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Comment: Waiting is dangerous strategy (Score 1) 42

by sjbe (#46806193) Attached to: AMD Not Trying To Get Its Chips Into Low-Cost Tablets

PCs and mini-computers were fundementally different, applications written for one would, generally, not work on the other.

They are both computers and the functions they serve are no different at all That's like saying a PC and a Mac are fundamentally different because their software was incompatible. The mere fact that software written at the time for one wouldn't work on the other could not be less important. What is important is the job they did. PCs gradually took over all the jobs we once used mini-computers for and the companies that built to those products went away. DEC was bought by Compaq, etc. Companies that come late to the party on the new technology often (though not always) have a hard time catching up. Intel underestimated the growth of mobile chips and now is scrambling to catch up to ARM and it isn't clear if they will succeed. And if Intel is having a hard time I can't see AMD having an easier time of it.

When low end tablets become more powerful: AMD has the products to just slot in and take advantage.

Several flaws with that reasoning. 1) Other companies have competing products already and AMD would have to provide a compelling reason to switch from their competitors who already are in place. Displacing an existing customer relationship is difficult at the best of times. 2) AMD products generally do not have any significant and lasting technological advantage over their competitors. 3) AMD is not the lowest cost producer (that would be Intel) and really cannot compete effectively on price. Intel can easily undercut them on price at almost any time and still make money doing it. 4) What is good enough now will not be good enough in a year and AMD's competitors products will improve in the mean time. Waiting for the market to come to them is a VERY dangerous strategy.

No, AMD is not locking itself out of this market.

There is a very good chance that they are. Given their sadly pathetic track record I'd inclined to be doubtful of their chances until shown evidence to the contrary. AMD has mostly made good products but they generally always seem to be a step behind the curve

Comment: Low end can become high end (Score 1) 42

by sjbe (#46805189) Attached to: AMD Not Trying To Get Its Chips Into Low-Cost Tablets

The low end tablet market is sewn up by those selling ARM. So why should AMD compete ?

Because low end products have a way of supplanting high end products in time. PCs replaced most mini-computers even though initially they were inferior products. When was the last time you used a mini-computer? If AMD only competes at the high end of the market they run the risk of being slowly crushed as ARM chips become more capable over time. Intel recognizes this threat and is attempting to address it directly instead of pretending it doesn't exists. Even if they do stay at the high end of the market, it's unclear what if any advantage they have that will allow them to remain a product of choice there. Intel and others are perfectly capable of producing high end products too and Intel has a cost advantage over AMD as well.

Stuff like this is a big part of why AMD has remained something of an also-ran all these years.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 124

by sjbe (#46805041) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

Biodiesel or green diesel from waste fats are pure benefit, as are biofuels from algae.

Most biodiesel is essentially a by-product. It's a nice way to reduce waste and arguably worth doing but let's not pretend that there is enough to go around to really make a big dent in oil consumption overall. And NOTHING is "pure benefit". There are drawbacks to everything. Diesel isn't the cleanest burning fuel available and it has all the problems you get from any form of fossil fuel when it comes to pollution. Good? Yes. "Pure benefit"? Not remotely.

There is close to no industrial scale production of biofuels from algae so their benefit can hardly be objectively measured at this point.

Unfortunately, the best of them (Butanol) is being suppressed by BP and DuPont until such a time as they can control it completely.

Ahh, conspiracy theory rears its ugly head. Perhaps you might consider that using plant derived alcohols as fuel on a vast scale might simply be economically stupid? It's a lot more likely explanation.

Comment: The feedstock isn't the root problem (Score 1) 124

by sjbe (#46804867) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

There are better feedstocks than corn, for reasons of both environmental impact and efficiency, which also don't drive up food prices in international and domestic markets.

