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Comment Re:Why do I need so many batteries? (Score 1) 246

This (almost) all exists today, if you're willing to buy the components required. (Almost depends on who built your camera)

Kensington will sell you cell phone connectors that will allow you to charge a cell phone from a laptop or other USB power source. It also has a portable battery that can provide an additional charge for your cell phone. Or step up to a fully universal laptop battery if you want to power that netbook

Some cameras can also be charged from USB, allowing you to use the Kensington portable battery or your netbook. Google to find out if yours can be charged that way.

There are at least half a dozen systems to charge a laptop (or in your case, a netbook) from solar power, effectively making it your portable power station, using solar power as the source.

Comment Re:Weird Headline (Score 2, Interesting) 309

Wow, over a runtime of 204 years, the DNA copying process has an accuracy of 99.99988%, or an error rate of only 0.00012%.

While I agree that the level of change is reasonably slow, I think you've taken the conclusion a bit too far in inferring the observed rate of change matches transcription accuracy.

The reason I would be cautious about extending observed mutation rate to infer transcription accuracy is that there is likely to be significant selection bias, similar to how "old furniture" always appears to be great quality (because anything that isn't great quality is in a landfill). Any fatal mutations would never progress and therefore can't be detected by this method. Thus, the 0.00012% is a (very) loose lower bound on the transcription error rate.

To follow your computer analogy, it's like saying a program running for 204 years only produces a wrong answer 0.00012% of the time *that it produces an answer*. What you may be missing is the 50% (making up a number) of the time that it dumped stack because a bounds check failed due to an error.

Comment Re:How soon we forget (Score 1) 493


What did they invent?

OLE (1990) was an extension of Microsoft's Dynamic Data Exchange, introduced in 1987. CORBA was 1991. CORBA standardized (and made more flexible) the types of transactions Microsoft defined in DDE/OLE.

I seem to recall that tabbed browsing took years to make it into IE.

I have not - and will never make - the assertion that Microsoft innovates well or consistently. Microsoft frequently is not an innovator, but rather is chasing others. My point was on tabbed spreadsheets. "Microsoft has yet to innovate anything, ever." is a strong (and IMHO incorrect) statement.

On-the-fly spell checking in word processor

Trivial leveraging of improved processor speeds does not equal innovation, but nice try ;-)

It is innovation. It provides benefit to the end user that reduces the amount of effort a user has to make in checking a document. It may seem trivial in hindsight (many innovations are), but it was innovative when introduced.

Comment Re:How soon we forget (Score 1) 493

This is where business and technology meet, because I think you're confusing invention and innovation.
People often refer to the inventors of technology and fret that they are not sufficiently recognized for their invention. (e.g. Xerox PARC on the GUI). What matters to users, however, is not the idea or the invention, but the successful application of that idea or invention. (e.g. Apple Macintosh)
This distinction between invention and innovation is why you will see companies refer to "innovation" as a key area where they need to spend effort. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Innovation refers to an invention that is successfully applied.
In that sense, Microsoft was an "innovator" in many areas because it was often the first to successfully apply a technology.

I challenge anyone to cite an innovation from M$

XBox Live (more generally a console w/ services and playability across the Internet)
Tabbed Spreadsheet
Pivot Tables in Spreadsheets
On-the-fly spell checking in word processor

All first successful applications by Microsoft.

Comment Re:Survivorship bias (Score 1) 280

Better pieces have Mortise/Tenon or dado.

Actually, it's not even that simple. Most "high" quality furniture is still only about mid-range IMHO and subject to weaknesses in design. Ethan Allen and others who "mass produce" furniture - even "high quality" furniture will use jigs that result in shortcomings in the final structure. DerekLyons is correct. While they use a dovetail joint on corners, their half-blind dovetails tend to be rounded on the inside, and not completely square. Look at the half-blind illustration and then look at how it's done with a jig. Note in picture 5 how the insides of the pins are taken out with the use of a jig. That makes it harder for the glue to grip and makes the joint weaker in the long run.

