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Mars

Mars One Delayed Its Mars Mission -- Again (time.com) 90

Mars One says its project to start a human colony on the Red Planet will be delayed by five years. The Dutch company says it will send its first crews to Mars in 2031 instead of its previous target date of 2026. From a report on Time: The venture is delaying its missions so it can raise more money, according to CEO Bas Lansdorp. "Of course the whole Mars One team would have preferred to be able to stick to the original schedule, but this new timeline significantly improves our odds of successfully achieving this mission roadmap," he said in a statement. This is far from the first time Mars One has delayed its project. Despite Lansdorp's confidence, other scientists have expressed significant doubts about the mission's feasibility.

Comment powered wagons (Score 2) 100

Interestingly, not on TGVs which are among the most common high speed trains in Europe (470 trains). These trains have power cars at both ends.

On the other hand, German ICE (InterCity Express) and Swiss ICN (InterCity Neigezug) both use the "no power cars / each wagon with an electric motor" configuration (though not on 1st class wagons in the swiss case to diminish noise).
- This gives them tremendous power enabling them to climb steeper slopes than normal powercars (which is useful in hilly pre-Alpine regions)
- This gives them very efficient regenerative braking (In switzerland, two train coming down from the Lötschberg tunnel can entirely power one train climbing up to it).

I've also seen it on Czech Pendolinos.
I seem to remember that Austria's ÖSB has also such configuration, but I'm not 100% sure.

But funny that you mention: seems indeed that the French TGV are almost the only high speed trains not doing it.

Comment Re:Note will have a pen holder (Score 2) 104

The headphone jack isn't just a hole though, it has electronics that take up space in the internals which manufacturers want to use now for other things.

Common !
- Other manufacturer are managing to still cram an audio jack into their competing smartphones
- Smartphone are getting *wider* with *larger screen* each generation. In theory they should have *more room* for electronics.
- The "other things" might not be as useful as marketing would like you to think (Apple's taptic engine was the excuse for removing their jack).
- The only reason that manufacturer are lacking space is because they have launched themself in a competition for the thinest device possible. By trying to shave a few mm of thickness, they are losing critical space. This has already cost Apple their bendgate (less thickness = less mechanical resistance) and caused Samsung a few exploding batteries (not enough space for battery expansion).

In other words: I manufacturer weren't competing for the first company to release a phone thin enough so you can cut cheese with it, they would have plenty of space to keep a phone jack, add their useless new features AND have bigger batteries with better life.

I get why people want to hold onto this legacy port, it's a well established piece of tech that has been tired and true and remained unchanged for decades but to say that there's a pen hole so a headphone hole is the same thing isn't really accurate

The total volume of a pen, is still bigger than the volume of small compact jack connector and the tiny DAC feeding it.

No the real excuse is getting a way to sell either extra dongles (audio-out to USB-Otg or Apple Lightning)
or expensive accessories (force you to buy Bluetooth Wireless earphones. Or wired phones with custom plugs).

Comment Not the timer (Score 1) 100

so the traffic light will cater to whats best for the person in the $100k luxury car but the kid in the beater has to be at a disadvantage on teh public right of way?

Nope. The traffic light still waits all the same for every one.
The only difference is that the driver of the luxury car gets the privilege of having the wating counter of the traffic light directly displayed on their dashboard.
(And the car will be able to shut down and restart the engine during the wait on its own if it is economic to do so).

Comment Buy a Zoe instead - affordable electric (Score 1) 100

Go buy a Renault Zoé instead.

- it's done by one of your French companies.
- the newer Zoe platform features a 44kWh battery that should be okay for 200+ km between charges (rated for 125km/h).
(the previous one had a 22kWh battery, rated for 125 km. I still manage to get ~100 km out of the Zoé of the local Car Sharing copmany even when I'm driving like an idiot).
- you can either buy just the car and rent the battery (and the car comes rather cheap between 15'000 and 25'000+ EUR depending on the options), or you can add ~8'000 EUR and buy your own battery.

