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UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

MtViewGuy I do think it will be popular, though. (300 comments)

Here's the reason why: the cost of above-55" flat screen panels have been dropping rapidly, and you can now get a very good 70" LCD flat panel at surprisingly reasonable prices. Once you go past 60" screen size, you can start to see the pixels on even a 1080p display; I've seen Ultra HD display on a Sony 55" monitor and wow, it's so clear you feel like looking through a window. As such, Ultra HD Blu-ray will have a surprisingly fast uptake, especially since the technology is not significantly more expensive that Blu-ray is now, given they didn't have to go to a purple-spectrum reading laser, which would have made the cost exorbitantly expensive.

yesterday
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Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

MtViewGuy Microsoft will be more successful with Windows 10 (487 comments)

And with good reason: the default user interface of Windows 10 on desktop and "conventional" laptops is the Desktop user interface, not the "Modern" tiled interface that frustrated users transitioning to Windows 8.x to no end. As such, users of Windows 7, Vista and XP will be able to transition to Windows 10 quickly, and that means much higher consumer end user and corporate user acceptance this time around, meaning likely a much more "normal" upgrade cycle.

about a week ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

MtViewGuy Re:While suborbital flight may be too expensive... (300 comments)

The big problem with the Concorde was not only was the plane very noisy on takeoff because you needed the Olympus 593 turbojets to run at full reheat on takeoff and acceleration, but you had to run a good amount of reheat (afterburner) to maintain the Mach 2.0 speed, which of course increased fuel consumption.

With a modern variable cycle jet engine, flying at below Mach 1 the engine runs like a high-bypass turbofan with its lower attendant fuel consumption, then changes mode to run at supersonic speeds (probably without reheat at speeds up to Mach 1.3; above that, some reheat operation is needed, but not as much as you needed on the Concorde flying at Mach 2.0).

about two weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

MtViewGuy While suborbital flight may be too expensive.... (300 comments)

....We may see a return of supersonic flight within the next 15 years.

Thanks to better understanding of how sonic booms are generated from the shape of the plane and definitely way better jet engine technology, we may be able to very soon build a business jet seating 10 passengers capable of flying at Mach 1.6 at ranges up to 6,000 nautical miles with just about no sonic boom audible on the ground even when the plane is fly at Mach 1.6.

How is this possible? First, aerodynamic research using computational fluid dynamics have identified ways to minimize the pressure wave buildup that causes the sonic boom in the first place with very careful shaping of the fuselage and wings. This makes to possible to effectively eliminate the audible sonic at speeds up to Mach 1.6. Secondly, modern engine design using variable cycle engines (GE Aero Engines successfully tested the technology on a engine intended for the Advanced Technology Fighter program that resulted in the F-22A Raptor) means high-bypass turbofan fuel efficiency at subsonic speeds but can change configuration to fly at supersonic speeds with a small amount of reheat (afterburning) to keep fuel consumption and harmful exhaust missions as low as possible. Finally, by keeping the top speed to Mach 1.6, it means less structural heating from flying at supersonic speeds and less need to run a lot of reheat (afterburning) on the engines, which means lower fuel consumption and less need for expensive high-temperature rated stainless steel or titanium structural parts like those used on the Concorde.

I've read companies that sell fractional ownership of private jets such as FlexJet or NetJets would immediately buy 50 of these supersonic business jets once approved for production. The ability to fly from New York City to London in around 4 hours as opposed to the circa 7.5 hours with current jet airliners makes it very attractive to business customers, especially since many live by the motto of "time is money."

about three weeks ago
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Human Eye's Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

MtViewGuy 48 fps may be TOO clear? (187 comments)

I think the problem is that because we're so used to 24 fps on theatrical motion pictures, going to 48 fps can be quite jarring, since everything looks so much "clearer" that you have to rethink set design, costume design and even the use of special effects to be less obtrusive at 48 fps. (Indeed, this became a huge issue with Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy because everything looked TOO clear.)

The late Roger Ebert liked the 48 fps "Maxivision" analog film format, but that idea never took off due to need to use a lot more physical film and the increased stress of running a film projector at twice the speed of regular projectors. But with modern digital movie cameras, 48 fps is now much more viable.

about a month ago
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US Internet Offers 10Gbps Fiber In Minneapolis

MtViewGuy Great except server farms can't keep up. (110 comments)

While it's great to get super-fast Internet, we may run into a big problem soon: many web server farms may not have the bandwidth capacity to handle many millions of users who have above 100 megabit/second download speed Internet access at the "last mile" connection. It's going to require a major upgrade of content delivery networks to handle much faster connection end users.

about a month ago
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Volcanic Eruption In Japan Disrupts Flights

MtViewGuy Mount Aso is more dangerous than many think. (24 comments)

I think people forget that the Mount Aso volcanic caldera is NOT small, and there is the constant threat of a major eruption there. There is a chance--though small--that Mount Aso could erupt with the force and volcanic ash output of Mount Pinatubo in 1991--a scale of eruption that could seriously affect the Japanese economy and could even substantially cool the Earth like what Pinatubo's huge ash output did.

about 2 months ago
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France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

MtViewGuy Re:The French (395 comments)

The problem with diesel engines is simple: it's ungodly expensive to make a diesel engine just as clean as a gasoline engine. For example, the Daimler-Benz "BlueTec" system that uses common-rail direct fuel injection, a sophisticated particulate filter, and urea gas injection into the exhaust stream to break down the NOx gases for easier catalytic converter removal costs a lot of money per car, to say the least.

Besides, with battery technology rapidly improving, we may soon have 400 to 500 km per charge range electric cars without the need for a big an heavy battery pack, which means electric vehicles are now very viable for commuter cars.

about 2 months ago
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Windows 8 and 8.1 Pass 15% Market Share, Windows XP Drops Below 20% Mark

MtViewGuy Re:Home vs Corporate (192 comments)

I think because Windows 10 defaults to the Desktop UI on laptop and desktop computers, it is the true successor to Windows 7 in the corporate world. Indeed, I expect Windows 10 to cause a major uptick in PC sales because people familiar with Windows 7 and earlier could pick up Windows 10 a lot faster.

about 3 months ago
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Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

MtViewGuy Re:Wait, this wasn't common knowledge already? (764 comments)

I think pretty much everyone who knew Cook at the time he was hired at Apple 16 years ago knew of his sexual preference. Indeed, today's announcement ended the "open secret" of his personal life that was pretty much known to everyone in Silicon Valley and the financial community that regularly dealt with him since the late 1990's.

As such, it should just be a "yawn," but alas, all those Internet trolls showed up and turned it into something where we can't have a civil discourse. (shaking head)

about 3 months ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

MtViewGuy Re:Are you kidding? (631 comments)

The QR code scanning is why this idea will completely fail. Not only will you be completely dependent on the cellphone camera doing a proper capture of the QR code (good luck with that!), but QR codes are easily hacked, as Alibaba found out the hard way with Alipay, which the Chinese government shut down.

about 3 months ago
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Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

MtViewGuy Re:Why CurrentC will fail miserably (631 comments)

Personally, I think CurrentC may never make it out of test stage for the following reasons:

1. It requires you to supply driver's license, Social Security number, and bank account information to store on CurrentC servers "in the cloud." Given the problems with iCloud lately, no thank you!

2. The use of optical QR codes is a BAD idea. People forget QR codes can be hacked rather easily, as Alibaba found out the hard way when it was tried with Alipay.

3. The process of paying using CurrentC is unnecessarily complex compared to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Softcard's NFC solutions, which could make it very easy to make a mistake and the payment may not go through under CurrentC.

4. Given the problems mentioned above, there's a good chance banks and credit unions may NOT allow savings and checking accounts to be linked to CurrentC. And that will end the project almost immediately.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Now Makes Money From Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion

MtViewGuy Re:The corporate sector is where it will sell (117 comments)

Just wait until the Surface Pro 3 gets updated to Windows 10 by this time next year. Suddenly, the Surface Pro 3 (or whatever successor is on the market by October 2015) will be a hot-selling item for corporate users.

about 3 months ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

MtViewGuy Re:Nothing really new (720 comments)

What you saw is very common at "kaiten sushi" restaurants in Japan. In many parts of Tokyo, those "kaiten sushi" restaurants use touchscreen terminals for ordering that not only display in Japanese, but English, Chinese and Korean, too.

about 3 months ago
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Automation Coming To Restaurants, But Not Because of Minimum Wage Hikes

MtViewGuy Re:Nothing really new (720 comments)

That's why in Japan, NFC payment systems work more like prepaid cards--for example, you have to load an amount of money into your Rakuten Edy account before you can use it to make NFC payments through the Osaifu-Keitai system (Rakuten Edy is accepted at most convenience stores in Japan). This isn't like Apple Pay, where payments are directly from your credit or debit card account.

about 3 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

MtViewGuy Re:Unfortunately this new knowledge won't help mos (422 comments)

Having spent several thousand dollars in co-pay for dental work in my lifetime, this is why I don't drink sodas anymore--the carbonation in the soda actually accentuates the highly corrosive quality of the sugar in the carbonated drink. That's why I drink mostly iced tea nowadays on hot summer days.

about 3 months ago
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The Woman Who Should Have Been the First Female Astronaut

MtViewGuy Females weren't considered at the time.... (200 comments)

....Because none of them had the type of test pilot experience necessary for the Mercury program in the USA or the Vostok program in the Soviet Union..

We forget that at the time of the start of manned flights in 1961, it was an extreme unknown on how well an astronaut would handle a spacecraft in Earth orbit. As such, both the Americans and Russians chose trained test pilots, who had the ability to calmly handle any dangerous situation during a test flight. And in those days, only men met that qualification. It wasn't until the middle 1970's that both the Americans and Russians--based on their spaceflight experience--finally figured out how to choose females to become astronauts/cosmonauts on something besides a publicity stunt.

about 3 months ago
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Solar Could Lead In Power Production By 2050

MtViewGuy Depends on what region in the world, though. (167 comments)

I think areas highly suited for solar power generation--southwestern USA, around the Mediterranean Sea, much of the Middle East, and much of Australia--will be the areas where rooftop solar panels and large-scale solar power plants start to dominate in terms of power generation. Mind you, they may be competing against future forms of nuclear power, especially if the technology for molten-salt nuclear reactors fueled by thorium-232 dissolved in molten fluoride salts become practical.

about 4 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

MtViewGuy Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (488 comments)

Sendai--because it has littler precipitation in winter--is one of the better locations for a solar power plant. But any further north--such as from Morioka north to Aomori--you start getting in a lot of winter snow, and that is a huge impediment to efficient solar power operations. The Sea of Japan side from Kanazawa to the Tsugaru region is not that great, either, given you can get huge snowfalls in winter.

In short, the complex geography of Japan makes solar power not so great, especially with areas of intense winter snows. But western Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu are perfect for solar power on a truly large scale.

about 4 months ago
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Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

MtViewGuy Re:They're Against More Than That (488 comments)

The only thing is that we may start to see a trend of going away from burning coal to generate electricity--the air pollution problems from coal burning will end this practice in the next 50-70 years. What will likely happen is in the short to medium term, we'll see a switch to burning natural gas (which has a tiny fraction of the air pollution and is cheap to install emission controls) and in the longer term eventually switch to a new generation of nuclear power plants that are extremely safe to run and use commonly-found thorium-232 as nuclear fuel (India and China are building test reactors to see if they can scale up what physicist Alvin Weinberg achieved in the 1960's at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; if it works, we could have enough electric power generation to last _tens_ of thousands of years).

There will be a place for solar power, but only in areas of the world where there are enough sunny days to justify its use; the southwestern USA (including California) is one such place.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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MtViewGuy MtViewGuy writes  |  more than 8 years ago

MtViewGuy writes "Honda's R&D subsidiary, working with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), has finally developed a practical process for making ethanol from plant cellulose on a large scale. This is a huge breakthrough because by being to utilize the entire plant to make ethanol, you don't need to grow high-sugar plants such as corn, soybeans, sugar cane or sugar beets on a large scale; indeed, agricultural waste becomes a huge ethanol source.

This could mean a huge leap upward in ethanol production, tremendously expanding the usefulness of the world's oil supply since motor fuels can be mixed with small amounts of ethanol to "extend" the amount of fuel available. The press release from Honda is located here: http://world.honda.com/news/2006/c060914EthanolFro mCellulosicBiomass/"

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