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Comment Re: WTF (Score 1) 377

Electricity is the relative flow of electrical charge so storing electricity is an absurd notion. You can store electrical charge however.

The cost of the plant works out to about 30k per home which leads to some very interesting ideas.

Every home could have footed the bill as incremental construction cost. Considering how much we pay for electricity, the initial cost would pay itself off in about 20 years which is actually not bad.

For this cost, every house could have fitted high efficiency solar panels - although I have no clue if it would be the same equivalent thing.

The govt should be investing in smart grids that encourage people to contribute to the grid efficiently, not subsidizing solar power plants.

Just some thoughts. I'm not an expert though.

Comment Re:4 years too old (Score 1) 81

No, but a shit ton of them died. Indian famines and starvations are on a large scale, well into the millions of people dead. Putting 2.2% of their GDP to prevent this, sounds like a wise investment.

A noble thought, and one that is bandied around by the ruling party as well (the Congress). The problem is the extent of corruption. Rajiv Gandhi, ironically the ruler of the same party, said that for every rupee spent on social welfare, only 10 paise (a tenth) reaches the poor.

That was a couple of decades ago, and arguably, corruption in India has increased 10 fold.

So the problem you state is very real. However, the solution (i.e. money spent on social welfare) is farcical.
Most of the money comes back to the senior members of the ruling party so it is in their self interest to put even more money in social welfare.

Comment Re:I think they plan to compete on the premium end (Score 1) 348

Please clarify 'premium'. Marketing bullshitters have made it totally meaningless.

I know little of the Neo Geo, but I vaguely recall it was expensive.

Agree that they'll probably last a while. Valve's been going strong for a while now, and if anyone can leverage the existing world of PC gaming to make a 'console', it's them. I wonder what the uptake rate will be like.

Marketing speak aside, I would expect
- a good Steam Machine (Steam Engine?) to play current gen games at 1080p with high details settings

- a mid level Steam Machine to either play current gen games at 720p or play them at 1080p with dialed down details
I would also expect a mid level machine to play last gen games reasonably well at 1080p

- an entry level Steam Machine to play last gen games at 720p with mid to high level details

I'm not much of a game freak (well, I was, but I have a baby now), but I would totally buy an entry level or even mid level machine that would run Steam on top of Linux, and would let me play Counter Strike and a bunch of other games fairly well. Especially if I can get the thing up and running in a minute or so, so I can realistically play a game in an half hour time window - those precious windows of time. Maybe I will spend less time on the pot reading my tablet.

Huge bonus points if I can run this as an audio server/player when I am not gaming - run Logitech Media Server and/or Foobar or provide some other mechanism to play high bitrate mp3s, FLACs, and WAVs (and do optical/coax out). I know most people will say HTPC instead of media server but I actually think Roku does a stellar job and I find myself streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix or Amazon Prime on Roku and that's sufficient for me. Don't really need terabytes of space and the whole HTPC thing. But I guess I might be a minority.

Actually, it would be really nice if Valve made this more like a Roku - an easy to use and navigate OS that would run Steam but would also let you play other apps (say, for audio and HTPC).

Comment Re:This actually looks really unusable (Score 5, Insightful) 317

If my experience with trackpad controls on phone games is anything to go by, I think it's a very bad idea.

where those phone games, "built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators"?

no? then your experience is invalid.

honestly, i look at it this way. It might work. It might suck. either way, it's just a controller. i already have a system to use it with it. So, pending some horrible hands on reviews, i'll probably just pick one up and see for myself.

Thank you! For finally bringing some perspective into this conversation.

The trend nowadays seems to be to first trash and ridicule anything new or innovative that anyone does. Or better still, list out the 10 reasons why something like this should never have been built in the first place. Jeez man, maybe we should just send some people over to work in the patent office - maybe, we can harness all the negativity to solve the "stupid patent" problem.

I have no clue if this controller will really work well in real life or not. But we can definitely say

- This is indeed very innovative. For the first time, someone truly thought out of the box and redesigned a game controller from the ground up, instead of just adding more haptics. Well.. the Wii controller notwithstanding.

- Love the attempt at how they've translated the "keyboard WASD + mouse" way of navigation in an FPS to a controller. Might *just* work. More power to you, Valve!

