Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Not going to 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.

Comment Progressive patent maintenance fees (Score 1) 387

No, even in the US the maintenance fees increase over time.
  • Utility patent issue fee $1,740 (first 3.5 years)
  • Maintenance fee @ 3.5 years $1,130 (next 4 years)
  • Maintenance fee @ 7.5 years $2,850 (next 4 years)
  • Maintenance fee @ 11.5 years $4,730 (next 5.5(?) years)


Comment Re:Pretty Obvious + Plug for Awesomeness (Score 1) 192

Now if only they'd port it to Android.

Lux for Android is an auto-screen dimmer, but it also has a 'night' mode with red hues. The red mode is not in the free version, so it will set you back 1 or 2 dollars.

That said, in the evening, I usually read in bed from my Android screen with low brightness and the lights off, and usually I will fall asleep within half an hour; I don't use the 'red mode' for that.

Comment Re:"PC Makers" (Score 1) 622

Friends come over and want to play a song on their fancy-pants phone, and they're already on my WLAN, but we have to hear the song through a singular tinny phone speaker because doing it any other way is a pain in the ass. It shouldn't be that way (and, no, DLNA is not the answer, but is instead part of the problem).

Why is DLNA not an option? I have a DLNA-capable receiver with decent loudspeakers, an old laptop running MiniDLNA for my music collection, and there are several Android apps that can stream music from the phone to the receiver using DLNA. (I don't use that feature, but I tested it and it works)

And the big surprise was that this receiver (Yamaha RXV473) could actually decode Ogg Vorbis streams, even though that was not advertised.

Comment Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (Score 1) 81

"the population (of Scotland) is small and the land is large."

I have been in Norway many times, including at remote places well above the arctic circle, which are at least as sparsely populated and it was better than here, although I sometimes had to stand upright rather than lie flat in my tent. At least I wasn't surrounded by steel.

Now in Edinburgh trying to post this over 3.5G...

Comment Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (Score 1) 81

Are you sure your phone is fully compatible with all the non-US frequencies?

I live in Netherlands, so I guess it is. I have always been curious to know at which frequency my phone is operating with various providers, but I couldn't find any Android apps that do this; apparently, the inner working of the phone radio is shielded from the user-facing APIs.

You should definitely have no problem at all in Edinburgh

It's less of a problem here in Edinburgh, indeed, but inside old-town buildings (pubs etc.) the coverage is sometimes bad. I don't know how thick the walls of those are. But it could also be a problem with my home provider (Vodafone Netherlands), which seemed to be in the Dutch news yesterday because of mobile internet disturbances - maybe also affecting customers abroad.

Comment Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (Score 1) 81

and through most of central Scotland. 3G is certainly patchy in the Highlands ... aside from the tops of mountains

I'm not sure which definition of Central Scotland you use, but I guess the Highlands is where I spent most of my holiday. My complaints are mainly about Pitlochry, Plockton, Kyle of Lochalsh, Fort William, the connections in between, and the train trip from Fort William to Glasgow).

My wife has a different phone and, although she is not trying to get internet access all the time, noticed the same thing: it's her first holiday destination since long with such unreliable mobile-phone coverage.

Comment Re:How about good 2G/3G coverage in the UK now? (Score 1) 81

The map on Sensorly is misleading. I don't know how the gather data but,

They gather data from handsets running the Sensorly app in conjunction with GPS. Therefore you only get data for locations where there are or have been people and that tends to be along roads. In sparsely populated areas like Scotland, the data can be based on just one or two people.

Slashdot Top Deals

The finest eloquence is that which gets things done.