* Posts by DocJD

33 posts • joined 12 Oct 2011

SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

DocJD

Can anyone clarify this

As far as I know, neither AT&T nor Google Fiber is in my area, so I have no dog in the fight most of you are waging. However, I have two questions, neither one related to Obamacare or politics.

1) I read somewhere that Google Fiber will not carry voice communications specifically to avoid being regulated as a phone company would. Is this true?

2) If they want to regulate ISPs as public utilities, well the water company charges you by how much water you use and the power company charges you by how much electricity you use. So, if the ISPs are regulated by Net Neutrality, would they then charge you by the Megabyte?

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Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'

DocJD

Two Legs

How does it keep from tipping over if only two legs are on the "ground?"

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Not even 60,000 of you want an ethically-sourced smartphone

DocJD

Re: Needs a better name

I think just calling it the PC Phone would cover all of that.

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Hold onto your hats and follow the BYOD generation

DocJD

A couple comments

I haven't seen the original survey, but I get the impression it is not a choice between Use our devices at salary X or bring your own at salary X-Y. I suspect it is a case of, if you have two job offers, everything else being equal, would you take the one with a slightly lower salary if they allowed you to use your device and software of choice instead of having no choice and a slightly higher salary.

I got fed up, myself, when IT changed from a service organization to a dictatorship. Their job should be to help you use what you need to use to do your job, not forcing you to use whatever makes IT's life easier.

My last job, which I got in the days when MS-DOS was the standard, I specified that I would take it if I got a Mac. Eventually everyone got Macs, then some years later everyone was forcibly switched over to leased Windows machines. But, to my Boss's credit, he kept his word and continued to buy me Macs out of his department budget. Given that, I would have responded to the survey that, yes I would take a lower salary in order to use the computer of my choice.

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Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are OUT OF LUCK

DocJD

Re: When I get phone calls...

Some years ago, when my company forced me to switch from a Mac to Windows, I had no idea how to shut the computer down. It never occurred to me to click on something that said "Start" to shut down the computer. So I never logged out or shut down. The computer periodically crashed all on its own, so that was when it got rebooted. Eventually, someone showed me where to find the shut down command, but I found the computer took so long to start up the next morning that I continued to just leave it running.

It also never occurred to me that the right mouse button would do anything different than the left button. I just always clicked with my index finger and that happened to be on top of the left button.

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Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring

DocJD

Re: Prices - Need the exact model for a comparision, but...

That included taxes and $2000 of options.

But it was probably below list price. No one pays list price for a normal car.

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DocJD

Prices

Why are cars so expensive in the UK?

I bought a new BMW X1 here in the US for the equivalent of 20,000 pounds.

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White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?

DocJD

It's a PHYSICS award

There is, indeed, some interesting physics associated with GaN (blue) LEDs. That's why the award, not for economics. What bothers me is that they never gave (or included this year) an award to the people who invented LEDs in the first place. (One of them, NIck Holonyak, had a lab just down the hall from mine at the University of Illinois).

There is also some interesting physics going on in a two dimensional sheet of graphene, where the conduction and valence bands have no curvature to them, as well as carbon nanotubes, which are just graphene rolled up into a tube.

However, you must remember, the Nobel prize for physics is only for EXPERIMENTAL physics. They can't give it solely for things like theoretical electron band calculations (for either LEDs or graphene). That's why Einstein's Nobel prize was for the Photoelectric Effect and not for Relativity.

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X-Men boffins demo nanomagnets to replace transistors

DocJD
Holmes

This is just a proof of concept.

This is not like Core, which is a memory bit set and reset with current in the wires passing through the magnetic donut. Also what you see has no good way to link to a second device, i.e. it is not "integrated."

The three inputs can be used to make this work like either a NOR gate or a NAND gate where I1 & I2 are the inputs and O is the output.

Right now the input/output states of the device are measured by taking a picture revealing the polarization of the thin magnetic metal films (it makes them look either bright or dark).

This demo is a large scale device and not really "nano" in size. The "60 nm below" and the "60 nm" measurement bar you see in the photo is simply the thickness of the underlying metal film designated "I3" (which stands for "input #3"). It is not a gap and not the actual size of a magnetic bit.

They are "programming" magnetic settings with a Focused Ion Beam (FIB, as noted in the upper right picture). A FIB is like a scanning electron microscope only it uses ionized atoms (usually Gallium) instead of electrons. The atoms are massive enough they can drill holes into the wafer, but that isn't being done here as part of device operation. (They may have used the FIB to cut into the device in order to see the cross section shown in the lower right. Most semiconductor fabs have a FIB just for this purpose. It is, however, a destructive operation.) A FIB is roughly the size of a billiard table, so that's not how a final magnetic circuit would be run.

