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Comment Re:Personal vs Commercial use (Score 1) 227

Nobody is making imitation Lexmark cartridges. These cartridges have already been bought from Lexmark, at which point they're the customers' property. If you bought a car, you can sell it to someone else, you can pay whoever you like to repair or modify it, you can paint it luminous green. Why should this be different?

Regarding your first point: the cartridges have been indeed bought. The customers at the end can refill them as they see fit. Instead, they sell them to Impression Products (it appears to be implied that they "recycle" spent cartridges they get from their customers), who refill them, and then buy them back.

So here the problem is not that the customer is not entitled to refilling the cartridges (which does not seem to be the point of the dispute), but the problem seems to be that Impression Products sells infringing cartridges (remember, not the content, but the plastic bit object of the patent) on which they make a profit in two ways: (i) they don't have to buy empty shells from a manufacturer, and (ii) they sell the product to a customer.

Regarding your car analogy: it's obvious you can repair your vehicle or paint it. This is akin more to a case of "customer not allowed to refill fuel tank". However, say that you want your car repainted, so the paint guy would strip the paint off your car, somehow liquefy it again, and then resell the paint as "compatible chevy color #8736". If GM had a patent on the specific pigment used, I can see how they could very well sue you, even if that paint had been used once before. It's all about selling a protected product, not about how many times it's been used.

Comment Re:Personal vs Commercial use (Score 2) 227

This seems to me the core of the problem, and it's impossible to tell without knowing exactly what patents are being (allegedly) infringed upon.

If it's just about the shape of the cartridge (which is a perfectly fine thing to patent, assuming that a proper technical effect has been found in the examination procedure), and if this company is effectively selling the cartridges without paying a royalty for the use of this shape of cartridge, then I can see how Lexmark has a case.

If Lexmark is suing on grounds of "Use of our cartridge", and assuming they haven't claimed such use, then it's a very different story.

Submission + - Best credit card practices? (google.com)

justthinkit writes: It seems to be almost impossible for people to use Uber or Lyft without having their credit card credentials stolen, then sold online for as little as $4 a card. With no way to reach a person at the ride-providing services, consumers appear to be left with no choice but to cancel yet another card and request a new one. Are there better ways of providing payment online, or easy ways of obtaining "burner" charge cards? Is this the fault of smartphone applications, or are these insider hacks?

Comment Re:anyone on fly the 747? (Score 1) 59

Well it's not like 747s have disappeared from commercial aviation. A number of airlines use the newest 747-8i (such as Lufthansa) and they will use them for years.

I had the luck of flying on a KLM 747 ICN-AMS; and a 747-400 (FRA-YVR) and 747-8i (JNB-FRA) of Lufthansa.

The KLM flight was in business on the upper deck, and it was a fluke because at the time only economy travel was company policy. However my VP took his sweet time to approve my travel, and by the time he did it only business was available. Somehow slipped through the cracks, and I got to fly in business. Poor experience all in all, with slanted seats, mediocre food, and a snoring neighbour. But the first time on the upper deck you can't forget!

Second time was on a 744, and I was booked in business. At the time Lufthansa was flying their 744s with an amazing upper deck configuration with 8 first class seats which also had a bed:


I went to the gate before my flight to get my passport sorted, and the friendly gate agent gave me a shiny first class boarding pass. I could not believe my luck, never got an upgrade before, and now this! Made my way to the first class lounge in Frankfurt, ordered eggs benedict and a glass of champagne, and waited to board. I slept about 8 hours straight on my own flying bed!

Finally I flew the 748 recently on the upper deck in business class, and it was a mostly uneventful flight, but the experience of going up the stairs is always amazing.

Fun fact, if you get to fly first class on the 748 of lufthansa, you actually sit more in front of the pilots, since the nose of the plane is way ahead of the upper deck!

Comment Re:Energy density? (Score 1) 53

The energy density per se depends mostly on the electrode materials used. This battery uses conventional electrode materials, so in principle it can achieve the usual energy density of Li-ion cells.

The cells use Li4TI5O12 at the negative electrode, which means that they most likely operate at a lower nominal voltage than traditional Li-ion cells (somewhere around 3V as opposed to >4V), however since the electrodes can be made much more dense (because the liquid electrolyte does not need to penetrate in the electrode and therefore the empty porous space in the electrode is not necessary), overall the energy density of the electrode (capacity times voltage) remains the same.

