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Comment: Re:They just don't get it (Score 2, Interesting) 235

by linj (#32411620) Attached to: Asus Joins Tablet PC Race
Windows OS-based tablets do not all sell poorly. At a typical lecture at my university (U.S.; I hear Tablet PC usage higher in some other countries, and at some colleges, it's even mandatory), 20-30% of students will have a Tablet PC.

The UI created by Microsoft is somewhat dependent on an active screen, alla Wacom. People have asked me oh-haha-your-tablet-is-now-obsolete, what with the advent of the iPad, and I just shrug them off because the iPad is quite useless for notes, as without pressure sensitivity (or for that matter, a well-established note-taking system), the thing is pretty bad with handwriting. Unlike the iPad, Tablet PCs also often are convertible; mine is, so it comes with a hardware keyboard, which makes Matlab and Mathematica much more enjoyable.

Also, there's an entire piece of software within the Office suite (OneNote) that's made for the Windows Tablet PC user. It's been around since Office 2003, but the latest version is just amazing. It's got LaTeX-like math input, math input by pen (not too good, but acceptable for basic math), video, audio, picture recording with voice recognition/OCR for the latter two, among other features which are helpful for notetaking.

Comment: Re:Touted? (Score 1) 401

by linj (#32041052) Attached to: Microsoft's Touted iPad Rival Courier Becomes Less Than Vapor
Maybe one in ten notebooks on campus are tablets. I've got one; great being able to search through your notes instantaneously while taking a midterm or final. OneNote 2010 introduces math input, LaTeX style--typing any math is almost always faster than writing it, so nowadays I only "need" the tablet functionality for diagram-heavy classes (circuits class or devices class, stuff like that).

I haven't seen or touched an iPad yet (I've seen perhaps 50 Windows tablets, mostly IBM/Lenovos), but it wouldn't fill this same niche, at least not without stylus / pressure sensitivity.

Comment: Re:Cheaper costs (Score 1) 151

by linj (#31878938) Attached to: Devs Discuss Android's Possible Readmission To Linux Kernel

Imagine if you could just eject your SIM card from your phone, plug it into your computer, and browse the net, take phone calls, etc., then eject it like it's a memory card, slap it back into your phone, and go off to school, work, wherever. Or using bluetooth so that as soon as you get home, it automagically resyncs all your e-mails, text messages, and more. There's so much the technology can do -- and the only reason it's not happening is because service providers want to charge for everything, rather than simply flat-rating everything on a per minute, day, or megabyte use.

My Sidekick recently lost the ability to send files to my computer over bluetooth. Why? Because of an OTA update that disabled that. So now I can't just sit my phone near my laptop and transfer my pictures out of it, I have to open the back up, eject the little card, plug it into my system, copy the files, and then do the reverse. Very cumbersome when before it was 'click icon, drag files'.

It's complete and utter bullshit that cell phones are as powerful now as desktops were ten years ago sitting in the palm of my hand, and yet they have less than a third of the capability.

You can eject your SIM card from your phone and plug it into your computer. My father actually has two SIM cards from T-Mobile; one resides in a UMTS modem in his laptop (unlocked, bought in Singapore), and the other is in a Blackberry. I'm not sure if there's software to take phone calls, but you can definitely Skype off of it.

I've got an HTC Touch Pro 2. It runs Windows Mobile 6.5 and it's now unlocked and can flash any firmware it wants (3rd party developers have even got Ubuntu and Android to run on it, although with less hardware support). However, even if it were locked, it can sync all my emails, texts, whatever over Bluetooth. With MyPhone (a pretty good Microsoft product), it syncs all that even into the cloud. MyPhone can sync documents, pictures, music, as well. I can pull pushmail off Gmail as well as calendar and contacts, so even if I flash a new 3rd party ROM, which is a really nice ability that isn't officially advertised, I can easily resync and be off again.

That said, all this I first experienced overseas. When I came to the US for college, I suddenly realized how much the mobile companies cripple their consumers. Because I couldn't really live without these capabilities (and others couldn't either!), it's easy to find information online to help you achieve what you're imagining.

Comment: Re:So do I (Score 1) 569

by linj (#31055962) Attached to: Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking?
I've used a convertible tablet notebook to take notes for the past two years in college. It's been good, but Microsoft has a OneNote 2010 in public beta, which has made everything infinitely better.

I take many classes that use formulae and diagrams, so OneNote's equation support is a godsend. I'm able to search through all the typed text (never tried searching through equations themselves, actually), am able to use quasi-LaTeX syntax in all the equations that I use, and I'm able to copy down all those weird diagrams. If I need to take notes during a meeting, I can voice-record and then type up notes at the same time, and on review, the voice-notes are searchable and are linked to the text it's near to. I'm able to type much faster than I write, so this has been good to me.

To give an idea of what classes I've taken, over the last two quarters, it's been, I think, quantum/statistical mechanics, complex analysis, diffeq, programming shop, European literature, introduction to political science and then comparative politics, signals/systems/transforms. I've yet to encounter a situation where my current set-up doesn't put me at an advantage to other students.