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Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'

DocJD

Pretty Good

I found the article interesting and the points well thought out. Certainly better reasoned than most of the comments.

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NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

DocJD

Acceleration

I hope this is not redundant. The first time I tried to post it seems to have evaporated.

Before anyone calculates trip time with an "assumed" acceleration, some simple calculations should be done (and shame on the headline writer for not doing them).

The key number is specific power (W/kg).

F=ma (Force equals Mass times Acceleration so....

a = F/m

From a slightly old source, the "long term goal" for specific power of solar panels on spacecraft was 300 W/kg, and this was at Earth orbit, It will decrease on the way out. If we use the optimistic 300 and the optimistic Chinese data with .72 Newtons/2500 Watts we get:

a = (0.72 kg-meter)/(2500 Watt-second^2) * 300 Watt/kg

a = 0.086 m/s^2

1 g is 9.8 m/s^2 so we have less than 0.01 g (without any spacecraft body or payload).

There is a rule of thumb that the power source is 25-35% of a satellite's dry mass, which means we get (assuming the optimistic-for-payload smaller number) less than 0.0025 g acceleration.

Based on previous calculations by Pet Peeve, this gives us a 14 month straight line to Mars time and (if I read it correctly) that is straight acceleration without slowing down. This is an impressive number, but no big improvement over what we can do now.

It may be possible to better this if the craft takes a slingshot journey near the sun, since it will be able to greatly increase the acceleration while it's in close.

Don't look towards nuclear power to improve on this. The now cancelled ASRG was supposed to improve on present RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) technology and it would still have had a specific power of only 7 W/kg. This is useful out around Jupiter, where sunlight is dim, but not for the topic under discussion.

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British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'

DocJD

Go directly to the source

Newspapers have historically issued corrections or apologies for errors. They've had to do it days later and usually in small print somewhere. That may have been technically correct, but still didn't do much to overcome a front page headline which most people who read will never find out was inaccurate.

However, it is not uncommon these days to see corrections to a story on the web, which works because it will be either edited and noted in the original or inserted as a parenthetical remark.

Instead of complaining to a search engine (as in the cases posited above, where someone was arrested for murder but never charged or found guilty, or where the writer was found guilty of slander) why not make it a complaint to the news organization or other owner of the page to correct or parenthetically clarify their story? This does not involve censorship or removal of important information. It simply corrects the record in a way newspapers historically could not.

For example, "John Doe was arrested as a suspect in the murder of Jane Doe." could, upon complaint, be changed to "John Doe was arrested (and released uncharged) as a suspect in the murder of Jane Doe." It would not give anyone the right to be forgotten for doing something stupid (but factually reported) but it would give them the right to have the record corrected. News organizations might even take it upon themselves to keep their stories updated and corrected, even without receiving an official legal complaint, as a way to achieve more credibility as a source.

The Register ALREADY DOES THIS with their "Tips and corrections" link on each story.

However this works out, the next battle after Google search results will be Wikipedia articles, which can often be edited to include false or dubious information.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

DocJD

Pretty high risk

This sounds much more worthy of preparing for than Global Warming.

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When PR backfires: Google 'forgets' BBC TV man's banker blog post

DocJD

Governments

How long until governments who want news censored start requesting Google to remove links to anything derogatory about them or their practices? What if Russia asks for removal of all search results about sending troops to the Ukraine?

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Microsoft's naughty Cortana NOT ALLOWED NEAR CHILDREN

DocJD

How do they know who you are?

My sister has an iPhone which I can use with Siri and I have no account. Siri has no idea who I am.

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San Francisco says yes to GIANT Apple flagship store, public plaza

DocJD

Take A Look

I'm surprised no image was included. You can see what it will look like here:

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2013/05/apples_union_square_store_design_simply_incredible_inde.html

It appears the link was truncated. Maybe I posted it incorrectly. Please add this to the end:

y_incredible_inde.html

Uh oh, where it truncates depends on screen magnification. It is usually cut in the middle of the word "simply" I guess you'll have to figure it out or Google it yourself.

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Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

DocJD

A new way

If you seriously believe most of what's being said in the comments, the solution is for Companies to bypass the Universities AND the Government:

For example, a group of companies get together to set up their own Training Center. (Can't call it a University because then the government can regulate what must be taught, etc.) Students may apply to a company and, if accepted, will be sent to the Training Center tuition free. In return for that, the student must sign a contract to work at the company for some minimum length of time after they "graduate." If they are not good enough to graduate, they are dismissed with no job and no debt. During the training, part of their work may be as interns at the sponsoring company to get practical experience. If they do a poor job as interns, they are dismissed with no job and no debt. To avoid people gaming the system, part of the contract is a non-compete clause so the students can't take a free education and use it to work for a competing company. The classes at the training center may be taught by existing workers from the "owning" companies, not professors with tenure and the simple goal of publishing papers.

This solves the problems listed above such as: Universities spend too much time teaching things not relevant to the job. Graduates have no experience so are not usable right out of school. Graduates don't earn enough to pay off loans, Companies can't get enough new employees. Tuition costs too much. Professors earn too much. This takes the place of an Apprenticeship.

The only downside is the "graduate" does not have an actual diploma. However, I think most other tech workers will agree that, if you know enough to do a good job, the degree is not relevant.

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SpaceX set to try HOVER LANDING for re-usable rockets on March ISS mission

DocJD

Re: Remember the DC-X?

I remember seeing a video of the initial test where the McDonnell Douglas rep announced that for the first time we'd see a rocket "take off and land on its tail as God and Robert Heinlein intended."

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Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS

DocJD

Re: Not Japan?

I was at a conference (IEDM) back in the 90's where some Japanese researchers had a machine that could not only identify what BRAND of beer, but which of that company's breweries it was from. The results were pretty much limited to Japanese beers, because that's were they developed it, but still superior to the machine in this article.

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That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

DocJD

Apple

Isn't Apple's newest chip already 64 bit low power ARM?

What if Google came out with a new version of Android for phones and tablets that ran only on the Google 64 bit ARM? It would let Android compete with iOS at 64 bit, and guarantee their software would work properly. It would also earn Google some income in parallel with giving Android away free.

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Brit boffins trap light in Lego-like lumps

DocJD
Holmes

Some Background

These features are much smaller than the wavelength of light. Therefore they do not reflect it so much as scatter it. When they do their job correctly, they scatter the light forward into the solar cell beneath them. The Earth's atmosphere scatters light, some wavelengths more than others; that's why the sky looks blue. Nanoparticles from something like smoke can scatter more red light and make spectacular sunsets

A normal silicon solar cell will look shiny. If you look at something like this it will not be shiny. For years high performance infrared sensors/detectors have been coated with nanomaterials such as "gold black" that reflect so little they look black to the naked eye. In that case the coating can absorb the IR and it is detected as heat. In the case of solar cells, they do not want the layer to absorb, simply to reduce reflections.

Gold and silver were probably used initially because they are relatively inert to many chemical processes, making process development less restrictive and more flexible. Once proof of concept has been demonstrated, one can try to use a cheaper material.

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ATOM SMASHER ON A CHIP technology demonstrated

DocJD

There is already an X-Ray source the size of a grain of rice. I worked on it about 10 years ago. Check out a company called Xoft to see what it can do.

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IPCC: Yes, humans are definitely behind all this global warming we aren't having

DocJD

It was all explained here

I wish I could find it, but probably 5 or 6 years ago The Register had a story where a graph of temperature data was shown and the authors broke it up into a slow gradual increase on top of which was a sin wave.

The gradual increase was attributed to the CO2 increase, though it was not fast enough to result in "we must act now" horror stories.

The cyclical wave was due to some major ocean current cycle. It properly showed the decrease in temperature back when Newsweek ran the historic "Global Cooling" cover story. It showed the increase in the '90's which was (ignorantly) extrapolated into the "hockey stick" predictions of the global warming cult. It showed the level period we are now experiencing, where the downward part of the cycle is balancing the long term upward trend. It also predicted temperatures would start to rise again around 2020 when the sin wave turns back up.

If anyone can locate that story, it should be reprinted.

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Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

DocJD

Not a problem

I doubt anyone in the area will be on visual flight rules. Airline flights will be on instruments, even in clear skies. Official approach patterns guarantee that, even in fog, you aren't going to hit anything if you stay on the path, so it doesn't matter if the building is invisible or not.

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Who should play the next Doctor? Nominations needed!

DocJD
Angel

If the Doctor is going to be Female

They might as well go all the way and use Francine Dee.

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Boffins explain LED inefficiencies

DocJD
Holmes

What is going on is...

You need to conserve both energy and momentum. When an electron and hole combine, the energy is usually emitted as a photon (light) in an LED.

However, a photon has very little momentum compared to what the electron and hole had. That's why only SOME semiconductors are good at emitting light--the ones with what is called a "direct bandgap" where it's possible for the electrons and holes to combine with a small net momentum.

An "indirect bandgap" material, such as silicon, has the low point of the conduction band (where the electron is) offset in momentum space from the high point of the valence band (where the hole is). If their recombination energy is given up as a photon, momentum can't be conserved. So the energy is usually given off as a PHONON, which is a vibration of the crystal lattice (i.e. heat) which can conserve both energy and momentum.

If, instead of exciting the lattice of atoms or emitting light, the energy is used to excite a free electron to carry away the energy and momentum, that's an Auger recombination. In general "Auger" refers to events involving multiple electrons. At high power, LEDs have plenty of excess electrons in the depletion region (the junction of the diode where recombination takes place) so it's more likely one of them will be nearby to accept the energy given up.

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Researcher sets up illegal 420,000 node botnet for IPv4 internet map

DocJD
Facepalm

Re: Prosecution would be proof of idiocy..

On the other hand, how much effort would the police spend tracking someone down if you told them you think maybe, when you left the door open, someone might have looked in at your wallpaper, but you can't really prove it.

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There's cling-ons on the starboard bow! Trekkies' wallets under attack

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Acid oceans DISSOLVING sea life

DocJD
Holmes

Ocean Acidification is not as Arguable as "Global Warming"

There is a leap of faith in the Global Warming Disaster chain: You can start with a measurable fact (more CO2 is being put into the atmosphere) and a related fact (CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" i.e. it absorbs infrared radiation). The leap comes from the models and what they predict will happen to the climate if CO2 continues to increase. As the years go by, more and more flaws are found in the models and the runaway global warming is not happening. Maybe it will get warmer, eventually, but it takes a leap of faith to get from there to the runaway disaster scenario right now. And I'm not so sure a little warming wouldn't have some upside as well as some downside. It might even prevent the next ice age.

Ocean Acidification does not require that same leap. It is easy to show, in a lab, that CO2 in the atmosphere is absorbed by seawater. You can also show that CO2 in the seawater changes the pH, and that the change in the pH affects sea life that makes shells for itself. End of story. No predictions of runaway or catastrophic droughts or hurricanes or melting glaciers. Simply that increasing CO2 in the ocean will have a downside for a section of the ecosystem.

You can also measure the pH around the oceans (I know this because I worked on the sensors they use to do so) and see the effect on various organisms. So far this takes no models at all. Details of what may happen in the future oceans may not be precise, but there is no large leap of faith involved to see the chain of events.

While I don't take Global Warming seriously (certainly not the wild claims of the eco-lobby) I will say that Ocean Acidification is real and measurable without fudging data or arguing over tree rings.

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Meet Shenzhen, tech capital of China

DocJD
WTF?

Import/Export

I was wandering around Shenzhen one day at the end of a trip all over China and met a woman who, along with her husband (both ex-pats), owned a factory there. She told me that name brand products manufactured for export were not allowed to be sold in China. What her company had to do was ship them to Hong Kong, then import them back. Then they could be sold locally.

Perhaps some of the equipment having labels applied in the smaller places were simply "extra" ones that were sold, unbranded, to avoid having to do the export/import dance.

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LightSquared accuses government of ‘rigged’ interference tests

DocJD

Check the Daily Beast

The liberal Daily Beast reports on a broadband project backed by a frequent Obama White House visitor and donor that has Pentagon officials concerned over potential military GPS interference. The Obama FCC took the lead in intervening on the donor, billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone’s, behalf and granting his company called “LightSquared” one of those coveted Obama waivers from existing law. Then Obama officials reportedly pressured a general to alter his testimony about the company’s impact on military satellite transmissions.

In a nutshell:

The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.

The episode—confirmed by The Daily Beast in interviews with administration officials and the chairman of a congressional oversight committee—is the latest in a string of incidents that have given Republicans sudden fodder for questions about whether the Obama administration is politically interfering in routine government matters that affect donors or fundraisers. Already, the FBI and a House committee are investigating a federal loan guarantee to a now failed solar firm called Solyndra that is tied to a large Obama fundraiser.

Now the Pentagon has been raising concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared, whose majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone. Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, the officials said.

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DocJD

An Obama Donor

The major backer of Lightsquared was a big Obama donor. Letting him buy bandwidth for billions below cost (because it was sold as space only) and then getting the FCC to make it ground based was payback. They even pressured a General to testify it wouldn't interfere with GPS. The General refused and blew the lid off the scam.

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Billion dollar telescope snaps galactic head-on

DocJD
Holmes

Misleading photo

All the detail in the photo is from an overlaid optical image. The ALMA image, while perhaps impressive for an IR photo, looks like some fuzzy blobs if viewed alone.

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