The main advantage of solid state cells comes from the fact that the electrolyte layer, in principle, can be made much thinner than the usual ~20 microns required by the traditional polymeric separators. However, manufacturing such thin layers of purely ceramic materials is not easy, and I don't think (cannot access the paper right now) that the cell shown in the paper has any advancement in that respect. I think the best example of thin, ceramic, Li conducting layers are those made by Ohara in Japan.

So overall an interesting technological step, but no breakthrough.

Comment Re:I agree (Score 1) 121

I have had a Blackberry for the last couple of years. Yes, Android applications work when they work. But if you want to use an app that depends on Google Services, you have to jump through a million hoops. Sometimes apps just crash. And since it's an emulated environment, the average blackberry hardware is just too weak to maintain acceptable performance.

So yes, it's "just Java", but there's more than that. As much as I hate Android, I had to switch, it just wasn't worth the effort.

Comment Germany should take note (Score 2) 48

Here in Germany credit cards are still seen as an exotic and luxurious item, and most transactions are conducted by giving direct access to your bank account. Sign up for a phone plan? Give them your bank account. Sign up for internet? Bank account. Buy on Amazon? You guessed it, bank account.

An extremely popular payment method is Sofortüberweisung, where you authorize a bank transfer at checkout. I am not sure what would happen if someone would intercept this payment and add a couple of zeroes to the amount, as technically you have authorized the transaction with your two-way authentication.

Comment Aerodynamic design? (Score 3, Interesting) 127

I'm not an engineer, but I always wondered why trains tend to be designed like a wall. Only high-speed trains are actually wedge shaped to be aerodynamic.

I would imagine that a subway train, acting like a "piston" would work better if it were more aerodynamic and not have to overcome a lot of pressure within the tunnel.

Can anyone explain the reasons behind this design?

Comment Hopefully data only (Score 4, Insightful) 96

As long as voice isn't enabled I don't have a problem with that. I recently tried wifi on a long haul flight and was quite impressed with the speed of the service. I can see how people might want to have data connection up up in the air (albeit one has to see the extortionate roaming prices airlines will come up with!).

But voice? No thank you. It would quickly become a safety issue because passengers would assault each other.

Comment Tenure-hunting discourages risk (Score 4, Informative) 203

I have been working in research (chemistry) for 10 years, half in academia and half in industry. In my time in academia, it was all about putting together enough results to scrape a paper together, nevermind whether the "promising results" were benchmarked against shitty "state-of-the-art".

In my current industry job, I have been asked to prepare a 5-year plan with high ambitions, and I am free to explore any path to the final goal without (reasonably at least) restrictions.

Unfortunately until non-tenured researchers will need to publish as much as possible without actually delivering important results, this will not change.

In my opinion the peer-review system is not perfect, but it's the best thing we have. I have found many reviewers whose comments have been genuinely beneficial to making my papers stronger. Others barely read the manuscript and rejected it because it encroached on their turf, or didn't cite them enough.

In my opinion the peer-review should be changed to a double-blind system: the reviewer should not see name and affiliation of the authors, and judge the work as it would grade an undergrad paper (i.e. harshly). Like this I believe the signal-to-noise ratio in journals would increase, and only good papers would get published. At that point, I'd be willing to accept impact factor as a measure of worthiness of a publication. Until then, it's just friends judging friends, with nobody wanting to piss off anybody else. Minor revisions, congratulations, you're published.

Comment Re:Graceful Failover ? What Graceful Failover? (Score 1) 164

That was also my question when I RTFA. It says that the Intel drive entered some sort of "read-only" mode, and that at that point the drive was still OK. Then a new write cycle was forced (how?), and the drive committed seppuku and became unreadable.

Which is it? Can I be confident that my SSD will fail to a gracious read-only mode? All my ~ is in RAID1 and backed up so I'm not worried, but it'd be nice to be able to just copy the / from a read-only SSD to a new one when the time comes.

Comment Re:FIFA blew it (Score 1) 90

Would anyone think selecting any African nation as a site for the world cup is a good idea? Brazil was a bad idea for similar reasons. "Bad Neighborhood."

Did you notice where the previous World Cup was held? That's right, South Africa. Which arguably is even "worse" than Brazil. Yet the World Cup happened, few if any tourists were mugged, raped, quartered and shot. People visited the country without particular hassle.

While I agree that World Cup and Olympics have now transcended their function and are a cesspool of waste and corruption, denying them to poorer countries is not right. These are global events, and they deserve to be hosted globally. If then the local governments make fool of themselves, let them, and let that be a lesson for the future.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley