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Comment bridge between first two eras of silicon valley (Score 1) 74

The first era of silicon valley was the commercialization the transistor between the 1950s and early 1970s by Shockley and his renegades from the east coast. This established the culture of quick startup companies and nomadic engineers you really hadnt seen elsewhere in the world. Then when the number of transistors on a single chip exceeded a thousand using cheap CMOS technology you could put a whole CPU on chip and complete computer in a box for a couple thousand dollars. This lead to the second era of the personal computer in the 1970s and 1980s.

Comment lot of technology to reduce show costs and speed p (Score 2) 106

Rodenberry said in his book The Making of Star Trek that he eschewed shuttles and invented transporters to cut the cost of filming and avoid the extra time it would take to depict a shuttle in the show. Ditto for many of the other devices. Constrast this to the Iron Man movie why they glory in showing expensive FX gizmos.

Comment 10,000 times slower/costly to write than read DNA (Score 1) 42

Mainly because scientists have focused on reading and invented clever technologies to do so. The guy who made the reading breakthrough, Craig Venter, is also a writing pioneer in his synthetic biology work. Earlier this year there was a secret meeting ran by a Harvard prof to launch the DNA-WRITE project to improve write technology. The meeting was secret because it was feared that anti-GMO groups and general Frankenstein fear might quash the efforts prematurely. P.S. Some computer write memory technologies are also much slower than reading.

Comment abandon standard format numbers (Score 1) 135

Much of their compression comes from they dont use full 32 bit floats or integers to store the discrete cosine transform coefficients, but variable bit length numbers which can be squished more tightly. I didnt read the paper deep enough to study how efficient this bit hacking is machine operations. There might be few clever tricks there. Bit hacking was more common in the early days of computers when core memory was very expensive. I recall Woz had some clever way of compressing color and shape graphics in the Apple II.

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