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Comment Re:RTFA? (Score 1) 103

Yeah, this is why I was confused by this report. Lithium-ion cells have to get VERY hot in order to vent, and even then, they have multiple safety systems that attempt to prevent failures that could start a fire. If cargo compartments were getting hot enough to set cells off there would be complaints about many other things melting first. I would be surprised if the cargo compartments even reach 60 Celsius (140 F) which are within the operating bounds of lithium-ion cells (though at seriously reduced performance).

The only reason I could possibly see a higher incidence of cell explosion when on aircraft is if the cell was in a non-pressurized compartment such that the sealed cell expanded in such a way that an internal short was caused in the cell causing a fire. Even that would require the failure of at least one safety feature on the cell.

Comment Re:Half baked (Score 1) 235

I've been calling for a device that can be best described as the combination of these two Asus products since before the iPad was announced. I want a tablet with a touchscreen but also with a Wacom digitizer built in. If they made it so that you can hook it up like an extra screen to a different computer, but also had the ability to run like a normal tablet PC, I would buy one in an instant.

Comment So? (Score 1) 664

I'm failing to see how this is news. Many courses of mine do not allow laptops. I even had classes that required you to sit in the front row if you wanted to use your laptop. For me I have had classes that I only attended because of the rare occasion something useful came up and entertained myself with my laptop most of the time instead, otherwise all my notes are pen and paper.

Comment Re:Explosions (Score 1) 281

I guess I'll respond to this since I am a battery scientist (well research assistant, close enough) and handle lithium almost daily. The safety of these will probably greatly depend on whether the electrolyte they use is flammable. Lithium by itself isn't going to cause much of a fire, it would mostly react with nitrogen in the air in a completely unexciting manner. If the electrolyte is flammable then there could be significant safety issues if the lithium contacts water. The amount of electrolyte in current Lithium-ion cells causes gases to be expelled if it burns and that is what causes explosions. A couple other things I notice are, they don't specify the voltage of the cells, or the current they can discharge at, they may only be usable in low current applications. I also know there are regulations about how much metallic lithium you are allowed to bring onto a plane, which would probably limit their use in most devices if they are viable.

FTC Wants To Straighten Out IP Law 97

coondoggie writes with this excerpt from NetworkWorld: "What do you get when you mix the government, the court system, company lawyers and Joe Consumer? A serious mess that would send most people screaming into the night. But the Federal Trade Commission is no such entity. It wants to straighten Intellectual Property (IP) out and today said it will hold a series of hearings — the first in Washington, DC on Dec. 5 — it will use to examine IP law and the myriad issues surrounding it. Interested bigwigs from the tech industry, including Cisco, Yahoo and the Computer & Communications Industry Association are expected to testify along with professors, lawyers and other industry players. The patent system has experienced significant change and more changes are under consideration, the FTC said." The FTC held some different, but related hearings this week which addressed topics such as copyright law and DRM interoperability. Transcripts, podcasts, and summaries of the talks are available on the FTC-hosted "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade" site.
It's funny.  Laugh.

OS X Vs. Vista — In Spandex 302

An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK compares Vista Vs. Apple OS X in a Romeo and Juliet, spandex-wearing, Shakespearean English style. Two guys dress up as their favorite operating system and fight with swords, guns, and fists, while a third guy, dressed as a woman, awaits the winner. 'Usability - Act 3, Scene 2: Swords clash, sparks fly and men grunt, but the showdown ends in stalemate ... [Vista] has a far better user interface than XP -- the file and application search facility is vastly improved and the cascading Start menu has been banished, but it only takes a few moments of use to discover pointless idiosyncrasies. Microsoft constantly reminds us of how great Flip 3D is, but this feature doesn't help us find the right application window much faster than Alt-Tab did. It's very time consuming when you have many application windows to flip through, and it's in no way as efficient as OS X's Exposé feature ... We're calling this one a draw. They're just as good as each other, and in some cases just as bad -- a pox upon both your houses! Score: Mac OS X - 2, Windows Vista - 2'"

Microsoft set to Announce Zune 360 and 180 66

slashdottit! tm
Blueberry Bob writes "Just in time for the iPhone June launch, Microsoft is planning to launch the Zune 360 and 180. The 360 will be a widescreen video and music player available in 40 and 80 GB models, whereas the 180 will be a smaller device similar in size to the iPod nano. Oddly enough, only the 180 model will feature a cellphone — Microsoft believes that the combined cellphone/music player market is better served in compact players. 'Although the default behavior will be to connect the Zune 360 and 180 to a Windows machine and use the default Zune software (which is also undergoing a revamp) it will be possible to put the Zune 360 in to disk mode and the device will be treated like any ordinary USB storage device and will therefore be accessible from Mac and Linux machines too. The built in indexing in the 360 will allow you to easily search for songs, however out of the box it's not possible to create playlists on the 360 itself, they still need to be managed by the Zune software.'"

Submission + - Upcoming PC & Laptop Technologies

phidipides writes: "While debating whether or not to upgrade my current laptop and server machines I started looking into what new technologies have arrived and what was on the way, and found surprisingly little. Serial ATA 3.0 offers faster hard disk speeds, and DVI provides better video support, but otherwise there doesn't seem to be much reason to upgrade other than the standard faster processors and more RAM. Are there any other new interfaces or technologies that are worth upgrading for, or is anything on the near horizon?"

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