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Comment Re:welcome to the socialist wonderland (Score 1) 206

Your links are unfortunately misleading. Your US numbers are from 2011, while the Australian numbers are from 2007-2008. Additionally, the Australian numbers are PPP or "Purchasing Power Parity". PPP allows comparing of currencies insofar as what can be bought, rather than the pure exchange rate. While PPP may be a useful way to compare different countries, it is inappropriate in this discussion, as the point being made is that Australians pay more than they should for products. I don't have recent numbers for Australian median incomes, but Wikipedia's page on GDP per capita:
Places Australia at a GDP per capita at between $67-70,000 while the US is at $47-$50,000 per capita. Not the double in income that the original poster said, but still about $20,000 ahead.

Comment The Surface isn't a 7" tablet (Score 1) 3

Microsoft's surface will be 10.6", larger than the iPad.
Other inaccuracies from a cursory look at the article:
* The Kindle fire was $300 cheaper than the cheapest iPad at the time it was released, but this is no longer true. The iPad2 is now only $200 more than the Fire.
* Nobody outside of Amazon knows what it costs to produce a Fire, but recent articles suggest that it has fallen so Amaxon can now make a decent profit selling them.
* How does the author know that the Barnes & Noble are not working on a replacement tablet. Lack of rumours is not evidence that they are not working on it.

Comment Re:Translation: (Score 5, Interesting) 132

I think you need to get a bit of fresh air. New Zealand consistently ranks at or near the top of the least corrupt countries in the world. While countries like the US and Iran may have court systems that regularly make decisions for political reasons, that is not the case in most of the developed world. Just because you don't like the decision, doesn't mean it is corruption.

Comment Re:This guy is full of shit (Score 3, Interesting) 679

I think you are misreading history. However, even if you are right, it doesn't mean that Gates' efforts to rebrand himself won't work. Alfred Nobel developed dynamite, and made his millions selling explosives. He decided to change his image after he saw a mistakenly printed obituary calling him a merchant of death. He spent his money creating the Nobel prizes. Today the overwhelming majority of people associate the name Nobel with the prizes he created, and in particular the peace prize.

In other words, even if Gates is the demon you seem to think he is, it doesn't mean that a bit of well placed money won't whitewash his image.

Comment Re:How is plankton a good carbon sink? (Score 5, Informative) 99

What typically happens is once the plankton dies, it sinks to the bottom of the sea. If it lands in an anaerobic area (a region of low oxygen, which is not uncommon on the sea floor) then it will not rot. Over time, it could be covered with sediments and blocked off from the rest of the sea. Over the course of millions of years, the dead plankton may be cooked at 70-80 degrees and transform into oil and gas. Once in this liquid or gas form, it can move from this source material. If it is caught in a trap, then it could become an economic oil or gas deposit several dozen million years in the future.

In contrast, most trees fall and rot on the ground. The amazon rainforest is a big area with lots of trees and plants, but there is also lots of organisms actively decomposing the dead material. Some carbon can get stuck in the ground, but it tends to be much less than the sea.

Comment Re:What?! (Score 1) 376

The environmental argument for ebooks is based on the fact that reading additional books causes virtually no additional environmental damage as the device already exists. If you read enough books, then an iPad, or Kindle or whatever becomes more environmentally friendly. Of course, that assumes you read enough books on it. If you buy a kindle for someone, and they read three books on it, and throw it away, then it is less environmentally friendly. If they read 10,000 books on it, then it is far more environmentally friendly. As for the break even point, I understand the number is in the order of about 200 books. The other side is that an iPad is used for many things besides reading books. If you are already buying an iPad for web browsing, or movie watching or whatever, then any ebook you read on it causes next to no additional environmental damage.

As far as durability of ebooks, I have tried to not abuse my text books, but I have rarely had a text book survive a semester without serious damage to it. On the other hand I have taken my iPad to class every day for a semester, and besides a couple of scratches, it looks and functions as well as when I bought it.

Comment Re:It's high stakes poker (Score 5, Informative) 232

Are you kidding? Some are predicting the Kindle fire to sell 3.9 million this quarter, and others are predicting Apple to sell in the order of 13 million iPads .100,000 Xooms is less than a rounding error. To put it in perspective, Windows mobile 7 has more of the phone market than any of the non-kindle android tablets have of the tablet market.

Comment Re:Surprisingly different (Score 1) 325

This is the difference between Key frames (or intra frames) and predicted frames (or inter frames). Different codecs put different emphasis on the different frame types. Ideally key frames will have the same quality as the other frames, but different codecs can put different emphasis on quality for the different frame types.
I haven't looked at Theora since it was known as VP3, but if I remember correctly, while most codecs' predicted frames can only draw from the immediately previous key or predicted frame, frames in VP3 can always draw from the previous key frame. This means that key frames are more significant to VP3 than MPEG-4, and might explain why they spend more bits encoding their key frames.

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