* Posts by Roni Leben

18 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jul 2008

Samsung to offer open Android alternative

Roni Leben


You can write the name in a 32bit register...

El Reg's LHC visit - Deleted Scenes

Roni Leben

Pedantry 2

"there are less atoms inside the tubes than there are in outer space"

I am sure the meant "less atoms per unit of volume", not as an absolute number...

Dell details 'world's thinnest' laptop

Roni Leben

Vaio X still thinnest

Thin maybe, thinnest not.

The Thinnest title still goes to Sony Vaio X (13.9mm at thickest part, 780g light).



Ok, not a direct competition to Adamo or Air since it is only Atom powered (Z550 2GHz, 2GB RAM), it's the world's most expensive (yet coolest?) netbook...

Vaio X does have an Ethernet port though.

Hands on the Sony Vaio X

Roni Leben

X505 successor - thinnest & lightest ever?

I think a lot of people (Reg included) are missing the point of this machine:

Thinnest & lightest 11" laptop ever. Period.

Possibly lightest than any laptop ever (including small screen UMPC machines)?

That's it. Nothing else matters. Other specs are unimportant.

Sony has a history of making consumer devices smaller & lighter. It's been their motto for 60 years. Apple made one thin laptop & a really small mp3 player, whereas Sony has had hundreds of "smallest" devices over decades.

Everybody also seems to have forgotten the machine's predecessor: Vaio X505 - thinnest & lightest machine released back in 2003. It's cost was $3000 for metal & $4000(!) for carbon fiber version. In Europe, the cheaper metal version cost was EUR3000 / GBP 2000!

X505 had a 10.4" screen. Carbon fiber unit weighted 785g. Max. thickness (battery) was 0.8". These are the only specs new X had to beat. It showed the world in 2003 what can be done with Pentium M processor.

Sony arguably made no profit on X505 - this was a technology showpiece. The new X is while very expensive still quite cheaper than the old X was.

Oxygen-from-Moon-dirt passes vomit comet test

Roni Leben

Sounds doable - in theory - even without H2

Hydrogen source:

The article does not mention hydrogen, true. In order to produce energy, you need H2 to form H2O, but the molecular masses of both elements are vastly different: 1 for H and 16 for O - a 2:16 relationship in a H2O molecule. So for each kg of H2 you need 8kg of O2. Even if you still need to bring H2 from Earth, you now need to bring only 1/9th of the mass needed before - a wast improvement methinks.


Moon escape velocity is 2380 m/s. Maximum acceleration during ascent for Apollo missions was 4G. At 4G constant acceleration (for about 61s), the railgun would have to be 72.25 km long. Not sure how many people can survive 4G for a minute, but 2G should be OK for most: at 2G: 144.5 km length, 122s of acceleration.

100 km or so is a huge linear motor, but not impossible to build I think.

They did put a man on the moon 40 years ago with 1960's technology...

Apple gobbles world's flash memory

Roni Leben

Should look at contract prices

To estimate Apple's Flash cost, check the Digitimes article about contract prices:


According to this article, I am pretty sure Apple is paying around $1 per GB of Flash, probably even lower - they must have committed to huge volumes over a number of years and of course negotiated a favorable price. So the Flash cost difference between 32 and 64GB would be in the $30 region (more likely even lower - remember, huge volume, negotiating power,...).

Since iPhone uses a single flash device, they need to stack 4 64Gb Flash dies into a single chip package to get 32GB.

I assume Apple is buying & committed to buy the largest flash dies available - 64Gb and beyond in the future.

This deal will push the Flash prices up in the short run, but long term capacity will increase & prices will go down, which is good, right?

HP busts out fall PC lineup

Roni Leben
Thumb Down

Please list actual screen resolutions next time!

I hate it how computer manufactures started obscuring technical details a few years back.

Reg, you are supposed to be IT / technical, not just yellow print mag. Next time please dig up & list actual screen resolutions or at least standard acronyms (like WXGA, WSXGA, WSGXA, etc.), not vague marketing terms like "13.3 high-def" or "HD resolution"

I did some of the digging for you:

The Mini 311 (or Compaq 311c) as reported many times before will sport 11.6" WXGA screen with 1366x768 pixels - capable of showing the 720p variety of HD (1280x720) (so, this is your "HD resolution")

Envy 15 is supposedly also 1366x768 on 15.6", but "full HD" is also mentioned. The standard WUXGA is 1920x1200, but this is different aspect ratio... So 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD maybe (one model is called 1080ea)? Or only 1600x900, which does not support native Full HD...

What is "Full High Definition LED HP Ultra BrightView Widescreen Display" anyway? Why can't they simply list the actual resolution?

