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Comment A step forward, but... (Score 4, Insightful) 288

Achieving practical nuclear fusion for power generation would be a very nice step forward. But "holy grail" is rather overselling it, I suspect.

Even when practical, we're still talking very big, very expensive plants that depend on a long supply chain for all its parts, the high-purity fuel and so on. When you consider the building, running and maintenance costs, and the cost of dealing with the spent fuel (much better than for fission plants of course) the energy won't be all that cheap. Hopefully cheaper than fossil fuels at least, but I would not be surprised if a first generation of plants, at least, become more expensive than that.

And they'll be competing with rapidly dropping costs for solar and other renewables. A big, expensive plant like that will need a 40-50 year lifetime to pay for itself. If you can't show that it will likely run profitably for that time period few or no companies will be willing to take on the very major investment. We may well see a technical breakthrough for fusion, and still get no plants actually built.

Comment Re:truth is... (Score 1) 92

Yea, because open-source software is famous for having well-designed, easy-to-use comprehensive instructions. ;>)

It often sucks, certainly. But there is one compelling advantage, in the case of unusual stuff such as this. The developers themselves are happy to talk about and answer questions around their tools. And open source tools tend to attract hobbyists that do things for fun, and are happy talking about what they do, and not just commercial developers that won't publicly say a word.

So with open source tools you're much more likely to find blog posts, forums and so on with information to help you along. There's a chance there's be people out there that had the same trouble you do, and wrote about it in public. With commercial tools - and especially tools with a userbase in the hundreds rather than tens or hundreds of thousands - there may simply be no public information out there at all beyond the docs written by the provider.

Comment B4 (Score 1) 177

Slightly larger than B4 size overall, but with a wider format. The width is 1.9cm wider than A4 and 11cm longer. Plenty of space to show a full A4 PDF and even scale it up a bit, and still have controls, status bars and the rest on the top and bottom.

If it is light enough, this would be an excellent device to read and annotate research papers. Your typical 10" tablet is just too small to fit all of a double-column paper on screen and still keep the text readable. Zoom in on one column and you no longer see the illustrations and lose a lot of context. I'm afraid this will be too heavy to use like that, though.

Comment Re:I'm Retired, I Already Live "Robotic Nation" (Score 1) 751

This is exactly it. The vast majority of people do not just sit back and do nothing. We like to do stuff, we like to feel needed, and we like to feel part of a group. Even with basic income taken care of, most people will do some kind of work (paid or not) given a chance.

If anything, this should make the economy more efficient, not less. People can work at the most needed stuff, for the optimal time they want or need, without regard for minimum income or weekly hours.

Comment Re:One thing I'd pay a lot of money for: (Score 2) 223

This is why I believe in buying ONLY Postscript printers.

A Postscript printer will never lose operating system support. It's standardized, and universally supported on every operating system. Hell, all the printers at work are added on my Mac as "Generic Postscript Printer" and work flawlessly with that driver.

Postscript or nothing.

Comment Re:This used to be the case in the past... (Score 2) 223

I loved the Stylus Color. Printers back then were a lot dumber; the cartridges wouldn't "expire" or any of that bullshit; you would just print and print until it physically ran out of ink and you'd start getting missing colors on your page, THEN replace the cartridge.

Printers are one area where we've definitely regressed technology-wise. Which is ironic because it is a lot less necessary now than it was back in 1995.

Comment Re:Don't believe the hype (Score 4, Insightful) 223

I've yet to see a color laser that can print photos as well as even the cheapest color ink jets.

I think laser printing tech doesn't lend well to making photographic prints. Probably due to the glossy paper and the need to mix ink colors together to create a wide color spectrum. With lasers everything you print is essentially half-toned, like photos in a magazine.

Comment Surplus (Score 1) 295

We're collectively producing more rice than we eat. Japan is stockpiling unused rice every year, and the world markets are flooded with cheap rice. Food insufficiency (starvation, malnutrition) is currently a problem of resource allocation, not production.

At the same time, the consumers in the big rice consuming countries aren't eating just "rice". You can typically find many dozens of very specific breeds of rice with differences in flavour, texture, firmness, size and so on. And that's within a single type (Japonica, say).

I suspect this would only be useful for rice grown for feed or as an industrial crop. But for feed, source of starch and so on there are already other, well entrenched crops available, so I don't see much of a practical impact of this development.

Comment Re:A simple proposition. (Score 1) 394

What is the alternate solution? Are you willing to pay for a subscription to every site you visit? Do you want more "native content" intermixed with all these articles?

Or, you know, less content. It's not as if we're all sitting around wishing there was more stuff on the internet to read, right?

We pay a monthly subscription for our online daily newspaper. I occasionally pay for things such as printed anthologies of online comics I follow, buy books by authors whose blogs and articles I read. I subscribe to a couple of websites.

At one end there is high-quality content such as newspapers (which is high quality in my home country) and other stuff like I listed above. Stuff that is good enough that people really do want to pay for it.

At the other end a lot of people out there are creating good stuff completely for free. You've got academics, programmers and other professionals with a day job that write to spread what they learn. You've got hobbyists sharing their passion. Small businesses publishing good stuff to promote their name and skills. Factual events are widely and freely reported.

The content farms, clickbait sites and the rest out there is squeezed between these two. The high-quality stuff sets the bar for what people expect in order to part with their money. The free stuff sets the bar on what people accept before they abandon you and leave for better sources.

If your business depends on having so much advertising that it drives people to block stuff or leave, then you have no business being in business at all.

Comment Re:Wow, end of an era. (Score 1) 152

>As for getting professors to give up old equipment, start metering the electricity and billing the department.

HAH I wish. It's funny because if this junk were x86 we would have simply virtualized it years ago. But it's SPARC and there (still) isn't a good emulator for sun4m. I think one was "getting there" but was still crashy when we tried it last.

Comment Re:..all versions of Android after and including 2 (Score 5, Insightful) 120

It's the phone makers' faults. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

Apple has shown that it's possible for the device manufacturer to deploy new software directly. Yet in the Android world, it's still the carriers doing it. There's only a few phones where the manufacturer pushes new updates (and even those don't tend to be supported as long as iPhones do)

The Android world needs to wake the hell up and start supporting its users properly. It's ridiculous that this sort of situation can happen; if a similar exploit appeared for iOS, Apple would patch devices in 10 seconds flat.

"If Diet Coke did not exist it would have been neccessary to invent it." -- Karl Lehenbauer