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Comment Re:One skeptic's impression (Score 2) 310

The task also appears partially hindered by the better safe than sorry attitude (among the scientists?) that we should skip the science and go straight to the cure.

I must point out that this is pretty standard risk mitigation, particularly given that reducing CO2 emissions will take many years. (The more the better, for economic reasons.) You're not supposed to wait for 100% confirmation of an impending disaster before taking steps to prevent it -- ask any insurance company. Had we started seriously trying to cut emissions 20-30 years ago, we'd be in a much better position now. Likewise, starting now is much better than waiting another ten years. And reducing fossil fuel usage is something we need to do anyway, both because of pollution and because we're running out of them. Again, starting on those problems early is a good idea.

The enviromental movement has been a good force, but to much of a good thing here would result in economic disruption backed only by good intentions ... I just hope that society and planet survives the cure. It would be tragic if folks pushing their agenda to save the planet end up killing it.

Those are some pretty big assumptions given the state of economics as a science, and the lack of consensus therein. What makes you think the economy is that much more fragile than the climate?

Comment Re:Yep (Score 2) 488

They show a difference of ~30-50ms between iOS and Android. Based on previous discussion about input lag in LCD monitors, that seems to be a range that some people find very annoying and others don't notice at all.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 1) 488

The part that really bugs me is how they implemented the "scroll up = reappear" part. If I drag the page up, stop, then lift up my finger, nothing happens. I have to fling the page so that it keeps moving on its own momentum to get the toolbar to reappear. How do you screw that up? Was anyone really upset about not having those pixels to begin with?

Comment Re:It's slow and just plain ugly (Score 2) 488

I agree with your criticisms. I have found a way to fix one thing, if it helps:

Almost everything is smaller and harder to read, and it's not obvious what is a "button" and what is just text in a corner somewhere.

In the accessibility options, turning on "Bold Text" will make the app names in the home screen bold again, which makes them much easier to read. Unfortunately, the other problems seem to be unfixable so far.

Comment Re:Yep (Score 0) 488

This may have been true a few years ago with Android handsets generally being underpowered, but the hardware caught up a while ago already.

I'm talking about stuff like how much lag there is between me swiping my finger and the app list scrolling to the next page, or between me pushing a button on the phone keypad and the phone responding to the button press. I tried several a few different Android phones that my friends had and several store models, but always saw the same thing. I went with an iPhone 4S (this was last year).

If the responsiveness has improved since then, that's great news, and I'll definitely pay more attention to Android next time I go phone shopping.

Comment Yep (Score 5, Informative) 488

There seem to be two different kinds of slowdown. The first is due to the new animations for things like going back to the home screen. The second is more intermittent, and happens mostly when task switching. Both of them are annoying. The whole reason I went with iOS over Android was the snappier UI.

The disappearing Safari toolbar also drives me crazy. I wish I had held off on upgrading. Hopefully Apple will have some tweaks and patches out soon.

Comment Affected software (Score 2) 254

Just in case you were worried about Windows updates, the defective patches are for Office 2007 and Office 2013. From the article:

KB 2817630 is not a security patch, it's a gratuitously delivered functionality patch for Office 2013, and man has it had an impact on functionality. I've seen dozens of reports that installing this patch, possibly in conjunction with the KB 2810009 patch that is part of MS13-074, causes the folder pane in Outlook 2013 to disappear. An anonymous poster on the SANS Internet Storm Center offers this picture of the effect.

KB 2760411, KB 2760588, and KB 2760583 are parts of the MS13-072 and MS13-073 security patches for Office 2007. There are many reports of the patches being offered and re-offered and re-re- ... you get the idea

Comment The actual tech (Score 5, Insightful) 242

I dug up what looks to be the main patent for the technology from 2008:

The microwave energy is focused onto a device to be charged by a power transmitter having one or more adaptively-phased microwave array emitters. Rectennas within the device to be charged receive and rectify the microwave energy and use it for battery charging and/or for primary power. A communications channel is opened between the wireless power source and the device to be charged. The device to be charged reports to the power source via the channel a received beam signal strength at the rectennas. This information is used by the system to adjust the transmitting phases of the microwave array emitters until a maximum microwave energy is reported by the device to be charged. Backscatter is minimized by physically configuring the microwave array emitters in a substantially non-uniform, non-coplanar manner.

I don't know enough about antennas and E&M to evaluate that. Any help here? According to the articles it gets ~10% efficiency at 10 feet and receives (?) 1 watt at 30 feet.

On to the possible crank warning signs:
* According to his LinkedIn profile, he's spent his whole career being a CEO and/or (later) doing software testing at Microsoft.
* He's identified as a physicist, but all he has to show for it is a bachelor's in physics from the University of Manchester (where he also "studied ... computational linguistics"). No graduate degree or research career.
* Twenty years after he gets his degree, having done nothing but software, he's suddenly producing miraculous hardware based on cutting-edge physics?
* Charger is hidden behind a curtain during a demo.
* Charger is six feet tall, but they're going to consumerize it to the size of a desktop PC in two years, when it will cost ~$100.
* Replacing all their off-the-shelf hardware with custom-built optimized hardware? No problem!
* Current fridge-sized charger has 200 transmitters, but when consumerized will have "20,000 transmitters in an 18-inch cube".
* The only public demo makes an iPhone declare itself to be charging. No electrical test equipment or data shown. No real evidence that it does anything.
* Claims the power goes through walls just like Wi-Fi, even though Wi-Fi signal strength can drop by orders of magnitude when it goes through walls.
* Charger only gets 10% efficiency from 10 feet away in open air, but this is never mentioned as an obstacle. Come to think of it, no technical obstacles are mentioned at all.
* This:

“In wave theory and electromagnetic systems, you don’t get linearities everywhere,” he added, describing the science behind Cota. “There are situations where double could mean for more, like double could mean square, or 3 plus 3 apples could result in a net total of 9 apples, so to speak. When you move from the linear version to the power version, things happen that were quite surprising.”

I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on the guy. Maybe he's been doing physics and electronics as hobbies all this time, actually did come up with a workable idea, and used his management experience to drive the development of a real product. Maybe they really will have a commercialized version ready in a couple months and I'll have to eat crow. I just can't help but feel skeptical of people who announce their world-changing new product before it actually is a product.

Comment Re:Not until 4k displays become common (Score 1) 418

Why the fuck he's talking about "image quality"? Until we get 4k displays the quality differences are non-existent.

Resolution is far from the only thing that matters for image quality. Contrast, black levels, ghosting, viewing angle, color reproduction, and even input lag (for lip sync) can make a big difference. For an extreme example, compare LCD vs. plasma at the same resolution.

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