I don't remember where I saw it, and I didn't think it was so much vaporizing as dissolving. I can try finding it, again. IIRC they simply talked of lost mass after using.
Low-end tablets sold as client devices, sure.
Productivity-oriented "Tablet PCs" on the other hand will likely continue carrying increasing processing power and other resources at least until they catch up with laptops. That's where things will start getting interesting.
> I think it's going to be very unpleasant sometime in the next 30-50 years for most humans.
But some of those who don't want to believe that global warming is real won't suffer a bit. They can afford to make sure they live in someplace nice, move to someplace else nice if needed, and will always have good food available. They're also the ones sowing the "science discord" because they know that their wealth comes from the status quo. Again, the "important people" will find life perfectly pleasant.
People laughed at the Tablet PC concept ~10 years ago... I laughed at it too mainly due to the ~$3000 price tag back then.
Things sure have come a long way from then and I would not be surprised if the Tablet PC concept came back with a vengeance over the next 2-3 years. Intel's intention to make most of Broadwell's lineup BGA-only next year sounds like they are going to be making a big push for embedded/all-in-one/NUC form factors in 2014-2015.
I would tend to prefer paper over styrofoam cups because when you pour hot beverages in them, the latter lose more mass. That mass is going into your gut. I presume it's reasonably safe, else it would be forbidden or regulated like so many other things. But I'd still just as soon minimize it. That said, I don't run around the block to avoid a styrofoam cup, but when there's a choice, I'll choose the paper.
Two problems with shorter patents are that R&D costs for many modern inventions are growing exponentially and many of them are 10+ years in the making from initial concept research to first completed prototype.
Patents do not do you much good if they do not last long enough to have a reasonable chance of generating enough revenue to justify the effort before expiring. Companies may choose to opt for industrial secret which has no expiration date other than the time it takes others to figure it out instead, at which point you can still sue them for corporate espionage, plagiarism, DMCA or other infringement claims which would be just about as nasty as our everyday patent claims today if someone duplicates your invention suspiciously quickly.
However, I do not think software (actual written code) itself should be patentable - it is already covered by copyright. What should be patentable about software is the collection of principles and new algorithms it implements - the actual new intellectual work they represent - if they are genuinely innovative and non-trivial since all inventions are ultimately intellectual creations. Trivial cosmetic stuff (ex.: boot animations on Windows, Android, PS2, PS3, etc.) would still be trademarkable which would still let people duplicate the general concept as long as the resulting output looks and behaves different enough that it clearly stands as its own, unmistakable for the original.
But I agree that PTOs definitely need to clarify and raise the bar on patentability for both intellectual and physical inventions. They should hire engineering graduates along with subject matter experts to get a weighed opinion on obviousness from both ends of the experience spectrum.
Try paying attention to overhead signs when you get cut off by vehicles doing lane changes half a car length in front of you and in front of each-other. Over or under the speed limit would have made very little difference, I would still have missed the panels.
If it were only about whether or not something could be "reduced to maths" and fundamental sciences then just about nothing would be patentable. One thing to keep in mind is that back when PTOs were invented, the cost of intellectual inventions was negligible and could be taught/replicated in a matter of minutes, maybe days. Today, those inventions are a trillion-dollar industry spanning years or sometimes decades of research and development.
While I am generally against software patents due to how much they have been abused for countless stupid things, breakthrough non-obvious algorithms (stuff that is well beyond what is considered "fundamental" at the time of invention) should still be patent-worty. Why? Because if they aren't, then there is a high probability that research will remain locked behind closed doors as an industrial secret rather than get published for all to see and possibly get inspiration from for something else. That's assuming the prospect of losing your invention due to non-patentability does not discourage you from researching it in the first place. Reducing the risk of not getting rightful compensation for your inventions is the fundamental reason why patents were created in the first place.
With patents, you can try licensing new and existing technologies from the moment they are published or worst case, wait 20 years for the patents to expire instead of re-inventing/reverse-engineering them and still risk getting sued for espionage, plagiarism and any other backup infringement claims. With closed-door research, there is also no guarantee any of it will ever make it out the door.
