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Comments

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Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power

icebrain Re:I dont blame power amplifiers (110 comments)

I only got a smartphone two-something years ago. Prior to that, I had a dumb phone with extended battery; after three and a half years, I still got 3-4 days between charges. When new, I charged it once a week, and that was with heavy talk usage. So even today's smartphones seem to have short lives compared to that.

I have an extended battery on my current phone (rooted Samsung droid charge), and I still have to charge it every day, at least during the week (but that's also because I now work in a large metal building with very poor signal inside). I don't use much data, either, but "cell standby" is usually in the top two list of power consumers on my phone.

I'd be happy with just an extended battery option on future phones, though it would be nice if things like cases and covers were available for phones fitted with said batteries.

The "thin!" mantra is getting ridiculous, though; when I got my current phone I asked about an extended battery and the sales people just got a blank look. "Why would you want that?" they asked. "You could get the wireless charger and then the phone would still be thin! You could get a car charger! Why would you make the phone not thin?!" It blew their minds that someone might not care about thinness, or might even prefer a little thickness.

about 2 years ago
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Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power

icebrain Re:I dont blame power amplifiers (110 comments)

I think it's got a lot lot more to do with:
- Big, bright displays
- Multicore, gigahertz CPU's regularly kept busy with background apps
- Far more sensors embedded in the unit to power - GPS, accelerometers, etc.

Plus, the whole obsession with "the phone must be THIN!!!1!"
If the manufacturers quit worrying about trying to fit the phone into the form factor of an index card, there would be enough thickness for a reasonable battery.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

icebrain Re:Um... (590 comments)

I am an aerospace engineer and a pilot. I came into this thread expecting fools to be spouting nonsense that needed correction. Fortunately, the situation appears to be handled. Well done, everybody!

about 2 years ago
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Favorite U.S. Political Party

icebrain Re:Libertarianism Is A Dream (503 comments)

He lost (note: "lose" and "lost" both have 1 "o", not 2) his house because of his own stupidity. See, a few years before, he set his house on fire doing something stupid, and they came and put it out (since it was a small fire) even though he hadn't paid his subscription. The fire department subsequently warned him that they wouldn't do that again, and told him to pay his fee.

Well, he refused. Then, his house caught fire again, and this time they stood by and watched it burn to the slab. He claims he even offered to pay the full cost right there, but it was too late. The whole point of a subscription rather than a bill-on-service setup is to ensure that equipment and training are in place before the fire.

The fire department was fully justified--no lives were in danger, and that fool, more than anyone else, should have known better.

about 2 years ago
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HTC Profits Drop By 79%

icebrain Re:I would never buy an HTC phone again b/c of Sen (209 comments)

I never understood why manufacturers feel the need to include crappy non-removable bloatware games and their own home-grown half-assed crappy UIs.

Doesn't matter much to me though; I'll just root and install what I want.

about 2 years ago
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How We'll Get To 54.5 Mpg By 2025

icebrain Re:My Civic CRX got 56 MPG in 1985 (717 comments)

Your 1985 Civic would probably fail today's crash tests and emissions checks (in the areas that require them), and likely lacked features most consumers prefer these days.

-Higher crash standards demand more structure and additional equipment like airbags
-Higher emissions standards dictate more additional equipment (catalytic converters, etc.) and different combustion profiles
-Consumer expectations for performance (acceleration/handling), size, and comfort (features, sound insulation, etc) have gone up

All of the above add weight to the vehicle (making for inefficiency) Oh, and the mandated use of ethanol reduces mileage even further.

about 2 years ago
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SpaceX Dragon Set To Launch

icebrain Re:/. timing always sucks (111 comments)

Is it kind of sad that I'm hoping the launch is scrubbed till Thursday, when I'll be down in the Cape Canaveral area? I've watched launches from there before while visiting my grandparents; I'd like to catch another one...

about 2 years ago
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We Don't Need More Highways

icebrain Re:Anecdotal argument against dense (244 comments)

Living in a dense city with people all around me all the time sounds like a nightmare. Even if I didn't work in an industry that requires open, unpopulated space in which to make and operate our products, I wouldn't want to work in a city.

"Hell is other people."

about 2 years ago
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We Don't Need More Highways

icebrain Re:This is why politicians shouldn't be in charge (244 comments)

there's so many pages of proposed legislation every year that if a senator or rep didn't have his staff to sift the wheat from the chaff he'd never have enough time to vote on anything.

I wouldn't consider that a bad thing.

about 2 years ago
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Are you better off than you were four years ago?

icebrain Re:But it had nothing to do with Obama (524 comments)

I'm better off too... two promotions (and associated raises), 40lb lost, joined the fire department, just ran a half-Ironman, and about to start building my own airplane. Things are a lot better than four years ago--and that's despite Obama and much of Congress demonizing the industry I work in (business aviation)...

about 2 years ago
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You Can't Print a Gun If You Have No 3D Printer

icebrain Re:Overreaction. (632 comments)

More precisely:
The National Firearms Act of 1934 says that:
-rifles with a barrel less than 16" long, or less than 26" long overall
-shotguns with a barrel less than 18" long, or less than 28" long overall
-suppressors
-firearms that shoot more than one projectile with a single trigger action (i.e., machine guns--shotguns are excluded provided they only fire one shell at a time)

are illegal unless a $200 tax is paid, and the owner passes a background check. The Hughes amendment further states that it is illegal to manufacture a new machine gun for civilian, non law-enforcement use after 1987, and illegal to posess such a weapon.

Provided that you you file the appropriate paperwork with the feds, pay for your tax stamp, and you stay in line with your state's regulations, you can manufacture a suppressor, short-barreled rifle, or shotgun, or convert an existing "regular" weapon into a short-barreled version. But you still can't manufacture machine guns.

Now, a semi-automatic (one round per trigger pull; also called "autoloading) rifle or handgun is a different matter; those are just "normal" firearms, except for a few states with "assault weapon" (read: painted black and/or looks scary) bans. Some states also have restrictions on hunting with semiautomatic weapons.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Include In a New Building?

icebrain Re:A decent canteen and staff facilities (422 comments)

No, there is something worse. Try having 40+ guys sharing 2 stalls--or worse, 350 people sharing 7. Just take whatever the building code says for restroom requirements and triple it. Make sure you have a shower or two on site, as well as good ventilation for the bathrooms.

Next, install a couple of restaurant-level coffeemakers (they can handle a high duty cycle with abuse) and supply coffee, filters, and generic creamer/sugar.

A cafeteria is a little too much for a small company like the OP works at.

about 2 years ago
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Toyota Abandons Plans For All-Electric Vehicle Rollout

icebrain Re:Volt NOW (490 comments)

It's not an econo box like a prius, it's a lux car.... This thing is game-changing

It's not a game-changer because it is a luxury car. I understand the whole early-adopter thing, but for it to really be a game-changer, it needs to be much more affordable.

Ford has come closer with the new C-max plug-in, but it's still priced a little high (and only offering it in the premium trim package doesn't help matters). I seriously considered buying one, but the cost difference was too great (too long of a payback time) and there's too much cargo room sacrificed. I'm probably going with the regular hybrid, if I can ever find one to test drive...

Despite claims to the contrary by ditto heads, GM is at or near breakeven on this car, by the car, now. Some of the hate on electrics is due to taking all the NRE and billing it to the number of cars sold already - by that metric, the first hamburger sold at a new burger joint franchise is losing a million bucks per. Check the facts

Much as I don't like GM, this has bugged me. Breakeven, NRE vs. RE, etc. need to be taught in high-school economics (which really ought to be a full-year class).

about 2 years ago
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How the Critics of the Apollo Program Were Proven Wrong

icebrain Re:Usual NASA tech progress bullshit (421 comments)

What I have found is showing around 15 military missions, not nearly the 2/3 figure you're suggesting.

Now, if we're talking design features of the shuttle, those were heavily influenced by military requirements. The only way NASA could get enough funding to build the shuttle was to ask the military, which imposed significant performance requirements that drove up the weight and complexity of the shuttle. And, while useful, the additional capability was never fully used, nor was it ever used for its intended purpose.

about 2 years ago
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FAA Permits American Airlines To Use iPads In Cockpit "In All Phases of Flight"

icebrain Re:Red herring (372 comments)

For large airlines, that 35lb argument is such a red herring. $1.2 million in fuel savings when spread out per flight has to be so far below the noise floor as to be completely meaningless... Maybe the weight makes a difference on a small 206 Caravan, but for these big birds, call a spade a spade - the pilots want their toys.

Why is this modded informative? 35lb of weight savings is a big deal even on large aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers will spend thousands of dollars (even in recurring costs) to save a single pound of weight, let alone 35. And it doesn't matter what other factors are present, that 35lb saved is still 35lb less weight the aircraft carries around, reducing fuel burn--and that amount is quantified in the performance equations, and is measureable over time. Or, it's another 35lb of revenue-generating payload that can be carried.

But then, I'm just an engineer at an aircraft manufacturer, and a pilot. What do I know?