Hybrids motors are extremely complex and that comes at a a cost.
(you basically got both disadvantages of an ICE engine - complex delicate mechanical device
combined with the disadvantage of an electric drive - big expensive complex battery and ancillary electronics ; also an electric motor which, although cheap, is much bigger than the standard alternator of an ICE.
And on top of that, a slightly more complex transmission - specially on hybrid that can do both serial and parallel hybrids).
Because of this complexity, cost is never going to go down that much.
It's a nice stop-gag technology to diminish smog problems, but electric drive is the long term solution.
(Specially in a country like France that doesn't rely much on fossil energy to produce its electricity).

Electric cars - outside of the expensive battery and its electronics - can be even a bit cheaper :
- the car tends to be much lighter for better efficiency. Depending how it's done it might drive the price slightly up (Tesla and their space alloys) or down (the newer 44kWh Zo is lighter than the older one, without being more expensive).
- an electric motor is dead simple and much cheaper than the mechanical complexity of an ICE (it's just a glorified spool of wire, attached to a fixed ratio gear. That's why Tesla can afford to slap a 2nd one on their 4-wheel drive vehicle (the xx"D" series), and that's why most european high speed train can afford electric motors on each of their wagon.)
(This is opposed to energy storage. On a gaz powered car, energy ist stored in a glorified jug with a cap and a tap. Whereas an electic car require a complex chemistry in the battery and complex electronic to control both the charging of the car, and the power delivery to the motor).

Cost of batteries is going down, as car companies invest in mega-factories - Tesla is building one in Texas, Renault is building one in France - and as the demand for lithium batteries increases in modern technology (laptops, lithium-powered power tools, etc.).
Network of charger is increasing.
Mennekes connector is becoming standard accross Europe.
Tesla is building their own network of superchargers.
In France I've seen chargers in Highway rest areas.
In Switzerland, nearly all parkings in big cities have charging spot.
European countries burn a lot less fossils to produce electricity. (France relies on its nuclear power, Switzerland has endless supply of hydro-electric. Northern Europe is developping green sourse like solar, etc.)

Future is in electric cars.

Comment Yah but (Score 0) 97

They turned all this crap on by default along with annoying auto-run apps. To say that I am unamused would be an understatement. However, I was able to fix the issue trivially by blowing away ALL of AMD's radeon junk, ripping out the radeon card, and buying a nice cheap little Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.

Problem solved.

-Matt

Comment Re:laptops on the conveyor belt (Score 1) 168

There's no reason that an 85-year-old grandmother from Minnesota in a wheelchair should face a pat-down and the same security precautions as a 23-year-old Syrian national.

Actually, there is.

Is a grandmother going to be radicalized? Unlikely.
But think of this: Someone with malicious intent finds out that granny is going to fly. They tell her that "look, you don't have long left to live anyway, Smuggle something aboard this aircraft and nothing will happen to your grandchildren".
Everyone could be coerced into this. Doesn't even have to smuggle it onto your own aircraft, just past the checkpoint and hand it off to someone else who will use it on another aircraft. Granny gets to see her grandchildren again, some other plane with complete strangers has an accident.

Everyone should have the exact same scrutiny at the airport, healthy or ill, young or old. Because if we create a loophole it can be exploited.

Comment What danger ? (Score 5, Interesting) 368

In an emergency, you're supposed to be able to break a car's side windows.

I supposed the "sun-cooked" guy had passed out (alcohol ? heat shock, while he was asleep ?) before realising he should get out of the car.

I'm more surprised that the thief didn't try to break out of the car. But, on the other hand the lock has happened while he was napping inside the car, so he might not have realised what had happened and did not release he should run away as fast as possible before the police arrives.

I would be much more worried about the remote disabling of the car :
- was some form of owner's access required in order to do the disabling ? (i.e.: the owner's second fob is needed in order to validate the instruction to lock and ignore the stolen fob ?)
- or does any sufficiently high executive at BMW have the power to shut down any random car ?

Also : is the remote access limited to very simple instruction (locking doors and revoking fobs - which as mentioned above shouldn't be dangerous except under special circumstances) or can the car be remotely shut down while it is driving ?

Comment Apps on Non-Adroid OS (Score 1) 128

has anyone actually demonstrated this is feasible,

As mentionned above, Myriad's Alien-Dalvik has and is the official commercial solution powering the Jolla Phone in my pocket (and what I use with countless android apps).
I think I remember that this was also the official solution use by BlackBerry back when they offered Android Apps support on their (non-android) OS.
This was also a solution considered for HP/Palm's webOS... but the whole platform went belly up before commercial deployment.