As for historic names behind most of today's fundamental maths and sciences, a large chunk of them were bankrolled by nobles, kings, aristocrats, etc. who were mainly interested in attaching their names to upcoming bright minds for fame on relatively modest budgets if their family wasn't rich/noble to start with. Not at all the same thing as today's tens/hundreds of millions dollar research by private or publicly traded companies that need to get a reasonable return on that research to justify it and stay in business - very few people (outside academia) and businesses today can afford to bankroll major research efforts for fame only the way it used to be.
Junk/trivial/frivolous software patents may have tarnished the concept of software patents beyond repair and that would be a bad thing for people and companies who have genuine software/algorithmic inventions.
In any case, PTOs need to clarify and raise the bar on the cut-off of what is and isn't patentable.
The unwritten rules of "safe driving" can get somewhat crazy in some cities.
I have first-hand experience of how driving slower than rest of traffic usually does on a given stretch of highway is more dangerous than going (further) over the speed limit... totaled a car (indirectly) due to going only 20km/h over the limit somewhere I knew most drivers usually drive 40-60km/h over.
If you just want to disable them, a can of spray paint is probably your best bet. But you'll still need a ladder and some time.
Two words: paintball gun
No ladder required, takes seconds and relatively quiet.
As long as Internet Explorer can play embedded Youtube videos, Microsoft can simply make a re-skinned IE and embedded video interface tailored to Youtube and use that instead, then all Google would see is just another IE client accessing Youtube, which would give them even less information than what they are getting now. This revised embedded player may still have ad-skipping and video download features.
Would Google end up requesting that Microsoft strip embedded video capabilities from IE?
Youtube is a publicly accessible service. There isn't much that Google can do to forbid anyone from accessing it for legit purposes.
Software may be mathematics but the research, engineering and creative thinking that went into bringing the software from concept to actual code isn't.
If I invented a new artificial intelligence algorithm that has distinctive advantages over every currently known alternative, I believe the principles behind it would still be very much patent-worthy. The exact software implementation is pointless since others would likely be able to rewrite their own alternate implementation from principles and my own implementation would already be covered under copyright anyway.
The big problem with software patents is the endless volume of different filings about different methods of doing generally trivial stuff like drawing lines and countless other things most programmers consider obvious, take for granted, is purely cosmetic and non-essential (ex.: end-of-list bounce), etc. so we get countless lawsuits about things nobody other than the patent troll and its victims care about aside from being outraged the patent was ever granted in the first place.
I'm not sure it's understood to be truly 'infinite', but 'so damned big as to be infinite for purposes of discussion'.
In terms of boundaries, it probably is... but maybe someday radio-telescopes will discover something from beyond the cosmic background radiation that will reveal that our universe is not what we thought it was. Maybe we will discover that our universe is just some kid's world-in-a-jar science project in a higher-order universe or something.
In terms of mass, the Big Bang Theory does imply that the universe has finite mass, however unimaginable it may be at least with our current understanding of matter and the universe.
An equally interesting theory that goes with the BBT is the Big Crunch: will the outward kinetic energy from the Big Bang propel galaxies so far that gravitational pull toward the center of the universe will never yank all matter back or will the universe as we know it eventually lose momentum and collapse unto itself? If the BCT is right, wherever you go to escape Earth's demise (if we do not blow it up while we're still on it before then), physics will catch up with you in 20+ trillion years!
If those servers earn you so little money per unit that you need to seriously consider moving due to power and cooling cost, you can probably get away with telling your customers that your service will be down for a few hours while you switch over to new servers next time you need to upgrade them.
The likelihood of finding a datacenter with P&C costs low enough to justify the expense of moving servers for that reason alone is pretty low so the decision to move would require additional motives in most cases.
At the very least, every watt that comes in the building also needs to come out so the power price needs to include the cost of getting rid of the resulting heat. This adds another 20-30% to power cost after you factor in the amortization, operating and maintenance cost of cooling equipment and the datacenter needs to make a profit off of that too on top of the underlying power utilities' own profit to justify the expense. We're already half-way to doubling the utility rate if the datacenter does not further process power such as conditioning to add further value.
In any case, datacenters do not have a monopoly on the server hosting business. If your current datacenter's power rates are high enough to become a deal-breaker for you, taking your servers elsewhere is always an option to consider - at least until datacenters end up under common ownership and become an actual mono/oligpoly.