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Comment Re:So let me get this straight.... (Score 1) 472

Actually, AMD spun out their fabs to create Global Foundries. Intel and GF may make wafers in their fabs in the US, but all the dicing, packaging, and final test happens in places like the Philippines and Malaysia.

However, just making the silicon isn't really a good guide as to whether the US can manufacture smartphones. You will note from the list of fabs that virtually all the memory (DRAM, and flash) is made in China, Korea, or Taiwan, and virtually all that remains in the US is high dollar/high value logic chips, there isn't that much infrastructure to source components here. Even the manufacture of the pick-and-place machines is all in Asia now. We would have to import the equipment to stuff the circuit boards even. At best, they might be able to do final assembly in the US.

Comment Re:Not just USB (Score 1) 299

And Apple computers are not, and never have been targeted there. An old instrument that a company I worked at required that, and we paid an insane amount for ISA slot, 486DX motherboards (like $2500 5 years ago), but this is niche, and it is supported by people who know how to do it. For a price.

Comment Re:Grid Scale Batteries (Score 2) 136

Bingo. When Solyndra was formed (and to be honest, my company at the time made process equipment for CIGS deposition), solar grade polysilicon was in short supply, and was spiking in price to almost $600 per Kg. Investment in thin film amorphous silicon cells (Applied Materials and Oerlikon bet heavily here too) and CIGS (CuInGaSe) cells as the solution. Until the wild growth of the solar cell industry, spot prices for polysilicon was ~$30 - $50 Kg (from memory, all sites that have historical data seem to demand a subscription to access it).

Of course, making CIGS cells was difficult. Extremely difficult. The deposition processes are tricky, and even small variances in the composition cause great fluctuation of efficiencies. There were probably 100 players chasing the CIGS dream, including 10 or so well funded players. But at the same time, the foundries who had the ability to tool up for producing crystalline silicon saw the $600 per Kg with dollar signs (or, more accurately renminbi signs) in their eyes, and began building capacity.

Starting in 2011, much of this new capacity was coming online, and prices for polysilicon ingots plummeted. Today it is around $26 - $30 per Kg, really close to the price needed for the magical $1/W for a solar installation. Solyndra went tits up, Applied Materials and Oerlikon left the business (I have some interesting stories there as well) and the world is dominated by panels made in China.

Fun fact, in 2008, QCells, a German company was the number one producer of solar panels. Before that Japan's Sharp was #1, now most of the top 10 are Chinese companies.

Solyndra was a bet, a bet that Silicon prices would remain high, but in hindsight, a foolish bet for depending on a source raw material that can be refined from beach sand.

Comment Thank god (Score 1) 316

It was time for a refresh, and hearing the rumors of the batshittery they were likely to do with the keyboard, and the inane OLED strip of softkeys, and I made the decision to just jump into a well configured 13" MBPr. Now that is looking like a prescient decision. I like the two thunderbolt ports, the two USB3 ports, and the SD card port. It is plenty thin enough, and I get a good 9 hours of normal usage out of it.

I get the lifecycle, and the staleness of the current MBP line, and their stretching refresh cycles, but I am glad I jumped when I did.

It is still better than the Lenovo T450 I just got for work (what a f'd up trackpad, and absolutely the worst laptop keyboard I have had in a long long time.

Comment Re:will this be compared to MAC BOOK Touchpad? (Score 4, Insightful) 183

A million times this. I just started a new job, and got a Lenovo Thinkpad, and the touchpad is awful. I can turn off some of the worst features, but it just plain sucks.

I have tried the touchpoint, but I just can't get it. I know a lot of people love it, but I just can't use it effectively. And my last Windows laptop, a horrid HP, was truly awful. Both this lenovo and the HP had advanced "touch gestures" but they don't work well.

My Macbook Pro and Macbook Air are a joy to use, I don't get that "thumb" weirdness while typing, and the gestures are second nature.

I have a logitech mouse that I carry everywhere for this Win10 laptop, just so I can get any work done at all.

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