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Comment He forgot about heat (Score 1) 361

And thermodynamics, specifically the need to dissipate the enormous amount of heat produced by a spacecraft into the thermodynamically-inefficient medium of space, changes things.

For one, there's no stealth in space. The heat from the shuttle's main engines can be seen from Pluto, ~5.4 light hours away. This means that any reasonably powerful ship will be seen days and even weeks before it comes into contact. Given that engagement ranges probably won't be much further than one light second, due to sensor lag, there's no sneaking up on anyone, so the shape of your spaceship vis a vis radar stealth doesn't matter.

This also impacts tactics. Since you will see your enemy coming from a long way and, as mentioned in the article, operating in planetary systems means predicable orbits and vectors, tactics becomes something akin to submarine warfare: lots of long distance shots with guided weapons, and lots of math to figure out firing solutions.

Third, because of the need to dissipate lots of heat into space, any sizable ship will need a large amount of highly vulnerable radiator area. Sufficiently damage a ship's radiators, and you effectively shut that ship down, as it will need to power down to avoid blowing up.

Comment Re:ok (Score 4, Insightful) 203

The bigger issue here is the narrow definition of "innovation"* so often used at /. and other tech-centric places, in which innovation only means innovation in a strictly technological/programming/hardware sense of the word. Behind this conceit lies the assumption that the only innovation which matters is purely technological innovation, and all of the other aspects, including making these innovations easy to use and accessible for wide range of people, are looked up on as somehow less than.

Hence the constantly renewing Year of Linux on the Desktop, which ignores the fact even the best-packaged Linux distros are at best a mixed bag when it comes to usability. Hence the constant claims that the iPhone/iPod will soon fall from its perch because its focus is ease of use and accessibility and not "innovation". Hence the boiling down of the wide variety of things which must go into a successful product as "cool" or "marketing", etc.

Apple's particular current genius lies in its ability to take technology and package it for use by a wide variety of people who don't care about the technology per se, and a big part of this is the iPod Touch/iPhone's UI, which makes it so easy even your grandmother can tweet away to her heart's content. And I think the reason Apple catches so much flack here, and elsewhere, is that by giving the "sheep" access to the technology, it take away from the n3rd world the special acclaim they have given themselves for having access to that technology.

That thought aside, the fact that so very few tech companies are able to do what Apple does should tell you how incredibly difficult it is to do, and why it is as innovative as any other tech achievement. Microsoft has, quite literally, money to burn and the best they can do is constantly bandage over the larger usability nightmares in Windows and Windows Mobile. Palm had to almost die before they came up with WebOS. Gnome and KDE have a (relatively) large installed base and access to talented people and the best they can come up with is a model which, sometimes, is easier to use than Windows. YOur average cel phone UI is a nightmare of menus, submenus, confusing icons and deeply-buried features. And on and on.

Making technology easy to use is incredibly difficult and every bit as innovative as writing a new OS or designing a new chip. And, while Apple has made, and will continue, to make stupid decisions, when it comes to what they do, they do do it so very well.

*There is a further conceit here, as to the true nature of innovation. There seems to be the idea that "true" innovators are the geniuses who come up with a wholly original idea, develop that idea, get it to market and retire to sleep on a bed of money. Look at this history of technology and you will see that almost never happens. Almost every innovation you can think of is either an improvement on an earlier idea or a new combination of previously established technology and ideas. Henry Ford, to pick one at random, didn't invent a damn thing. He took the idea of assembly lines and interchangeable parts from weapons manufacture, combined it with a newly available urban workforce and clever marketing (any color you want as long as its black) which was actually based on sound logistical planning, and created the modern car industry. It's the same with the computer industry. Progress is the story of incremental improvement and assembly of ideas and not sudden advances out of nowhere.

Or that's my $0.02

Comment Re:In technology... (Score 1) 475

Either way, time will tell.

Slashdot really needs a "-6, Wishful Thinking" tag for comments about Apple's coming, inevitable decline.

Apple is an enormously successful company, which sells computers and handhelds which run OS X, which more and more people like to buy. It's hard to figure out which one of those facts pisses off Slashdotters more.

Comment Re:How come it's only in Japan (Score 5, Insightful) 884

. . .they just don't want the same thing as us.

True, and there are things about Japanese culture which make their cel phone market very different from ours. One of the biggest things is the way in which the Japanese commute to and from work: Japan has a much higher use of public transportation than does the U.S., and the Japanese are heavy users of rail travel. This means, according to the last figures I checked, the average Japanese working person has an hour commute to and from work which is, essentially, free time. Contrast this to the U.S., in which the majority of people drive to work.

