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Comment: Does not help contact surfaces (Score 1) 112

by iotaborg (#45104301) Attached to: US Nuclear Weapons Lab Discovers How To Suppress the Casimir Force

Took a look at the article; their conclusion is that a significant reduction of the Casimir force can be achieved using metal gratings, at relatively large separation distances (> 200 nm). Unfortunately this does not solve the problem of high nano-scale adhesion in MEMS devices, because that implies the state is in contact (which is ~1 nm separation, depending on how you define how the atoms of different surfaces "touch" each other). At these small contact distances, the adhesion forces do not reduce with the grating approach. However, using the gratings can slightly reduce the risk of a MEMS component from collapsing when at larger distances from an opposing surface. Essentially, the approach can a device that should not touch an opposing surface, but will not help a device that needs to touch an opposing surface (i.e. a MEMS RF Switch).

Comment: Re:Nature's solar panel (Score 5, Informative) 242

by iotaborg (#44542421) Attached to: Looking Beyond Corn and Sugarcane For Cost-Effective Biofuels

Actually it isn't that terrible on cloudy/rainy days. We have a solar panel installed on our house in the pacific northwest of the US, which is 100% cloud/rain in the winter months. Energy generated is 100-300 kWh per month in the winter, 500-700 kWh per month in the sunny summers. Obviously nothing in the nights. Excess production in the summer pays for the shortfall in the winter (paid by utility company), so it works out.

Comment: Re:$128,000? (Score 1) 342

by iotaborg (#41701929) Attached to: Google's Engineers Are Well Paid, Not Just Well Fed

What kind of housing did you have in OH compared to what you have in SF? I find it hard to believe you can get away with equal housing without the dramatic salary increase. Just looking up a 2 bedroom houses on zillow, it's $4k/mo in SF, $1k/mo in OH. You'd need $36k more in SF just to have the same quality house, which is more like $55k pre-tax, which lines up with the 117% estimate from a $50k salary. Mortgage on a 3 bedroom house would be similar.

Comment: Re:I know next to nothing about wafer fabs, but... (Score 1) 104

by iotaborg (#40302005) Attached to: TSMC To Spend $10B Building Factory for 450mm Wafers

Also I should add, a fab is a considerable investment, they create chips for more than one process generation. Thus when it's time to update the fab to a newer process generation, all the tools are essentially ancient. For example, Intel has older 65 nm fabs running (obviously not producing i7s but for other items such as system controllers).

Comment: Re:I know next to nothing about wafer fabs, but... (Score 1) 104

by iotaborg (#40301959) Attached to: TSMC To Spend $10B Building Factory for 450mm Wafers

Because all of the tools improve over time. The next generation plasma etching system will provide cleaner, more consistent etches. The next generation metal deposition systems deposit more quickly and more uniformly. As we move process generations, the tolerances and requirements on all these other processes also increases, and better processing is required to support a smaller process and result in good yields.

Comment: Easy to get around if you actually read the patent (Score 1) 622

by iotaborg (#37846600) Attached to: Apple Granted Patent For Slide To Unlock

If anyone actually read the patent, one could see that infringing on the patent can easily be resolved (say on an Android device) by simply not showing the unlocking animation, or implementing it in a very different way. Apple is not patenting the swipe to unlock feature by itself... it seems to me more like a look & feel thing over strictly functionality, so it isn't nearly as serious as people are making it out to be. But still if this was done before in the exact way Apple has done it, then it should be invalidated.

Comment: Re:Short version for the non-experts among us (Score 1) 245

by iotaborg (#32607368) Attached to: A Close Look At Apple's A4 Chip

Actually the A4 does have quite a few optimizations done to it, by Intrinsity (which Apple bought); this allowed the standard Cortex core's performance to be boosted considerably. I believe Intrinsity worked with Samsung to create the processors (since Samsung actually has the fabs), and Samsung has a license to use Intrinsity's proprietary optimizations to the core. And now that Apple bought Intrinsity, they too are using the optimized version of the cortex (again, made by Samsung).

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