- Sure, it will have a fairly steep learning curve and people will complain like hell, but hey, so does any other control mechanism.

- For me, the litmus test will be playing Counter Strike using these controllers. Or maybe I'm getting old, but it still remains the benchmark game for me as far as an FPS is concerned.

P.S. Isn't Steam Engine a better name than Steam Box?

Comment Re:Meh-be (Score 1) 151

The roomie I just moved in with was appalled when I discovered for her that her newly purchased notebook was actually a slower and worse-off computer than the laptop she was hoping to "upgrade" from. So we sent it back and now she has the credit and wants me to shop for her.

She kept mentioning the RT and liking it, but I warned her away and told her that tablets are still a developing technology, that it's in its awkward stages and next year she'll have something worth picking up. She said "okay, maybe next year it would be a good idea" but still seemed lost.

I'd like to say she has some good news when she gets home today, but the tablet isn't much better than the notebook. There's no removable media, not even a full-size SD slot?

I see these things as glorified palmtops. They're just slightly larger, but they fit the same niche -- something to pull out of your backpack or Euro-wallet at the airport or cafe and use within serious constraints on time and space. It's a useful gadget to complement a fully functioning PC at home, but IMHO it doesn't really qualify as a principal or "base" PC.

But oh, look: it's priced like a PC.

Scratching my head / not catching on.

Very interesting - the way you put it. If you read Anand and Brian's analysis of Baytrail / Silivermont performance, it pretty much lands up at half the CPU and a third of the GPU performance of a typical Core i5 that you would find in a slim notebook (Ultrabook). The crucial difference is of course that Baytrail consumes dramatically less power - about 2-3 watts (compared to 10-15 watts for a regular notebook CPU/GPU).


This power difference is crucial as it is low enough to be realistically used in a slate or iPad form factor. However, where it gets tricky is to determine if the performance tradeoff is worth it, especially if you are trying to do something meaningful - i.e. beyond simple surfing and answering emails.

There are two ways to look at this - firstly, Silvermont is about three times more powerful compared to the older Atom. So, if you are looking to replace an old Atom based Netbook, the answer is obvious - Silvermont will most certainly not suck in terms of netbook style usage, while still not heating up and keeping your family jewels safe. Personally, I think the best solution is a dual boot Silvermont that will boot Android and Windows 8.1 - it will let you use Android as a true tablet, and will let you use Windows 8.1 in a limited notebook way.

However, if you are looking at this as your primary computer replacement, I don't think Silvermont is going to cut it. You are better off with a Haswell. The dramatic power reduction in Haswell means that you can get a slim notebook that will still get you 8+ hours of battery life, almost rivaling an iPad. That is actually a game changer in itself if you think about it. This means that you can carry around a fairly lightweight and compact notebook with you and not bother lugging around chargers. In other words, you can carry it around like an iPad. Getting battery to last an entire work day or an entire school day is pretty cool! Something like the Macbook Air 13.

It would be super interesting if Intel came out with a version of Silvermont with beefier graphics (say, HD3000). I suspect that would be enough to support full HD meaningfully and to be a true viable notebook replacement.

Comment Re:at some point... (Score 3) 827

I don't get the part of the article, where the author is complaining about the spending on the Athletics??

I mean, the football programs like where I went to school, MORE than pay for themselves, they prop up all the other non-revenue generating sports.

It isn't like student tuition is going to college athletics, in fact from the schools I know. the athletics are subsidizing the rest of the school...

I grew up in the south, I'm talking about schools like U of AL, LSU, the schools in MS...etc.

Is that not the way it is in other school conferences?

I'm not actually a huge sports fan myself, but c'mon if you're going to bitch, at least get the fact right on who is spending who's money where.

I agree it is atrocious what colleges are doing today...but let's be fair about the money accusations.

That's because everyone has forgotten the basic reason for colleges and universities. Places where people can go and learn, get an education, and/or research. Instead it has become a circus for sports - with its attendant media coverage, fan following, controversies, and what not.

I absolutely respect the need for entertainment and sports. I love it myself. But why the heck are colleges even involved in this racket? And it IS a racket. A racket that media houses and "the suits" that own sport franchises and clubs do extremely well.

So while you say sports should not be brought up in this discussion because it pays for itself, I say that is precisely the problem. Colleges now fancy themselves to be big businesses, sport franchises, media houses, and what not. And it should not be this way. And it is the students and their families that pay the price - literally.