To me, this explains a lot of the Japanese demand for the use of video and TV on the cel phones, and from the cel phone networks: they have the time and inclination to use those services. Contrast this to the U.S., in which people have to (supposedly) concentrate on their driving; we have lots of talk radio here, something to listen to during that commute which requires no hands.

Add to this all of the other commuting the Japanese do via rail and you have a market which just doesn't exist in the U.S. I think this holds true in Europe as well, which also has a higher incidence of public transportation use than the U.S. We drive here, a lot, and that niche just doesn't exist. Most Americans get their online TV and video either at work or at home. Which is to say that population and work patterns influence technology adoption and use as much as, or more than, GUI design and technical achievement.

At least that's my theory.

Comment Re:They work well too (Score 1) 256

Yes most people on the east and west coasts have multiple options:

SOME people have options. I live in Manhattan, which means either Verizon or Time Warner owns all the infrastructure underneath me. Because of this I only really have two options for broadband. One is DSL through Verizon or through another provider which leases lines from Verizon and the other is cable through Time Warner or another provider which leases from Time Warner. And, remember, this isn't just a city on the east coast, this is the biggest, most densely populated city in the country in which two corporations control all of my broadband choices and make sure that no matter which one I choose, I will pay a premium for my service.

I actually get my DSL through Earthlink, as I've been with them forever and have had the same email address since ethernet packets were made of steam and pigeons. But I also know that I'm paying ~$40.00 a month for 3.0 Mbps, and that if there were true competition I would have a lot more choice for less money. Now, if I want to ditch my email address and go straight to Verizon I could probably pay less, but I like my email address. And, since there's no competition here my only other choice would be cable, and Time Warner is many things, but a good deal for consumers isn't one of them.

So, while I may agree with you in theory, in practice I know that corporations only give their customers a break when forced to by law.

By the way, if you want fast last mile here, your only choice is FiOS through Verizon. Their installation techs are horrible (I know someone who needed six visits just to get it working), you don't get anywhere near the speeds promised and it's very expensive.

Comment Re:And how much cpu power is needed at that speed? (Score 1) 280

USB 3 will do at least 200mb/s sustained.

And Vista is the fastest, easiest to use operating system ever, and 2009 is the year of Linux on the Desktop.

USB 2.0 was supposed to do 480 Mbps sustained, but you're lucky if you get 20 MB/s sustained. Given Intel's track record, I expect USB 3.0 to, maybe, be as fast as Firewire 400 for sustained transfers. There's a reason my TB backup drive is Firewire 800.

Comment Re:Looks like crap (Score 1) 591

None of the follow on series have been nearly as good as the original series. They've ranged from mediocre (TNG) to downright horrible (DS9). This movie doesn't seem to be raising the bar.

What people seem to forget is that the success of the original series was a fluke. No one will ever accuse Shatner of being a good actor, but he fit the role perfectly. Additionally, Roddenberry wasn't a genius sci fi writer, but Star Trek was his baby and he shepherded it well. And the original series wasn't a success at the time it was broadcast, finding its fans only later in syndication. Despite this the various people who have been working on the news ones are all trying to recreate something which was accidental at the time.


Submission + - CEO of RIM can't decide if iPhone is "dangerou

noewun writes: Looks like Jim Balsille, co-CEO of RIM, can't get on message. According TFA, "[t]he co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular line of BlackBerry email devices, said in an interview at RIM's Waterloo headquarters that he's not losing sleep over Apple's efforts to upend the wireless market in much the same way as its wildly popular iPod music devices changed the way people acquire and listen to music."

Then, a few paragraphs later, he "is also intensely critical of what appears to be an effort by Apple to wrest control of the customer experience in the consumer market. For example, the iPhone is being sold through Apple's own stores, instead of strictly through AT&T Inc., which signed an exclusive U.S. deal with the computer maker. The phone is free of AT&T's logo and software and is tied closely to Apple's iTunes music store, which is where subscribers will need to go to activate their phones and browse rate plans.

"It's a dangerous strategy," says Balsillie. "It's a tremendous amount of control. And the more control of the platform that goes out of the carrier, the more they shift into a commodity pipe."

So, it's not a threat, but it's dangerous? Maybe this is CEO Speak for 'Competition? Waaaaahh!'

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