ProBook 5310m: What the is "13.3 high-def LED"? One site lists the specs as 1366x768. This is no high-def, this is standard WXGA! Lenovo packs 1440x900 on 13.3" screen in X300/X301. 1600x900 on 13" would be hi-def...

When 15.4" WSXGA+ (1680x1050) and even WUXGA (1920x1200) laptop screens have been around since 2003, we are now supposed to believe 1366x768 on 15.6" is high def? Come on!

Apple Store pillaged in 31 seconds

Roni Leben
Jobs Horns

Cheap publicity!

23 laptops + 14 handhelds?

All used., display units. Real cost to Apple maybe $20k altogether? Properly insured, of course.

I'd say this is very cheap publicity for Apple...

Apple admits iPhone 3GS in short supply

Roni Leben
Paris Hilton

Apple is not actually "making" anything

"Apple has admitted what's been rumored for weeks: It can't make enough iPhone 3GS smartphones to keep up with demand."

Ahm, as one of your favorite sources (Digitimes) clearly states, it's not Apple that's actually making the phones, is it?

They are (like 99% of other phones, laptops,etc.) made by Taiwanese manufacturers with production facilities in mainland China...

Even Paris knows that

Palm politely cuts Pre tether

Roni Leben

Treo history repeats itself

What a load of bollocks from the US operators & Palm.

Why are they allowed to call their plans unlimited if in fact they are not?

Well, Palm has a looong history upsetting it's customers - with limited DUN functionality, limited (or non existent) BT,...

My operator gives me 1GB of data included in my plan. For me this is enough even for occasional browsing from the laptop over BT DUN.

I can get 10GB for a few extra € or unlimited (supposed to be truly unlimited) for €30

I'm a 'Pre' user myself since 2003 - Back then I had the Handspring Treos 180 & 270, which officially according to Handspring (now merged back to Palm) did not have a tethering ability over it's IR connection (something about not being able to use two applications at the same time - GPRS & IR). Luckily there was a SW called WModem, which enabled dial-up connection (to carriers GPRS) over IR. And it required a special "procedure" to do this - firing up browser first, disconnecting browser, starting WModem,...

Same story with Treo 600.

Then I had Treo 650 (GSM, ROW - officially unlocked), which finally (5 years behind world + dog phones in EU) had BT. It did have DUN over BT, but you could either use Web access (with DUN disabled) or enable DUN first in order to use it (and then had to switch it off to use browser again). And it was not without problems again (requiring several BT restarts, DUN connection attempts from laptop,...) for each and every time you wanted to connect...

In the same period I had several Nokia & Sony Ericsson phones, which all worked flawlessly using DUN over IR or BT (either GPRS or UMTS) out of the box, without any limitations whatsoever...

Boffin builds better display from... a cuttlefish

Roni Leben
Paris Hilton

voltage != power

"As a result, Thomas’ screen only uses a few volts of electricity."

Last time I checked, power was voltage times current, so low voltage alone does not equate to low power.

Most computer parts "only use a few volts of electricity", but at quite high current rates. Modern CPUs "running at only about 1V core voltage" can draw more than 100A and do use a lot of power.

Paris, coz she knows her "tension", "flow" and "power".

Online retailer offers Sim-free iPhone 3Gs

Roni Leben
Jobs Horns

From Italy?

The only EU country IMHO where officially non Sim-locked iPhones are sold is Italy. If you do a bit of searching, you can get the 16GB one for as low as EUR 420 + VAT. With 20% Italian VAT this comes to EUR 504 (or £464). If you are a UK company, your cost is only £445 (with 15% UK VAT), so the £600 is pretty steep. And I am sure even the EUR 420 price is negotiable & goes down with quantity...

There is nothing stopping any of us to do a simple search on ebay.it for example...

GM's Lutz shows luxury 'leccy Cadillac

Roni Leben

This concept is a series plugin HYBRID

A loooong comment, since obviously a lot of people missed this line:

"impressive Cadi concept uses the same running gear as the Chevrolet Volt"

Please first read something about the Volt - here for example:


This car is a series (plug-in) hybrid; it is propelled by an electric motor (120kW) which gets energy from the said 16kWh battery. When the battery runs down to a certain level (40% or so), the ICE engine starts and powers the generator, which provides electrical power to run the motor & recharge the battery. 120kW is the maximum power the motor delivers, the average power is in the 10-20kW range for normal city & highway driving. Even at 100mph, the needed power for such a car (dependent mostly on aerodynamic drag at high speeds) should be ~50kW. 120kWh is rigged for acceleration, not top speed in this case (see Tesla, which IS a pure EV, without ICE).

As for diesel fuel: the best &most efficient (automotive) diesel engines reach up to 40% efficiency in optimal conditions, but in real driving it is more like 20%, so from 50l of diesel, you only get ~100kWh of mechanical energy. This then translates to about 20kWh per 100 miles.

With those figures applied to the Cadi: 60% of 16kWh is 9.6kWh; at 20kWh per 100 miles, the Cadi can have a range of 48 miles on electrical power alone (and then the ICE engine kicks in to "extend the range"). 48 miles (or ~80km here on the continent) covers more than 95% of all daily driving (you can recharge the battery from the socket at night).

Solar power: a typical car occupies an area of about 8m2. If 5m2 (minivan with optimized roof area) can be covered with 20% efficient photo voltaic cells (current top Si cells), this is 1kWp of nominal solar cell power. Europe has equivalent solar irradiation of about 1000-1200h/year, so a 5m2 solar panel can produce up to 1200kWh of energy per year, which translates to 6000 miles on solar power alone per year. OK, this is theoretical figure, car has to be parked in direct sun every day, etc. (half of this is more realistic), but shows the right direction. As for cost: yes, the solar cells are expensive, but have a life time of 30+ years. And the (extremely expensive for now) Ge based cells reach 30+% (40.7 current lab record using concentrated sun light) efficiency. Think about solar cell covered park lots - provide power & shade to cars at the same time.

As far as the ICE engine goes: GM plans to use the familiar 1.4l Ecotec engine, currently spinning in a lot of Astras, Corsas, Merivas, etc. (they first vanted to use the 3 cylinder 1.0 12V engine).

Euro court blocks Lego trademark bid

Roni Leben
Thumb Up

Patents expired?

It's been 50 years since the basic lego brick (4x2) shape dimensions, tolerances, etc was patented (and probably long expired...)

Still remember the days I got 853 in 78 and 7740 in 82.

As an AFOL, now having an excuse of buying Lego for my kid, all I can say after a 20 year pause is that nowadays quality (color, even tolerances - the precise brick tolerance was lego trademark for 50 years!) is sadly much worse than it just to be (when all bricks were made in Denmark) but Legos are also relatively cheaper.

It's sad though that they are cheaper over the pond even when Lego closed their US factory...

Also the packaging of large expensive sets (like Technic) is now just a plain box + bags. You can not store legos in them longterm! I still have my 853, 855, 774, 928,... stored in original boxes! Lego should differentiate products - plain box for cheaper sets, old days Technic style boxes for large, expensive, collectible sets.

Lego, get a grip and go for quality - & continuity. The cost reductions affecting quality you are doing will not bail you out long term.

And less "war" crap like Bionicle, etc. Heck, all minifigs just to smile, nowdays 3/4 have angry expressions. Even some Duplo figs. When going through a Lego brochure, there's more than half violent themes I don't want to show my kid - as if there's not enough violence in real life & chinese toys.

No more violence in Lego please!

Intel sees little trouble in big China

Roni Leben

"Let city more beautiful"

...says the English version of Trony's website. Maybe some of the $20M can be spent on a decent translation?

Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today

Roni Leben
Thumb Up

First production car with in-wheel motors?

Great job Lightning!

Hope they make it into production; Tesla is, sadly, still not there after 2+ years of delay...

A Subaru Impreza & PML's Mini used 4 in-wheel motors, but no production car yet (AFAIK). In PML's case they probably used their Mini to test the motors for the Lightning?

480kW @ wheels is very impressive. Assume "36Kw of power" for the battery should be 36kWh (of energy)?

Only (very small) minus I can think of: The car shows is a derivative from petrol engine version and it shows; it has a large forward engine bay which looks it could house a V12 ICE... With in-wheel motors, designers can be more innovative since engine bay is needless & the car design could be quite different. Maybe next time.

Roni Leben
Thumb Up

First production car with 4 in-wheel motors?

By Roni Leben

Posted Tuesday 22nd July 2008 11:44 GMT

Great job Lightning!

Hope they make it into production; Tesla is, sadly, still not there after 2+ years of delay...

A Subaru Impreza & PML's Mini used 4 in-wheel motors, but no production car yet (AFAIK). In PML's case they probably used their Mini to test the motors for the Lightning?

480kW @ wheels is very impressive. Assume "36Kw of power" for the battery should be 36kWh (of energy)?

Only (very small) minus I can think of: The car shows is a derivative from petrol engine version and it shows; it has a large forward engine bay which looks it could house a V12 ICE... With in-wheel motors, designers can be more innovative since engine bay is needless & the car design could be quite different. In-wheel motors + fast charge Li-ion is quite enough of boldness for now, so innovative design can wait till the next model.

NASA: The Moon is not enough

Roni Leben

19 or 39?

"a dust ball we already stuck a flag in a full score and 19 years ago."

Ahem, surely you mean 39 years ago?