They still require arable land, oil, fertilizer, transport, tending, harvesting, refining and more. I've not seen any biofuel based on planting and harvesting crops that shows credible evidence of being more efficient than simply refining the oil directly. It sounds like a good idea (plants = green, right?) but once you account for the entire system it simply makes things more complicated and sometimes more polluting with no actual improvement at the end of the day. Sure there are plenty of better feedstocks than corn but at the end of the day that isn't the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is establishing how oil->alcohol->fuel is more efficient and/or less polluting than oil->fuel directly. Any data that doesn't address that question is a waste of money, brains, oil and time.

Comment: Oil-alcohol-fuel vs oil-fuel (Score 1) 124

by sjbe (#46804787) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

Methanol would be a much better choice, since it can be made from any biomass, not just starch or sugar.

That does not the same thing as saying you can create a net energy increase from methanol or that once all factors are accounted for that it is less polluting than just refining oil directly. Modern agriculture essentially converts oil into crops - both from fertilizers (which are oil derived) as well as transport and planting/tending/harvesting. With ethanol/methanol you are converting the crops back into oil products. For that to make sense you have to establish that there is somehow a net usable energy gain and/or that it is net less polluting from the oil-alcohol-fuel cycle than the oil-fuel cycle. I've seen no credible evidence that the oil-alcohol-fuel process is in any way more efficient or less polluting on a net basis than just refining the oil directly to fuel.

Such a requirement would change the market. With millions of cars able to use it, gas station owners would start selling methanol on one or two pumps. This would effectively break the current monopoly that petroleum has on transportation fuel.

How do you think methanol would be produced at industrial scale? Farming at industrial scales requires oil and lots of it. It not only would not break the cycle there is a very strong potential it would make it less efficient and more polluting than it already is AND it would tie up arable land for fuel instead of food.

Comment: Ethanol is a dumb idea but... (Score 1) 124

by sjbe (#46804677) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

I think using ethanol is basically retarded. We're using fossil fuels to do a bunch of farming to produce a bunch of fossil fuels with lower energy density than the ones that went into the farming and doing so basically as a subsidy to corn farmers. Stupid policy.

That said:

1: HFCS. Enough said.

Which has exactly what to do with ethanol? HFCS is a function of price supports and import restrictions for sugar. HFCS is cheaper as a result. Take away the price supports and the need for HFCS will drop. All of this has precisely nothing to do with ethanol policy aside from the fact that corn growers benefit from both products.

I wish there were concrete figures if using for ethanol takes food out of hungry people's mouths.

Ethanol production isn't at such a level that it causes starvation. There is no lack of reasonably priced food in the USA (see obesity crisis) though in some cases there is a distribution problem.

Food prices sure jumped when ethanol was mandated in the US in gasoline.

Citation please. I oppose the use of ethanol as a mandated fuel but I've seen no evidence this has occurred. It's certainly *possible* but that's not the same thing.

3: Ethanol does a number on small engines.

Only engines that weren't designed for ethanol. Again, our ethanol is a dumb thing to use as a fuel for the most part but that doesn't mean it cannot be used without damaging a properly designed engine. It's old engines that weren't designed with ethanol in mind that are the problem. It's like dumping a small amount of diesel into a gasoline engine. Might run but it's not good for it.

Comment: Re:Never! (Score 1) 270

by swillden (#46804605) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

Which is bad, but what is worse is Development feels like a "young persons game". Rarely do I see anyone over 45 (not far off) coming for an interview

Meh. I'm 45, and see no reason to believe I won't be writing code for another 20 years. I work with several guys in their 50s and 60s.

I think most of the apparent dearth of graybeards is just the growth of the industry. If there are an order of magnitude more software jobs than when I started 20 years ago, and if software development is a career that people don't shift into at a later, but start young -- which does appear to be the case -- then we should expect 90% of positions to be filled by people younger than me. If you also factor in a fair amount of attrition from people choosing to shift into other careers, whether into other fields entirely or into sales or management, then you should expect that the number is 5%, or even less.

