerometers, etc.

Plus, the whole obsession with "the phone must be THIN!!!1!"
If the manufacturers quit worrying about trying to fit the phone into the form factor of an index card, there would be enough thickness for a reasonable battery.

Comment: Re:Libertarianism Is A Dream (Score 1) 503

by icebrain (#41809597) Attached to: Favorite U.S. Political Party

He lost (note: "lose" and "lost" both have 1 "o", not 2) his house because of his own stupidity. See, a few years before, he set his house on fire doing something stupid, and they came and put it out (since it was a small fire) even though he hadn't paid his subscription. The fire department subsequently warned him that they wouldn't do that again, and told him to pay his fee.

Well, he refused. Then, his house caught fire again, and this time they stood by and watched it burn to the slab. He claims he even offered to pay the full cost right there, but it was too late. The whole point of a subscription rather than a bill-on-service setup is to ensure that equipment and training are in place before the fire.

The fire department was fully justified--no lives were in danger, and that fool, more than anyone else, should have known better.

Comment: Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (Score 4, Informative) 717

by icebrain (#41585761) Attached to: How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025

Your 1985 Civic would probably fail today's crash tests and emissions checks (in the areas that require them), and likely lacked features most consumers prefer these days.

-Higher crash standards demand more structure and additional equipment like airbags
-Higher emissions standards dictate more additional equipment (catalytic converters, etc.) and different combustion profiles
-Consumer expectations for performance (acceleration/handling), size, and comfort (features, sound insulation, etc) have gone up

All of the above add weight to the vehicle (making for inefficiency) Oh, and the mandated use of ethanol reduces mileage even further.

Comment: Re:But it had nothing to do with Obama (Score 1) 524

by icebrain (#41547371) Attached to: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

I'm better off too... two promotions (and associated raises), 40lb lost, joined the fire department, just ran a half-Ironman, and about to start building my own airplane. Things are a lot better than four years ago--and that's despite Obama and much of Congress demonizing the industry I work in (business aviation)...

Comment: Re:Overreaction. (Score 1) 632

by icebrain (#41525947) Attached to: You Can't Print a Gun If You Have No 3D Printer

More precisely:
The National Firearms Act of 1934 says that:
-rifles with a barrel less than 16" long, or less than 26" long overall
-shotguns with a barrel less than 18" long, or less than 28" long overall
-suppressors
-firearms that shoot more than one projectile with a single trigger action (i.e., machine guns--shotguns are excluded provided they only fire one shell at a time)

are illegal unless a $200 tax is paid, and the owner passes a background check. The Hughes amendment further states that it is illegal to manufacture a new machine gun for civilian, non law-enforcement use after 1987, and illegal to posess such a weapon.

Provided that you you file the appropriate paperwork with the feds, pay for your tax stamp, and you stay in line with your state's regulations, you can manufacture a suppressor, short-barreled rifle, or shotgun, or convert an existing "regular" weapon into a short-barreled version. But you still can't manufacture machine guns.

Now, a semi-automatic (one round per trigger pull; also called "autoloading) rifle or handgun is a different matter; those are just "normal" firearms, except for a few states with "assault weapon" (read: painted black and/or looks scary) bans. Some states also have restrictions on hunting with semiautomatic weapons.

Comment: Re:A decent canteen and staff facilities (Score 1) 422

by icebrain (#41514865) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would You Include In a New Building?

No, there is something worse. Try having 40+ guys sharing 2 stalls--or worse, 350 people sharing 7. Just take whatever the building code says for restroom requirements and triple it. Make sure you have a shower or two on site, as well as good ventilation for the bathrooms.

Next, install a couple of restaurant-level coffeemakers (they can handle a high duty cycle with abuse) and supply coffee, filters, and generic creamer/sugar.

A cafeteria is a little too much for a small company like the OP works at.

Comment: Re:Volt NOW (Score 1) 490

by icebrain (#41438741) Attached to: Toyota Abandons Plans For All-Electric Vehicle Rollout

It's not an econo box like a prius, it's a lux car.... This thing is game-changing

It's not a game-changer because it is a luxury car. I understand the whole early-adopter thing, but for it to really be a game-changer, it needs to be much more affordable.

Ford has come closer with the new C-max plug-in, but it's still priced a little high (and only offering it in the premium trim package doesn't help matters). I seriously considered buying one, but the cost difference was too great (too long of a payback time) and there's too much cargo room sacrificed. I'm probably going with the regular hybrid, if I can ever find one to test drive...

Despite claims to the contrary by ditto heads, GM is at or near breakeven on this car, by the car, now. Some of the hate on electrics is due to taking all the NRE and billing it to the number of cars sold already - by that metric, the first hamburger sold at a new burger joint franchise is losing a million bucks per. Check the facts

Much as I don't like GM, this has bugged me. Breakeven, NRE vs. RE, etc. need to be taught in high-school economics (which really ought to be a full-year class).

Comment: Re:Usual NASA tech progress bullshit (Score 3, Informative) 421

by icebrain (#41360503) Attached to: How the Critics of the Apollo Program Were Proven Wrong

What I have found is showing around 15 military missions, not nearly the 2/3 figure you're suggesting.

Now, if we're talking design features of the shuttle, those were heavily influenced by military requirements. The only way NASA could get enough funding to build the shuttle was to ask the military, which imposed significant performance requirements that drove up the weight and complexity of the shuttle. And, while useful, the additional capability was never fully used, nor was it ever used for its intended purpose.

Comment: Re:Red herring (Score 1) 372

For large airlines, that 35lb argument is such a red herring. $1.2 million in fuel savings when spread out per flight has to be so far below the noise floor as to be completely meaningless... Maybe the weight makes a difference on a small 206 Caravan, but for these big birds, call a spade a spade - the pilots want their toys.

Why is this modded informative? 35lb of weight savings is a big deal even on large aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers will spend thousands of dollars (even in recurring costs) to save a single pound of weight, let alone 35. And it doesn't matter what other factors are present, that 35lb saved is still 35lb less weight the aircraft carries around, reducing fuel burn--and that amount is quantified in the performance equations, and is measureable over time. Or, it's another 35lb of revenue-generating payload that can be carried.

But then, I'm just an engineer at an aircraft manufacturer, and a pilot. What do I know?

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