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Comment Transistoacking has probably reached its limits. (Score 1) 156

These line widths of 22 nm or 28 nm etc are some 50 times narrower than the wavelength of visible light. Making the lines thinner is difficult and it is approaching quanum mechanics limit. Unless people start immersing the entire etching machines in water or some such medium, we cant make the lines thinner.

Even if we did, there are not enough electrons in these lines to make the "law of large numbers" work. So this time we are bumping against a real barrier.

Anyway, there are not any mass market killer apps based on computation anymore. All the action is in connectivity and bandwidth enhancement. Given the computer market has been split into makers vs takers (or content produces vs content consumers) this is changing the funding models. Earlier the large number of passive consumers buying computers way more powerful computationally than what the typical consumer needs, was subsidizing the cost of computers for the few who actually need that much of computational power. Now the passive consumers are buying simpler devices needing less computation and more connectivity. We can expect coders like us can expect our hardware to get more expensive, like the old line of unix workstations like micro-vaxes or sun-solaris or hp-ux or SG-Iris.

Comment I know this from personal experience. (Score 1) 202

Very clearly etched in my memory. I was walking down the street in Bangalore, unpaved gravel street. Light breeze on. The wind rustled a long piece of dried coconut palm leaf frond. It slithered in the wind just as a snake would. I had encountered snakes in the wild may be a dozen times in my life previously, but none that long, nor slithering like that palm leaf. It was in the peripheral vision, suddenly almost everything else in my field of vision vanished, except for that snake/palm frond. Eyes pivoted to it, I was startled and instinctively jumped, startling a few near by who too reacted as though they had seen a snake! My body language was so clear they thought they saw a snake too. It was sheepish grin, we all laughed and moved on. I had always known our brains process slithering long things in the peripheral vision differently.

Comment Re:The fine wasn't all of the punishment (Score 1) 192

Of course, the people who suffered because of the destabilization of the markets caused by such cavalier trading algorithms can sue to collect compensation for damages. But the same people who valiant rise to the defense of free markets, and "let people do what they want with their money and if they lose it, its their problem" are the same ones who rail against the trial lawyers and push for "tort" reform to reduce penalties.

Remember this folks, when you are pushing for complete free markets, trial lawyers and courts are the only form of defense against the big players. And once the government has been shrunk small enough to be drowned in a bath tub, will the courts have any power to enforce judgements?

Look at how toothless SEC is against powerful traders. That would exactly be the situation in the libertarian paradise where everyone acts anyway they want, and any harm they cause would have to be proved in court and compensation claimed. In that world taxes are so low and the Government would be so powerless and the courts would be so overloaded, the common man will have absolutely no protection. That is the side most libertarians refuse to see.

Do you wonder what happened after all the Atlases shrugged, ditched the world of moochers and moved to Galt's Gulch? The biggest Atlas there called himself Zeus and screwed all of them.

Comment Re:Forget it (Score 1) 187

Automakers have a heavy mark up on these infotainment systems. And they salivate at the thought of recording and keeping all the info people are searching for. Situation not unlike car makers using proprietary connections to sell their radios and cassette decks at heavy mark up by avoiding price competition with thirdparty products. Eventually they all settled on SAE standard connectors.

Same way, we need to get SAE or some such body, at least nominally independent from the car makers, to specify the interface and the dock and the functions that will be handled by the attached tablet or smartphone.

It is particularly irritating to buy a brand new BMW and then find out their mp3 player can not play my files from the thumb drive and has so many issues pairing with blue tooth phones. Google Nexus 4 is not in the "approved list of phones" for a 2014 model year SUV. It is inexcusable. All the computers (mac, win, android, sansa), smartphones, tablets play these tracks correctly. But BMW claims the files are not strictly standard compliant so it is not their fault they don't play.

If any one of you are planning to buy a BMW, take your own phone and a thumbdrive full of your mp3 tracks. Make sure it plays for at least 20 minutes in the car before you sign the papers. But when the car forgets the pairing after three days, or when the mp3 track issues show up after five tracks, it is difficult to test. Just stay away from BMW.

Comment It is horrible (Score 1) 85

They have a plastic tube coming out of the stomach wall connected to a mylar balloon. It is as shocking as that cow with a glass window in its side that allows the scientist to reach in and take samples of semi digested stuff from the cow's stomach.

Forget the belches and farts, cowshit has enough methane. It is far easier to sweep all the solid waste from the cow to retention ponds, cover it with a plastic sheet and collect the methane. It reduces odor pollution, gets methane fuel, and produces non-smelly organic fertilizer. But alas, now that natural gas prices has fallen to through the floor due to fracking, there is no incentive to do it for fuel. Organic fertilizer and odor pollution abatement are the only incentives for this now.

Comment Documentation is overrated (Score 2) 211

Documentation goes out of synch with the code very quickly. The only thing worse than working on someone else's code without documentation is working on someone else's code with incorrect documentation. The problem is so old Dijkstra allegedly said, "Always debug code, not the comments".

Oh, yeah someone will tell me I am doing documentation wrong. How come "you are not doing agile right" is a valid response but "you are not doing watefall right" is not?

Comment Next wave of modern technology. (Score 3, Funny) 178

Let us use the 3D printing technology to create papyrus rolls. And use an email to a post-office which will print it and deliver it to the customer's home.

Or we can speak into a smart phone, use an app to convert it to text, send it via SMS, the receiving app will use a synthesizer to read it out aloud. If the receiving phone has stored the profile of your voice, the receiver can actually hear the sender's voice, on a phone, no less! Oh, wait, some already did this. It is called What's App.

Comment Upscale hotel customers get everything free. (Score 3, Informative) 318

Most upscale hotel customers are business travelers and their corporate employer is picking up the tab. They don't even look at the bill. If they do it is to make sure the correct euphemism is used for the porn bill. So in some sense they get everything free.

Again the real big businesses get into large contracts with the hotel chains and they get a different rate. But then the hotels get smart and add "service" fees. And the next round of contract talks things get negotiated. The cycle goes on.

In all our travel, if there is no free parking, free breakfast and free wi-fi, I am not even looking at the hotel. They get filtered out.

Comment Re:Silly question (Score 1) 274

This morning I asked my Android "where can I buy a good pair of fur-lined leather gloves" and it thought I said "where can I buy a good pair of for lined leather gloves" and returned no useful results at all. The programmer was a southerner, I guess? "How much does them go fer?"

No it actually thought you wanted to buy "purloined" leather gloves. The programmer is a Sherlock Holmes afficianado.

Comment We don't remember what we saw, only what we felt. (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Human memory is a funny thing. It does not really remember what we saw, except for a few savants with photographic memory. What we generally remember is what we felt. I will cit two personal examples.

When I was in seventh grade I saw a movie with a typical bollywood number set on the Moon. Craters and boulders and stuff with the leading pair dancing and singing. I remembered it as a magnificent big set. After some 40 years I happened to see the same sequence, in an old is gold DVD set. The set was cheesy, tacky, at most 40 feet by 30 feet, craters were of just two sizes, nearly perfect circles, in a kind of semi uniform spacing. The leading pair looked horribly over made up. The only thing that was still great was the song. I was humming it for a couple of days. [*]

Whan I was young my dad used to take to the bank and I used to think the tellers were sitting on very tall chairs behind impossibly tall counters. Turns out that was just the perspective of a child who has to look up at everything. Once I grew up these counters seemed quite normal, at most 4 or 4.5 feet tall.

The point is, even if we unearth all those missing 106 episodes, the actual episodes might not stand up to all the hype and expectation heaped up on them.

[*]: For the Desis out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6UeorX-aVo

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