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Comment Love it, but it's doomed (Score 1) 88

H2O2 is also an excellent ingredient in homebrew explosives and incendiaries, to the point that concentrated forms of it are highly regulated, even to the ludicrous level that in some countries they have discussed banning hair bleach containing peroxide. Even in the US, solutions more concentrated than (I think) about 5-6% H2O2 are not legal without special permits. Good luck transporting barrels of the pure stuff.

Comment Hydrogen makes sense (Score 1) 630

Storing energy chemically is very, very energy-dense and efficient. A rechargeable battery has to carry all its reagents in a sealed canister, and it has to have a fully reversible cell chemistry, which makes for relatively poorer energy density and a great deal of design complexity. A hydrogen-fueled vehicle only needs to carry fuel; the oxidizer is in the air all around (yes, I realize atmospheric source of O2 isn't good for fuel cells, but it's fine for H2-based internal combustion engines). What's wrong with a gas-station-style distribution network, by the way? No different from a charging station network, and a gas station style distribution involves a great deal less energy loss due to line resistance for electrical distribution. Hydrogen, unlike (say) methane or petroleum, can be piped around with little or no fear of what happens if the pipe is ruptured - at worst, it's a fire hazard, but it's not an environmental hazard because the leaking gas will rise and disperse.

Sure, the energy equation for extracting hydrogen isn't awesome (though I suspect if you ACTUALLY boil down ALL the inefficiencies in the electric-car-based-on-LiIon-batteries equation, the actual "joules in to miles traveled" ratio likely favors hydrogen by a long shot). But who cares if the source is, for example, solar, wave, hydro or wind energy from a station close to the sea, which also happens to be a great source of non-potable (therefore not competing with human drinking needs) water?

Comment Re:Android implementation is crap anyway (Score 1) 340

yeah... obv the phone *has* an audio ADC anyway to handle the microphone, so it *could* feed the FM signal in through that. I guess it depends on the individual phone design (spare mixer pins, for example) as to whether they route it this way. I just looked at the datasheet for the WiFi/BT/FM chip (well, module really) in an Android device I work with - it's an older device based on an OMAP processor - and that chip does in fact feed out the FM audio in analog.

Comment Re:It's not an FM chip (Score 1) 340

It depends on the chipset in use. For example, I work with a device (sort of a smartphone) that uses a single integrated baseband/WiFi/BT/FM SoC (single ARM core, old tech) - and the FM stuff is disabled in this application by blowing polyfuses at manufacture. No amount of software can turn it back on. I'm looking at a phone right now in my hand that has an integrated AP/baseband SoC, and uses an external BT/WiFi/FM chip. That chip uses strapping resistors and software commands to enable/disable the various modules.

Comment Re:Are we talking about ab "FM receiver"? (Score 1) 340

Because as an intentional radiator, the FCC filings for the device will show exactly what emissions the device is making, and at what frequency and power level. And if it's emitting something that isn't in its type approval, any monkey with a scanner can detect that, and the FCC can and will lower the hammer of Thor onto the manufacturer's corporate scrotum (translation: huge, per-unit-sold fines).

Comment Re:Android implementation is crap anyway (Score 1) 340

Isn't the actual reason for this that the FM received audio is never in the digital domain, so couldn't be sent to BT unless it was fed into an ADC somewhere? My understanding is that the FM tuner audio output is an analog line fed into the analog amp/mixer chain that feeds the headphone jack.

Comment It's not just software (Score 5, Interesting) 340

Sure, many integrated WiFi/BT chipsets also include an FM receiver. But turning it on, in a phone that wasn't shipped with it turned on, is not just a software matter. With the LO powered up, you'll need to repeat conducted and radiated emissions tests. And if the phone wasn't intended to be shipped with the radio enabled, the necessary passives to connect it to the earphone jack as an antenna likely won't be on the PCB. And in the case of Apple, since they absolutely never intended to use the FM capability, I'd be amazed if the relevant pads from the WiFi package are even led out to traces.

Comment Five years is code for "someday" (Score 1) 381

People, particularly at large corporations, who don't actually have a business plan, a finite budget, a deadline, or even a concrete conviction that a product or technology will take off always use five years as their time horizon, because that's the definition of a long term plan that doesn't require any detailed planning or elucidation of intermediate deliverables. Five years is another way of saying "probably not on my watch, but I've been told you should be made excited about this because we're mining it for PR right now even if we never mass-produce a product of this type". This is not cynicism, it's simple fact. There's no difference between saying "five years" and "20 years" in such a case.

The average age of a vehicle on US roads is 11.4 years ish and climbing. Self driving cars, like home automation, are "five years away from changing the world" and likely always will be; definitely still will be in five years. Minor aspects of functionality originally developed for self-driving applications will become mainstream piecemeal, but we're decade(s) away from self-driving cars being mainstream.

Comment Re:Karma! It IS a bitch! (Score 1) 245

This is unlikely. He's a white collar criminal of the purest sort. It's extremely likely that he'll get probation, at most. Or exoneration. What it really boils down to is: who has he burned? The question of whether he'll see some time behind actual real bars hinges on whether the people behind the prosecution (not necessarily the SEC, btw - the SEC is merely the complainant...) have a grudge. This could easily be political, too - if he gets convicted, people in the State and Federal Government up to and including Obama step up and say "bad man, we fixed it, love us".

Comment Re:That Was Quick (Score 1) 110

The bigger challenge is seeing that they don't re-reverse when the heat is off and think they can now get away with it once fewer people are paying attention.

They may never issue another firmware upgrade for these particular hubs; simply, the next version of the hub will be marketed as "for Friends of Our Wallet Certified Partners Only" and will be incompatible to non-partner devices from the get-go. It is absolutely conceivable that this was truly a UX decision - trying to tamp down the level of complaints from consumers who bought third-party bulbs that don't quite work right. However the fact is that this is a nascent (many might say, unnecessary luxury) market and people who buy this stuff are almost exclusively bleeding edge technology buffs and tinkerers, or people who simply throw a blank check at an integrator and say "make it work". The latter category of people isn't generating these support calls, because their integrators buy the expensive bulbs to avoid tech support, and the former category - which is the enthusiast category that could grow these devices into the mainstream - demands interop.

Comment Re:Increasingly difficult to innovate (Score 1) 239

Mmm, actually I'd go one stronger than that and suggest you never, ever enable any of the network connectivity features - don't attach it to your WiFi network, don't plug an Ethernet cable into it. The OSes and apps on those things are completely security unverified, and several of them have been proven to send very nasty quantities of information gleaned from your local network activities back to home base (besides serving you up advertising).

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