Heck, this whole notion of profit and loss should not even be the primary point of discussion when you talk about colleges and hospitals. I'm an ardent believe in free markets and capitalism, but damn, these two things are so massively screwed up. If any organization's duty (in a capitalistic setup) is to its stakeholders, then these idiots needs to realize that when it comes to colleges and hospitals, their primary stakeholders are the people who patronize their services. Not frickin sport fans and beer bars.

Sorry for the rant. I'm terrified to think how horrible the system is going to be when my kid grows up.

Comment Re:pen and paper (Score 2) 217

Ummm... how am I supposed to take notes if I skip the class alltogether?

Take someone else's?
How about the teacher's? Surely you realize he already has notes and could make copies of all he is going to write to all students. As a matter of fact, a lot of teachers do it, it's called duplicated notes.

You must've missed the part where I talked about writing my notes. See, it's not reading them that ingrains the information, but writing it down for myself. Otherwise, yea, fuck paying for class, I'd just buy the teacher's edition of the book.

That makes no sense. Whatsoever.

I'm sorry, there is nothing I can do if you can't understand simple English.

Says the guy who completely misinterpreted my plainly written post. Pot, kettle.

Word of advice, dude - try to actually understand what people say in their responses, before you get all butthurt and reactive. Not everyone who replies to your posts is taking a shot at you.

I would mod you up if I had points. I completely agree with you (and I'm not even sure why the previous commenter even got pissed!).

The purpose of taking notes is to distil what we are reading or listening or observing, and then noting it down on paper in a way that makes sense to us. The act itself has merit as lack of speed (and even laziness) forces us to quickly assimilate what we are hearing or seeing, and write it down as efficiently and quickly as we can so we don't fall behind in a lecture. More importantly, it forces us to think through the topic and formally defining it in our own terms.

I even argue that the best note taking happens when we are constrained by limited amounts of note paper. If I have only one page for an hour long lecture, I will really try hard to note down what I think are the important bits or the bits I would most likely forget.

The point really is not to compress the content from say, a hundred pages into one page - I really see the act of note taking as the act of learning itself.

Sure, I'm sure others have different and probably better ways of learning. However, this works for me and I haven't discovered a better way.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 175

I Welched on my bet and it led to a Mexican standoff with another guy who was an Indian giver. In the end we settled it with a game of Russian Roulette. It was chaos, a real Polish Parliament. In the end, the gun didn't go off and we all felt like we were Gypped and the Canadians were sorry about the whole mess even though they were not involved at all.

That whole post was Double-Dutch to me. As confusing as a game of Chinese whispers.

That's because the game being played by the big boys is like Chicago style politics. They give you the illusion of choice but in reality, it is a Kansas City Shuffle. You work hard, you work the system, you work the work, if you catch my drift, and you feel like you have a leg up on everyone else. You hear everyone laughing, you laugh along making fun of the other suckers, but the reality is that you are the one that was getting conned all this time.

Comment Re:Ok.... (Score 1) 142

I know you're just saying that to screw with pedants... but I hate you anyway.

If you're going to talk about pedantry, I don't understand the experiment to begin with. My concern is probably naive, but consider the fact that over a hundred detectable earthquakes occur every days, and thousands more occur that are too mild to detect.

Aren't earthquakes introducing massive errors in this experiement - considering how long it has been running?
If this concern is valid, they should have used a good vibration isolation mechanism, and I'm not sure if they did.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 1) 301

Wowser, do these same ideas also apply to programmers??
I can easily make the connection between programmers and your statement:
"if someone is doing good work in a creative field, they should at least have some level of trust in the fact that they can circumvent the established system with its attendant bloodsucking leeches, and still feel like they are getting the same level of respect, exposure, and money. In fact, it should be a lot more."

Of course it does - and in fact this is happening all the time. What makes you think that certain dotcoms or even mobile phone apps are worth the hundreds of millions of dollars as compared to certain other apps that are worth a thousand times less?

I see no reason why a Monet should be worth a hundred mill, just as I fail to see why Instagram should be worth a billion. But I don't begrudge them whatever they are earning or are considered to be worth. If we are going to support "free enterprise" in the truest sense, we should support the big guys as much as the small guys. In fact, the big guys arguably need more help because they have a lot more to lose.

