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Comment Re:Wrong (Score 1) 342

bicycles don't damage the road, they are far too light for that.

That argument of course becomes less valid once L.A. (from TFA) has built those 1600 mi of bike lanes, supposedly with maintenance costs for special traffic lights, road markings, and damage from weather and tree roots.

Comment Re:Biking is better (Score 3, Informative) 342

Deaths per mile traveled are spectacularly higher, ... You're "about" four times safer driving on road than biking ... roads are for cars and motorcycles, not for bicycles.

I would like to see a source for that. One of the first pages that I found on Google reads: "However, there is no reliable source of exposure data to really answer this question: we don't know how many miles bicyclists travel each year, and we don't know how long it takes them to cover these miles (and thus how long they are exposed to motor vehicle traffic).".

Moreover, I think one of the points of TFA is that the bike infrastructures (i.e., bike lanes) is being expanded, which is likely to reduce the accident rate (per bike-mile) by quite a bit.

Comment Re:Winter Biking? (Score 1) 342

there will be tracks where the people who cycled before you have crushed the snow to the point where it melts

Compressing the snow will only make it melt if the roads were salted just before the snow fell - which is usually the case here in Netherlands on main cycling routes when freezing temperatures with precipitation are expected. I have cycled plenty of distance over unsalted snowy roads; it's quite doable (even at 20 km/h or 12 mph) as long as you brake well in advance of sharp turns and you don't use knobby tires which are counterproductive with snow. (The tricky bit is when the snow has started to melt and then freezes again, though).

I used to live and bike in Southern Sweden, where often they don't sprinkle salt (less effective at low temperatures), but rather fine gravel, which also works fine.

Comment Re:Did you take any science courses at all? (Score 2) 381

When you use a fourier transform to put a signal into frequency domain you end up with positive/negative components.

That's more a mathematical artifact of using a complex-valued Fourier transform for real-valued signals; the amplitudes of the positive and negative components are each other's complex conjugate, so there is not really any information in the negative half of the spectrum. For real-valued signals, you can write the Fourier transform in terms of sines and cosines, with only positive frequencies. It's just that it's more work to write it like that.

Comment Re:Pressure from competition? yeah right (Score 1) 209

Owned original HTC Desire and still love it, despite browsing Slashdot on it was soo slow.

Blatant plug: AvantSlash - mobile version of slashdot.org. Works fine even with my wife's HTC Tattoo (Android 1.6, 256 MB RAM) and my old Nokia N82. It's implemented as a kind of proxy, so you'll need to install it on an internet-facing web server (don't all hard-core Slashdot readers have one?)

Comment Re:I reject your patent, M$. (Score 1) 183

There are multiple processes available to kill this patent (reexamination, post-grant review, inter partes review). However, they are all fairly expensive.

Normally, a patent application is published 18 months after filing, well before the patent is granted. Why do I never read here about attacking silly patents when they are still an application?

About this patent: when I saw the slashdot summary, I hoped that it was a bit exaggerated and that the patent claims actually were much more narrow. But no, the essential part of claim 1 is actually:

A computer-implemented method for formatting a range of cells according to a spectrum of cell formats, .... for each respective value between the minimum value and the maximum value, causing a processor to apply, to the cells of each respective value, a respective cell format ....

In plain English: automatic color-mapping cells based on a range of numeric values corresponding to a range of colors. To me, this sounds rather obvious: I did once search for such a feature in Excel (or was it LibreOffice?) and was irritated that I had to make a verbose list of conditional formatting (if value > 0 and < 1, then green; if value >=1and <2, then cyan, etc.).

But apart from the question of obviousness, which is a bit subjective, I wonder whether the claims cannot be attacked directly for unambiguous prior art. The word 'cell' does not seem to be defined strictly as applying to spreadsheet cells, since the patent summary talks about "cells in spreadsheets, tables, and other computer documents", where the term "document" is not defined. If e.g. MatLab files or finite-element model files can be considered as a special kind of documents, that would immediately invalidate claim 1.

Unfortunately, if you invalidate claim 1, the following claims may still be valid. They treat cases where the numerical value of a cell is not color-coded, but e.g. as little bar or pie charts.

Comment Re:there are special notch-filter google available (Score 1) 687

Notch filters are based on multilayer coatings which are (a) expensive and (b) normally designed for a single angle of incidence. The notch wavelength depends on the angle of incidence, so turning a multilayer notch filter into a safety eyewear means that it must block a much wider range of wavelengths.

Comment Re:Find a technical solution, not a legal "solutio (Score 1) 687

"a welding helmet with a LCD shutter, as soon as the the photo-voltaic cell detects a bright light, the lcd goes black"

The problem is that most of the danger with laser light is not the power per unit surface, but rather the high degree of collimation that causes the eye to focus the light onto a spot on the retina. A photosensor wouldn't detect the difference between diffuse and collimated light.

Too bad that TFA only mentions "high power", which could mean 5 mW (the highest that is still in the somewhat safe class 3a) or one of the crazy 300 mW handheld lasers which can cause permanent eye damage in a fraction of a second and are legally required to have a keylock.

Comment Re:Find a technical solution, not a legal "solutio (Score 2) 687

"mix up a coating to apply to the windows that contains the same dye that laser safety goggles use."