SFDroid is another solution for SailfishOS, but opensource and thus used successfully by the community ports (e.g.: on Fairphone 2). I haven't tested this one.

Shashlik is yet another one, but I don't know how far they've reached.

WSL is what microsoft tried, but unlike the above, they weren't successful (and recycled it into the form that we now know of).

is it legally possible (would Google lock out such an OS)?

Technically possible :
- yes, I'm doing it, and countless of other sailfish OS users.

Legally possible :
- murky. In theory Google requires a commercial license between them and the phone constructor, in order to allow them to use the full commercial "Google Play" experience (as opposed to simply using the opensource android).

e.g.: As Jolla has never secured such a license (and the fact that it runs on a completely different OS might probably contradict the usual terms about the "google experience") the Alien-Dalvik installation on Jolla phones doesn't come with Google Play, but with Aptoid (and optionnally Yandex).
By default they activate a couple of repositories containing a few apps that have been curated and known to work good on the phones.

In practice:
- Google has never done anything against end-user sideloading Googe Play Store into their phones (be it Cyanogen-modded, running Alien-Dalvik, etc.)
And you could understand clearly why :
- They DO have interest going against crappy no-name chinese clone-makers, because it might degrade the perception of their Google Play brand.
- They HAVE NO interest going against en users. On the contrary: As this is end-user installed, Google don't need to go at great length to insure support (I might have found 1 or 2 applications that don't work on my phone). And as it is an *apps store*, google can earn tons of users who are happy to install paid content on their phone (There's at least a couple of games that I've paid).
So google has very strong monetary incentives to let users keep installing Google Play Store on unlicensed platforms.

Comment Mice (Score 1) 230

Actually, the technology HAS BEEN used in computer mice.
(which do not use that much power, and thus the lower energy density of older supercaps wasn't such a big deal).

of course, the supercap is small in order to fit into a computer mouse.
last I've heard about these (a couple of years ago), the mouse would charge literally in seconds, and could be used for a couple of hours in a go.

So if you leave the mouse on its charging craddle for a few seconds whenever you make yourself a coffe (or go to the toilett, or even just stretch your legs) you never have an empty mouse.
(as opposed to a mouse with a lithium battery, which won't be fully charged that fast enough)
   

Comment Palm apps eco-system (Score 3, Informative) 94

focused products that addressed a specific need.

They were *marketed* for specific needs...

They were not general purpose computers that smartphones are now.

They were the exact precursor of smartphones now :
they were general purpose computers, on which you could install tons of additional apps to extend functionality.
(with SDK and documentation provided by Palm).

After PSION with their EPOC OS (ancestror of Nokia's SymbianOS),
Palm's PalmOS was the next big eco-system that saw big development of 3rd party apps.
It is dwarfed by the current Android and iOS apps ecosystems, but back then it was quite an achievement.

You could find and install game, web browser, email client, GPS/Nav software, console emulators, some very domain-specific apps (Epocrate, a medical drug database started its life on PalmOS), etc.

Comment Jolla Phone keyboard (Score 2) 128

or it's going to be a slider, which have proven to have mechanical problems

3rd party have successfully designed keyboard which are magnetic slide.
(No mechanical parts. Just carefully aligned magnet that accept 2 stable positions. Either the keyboard stuck to the back of the smartphone, or stuck in "slide out position" with the keys available for typing and the pogo-pins aligned with the contacts).

I you don't want the keyboard, you just remove it (un stick it).
This of course requires the availability of pogo-pins.
Jolla's phone and Fairphone's phone 2 were both designed with extra pins so that 3rd parties could invent such gadgets.

Android OS and access to the Google Play store.

Technically, only the "access Google Play store" part is important.
It just happens that Android OS is the most straight-forward solution to run Android Apps, but...

Going with a non-Android OS is doomed to failure, because of the apps;

...unless this non-Android OS also runs android apps.
Like the Alien-Dalvik engine available inside the Sailfish OS - for whose development Nokia already paid, until Elop decided to drop that R&D team (who subsequently formed Jolla)

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