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Desktops (Apple)

Apple Updates MacBooks and Mac Pro Desktop With Haswell, "Unified Thermal Core" 464

MojoKid writes with more detailed information on the new hardware Apple announced earlier today at WWDC "On the hardware side, Apple is updating its two MacBook Air devices; both the 11-inch and 13-inch versions will enjoy better battery life (up to 9 hours and 12 hours, respectively), thanks in no small part to having Intel's new Haswell processors inside. They'll also have 802.11ac WiFi on board. Both models have 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 or i7 (Haswell) processors, Intel HD Graphics 5000, 4GB of RAM, and has 128GB or 256GB of flash storage. Arguably the scene stealer on the desktop side of things is a completely redesigned Mac Pro. The 9.9-inch tall cylindrical computer boasts a new 'unified thermal core' which is designed to conduct heat away from the CPU and GPU while distributing it uniformly and using a single bottom-mounted intake fan. It rocks a 12-core Intel Xeon processor, dual AMD FirePro GPUs (standard), 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory (60GBps), and PCIe flash storage with up to 1.25GBps read speeds. The system promises 7 teraflops of graphics performance, supports 4k displays, and has a host of ports including four USB 3.0, two gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI 1.4, six Thunderbolt 2 ports that offer super-fast (20Gbps) external connectivity."

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."

Comment Re:instead of pointing fingers (Score 1) 292

Wind is an option, but we have to get away from the idea of 24/7 power.

I agree, in fact, I couldn't agree more.

A few years I heard that a Dutch metalworks factory (aluminium plant?) has an interesting arrangement with NUON, an energy company. NUON will provide cheap electricity to the metalworks factory if there is energy from their turbines. The factory can then make a decision to run at odd (but cheap) hours. That sounded smart to me.

Solar is not a good option as solar cells require rare earth metals.

They're using less and less of them, and the organics are coming along.

There are some interesting numbers coming out of the research (I believe we are at a few percent now), but lifetime, printability and base chemical cost are still to be improved before we have a viable organic solar cell. With the money being poured into that field, I suspect that may take five to 20 years but I am no longer very connected with that field.

Nuclear fusion is hypothetically interesting, but funding is very scarce for this field which slows down progress by decades. Nuclear fusion scientists are now fighting for money to exist as opposed to actually doing science.

I do believe in research into fusion. Hell, I even believe in research into breeder reactors. I don't believe in any other form of nuclear power until we start actually solving the waste problem.

I agree. Let's get the funding back, fire the beancounters, get the press out of the sensationalist mindset and let's get back to science.


Comment Re:instead of pointing fingers (Score 1) 292

Funny, as I have colleagues researching alternatives to using rare earth metals in solar cells, as well as colleagues searching for better alternatives to rare earth metals in wind turbines (dysprosium being a rather expensive one). I do not come empty-handed though, I have a reference: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-rare-earth-metals.html

That reference says explicitly that rare earth metals are used in solar cells. But I suppose my colleagues and my reference are "just completely wrong".

Your second paragraph is an ad hominem and a "wisdom of the crowds" statement. So many people believe in Homeopathy, so it must be true. But I guess that is typical for anti-nuke Slashdot crowds.

Comment Re:instead of pointing fingers (Score 2) 292

I suppose it was not clear I was joking. Let me put on a slightly more serious note:
- anti-nuclear activism has caused a massive drop in support for further development of this technology, so much that research money in the field is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, they have prevented construction of newer replacement power plants of improved designs to replace the old with the result that the old are kept alive longer risking more catastrophic failures rather than graceful shutdown and dismantling. Lastly, they have prevented (in collaboration with the government on that aspect) development and construction of breeder plants which would reduce the waste problem by a whopping 99%. There are breeder plants around, but not enough and some are idle due to political pressure. Very lastly, fear of all things nuclear has also shut down research reactors for making neutrons, at least in Japan, seriously hindering many fields of science (biology, materials science, ...)
- Wind is an option, but we have to get away from the idea of 24/7 power. If there is wind, there is power. Too many people here in Japan scream for renewables but are unwilling to change their energy consumption (and poor, poor insulation) and energy expectations. Change that mindset and I'll be rooting for wind.
- Solar is not a good option as solar cells require rare earth metals. As was recently said at a conference, it is impossible to power even Australia with just solar cells: as soon as you've produced enough cells you have depleted all earth resources of several rare-earth metals. That just leaves the rest of the world without solar power.
- Nuclear fusion is hypothetically interesting, but funding is very scarce for this field which slows down progress by decades. Nuclear fusion scientists are now fighting for money to exist as opposed to actually doing science.

So, we're not out of the woods yet.

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