All goggles for 532 nm that I've seen block everything in the range 300--550 nm, which makes them look orange. Most goggles are based on dyes, and those don't come in 10 nm bandwidths.

It would be cheaper to place a few cube corner retroreflectors in the cockpit, to give send the beam back to the guy who's holding the laser.

Comment Re:Not going to happen...my plan is better (Score 1) 315

"This would allow a filing, probably on par with a preliminary patent filing, which would establish a pre-existing prior art."

Such a system already exists, except that there is a nominal fee. It's called Research Disclosures and USPTO examiners are required to search RD publications for prior art. Added advantage is that it allows anonymous publications, for businesses that don't want to disclose to their competitors what they are working on.

Making it zero-cost for the submitter would probably lead to spam, and anyway there is some work/cost involved (writing it with broad claims, making it searchable, storing it indefinitely). For zero cost prior art establishing, you can publish it on a mailing list with publicly accessible archives. A problem is that it's less likely that the examiner finds it there. As we see with Samsung/Apple, invalidating a patent with prior art once the patent is assigned is much more diffucult.

Comment Re:More details needed (Score 1) 474

"Adding absorptive finishes to the room will help reduce the reverberant field, which in a best case scenario will buy you 3dB"

I think you are making assumptions here that you don't mention, because those 3 dB are not some fundamental limit. For example, a room with floor/wall/ceiling in concrete and having 95% reflection coefficient. This will amplify the field from sound sources (vacuum cleaner or a small open window) by a factor 20 (i.e. 13 dB). Removing all reverberation would decrease the noise level by 13 dB.

I used to work in a place where the coffee room was like that. It would hurt my ears if the electric water kettle was on and two conversations were going on. Mounting glass fiber absorber panels onto the ceiling made a tremendous difference.

Comment Vodafone Netherlands (Score 5, Interesting) 105

It happened that I wrote down the status of my data usage over the month July, so here is my anecdotal experience for Vodafone Netherlands:

* Android Droidstats usage logger: 369 MB (2012-07-31 22:16h)
* Android "My Data Manager": 337 MB (2012-07-31 22:16h)
* Vodafone online usage monitor: 307 MB (up to 2012-07-30 17:46h)
* Phone bill for July: 343 MB (since a couple of months they actually mention the total; before I needed to use a perl script to parse the PDF invoice and add the data usage of some 200 separate data sessions)

When I asked about the differences a few months ago, the Vodafone customer service told me: "The information on your Vodafone account online is the real usage. Numbers from data usage apps are not reliable." But I highly doubt that I used 36 MB over the last day of the month, so it seems that within Vodafone they have different systems.

My train commute (where I use most of my data) passes through an area with bad coverage, so I would have expected a bigger difference based on the theory that packet loss accounts for most of the difference.

Comment internal memory versus sd (Score 1) 371

"I suppose if you like paying $100 extra to get an extra 16GB on your phone"

Is this internal memory really equivalent? In three out of three sd-equipped phones in our household over the past 4 years, we have had three failed micro-sd cards. One dead on arrival and two after a year of use. Didn't happen to the internal memory so far. Moreover they seem to be rather slow.

Comment Re:Of course 450mm is delayed (Score 1) 67

keep the forces manageable by dropping the scan speed much (if any) in the changeover from 300mm to 450mm because everyone would freak out as the whole point is to maximize exposures per second while minimizing wafer exchange time.

Indeed; I guess we would feel sorry if the whole tool needs to be slowed down (reticle stage, source power, metrology) just because the wafer stage cannot keep up. The ambitions should be even higher: by the time that 450 mm tools go to the market, the overlay targets will likely be tighter than they are today - they follow Moore's law.

I do think that other processes will also have some pretty awful trouble getting to 450mm though.

It could very well be that I am underestimating the technological hurdles in the other processes because I hear about ASML's technological challenges every day. :-)

Comment Re:Of course 450mm is delayed (Score 5, Insightful) 67

450mm means that you end up with fewer incomplete chips on the edges of your wafer,

A standard die is 26x33 mm, which is much larger than the vast majority of the chips; most dies already contain multiple chips. Therefore, the edge loss is not as big a deal as you would think.

What is more of a cost saver is that most of the processing steps (applying photo resist, developing the resist, etching, ion implantation, annealing, and so on) are relatively easy to scale up to larger wafers, thereby reducing the process costs per unit of wafer area.

A big exception here is the lithography process, which gets significantly harder for bigger wafers, since it involves rapidly moving a wafer around with nanometer accuracy. A bigger wafer requires a bigger, stiffer, and therefore heavier wafer stage. ASML manufactures lithography tools that can do up to 175 wafers per hour (300 mm diameter) per hour, with an accuracy ("overlay") of 5.5 nm; that is about 3 dies per second. To give an idea of the scale: imagine that a vehicle is moving at 100 km/h, making multiple sharp turns per second, and tracks the ideal trajectory within 500 nm. And then the customer says: nice that you can do that with a sports car, but it's too small; can you build a heavy SUV that can do the same thing? (So there, a car analogy)

This is why Intel, TSMC, and Samsung have invested into ASML to speed up the development of 450 mm litho tools.

Disclosure: I work for ASML, but the above opinions are my own.

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