Comment: Re:In other words (Score 1) 216

by linj (#30983706) Attached to: Boot Camp Finally Supports Windows 7 On Macs

When it comes to mobile phones, tablets, and the like Apple may be at the bleeding edge of innovation.

Sorry to be a bit argumentative, but I always thought Microsoft was at the "bleeding edge of innovation" in terms of tablets. Linux is really lacking, and the new iPad is, really, an eBook with 10 hours battery life and a touch screen.

Windows 7, on the other hand, has better "tablet" support than Windows Vista, which has better tablet support than Windows XP Tablet Edition -- they've definitely been improving with every iteration, and if you've ever used a Tablet PC, you can tell.

Comment: Re:iGoogle support? (Score 3, Informative) 275

by linj (#30758114) Attached to: Gmail Moves To HTTPS By Default
This has been extant for a very long time.

The problem with this which Google hasn't fixed yet, despite lots of screaming users, is that when you try to search from that search box, it ... doesn't work. It redirects you back to the original Google homepage, which isn't very smooth.

Other than that, however, it's fine!

Comment: Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (Score 1) 338

by linj (#30673782) Attached to: Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement

Meanwhile here I'll sit with my eeePC running some flavor of Linux wondering when I'll get a tablet that provides support for open source.

To be honest, I'm not sure an open source tablet would make it that big. There's not excellent support throughout, say, Linux, yet. At least it's not as mature as that of Windows 7, which is much better than that of Windows Vista, which was super-awesome compared to that of Windows XP. Plus, OneNote is what makes Tablet PCs pretty good on Windows (although Evernote, I hear, is pretty good too).

Comment: Re:What's old is new (Score 1) 823

by linj (#29917259) Attached to: How To Enter Equations Quickly In Class?
Yup, second OneNote.

If you can find an edition of OneNote 2010 (Technical Preview, currently), it's even better. OneNote 2010 has equation editing similar to that of Word 2007, which, if you've actually used, you'd realize has all sorts of Latex-like features, just that it's transcribed on the fly.

You can type

\int_-\infty^\infty 5xdx

or whatever, just the same way. Matrices are a bit different, but very much possible;


Creates a 2x2 identity matrix.

That said, don't pirate software. :D

Comment: Re:XP is Good Enough. (Score 1) 538

by linj (#28538001) Attached to: One Year Later, "Dead" XP Still Going Strong

Microsoft is finally getting bit by cultivating and preying on the culture of Good Enough. XP supports current hardware, runs current apps, ISVs are still writing for it. Users are comfortable with it, it handles games well (hey, check out the number of Big Name Games that require DX10), and while it's a security nightmare, most competent shops know enough to be able to keep their machines STD-free.

Vista is a host of new problems, support issues, and sucks on the same hardware XP zips on. Windows 7 isn't officially out yet... and when it is, most IT shops are going to wait. They'll poke it with a stick, sniff it like a dog, and rather it's a genuine improvement or not, they're not going to hop on it until they have to.

I'm not sure. I recently installed XP onto my Vista-happy computer since I needed a 32-bit version of Windows for some application (I had installed 64-bit Vista a few weeks back).

XP needed me to install audio drivers, graphics drivers, motherboard drivers, fingerprint device drivers, ... all told, I had to manually put in at least 20 things in Device Manager before it would be happy. Vista had 2 missing: fingerprint and mouse.

Of course, that's just anecdotal evidence. But also consider that 64-bit Windows doesn't have as many drivers built-in and that the XP didn't pick up my tablet immediately while the Vista installation did... I'm pretty sure for the end-user experience and installation, Vista is far superior to XP. But that's just anecdotal evidence.

Comment: Re:Mine's Better! (Score 1) 454

by linj (#26626505) Attached to: WD's Monster 2TB Caviar Green Drive, Preview Test

I think it's better to have multiple smaller drives than a single big one. My 2 500 gigers were $65 each. I have everything important on both so when one goes, it won't be a major loss.

Keep redundancy away from Creative, though: mein leben!

Note: I own many Creative products, including soundcards, and they have yet to fail on me. (:

Comment: Re:People perception (Score 1) 102

by linj (#26615939) Attached to: A.I. and Robotics Take Another Wobbly Step Forward
Or, alternatively, these things.

Actually, speaking of these things... why'd they name a robot Stair when it can't even climb stairs?! ... Unless the pivot wheel is just a distraction from the folks at Stanford. *scrutinizes image.* Perhaps to prevent us from thinking it's Skynet-brood, as noted by parent...
Hardware Hacking

New Connections For Stretchable, Twistable Electronics 60

Posted by timothy
from the name-your-favorite-use-case dept.
tugfoigel writes "Jizhou Song, a professor in the University of Miami College of Engineering and his collaborators Professor John Rogers, at the University of Illinois and Professor Yonggang Huang, at Northwestern University have developed a new design for stretchable electronics that can be wrapped around complex shapes, without a reduction in electronic function. The new mechanical design strategy is based on semiconductor nanomaterials that can offer high stretchability (e.g., 140%) and large twistability such as corkscrew twists with tight pitch (e.g., 90 degrees in 1 cm). Potential uses for the new design include electronic devices for eye cameras, smart surgical gloves, body parts, airplane wings, back planes for liquid crystal displays and biomedical devices."

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.