This week, we're going deep on Hyperloop.
It's been a while since I've seen a topic that drove you all to comment with such wide-eyed glee and anticipation. Unlike the perennial, persistent Punch-and-Judy show that is the Apple/Android debate, discussion around Elon Musk's big idea for super-high-speed transport got many of you exploring a more varied terrain that includes long-term cultural challenges in the United States and beyond.
Some of you found great inspiration in the idea of Musk, the serial make-it-happen inventor, pushing a public infrastructure project the likes of which Americans haven't experienced since the early space age. Some of the more skeptical among you found the idea naively fantastical at best and wildly indulgent at worst. In, Molly Wood explored that boggy world of skepticism and proposed breaking out. Much conversation ensued.
Our top-notch audience development intern, Justina Nguyen, has rounded up many of your best Hyperloop comments and more conversations on the reviews and news of the past week. It's the last week of Justina's summer gig here, so let's say a hearty goodbye as she heads back to school and thank her for her contribution to engaging dialogue at CNET. You've been great, Justina.
We'd love to continue this weekly roundup, but I'd like to hear from you first. Has this roundup been helpful? Engaging? What would you like us to add?
--Lindsey Turrentine, Editor in Chief, CNET Reviews
by Nick Statt ( )
In a highly anticipated unveiling prefaced by Musk last week, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO outlines his vision for high-speed travel.
bweber85: Elon starts a business that revolutionizes the online pay system with Paypal. Then he starts Tesla which changes the way cars are sold and the way electric cars are built forever. Is the owner at SpaceX and is continuing to innovate and change the market for space exploration tech. Now, he comes out with something else that adds an entirely new mode of transport and will change the way we travel forever (if built). This guy is a modern day Da Vinci/Tesla/Franklin. Amazing! See post.
by Molly Wood ( )
Commentary: When most of the tech industry seems obsessed with finding each other at restaurants and ranking their own influence, it's exciting to hear about tech that could change the world. So why are we all so skeptical about it?
rthonpm: This has to be one of the best articles I've read on CNET or any tech site in quite some time. Instead of arguing and anguishing over the minutiae of whether a mobile app is truly innovative we're actually talking about a BIG IDEA. Whether the Hyperloop is truly feasible as a means of transportation, or even cost effective enough to build, maintain, and manage doesn't matter: we need more tech people talking about doing more than making some nebulous 'connection' with complete strangers or booking a restaurant on a mobile.
If the space race were to come about now, we'd have ceded the landing to the Russians because America would see it as too expensive. But think of all the products that have come out of the needs to survive in orbit: everything from Velcro to Tang, to smoke detectors all came out the needs of NASA or astronauts, and how much in terms of tax revenue and sales have those generated?
Let's actually try to build something, America. It doesn't have to be the Hyperloop, but instead of sitting around snarking let's actually put our money where our mouths are and try to actually do what made this country great: have the courage to do what the rest of the world won't. See post.
But we have plenty of dissenting opinion, too:
originalbosfan1: It's a decent idea, yes. But fixed-infrastructure transportation systems have a huge number of inherent drawbacks that mean they are simply not practical for wide-scale adoption. While the technology being proposed is cool, it's pretty much useless.
It's the same reason why we don't have high-speed rail all over the country, and why we only have subways in major metro areas. These projects are extremely expensive, and they rely on millions of repeat riders making the trip multiple times per week to pay for themselves. That works on a subway system where millions travel over a short distance daily. But are we really going to say that millions of people are going to commute between LA and SF every day? That just doesn't make economic sense.
The problem with trains is that they only move people between areas A and B, and that comes at an enormous infrastructure expense. Building this type of track between LA and SF means that people can travel between...LA and SF, at a cost of billions of dollars. For the same expense, you could buy a couple of dozen airplanes and people could travel anywhere in the world. The airplane, because it uses no infrastructure to travel from point A to point B, is the best choice for transportation. See post.
by Scott Stein ( )
If you want one of the least expensive Web-browsing devices that feels like a laptop but is really a Chromebook, the Acer C7 is fine. But its limitations match its price.
MWebb1950: I own one -- the 320GB conventional hard drive version, which I upgraded to 4GB from 2GB. Your review nails it. It's functional, but its real selling point is the security of Chrome OS. I'm grateful that I can do 2 finger scrolling, but don't understand why the MacBook Air trackpad is SO much better. Trackpads in the Windows (and apparently Chrome world, too) don't give a good user experience.
Of course the entire laptop industry is incredibly lagging the tablet world on screen quality. Low pixels-per-inch, lack of vibrant colors, and lack of good viewing angles. MacBook Airs are a little better, but not nearly as good as a quality tablet like the Nexus 7 or iPad. See post.
by Chris Matyszczyk ( )
Research from the U.K. suggests that those who post vast numbers of pictures to Facebook might have trouble enjoying relationships in real life.
craig.knapp1: I have never had a Facebook account. From how I have seen people use it, Facebook is not the collaborative tool I think it would be used as, rather it is the largest productivity killer I have ever seen. No one wants to know how many times your kid blew its nose today.
I do upload a considerable amount of photos to Flickr, sometimes 200-400 of one event. This makes it easy for the Soldiers in my unit to download the photos, and I do not have to e-mail them out to everyone...hope there is nothing wrong with me. Then again, very few of the photos are of myself (thus I am not a narcissist, just a voyeur...knowing your issues is half the battle) as I am the guy behind the camera, have been since about 1976. See post.
by Matthew Moskovciak ( )
Sound bars have always seemed like starter home audio systems almost by definition, sacrificing performance for a slim, convenient design that sounds "good enough."
gmh_in_mclean_va: Why would anyone pay 1,300 bucks for a sound bar? It doesn't matter what quality speakers you put in one, or how many speakers you put in it, or what sub you attach to it, or if the sub is wireless. It's a compromise for the sake of particular form requirements. There's nothing wrong with that if having a single component is your main criteria, but the design of every sound bar is seriously flawed, if you're interested in an audiophile experience.
That simple fact makes paying a premium for a sound bar a waste of money. You'd have to position yourself a few feet away from the thing to get an optimal stereo effect. Sitting at most normal viewing distances puts the speakers far too close to each other. Filling the short distance between the outer most speakers with more speakers, might actually degrade the sound stage if too many overlapping sound waves muddle the already limited definition. See post.
by Lance Whitney ( )
The current models of the iPhone have a better resale value than do various versions of Samsung's Galaxy phones, says analyst Gene Munster.
feifonwong: I resell a lot of tech I don't use or give to family via Craigslist. I would do eBay but I get tired of the nonsense. As for selling phones it really depends on what Android phone it is. If its a non-CDMA phone, I can get a really decent resale out of it because it can be unlocked and taken out of the country.
For example, even old phones like the GS2 can fetch at least $300+, depending on its condition and it you have an extended battery. I think they should show a break down of what android phones resell well and which don't.
iPhones do generally sell higher because of their long term support from apple, the non-CDMA versions, and of course the Apple logo. See post.