Comment: Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (Score 1) 281

by jbolden (#46804233) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

First off, they emphasize these ridiculous social networking style features. "Connecting to people". As if you don't know who the members of your team are.

Well Yammer is a new feature. People in large companies often don't know the other people in their teams. You may not have worked in large enough organizations where this is a problem.

. If you are such an MS house that you have Sharepoint, then you already use Outlook as your primary written communication tool - no one is going to switch over to Sharepoint for collaboration unless you take away Outlook, or unless MS spends some time actually integrating Outlook with Sharepoint in more than a token way.

Email is a 1-1 or small-small collaboration system. Document management is many-many.

I still don't understand how Excel/Word/Powerpoint losing data when saving to a Sharepoint site is not what you would consider a major problem with the client software, but a configuration problem on the Sharepoint side. A failure to upload should trigger some kind of fallback to local storage.

Because that's not a SharePoint problem it is a SharePoint as you have it configured problem.

IMHO, you need a dedicated librarian on each team if you want to use Sharepoint (or similar metadata based tools).

I don't know about dedicated but yes you need at least one person in each document creation group who sees SharePoint as one of their core job functions. The librarian is more at the level of integrating across the company. It sounds to me in your description like your company might be too small to have the sorts of problems that SharePoint is designed to fix.

And God, the lock-in. It's bad enough that we have these legacy wikis running - now in emulated hardware purgatory. But at least they are running in a VPN somewhere in purgatory, requiring no admin time and not requiring any license fee. Our little failed experiments can wither peacefully and cheaply - only accessed when old data is needed for reference. But this Sharepoint stuff, if they decide to stop paying the fee it is gone. I'm sure you can export it in some manner, but what a mess.

No argument there. SharePoint is a serious lock in. The companies like yours who are using it wrong have much less of a problem than the companies who are using it right. It will cost those companies a fortune to get their data out. Most likely they will be on Share Point forever.

Comment: Re:Not so different (Score 1) 333

by sjbe (#46804167) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Once. The first time, The Supreme court elected him 5-4.

He got plenty of votes from plenty of people outside of Texas. And the people RE-ELECTED him and there was no debate on that one. While I think that was a huge mistake, obviously enough people liked him well enough that he got to spend 8 years in the white house.

Comment: Re:Sunk Costs (Score 1) 215

by sjames (#46803565) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Getting from $50 to $42,000 would be a lot of labor. Are you saying it takes 5 months or so full time per hand? Let's be generous and say instead that the labor is $1000. Now to account for the other $41,000

More likely it's the same MBA math that claims going from the $0.10 part to the more durable but otherwise identical $0.20 part absolutely must add $10 in hard costs to the end product, just because.

Comment: Re:Sunk Costs (Score 2) 215

by sjames (#46803535) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

So what you're saying is that the conventional prosthetic is made by a horribly inefficient company that should have been washed out by the market but the market failed (as is typical for anything vaguely medical).

The 3D printed prosthetic had to be designed as well and apparently it was designed better. It could probably be stronger and even cheaper if it was mass produced.

Comment: Re:Obamacare exists because... (Score 1) 215

by sjames (#46803505) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Now if it was just $90. It's $90 for the visit, a few hundred for unnecessary tests, anywhere from $4 to $400 in prescriptions and then another $90 for the inevitable followup visit.

All inclusive, we pay about double what the UK does for healthcare.

If the nominal amount was actually nominal, it might actually work.

I don't know what hospitals are like in the Bronx, but if they're anything like they are in Atlanta, it's a 6 hour wait in the ER for non life threatening conditions. If there are people waiting that long for cough syrup, there's more to the story. Personally, I just use the OTC stuff or do without.

It may be related to the way the medical profession recommends seeing a doctor for every sniffle, bump, or bruise.

Part of it is other social issues being dumped on the hospitals. If the drunks had somewhere other than the hospital to go where they could sleep it off without being rolled or arrested, they would probably go there.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten