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MIT Building Batteries Using Viruses

franois-do Re:Technical progress, but unfortunately... (98 comments)

Standard sized batteries are already on their way out. Manufacturer-specific rechargeables are the new standards.

Maybe... or maybe not. Progress is seldom linear, and tomorrow is not specially supposed to me just "more of today". It may on the contrary be very different, and even opposite to some respect (think of the automobile or computer products from 1950 to 1970 and try to extrapolate that to 2010, you get very strange results ;-)

The key to many things is scale economy. If you can offer the same service at 30% less manufacturing and storing cost by having 10x longer series, you win. By the way, this is what ensured success of the Ford T and the VW Bug at a time. The Renault/Dacia Logan seems to be a success too in Europe with its "non-nonsense" approach, as well as Netbooks have been in 2008. Future is almost never "more of the same thing". That is incidentally why the Wii was such a sucess too. See aloso this :



... and extrapolate that to any other movement, like batteries :-)

more than 5 years ago

Gmail Marks Five Years In Beta

franois-do As long as it is a beta, it will stay free... (194 comments)

... so I am not in a hurry for them to go to the finished product state, because perhaps it will stay free, and perhaps not; and in the latter case it will be a chore to get one's 7 GB of mail back to one's PC, especially if 10 million people are trying to do the same with theirs !

Or they might also say : it is free to stay on Gmail, but you will have to pay to get out ! :-D

more than 5 years ago

MIT Building Batteries Using Viruses

franois-do Technical progress, but unfortunately... (98 comments)

"will allow batteries (...) to 'take the shape of their container' rather than creating containers for the batteries"

Wonderful ! Now, instead of having some standard battery sizes (AA, AAA and so on), we are going tu have as many different shapes of batteries as there are products, not only between manufacturers but within the line of the same manufacturer (for the same reason that Gillette has 10 different shapes of blades, or than portables PCs have 200+ type of batteries, or that we hare 20 or so different AC/DC transformers at home), so you will have to buy every time a given manufacturer's battery and throw it away rather than reuse it on a later apparatus.

I am afraid that while technically we have a progress here, our production organization wil make it a regression; it something that happens from time to time.

more than 5 years ago

Search For the Tomb of Copernicus Reaches an End

franois-do I fail to see how facial reconstruction... (243 comments)

... can give, from a skull, any hint about the size of the nose and the shape of the ear, both of which are made of just cartilage.

Any hint ?

more than 6 years ago

Should You Get Paid While Your Computer Boots?

franois-do Boot with a time switch (794 comments)

If you start work at 9:00, put the time switch to boot your computer at 8:45. That should leave a lot of time. Now, if a password must be entered for the boot to proceed, the question is : is it your job ? Then you should be paid as soon as you begin it. If it is somebody else's job, just wait for him/her to do it.

more than 6 years ago

How Big Should My Swap Be?

franois-do No reason to worry :-) (900 comments)

The "rule of two" is due to Knuth's demonstration : "When the memory is 50% full, there is necessarily one free block at least as big as the biggest already allocated block", or something similar.

Today, I would say the swap partition is mainly useful to store the state of the computer when you put it in hibernation mode, that is a little more that the size of your RAM if you want to be really cautious, just in case.

That being said, A GB of disk is so cheap compared to 1 GB of RAM - which is already cheap, now - that there is no problem in doubling that size for very special purposes (alternating 2 different "hot" graphic users sessions or operating systems without rebooting, for instance). Just my two cents.

more than 6 years ago



The Every Human Has Rights Media Awards

franois-do franois-do writes  |  more than 6 years ago

franois-do (547649) writes "30 journalists from around the world will be selected by a professional international jury and awarded an all expenses paid trip to Paris in December 2008, where they will meet Human Rights leaders and receive a prize for their contribution to illustrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with powerful and eye-opening stories".

This event is founded by a group called "The Elders", founded by Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Lakhdar Brahimi, Graca Machel, Muhammad Yunus, Fernando Cardoso, Gro Brundtland, Ela Bhatt and Jimmy Carter.

PDF : http://www.internews.org/prs/2008/20080717_EHHRMediaAwards.pdf

Applications will be accepted until 15 September 2008, midnight, Paris time."

franois-do franois-do writes  |  more than 8 years ago

franois-do writes "We all know about Asimov's "Three laws of robotics", that are supposed to ensure that only minor flaws happen when people deal with robots. Isn't it time to design the threee (or more) laws of GUI so our graphic interfaces stop doing very, very silly things in a multitasking environment ?

For instance "A GUI should NEVER pop up a windows when a user is typing in another one ?". Is that so complicated to understand for a GUI ?

Or "Modal windows that need information present on another window should NEVER hide that information from the user ?" (Personnally, I would be more enclined ti reestablish death penalty for programmers using modal windows, but after all this is just a matter of personal taste).

Or : "When a window asks for a button to be pushed, always make sure that either that button is on the physical screen, or can be brought there by a lift bar" (so much for the partitioning tool of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS !!!)

Any ideas about what could/should be added, and/or a method that would make sure these rules are enforced ?"


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