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Comment Re:How many of them have bare metal antennas? (Score 1) 373

I have no mod points but you are 100% correct. What I think the poster is confused about is the antenna couplers that are typically used to impedance match HF radios with their antenna. In a very layman's description the coupler could be as electrically changing the length of the antenna. However in true this is only really from the perspective of the transmitter. It doesn't really change the performance of the antenna when receiving in the sense he was suggesting.

Comment Re:So Jobs is not a liar? (Score 1) 373

I am not sure if you are trying to be sarcastic or not but SNR is actually very important. If you want to talk about a single figure you should possibly use discuss the overall sensitivity the receiver. You could also talk about the ability of the demodulator to discriminate the signal from the noise. The fixation on signal attenuation is a bit like the mega pixel crap on mobile phone - the pixel count is not the whole picture. ;)

Having said that certain the iPhone do suffer from user induced reception loss (death grip). It also appears that other phones also suffer from this effect to some extent.

Comment Re:Only one question... (Score 4, Informative) 262

I doubt that the antenna is the actual problem. From what I remember and it has been a long time 20 years since I did any serious antenna design. You actually need longer antennas for lower frequencies eg 1/2 the wavelength for a dipole and 1/4 for a whip antenna. So the phone antenna can be quite small. Similarly I would be surprise if you couldn't make a fairly broad band antenna at for a mobile. The biggest problem with broadband antennas is impedance mismatching and hence VSWR problems mainly for TX. As you move up the frequency a given antenna can generally operate over a wider band more easily because the wavelength difference between the antenna length and the TX frequency becomes for a given TX band. A 20MHz (capital M for Mega not small for milli) TX band at 100 MHz will give you ~ a 20% variance in wavelength which is larger than the wavelength variation from 1.7 GHz to 2GHz.

Having said that I haven't done any RF design for phones so there may be some gotchas antenna wise that I am not aware of but I suspect the problem if it is a space problem may come from other front end requirements such as the high Q crystal filters, diplexer if they use one, and power amp (depending on design) but I am only guessing. Certainly there are lots of small quad band phones that seem to have solved this problem. Expense is another factor.

Comment Re:Is this an issue outside the US? (Score 1) 1093

Unfortunately is in not just happening in the land of the brave. In Australia we have our own crack pots and looney politicians that just don't "want to believe". Fortunately they are not in power but they still do damage. This blind faith that it will be OK seems to be pretty locked up with fundamentalism and self interest. The vocal opponents either have some link to coal (our major CO2 pollution source) or are part of the vocal religious minority. While they are very much in the minority they are noisy and do receive media attention.

I do have sympathy with scientists on this issue. At some point it isn't worth wasting time arguing with someone who is so intellectually impaired by their "beliefs" that they aren't actually capable of having a rational discussion about the issue. It is like arguing with fundamentalist christians about evolution. At least on this point we are well advanced of the US, Australian is pretty secular by world standards and extremely secular by US standards, acceptance of evolution is high. Event the religious establishment generally accepts that the science is in.

Normally I would say just give them a couple of years and the loons will come around, but in this case we don't have a couple of years to waste.

Comment Re:Already A Fad (Score 2, Interesting) 650

No the original poster is quite correct. The Prius relies on the fact that the car is stopping and starting to lower the long run (average) energy requirements of the car. Hence you can use a smaller power plant and supplement the higher instantaneous energy demands with the electric motor driven from a storage battery. However when travelling at speed the average power requirement goes up and the IC has to work harder. If you drive conservatively (ie slower and very smooth) you don't overtax the IC and run it in an inefficient mode. If you try to keep up with every other car then that small power plant coupled with heavy batteries become a significant disadvantage.

By comparison my large Citroen C5 station wagon averages 5.6l/100km on long runs in summer with the a/c running over rolling hills without me being very careful*. My C5 is a much bigger car that is well within the margin of the Prius' efficiency on highway cycle, but worse round the town ~8.2 l/100km around the city for the last 3000km. As you will notice I get a significant increase in efficiency between city and highway driving, as all IC cars do. They are designed to perform well at high speeds and do OK around the city (people like fast powerful cars). This doesn't happen with the Prius, is can actually be the other way around.

More generally, if you look at other comparable small cars they do significantly better than my car and seriously embarrass the Prius. The Prius may look good in the US when compared to a SUV, but they suck in comparison other small cars and then there is diesel.

* Remember a single persons experience does not make a data set.

Internet Explorer

IE 5.5 Beats IE6 and IE7 On Acid 3 308

Steven Noonan sends us to a page where he is collecting and updating results for various browsers on the newly released Acid 3 test. No browser yet scores 100 on this test. (We discussed Acid 3 when it came out.) He writes, "It's not surprising that Internet Explorer is losing to every other modern browser, but how did IE 5.5 beat IE 6.0 and 7.0?" All of the IE versions score below 20 on Acid 3.

Intel Ramps Up 45nm Chip Production, Announces 'Atom' Line 126

Multiple readers have written to tell us of the latest developments out of Intel. Earlier this week, Intel announced the Atom brand of low cost, low power consumption processors. The CPUs, measuring only 25 square millimeters, are the result of the Silverthorne and Diamondville projects. The announcement has caused this CNet columnist to question whether Intel can "spur innovation in ultrasmall devices the way it has in the PC and server industry." Concurrently, Intel has increased its production of 45nm processors to a rate of roughly 100,000 chips per day. As TG Daily notes, the massive investments Intel has made into chip production will make it difficult for AMD to catch up.

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming