Metal Meddling

Just found this article in the New York Times about how the banks are artificially driving up the prices of metal (the article is focused on aluminum, but I wouldn't be surprised if it extends to other commodities as well) in the commodities market.

But heaven forbid we regulate them to stop this economic drag, right?

And I don't know, but I'd bet a great deal of money that most of the algorithmic trading going on all the time has similar results in the stock market. But we wouldn't want to stop that, would we?  After all, that liquidity is valuable to everyone, right?  Right?


Standing your ground?

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and they were talking about people boycotting Florida (refusing to vacation there, for instance).  They brought on someone to defend the bill, who was saying how it was supposed to protect people visiting the state, in case of someone invading their hotel, say.

I was a bit surprised; after all, the bill is only about saying that you don't have to try to leave when you can.  I wonder how he thinks people can leave when someone invades their hotel room.

A few minutes after, they gave a portion of a floor speech by a Democratic lawmaker (I missed his name), talking about repeal.  I forget exactly what he said, but I could hear a subtext in his words of, "I can't freakin' believe I have to say crap like this to people who would label themselves 'pro-life'.  Do they have any self-awareness at all?"

The whole thing just seems amazingly stupid, unless your goal is to increase homicides.  After all, the whole point of the bill is to escalate hostile encounters.  Inevitably, that will lead to people dying, as we saw with Trayvon Martin.

I hadn't realized there were already thirty states with 'stand your ground' bills.  At that point, the federal government really needs to step in, because that's some mighty widespread insanity.

Actually, there was one surprise with this.  Virginia, gun-loving state that it is, is not one of the 'stand your ground' states.  Let's thank heaven for that.


Minor victory

For unknown reasons, my google pages (when logged in) were showing up in slovenian.  It actually took me a bit of searching just to figure out which language it was; very annoying.

I've tried, a couple of times, to get it fixed, with no success.  But yesterday, I finally managed it.  When I found the page where you set it, it was set for English, but there was a separate setting (for docs, I think) that was for slovenian.  So, I changed that, flushed my browser cookies from google, restarted my browser, and things were finally back to normal.  Yay.


Non-interchangable SLR?

I ran across this article about a new, lensless camera earlier today, and am a bit confused about its terminology.

To start with, I think what they're starting with is a pinhole camera controlled by an LCD screen. That is to say, they open a hole in the LCD lattice to be the pinhole. That would explain what they mention about infinite depth of field (a characteristic of pinhole cameras).

And I think there's something there about opening multiple pinholes at once to get a better image (an interesting idea, for sure).

But where complete confusion sets in, for me, is when they start talking about single pixels as the sensing element behind the LCD array. They must be using a weird definition of a pixel, because one pixel using the normal definition gives almost no information. Try reducing down any picture to height and width of 1 to see what I mean. I won't say there's no information there, but it's a damned small amount.

So I think what they're actually talking about is a single DSLR-like sensor, and possibly doubling that to two sensors. That would make some sense.

Other than that, I think it's a pinhole camera with an array of "pinholes". One limitation, if that's so, is that you'll be limited in exposure length, I believe, because two opposing polarizing elements don't stop all light. Don't believe me (and it's certainly counter to what I heard in physics class in high school)? Well, variable neutral density filters work by taking two one-stop polarizing elements, and rotating one of them. All of them go from two stops to eight (which is a nice range), but even at eight stops, you can still take usable pictures (heck, I've got a ten-stop filter that still allows usable pictures).

Anyway, it's an interesting idea, and I'm curious to see what they do with it.  Thinking about it, something like this would probably be perfect for a cell phone camera, where space is very constrained.  Hmm...

It also just occurred to me... Maybe what they were referring to, in using the word pixel, was a specific spot (any specific spot) on the LCD "screen"ing the sensor.  If so, the article was not well phrased.  It's also a bad term to use, because pixel is short for "picture element", and the screen blocking the sensor does not have any picture elements in it.


I haven't been talking about it, but I've been following what's been going on with the filibuster in the Senate for a long time. And frankly, it's been a mess for a long time.

The filibuster is supposed to be a measure to restrain extreme actions, and in that light, I'm in favor of it. But the GOP has abused it in hitherto unseen proportions, to the point that it's being used to stop governing (yes, all those nominations unfilled do represent a serious problem. And despite the noise made about unfilled nominations under Bush, he got almost everything he wanted. Obama, on the other hand, has fewer nominations filled now than Bush did after two years in office). It begs the question, how can the government run with no one to make decisions?

