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Comment Umm, I hope that translation is to blame. (Score 1) 34 34

I really hope that "proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world." made a lot more sense before some translator mangled it; because otherwise it seems like absurd nonsense. If people were connected long enough and far enough back in time for it to count as 'heritage', the technology behind those connections must have been comparatively primitive. Is he saying that communications have regressed since that time? What golden age of connectedness is he talking about?

Comment Re:Dubious assumptions are dubious (Score 1) 293 293

Turning off lights in cities isn't going to help astronomers much.

Actually, no. City glow is a huge impediment to astronomy for an area hundreds of times the size of the city.

There's a middle ground here. Lighting can be designed so it primarily lights the ground, instead of going every which way. Goes a long way towards reducing problems optical telescope use faces.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 235 235

I didn't make it suitably clear; but the 'complexity' is really more of a historical issue. The fact that you can get power transistors, digital logic, and similar solid-state goodness for peanuts, possibly even less than the carbon brushes or other electromechanical alternatives, is a comparatively recent thing in historical terms.

Now that you can, doing so is pretty compelling for any but the highest-power tasks; but it has not always been the case that you can throw semiconductors at a problem for astonishingly tiny amounts of money. Today it is; but a lot of very clever electromechanical, inductive, and similar tricks were developed during the time that it was not.

Comment Re:Low cost chip, high cost support (Score 3, Interesting) 91 91

What I find a bit weird about SPARC's near-total obscurity is that(please correct me if I'm wrong on the details; but to the best of my understanding from what I've read) the ISA is available for use on a royalty-free basis, and there are even a few BSD or GPL verilog implementations out there. That's even less encumbered than MIPS(which has some patents that the owners like to wave around on a couple of useful instructions).

My naive expectation would have been that SPARC on such liberal terms would show up a bit more often embedded in various chips that need some sort of CPU to do housekeeping, as the ISA of security and/or nationalism driven 'indigenous technology' efforts, and potentially even as the cheaper-than-ARM option for application processors.

Clearly that hasn't actually happened, and it's mostly ARM in SoCs and application processors(with PPC holding out in certain automotive and networking niches for some reason; and MIPS in router SoCs and the occasional Chinese vanity project); so ARM's license fees must just not sting that much.

Building SPARC parts that go toe to toe with Xeons would obviously be a much more ambitious project(as well as an act of directly fucking with Intel's juciest margins, which they probably won't take very kindly); but I am surprised by the fact that SPARC is so rare among the zillions of devices that have no need for x86 compatibility and are mostly about delivering performance in the gap between beefy microcontrollers and weak desktops for as little money as possible.

Comment Re:Disappointed (Score 2) 235 235

The competition for good DC-DC conversion is reasonably fierce(given the existence of DC telco and datacenter operations, and the fact that even 'AC' shops are really just doing the conversion in each chassis(and unlike the old AT PSU days, an ever larger chunk of the output power is 12v going directly to a DC-DC converter on the motherboard to feed the CPU and RAM, with fewer and fewer components, aside from HDD motors, being sufficiently high voltage to feed directly from the PSU); so even modest improvements in DC-DC efficiency would make you quite wealthy indeed.

I haven't kept a close eye; but I think that the present standard for DC-DC modules still uses a number of off-chip components(whether because the needed capacitance and such simply can't be done in silicon, or are cheaper as discretes, I don't know); but you can get some very, very, dense little modules.

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