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Comment Where is it practical? (Score 1) 127

But it does not allow rockets to reenter the Earth's atmosphere at orbital velocities, slow down, and land.

How about the Moon and Mars? It seems to me that the fuel capacity of Dragon isn't enough to do both lunar descent and ascent just on the Super Draco thrusters and the trunk's fuel capacity.

Comment What's really impressive (Score 2) 127

The impressive part is that they do it with an actual rocket that is 106 feet tall, and that they have launched it 7 times with 0 failures.

Using the same engine, rather than treating the engine as a disposable object that only performs one burn in its lifetime. Most rocket engines can't be throttled, can't be shut down and then restarted in flight or otherwise.

The tricky part is going to be for any stage to have enough delta-V to return to the pad after lifting a payload to orbit. Also, as far as I can tell, this takes a drag chute for lower stages, and a re-entry shield for upper ones.

Bruce

Comment Better to not trust (Score 1, Interesting) 183

Hence why all my Android and iOS devices run a VPN (using the OpenVPN app which works great on both). Of course, the network at the VPN end-point isn't necessarily more secure, but it will be far more secure than all the networks in-between.

The real question here is... will Google at LEAST update all the phones and pads under their own control? Motorola and Nexus updates, please!

-Matt

Comment Categorical 'no' (Score 1) 373

I will never buy a hybrid drive from seagate or anyone else. It's a huge waste of effort and money which only adds additional more uncertainty to the failure cases that already exist. 8GB of flash on a hybrid drive at best improves boot times by a second or two (literally, just that), and there's no point 'caching' application binaries when you can trivially stuff 16G+ of ram in a modern machine.

My windows box boots from a normal HDD just fine. If anyone is unhappy with their boot times it's probably because their machines are loaded with tons of crapware.

Laptops don't need HDDs at all. Just go with a SSD. There is absolutely no need to store your life's work on your laptop when a myrid of wireless/internet/automatic backup solutions are available.

Workstations and servers will want discrete SSDs in addition to HDDs. We stuff 128-256GB SSDs on our servers, use ~30G for boot+root, and the remaining 200GB to help cache the filesystems on the HDDs. Works great. The last thing you want are idiotic multi-failure-mode hybrid drives on an important machine.

I am not particularly married to WD or Seagate, but the last few years Seagate's line-up has been such a horrid mish-mash of half-baked features that I've pretty much been sticking to WD.

-Matt

Comment Re:I want low power consumption (Score 1) 373

Not really, no. You will save money going with 2.5" HDDs instead of 3.5" HDDs, however. SSDs still eat less power when idle, but HDDs don't eat a whole lot of power when idle either.

Otherwise it depends on the kind of machine it is. If it's a desktop or workstation, then cpu's with integrated graphics (AMD APUs or Intel xxx5 chips typically) use far less power than systems with discrete gpus or graphics cards. Later generation chips eat less power when idle. Intel pretty much wins on that front if you want a powerful but low-power workstation. Haswell mobos and a good PSU will draw under 20W without having to go to sleep. Costs some money, though.

-Matt

Comment Business models are different (Score 1) 327

And I think a lot of you are confused by that. Samsung is just selling hardware. Apple is selling hardware AND creating an ongoing income stream from its ecosystem. Apple focuses on and accomplishes far higher customer retention numbers to sustain a longer purchasing cycle by consumers as the market matures. And it shows in the margins and the premium that Apple is STILL able to command for its products (despite what the emotionally-driven people on slashdot think).

From a business perspective, Apple is beating the holy crap out of its rivals and as the market matures pure hardware makers such as Samsung are being forced into more defensive positions. It's obvious just looking at the relative margin numbers.

Statistics can be very misleading, particularly the idiotic 'global market share' statistics the media seems to love to quote. The simple fact of the matter is that Apple is not diving head-first into lower economic zones. It's dipping its feet in from the higher zones but from Apple's perspective there's just no point trying to run after customers who don't won't provide any meaningful ongoing income to either Apple or Apple Developers. This also supports Apple's premium pricing model because, to be frank, the consumers of its products tend to be the same consumers who spend significant amounts of money just on telco. In the U.S. and other economically mature zones, Apple's premium is barely 1 month's phone bill. Not enough of a reason for those people to switch to a cheaper device.

China is certainly different in this regard, but Apple's business model is still generating enormous revenue and profits so to say that they are somehow 'losing' in China is losing sight of the bigger picture. Apple will tune its model but they will always sell at a premium to other devices. There's no reason for them not to.

-Matt

Comment Re:scale (Score 1) 327

Actually Samsung doesn't. You are quoting a widely disseminated piece that itself quoted incorrect statistics and had a misleading title. The original was corrected but the media tends to only propagate the more sensationalist titles and articles.

Part of the problem in today's world is being able to distinguish truth from fiction. Even when using valid data, it is always possible to quote a particular statistic out of context to make it appear that the data supports a story when, in fact, it doesn't.

In this particular situation the roles are actually reversed. Samsung has become more defensive, willing to chop margins to try to gain footholds in markets, and Apple pretty much beats the shit out of all of its competitors when it comes to margins and real profit.

-Matt

Comment Re:Grats (Score 2) 58

Next time I'll just raise my little finger and then the angry comments will *really* start to fly :-)

In anycase, my brother worked for Apple for a number of years and it can be quite a high-stress environment. Probably the highest-stress environment of any company, anywhere. But ex-Apple employees often take away a good chunk of change plus lots of great ongoing contacts which works naturally well when moving onto to another job that might then do (more) business with Apple in the future. The Apple ecosystem extends far beyond the consumer!

-Matt

Comment Re:Meh (Score 2) 227

I think the digital-zoom capability argument falls on its face though. I've looked at the sample images. The camera is clearly designed to oversample. The entire technology is based around oversampling. The instant you start zooming digitally you lose that oversampling and the technology falls on its face.

The phone is designed to store smaller pictures, there's no point storing 40MP files. I guess a lot of people missed the point... photoshop isn't going to be able to do jack with a full 40MP file from this phone, you might as well let the phone process it down to a smaller format.

The actual sensor is not all that great. It's VERY noisy, even in good light, and the phone software is clearly doing a ton of noise-reduction post-processing. Oversampling works for some things, like the nyquist frequency limit, but it won't reduce noise appreciably compared to the same sensor designed with fewer, bigger pixels and a focus on noise reduction. Nokia's marketing is intentionally overstating the technology.

The phone clearly produces better pictures than other phones. It doesn't hold a candle to even a low-end DSLR, however. If you want to take good pictures you don't do it with a phone, not even this one.

-Matt

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