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Comment: Best-kept secret in home heating... (Score 1) 250

by lyran74 (#48330205) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

... is far infrared (FIR) panels. Not the hot-element, near-infrared kind, these ones come in various sizes and colours and emit no visible light. They're also very safe – they get warm, but it would take several seconds' contact to scald yourself. Surface temperature wouldn't boil water.

Counterintuitively, they are best mounted on ceilings in commonly-occupied places, radiating heat downward. They heat the objects and people in the room, and the air mostly indirectly. The infrared light/heat bouncing around the room means you can be comfortable at an ambient air temperature about 5C lower than with traditional heating. They're common in infrared saunas and hot yoga studios, but new to the home heating market. I haven't had a full winter with mine yet, but claims of savings on the order of 40% are common.

These are more efficient and far less costly to install than radiant floor heating systems... several hundred euros per panel, plus installation.

Before you consider any heating system, however, know the differences among radiant, convective and conductive heat transfer!

For bonus points, combine with renewably-sourced electricity and other home energy loss minimizations.

Comment: Secrecy (Score 0) 355

by lyran74 (#48161451) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More
As great as these advances are, perhaps the biggest news is what wasn't announced. Tim has made lots of hints this year about products in the pipeline not hinted at in the rumour mills, then teased us again today about "tripling down" on secrecy. Making Stephen Colbert their chief of secrecy is a pretty strong hint it's TV-related.

Comment: From someone who actually has the drive (Score 1) 130

by lyran74 (#43353513) Attached to: New Seagate Hybrid Drives Hampered By Slow Mechanical Guts

I installed one of the 500GB drives several days ago, and the performance improvement is incredible. Boot times are under a quarter what they used to be with the 5400RPM drive that came with the laptop (a 2011 Macbook Pro). Application launches are virtually instantaneous. It's like a new computer.

I can't speak to the abstract "overall performance" measurements from the article (random 4K response times? give me a break)--where this drive soars is in real-world, day-to-day performance, and the improvements are phenomenal.

Repeated writes are a weak spot for SSD, and this is where a hybrid drive should offer more reliability: cache the frequently-accessed, less-frequently changed data. Should the SSD fail, the drive will fall back to the platter.

The value proposition of these drives is unbeatable--vastly improved speed, great storage capacity, dirt-cheap prices. Let's hope the long-term reliability is what it should be.

Comment: Re:Let the bitching begin.... (Score 1) 558

by lyran74 (#40950791) Attached to: Windows 8 Is Ready

$5.5 billion paid to developers is 70% of the total raked in, which is (5.5/70%) = $7.85 billion. 30% of that is about $2.4 billion.

It's a fantastic market Apple provides for developers, no argument there. My point is only that it's a very good little business for Apple. Personally I think 30% is a bit rich--20% or 25% would be fairer. But Apple dictates the terms--developers don't exactly have a choice if they want to develop for iOS.

Comment: Re:Let the bitching begin.... (Score 1) 558

by lyran74 (#40870715) Attached to: Windows 8 Is Ready

Apple makes good money from their App store. Their earnings report for 2012 Q3 states they've paid (cumulatively) $5.5 billion to app developers, which means $2.4 billion in commissions to Apple--hardly chump change. It does look small, however, in comparison to the outrageous profits they rake in from hardware sales.

However, Apple has indeed managed to broadly slash the perceived value of software, a neat way of squeezing Microsoft. MS has seen the light, and it's why they're also going the ecosystem/integrated hardware/software route.

It does give pause about what the state of open computing will be in ten years...

The first time, it's a KLUDGE! The second, a trick. Later, it's a well-established technique! -- Mike Broido, Intermetrics

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