And most importantly, it sends a signal to all the others that this system works even if you get really big or semi-big. Otherwise, you are simply destroying the incentive, the goal post, that people strive for.

Comment Re:Reward the artist (Score 5, Insightful) 301

Where is the EFF is fighting all of this??

They are busy protecting our civil liberties and trying to prevent our country from turning into a police state. Some millionaires making tens of millions instead of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the greed of their corporate owners may not be "just" but I'm betting it's not a real high priority for the EFF.

And there's a huge problem with precisely this type of thinking. Bands like Radiohead are trying extremely hard to "do the right thing" - i.e. what they consider fair to themselves and to their audience. We, the listeners, should be trying to prop them up instead of calling sour grapes on them because they happen to be millionaires or whatever. If you like Joe No-Name band that has sold all of 50 albums so far, good for you.

Do remember though that your (and my) media consumption largely consists of authors, bands, movie directors, and artists that have attained some level of commercial success. It is really sad to see initiatives like Radiohead's honor based payment scheme - not be wildly successful. I would actually have loved to see Radiohead make 10 times the money from this experiment than they would have from the record label. Just imagine the message that would have sent - not just to Radiohead but to every other artist and even to us.

Honestly, if Radiohead makes a hundred mil instead of ten mil, I wish him all the very best. Thom Yorke's talent, consistency, and hard work deserves all the money he can get. The concept of money is completely nonsensical when it comes to creative works anyway. Heck, even manufactured products nowadays cost what they cost because of factors that have little to do with their manufacturing cost.

But at the very least, if someone is doing good work in a creative field, they should at least have some level of trust in the fact that they can circumvent the established system with its attendant bloodsucking leeches, and still feel like they are getting the same level of respect, exposure, and money. In fact, it should be a lot more.

Comment Re:Ultrabook II? (Score 5, Interesting) 229

Remember when Intel took the MacBook air design and turned it into the Ultrabook reference design for its Wintel PC OEMs? Why would Apple not want that to happen again, only faster?

I disagree. Copying a form factor is not really copying design. That's a bit like saying that every hatchback car today is a copy of the original Japanese hatchbacks or whoever first produced the design. While it is true at one level, it is too simplistic a statement to make.

Anyway - I think the biggest challenge for Intel is not its process technology (process shrinks are going to get a lot harder in every iteration, but that holds true for everyone - including Intel and probably more so for TSMC, Samsung, and others). It is actually not even an x86 vs ARM architecture thing - ARM architecture superiority has pretty much been debunked since Medfield's release.

The biggest challenge for Intel, IMHO, is that it is simply not used to (and not geared for) SOCs. Intel has always designed and manufactured discrete chips whereas the entire mobile industry prefers, nay wants, highly integrated SOCs. This is the one aspect where Qualcomm kicks everyone's butt. To put it another way, Intel's fight is not with ARM or TSMC or AMD. Intel's fight today is with Qualcomm. Intel *needs* to get the same level of integration in its SOCs as Qualcomm - otherwise no one will want a bunch of discrete chips from Intel even if Intel shouts itself hoarse about how much better its chips are. And this goes for Apple as well. If Intel can give Apple an SOC that integrates the CPU, GPU, modems and other chips (I'm actually not an expert here but I would say things like DAC, GPS, etc. - anything that is not MEMS), I have a feeling that Apple will find it very hard to say "no".

I don't mean to sound grand but I honestly feel that the future of semiconductors will be highly integrated one-chip SOC based solutions that are "cheap as chips".

Comment Re:The same (Score 1) 184


Didn't know about Workday. Interesting stuff.

It is also worth noting that Salesforce bought Heroku, which was turning out to be a very viable platform in itself.
My bet is on Salesforce extending itself to cover finance and supply chain as well.

It would be an interesting twist in the long running Benioff vs Ellison drama.

Comment Re:The same (Score 1) 184

So who does Salesforce outsource to?
At some point there has to be servers in racks, it can't be cloud all the way down.

IT today is about configuration management, deployment and managing virtual and real infrastructure, scripting automation etc. You just described my day.

Oh, absolutely. I was only referring to IT departments in large and medium sized companies.

To put it another way, I was trying to say that these corporate IT departments will start looking more and more like the IT departments in dotcoms.

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