Really good furniture only needs glue to secure it for long periods of time (if at all). Screws are typically used to hold on the top, in order to allow the wood to expand/contract with different moisture levels and avoid cracking. I have a desk & filing cabinet I built by hand and the glue is a formality. I could sit on them before they were glued and they didn't budge.

Comment Re:NYT quote is a bit unfair ... (Score 1) 203

My water company is the town government, so the bill is sparse in the amount of detail it provides. My sewer charges are based on the number of gallons of water used. The sewer capital charge when building a home is based on the legal number of bedrooms (rooms with closets) in the home (I know this because I have a "study" that I didn't turn into a bedroom :) )... not sure what the capital charges on the water side of things is based on.

Comment Re:NYT quote is a bit unfair ... (Score 1) 203

It is actually different from other utilities - the electric company doesn't cap how much electricity you use...

Citation needed. I say that because I believe they DO limit how much electricity you use. Here's the proof: I'm on a residential rate, E01, to be exact. I can't exceed 5kW load under that rate, nor can I exceed 7600kWh per month consecutively while remaining on that rate.

Comment Re:Why all the fuss? (Score 1) 264

- It isn't standards compliant. When standards disintegrate the consumer pays.

So the only innovation that should be allowed is innovation qualified through IEEE or another standards body? This way, we immediately have a race to the bottom on price? How would any company ever make money?

- It promotes vendor lock in.

So what? If you bought an SLR, you understood the consequences of the connection between the camera body and the lens - or you should have. Where is the limit? Would you propose that GM, Honda, and Toyota all be forced to use the same air filters and fuel filters? What about speedometers and engines? At what point do we accept competition is about solutions and not about making every component in a solution interchangeable?

People buy things that are "locked-in" because they work. If this weren't true, then almost no corporation would have purchased an IP phone system. While there are base standards (SIP), just about every vendor has proprietary extensions that ensure you can actually perform many valuable functions a modern phone system should be able to perform. Note that this does mean the single-source vendor can charge higher prices for additional equipment (i.e. phones), but any company that installs them presumably is saving money vs. their original phone system. So while it's "locked-in", it's still a savings to the purchaser. Decisions are a series of trade-offs, and others will not make the same trade-offs that you make.

When a market leader pulls this crap, others do too and pretty soon all the MP3 players you can buy have this "feature".

...and if that happens, I suspect you'll find it turns into a standard. Lots of things start out proprietary and migrate to standards in order to assist both the manufacturers and consumers. What are now WiFi, HTML, SIP, and many other protocols followed this path. It only makes sense to standardize if the demand and volumes justify standardization.

That's nice. They get what they want. What about those that do care about the headphones? What about those who can't use ear buds due to hearing or ear problems?

Then they have product requirements that will lead them to investigate and purchase a different music player. Apple produces a product for a specific segment of the market, they are not required to serve other segments (e.g. those that do care about the headphones)

Comment Re:Places Apple still have DRM. (Score 1) 264

So how is waiting any different except ...

It's different because anyone who is willing to do that exploration and failure would be considered an early adopter, and not part of the mass market. You cannot successfully sell cheap consumer electronics to only the early adopters.

This is a prisoner's dilemma for manufacturers of hardware that might be "made for X". If any manufacturer performs the qualification, the non-"made for X" product will likely be more expensive. (Yes, I meant "non-", and this is counter-intuitive to some people)

This is all about unit volumes. While it's interesting to target a high-technology crowd with a product, it is *not* the mass-market. The mass-market will flock to the pre-qualified item (even at what would initially be a slightly higher price), and drive unit volumes on the qualified part to the point where manufacturing efficiencies would actually make the qualified item cheaper in the long run.

Comment Re:There's no way they'll abuse this (Score 1) 570

"Pursuit of life, liberty and happiness" is irrelevant. You're quoting the Declaration of Independence, which is not binding law.

The relevant context is Amendment 4 of the Constitution: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."

Comment Re:1.6M Processors, but only 1.6 TB memory? (Score 1) 248

I wouldn't. They explicitly choose algorithms that save memory and reduce communications requirements, even if that wastes CPU time. That is rational based on overall system power usage. It is also one of the design characteristics of IBM's BlueGene system, and I would expect that to hold for this system as well.

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