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

icebrain Re:Keep loaning them out. (302 comments)

The graphing calculators have additional functions (not just the ability to create graphs) and are programmable--a built-in BASIC-like language allows for simple programs and scripts to be written, and assembly programming gives more complex options.

However, that's not what really drives the cost. The TI-8X series ones, and some of the HP calculators, are a known standard, and many tests (SAT, AP tests, etc. if I'm remembering correctly) will not allow other brands to be used, only these specified models. TI and HP have essentially a duopoly on the market; they convinced standardized test makers and school boards to only allow use of their calculators and thereby made a captive market. They've kept the performance and construction the same over those years, and really charge far more for those products than it takes to make them at this point.

My TI-86 seemed really cool in 9th grade. I didn't realize how truly limited it was until I got a smartphone.

about 2 years ago
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Should We Print Guns? Cody R. Wilson Says "Yes" (Video)

icebrain Re:not an opinion (444 comments)

No you don't. So long as you stay within the federal law (i.e., make them for personal use only, and not make too many of them), and you don't build anything that isn't otherwise prohibited in that state or federally (e.g., Class 3 weapons without the appropriate paperwork, etc.), you're pretty much ok. In other words, if you can legally buy it and own it, you can make it.

The only states I could see that might have restrictions on manufacturing would be California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

about 2 years ago
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How Long Is Your Morning Commute?

icebrain Re:Varies from about 20-30 minutes (353 comments)

That can happen in Atlanta, too. Summer is either very hot and humid with no wind, or hot and humid with a thunderstorm, and it's a toss-up which one you'll get on any given day. Savannah is like that too--heck, the whole southeast is. And not everyone works in large cities or places where the roads are friendly to cyclists.

about 2 years ago
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How Long Is Your Morning Commute?

icebrain Re:Varies from about 20-30 minutes (353 comments)

His office may be in a place dangerous to cyclists, or his work hours may not support it.

That's like my situation; to cycle to work, I'd either have to ride on an interstate (yeah, right) or a major artery for truck (semitrailer) traffic, in the dark. Cycling home means the same, except in very hot weather and dodging thunderstorms. I'd love to be able to ride to work, but between these other factors and not wanting to show up soaked through in sweat... I'll pass. I just throw the bike on the car before I leave, and stop at a more cyclist-friendly loop on the way home to do my riding.

about 2 years ago
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Makerplane Aims To Create the First Open Source Aircraft

icebrain Re:Kits planes are heavily regulated by FAA (100 comments)

My understanding is that kit airplanes fall under the category of experimental aircraft and a different large body of regulations do apply. Including regulations limiting where an experimental aircraft can be flown.

The limitations on where you can fly have been eliminated, at least once you are out of the flight-test phase (7 hours for E-LSA, 25 for E-AB with certified engines, 40 for E-AB with non-certified engines). The prohibition on flying for commercial purposes is still in place.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Favorit form of Government

icebrain icebrain writes  |  more than 6 years ago

icebrain (944107) writes "Favorite form of Government poll idea:
Pure democracy
Representative republic
Leninist communism
Fascism
Anarchy
Marxist communism
Pure Monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Theocracy
Cowboynealocracy"
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Disaster-resistant data backup?

icebrain icebrain writes  |  more than 6 years ago

icebrain (944107) writes "My wife and I are looking for a form of electronic data backup that would be resistant to natural disasters and accidents. We live in a hurricane-prone area, so we may have to deal with flooding, fire, tornadoes, and general civil unrest. Storage needs are a few gigabytes each of photographs, music, and random documents. What would you recommend?"
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Be the rocketeer

icebrain icebrain writes  |  more than 6 years ago

icebrain (944107) writes "Ever wanted to fly around like the rocketeer or Buck Rogers? According to AVweb, Jet Pack International will start selling a civilian version early next year. Supposedly it will fly for up to 10 minutes at a time and run on standard jet fuel (so a flight costs about $20). Previous jetpacks only ran for about 30 seconds. The catch? They'll cost about $200,000... at least that includes training."
Link to Original Source
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icebrain icebrain writes  |  more than 7 years ago

icebrain (944107) writes "Apparently the MPAA has decided that home theaters encroach upon their revenue generation.
According to http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/11/home-theater-re gulations.html:

"The bill would require that any hardware manufactured in the future contain technology that tells the MPAA directly of what is being shown and specific details on the audience. The data would be gathered using various motion sensors and biometric technology.

The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29" with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theater would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown."

And to top it all off:

"Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn't give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too. That's a violation of copyright and denies us the revenue that would be generated from DVD sales to your friends," said Glickman. "Ideally we expect each viewer to have their own copy of the DVD, but we realize that isn't always feasible. The registration fee is a fair compromise."

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