Because of that unprecedented level of obstructionism (and yes, it is unprecedented, despite what some might say), it's been depressing watching Reid refuse and refuse to do anything about it. Yes, GOP failure to follow through on negotiated deals is a problem, but hardly a surprising one.

So it's good to see at least some serious recognition of the problem; maybe something will be done.

I think what's needed to end the abuse, but preserve the power, is something to the effect of limiting the number of filibusters available in a legislative session. Of course, as the House has shown, something can be voted on as many times as desired, so a straight numerical limit can't really work. And man, would things get bogged down if the debate turned into "is this the same bill as last time?", so allowing reintroductions of bills to not count against the limit wouldn't work either.

But Sen Udall had some ideas for improving things, which I liked. Disallowing filibusters on motions to proceed to discussion (wait, we can't stop discussion on whether to discuss something?) is a good idea. Putting the onus on those wishing to continue debate rather than those wishing to end discussion is another good idea. Another one that just occurred to me would be disallowing any lawmakers from entering the chamber once a filibuster starts. That makes it an endurance challenge for everyone. Another Udall suggestion would be to force anyone wanting a filibuster to make their motion, and reasons, public, to force accountability. There's also a limit on post-cloture debate for non-Supreme Court nominees. The last suggestion I have trouble summarizing, so here it is from Merkley's web site:
Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Establish a Conference Committee: Reduces the steps to establish a conference committee from three motions to one, and limits debate the consolidated motion to 2 hours

Let's hope that, at the minimum, those limits can be put in. That still won't be close to a panacea, but it would help.

And McCain's offer seems pretty ridiculous. Whatever happened to 'elections have consequences'? Especially considering that Obama's majority is larger than Bush's was.


He's guilty, guilty I tell you...

I heard, last night, about the verdict in the Zimmerman trial down in Florida being handed down.  Frankly, it's nauseating that someone can get away with killing an unarmed kid like that.  I saw a couple of interesting takes, one pointing out that a police officer doing something like that would probably lose his badge (and it takes a lot for that to happen, given who does the enforcing, and such).  Another mentioned that two armed people could easily end up in a duel, where both are just standing their ground.  Crazy.

Of course, this is the same state that, in a badly executed anti-gambling law, defined a slot machine as anything that can be used to play a game of chance for money.  Wonder how many cell phones and computers have been seized already, pursuant to that.

I wish I had something deeper to saw, but I'm frankly shocked.  The idea that an armed man can initiate an encounter, and then kill someone without repercussions is absolutely horrifying.  I suspect it'll take an undercover officer getting killed to get rid of the law.

Anyway, I hope there will be an appeal to overturn it.  We'll see.

Update: This Tom Tomorrow comic is brilliant.

And the Daily Show was killing it (no pun intended).

A study in contrasts

I was looking something up on IMDB earlier, and saw a mention of the upcoming Seventh Son.  For some reason, I couldn't play the trailer at IMDB, so I went to Apple's trailer site.  And the first thing that caught my eye there was the sequel to How to Train Your Dragon (which I didn't know was in the works, but I'm happy to see it.  We just watched the first one again yesterday).

So I had to watch the trailer for HtTYD, and it was basically one long sequence of Hiccup and Toothless flying (plus an odd couple seconds at the end of Hiccup taking off the mask he was wearing earlier; couldn't figure out what that part was doing there).  Cool to watch, but gave nothing away, as far as what the movie's about.

Then I searched for, and watched, the Seventh Son trailer.  I should point out, here, that the reason I was curious about the movie was to see if it was related to Orson Scott Card's book (though the picture didn't look promising, as far as that was concerned, there was still hope.  I think the movie, though, is actually based on The Spook's Apprentice, which I hadn't heard of before tonight).  I haven't read that one in ages, but loved it in high school.

As expected, no relation.  But what was interesting was the contrast.  Whereas HtTYD2 was one long scene, Seventh Son probably had fifty cuts in its two and a half minutes (actually, that was a WAG; I decided to watch again, and got up to 140.  I wouldn't be surprised if I missed a few, too; although I am cheating a little bit: that 140 is counting cuts where several cuts probably came out of the same sequence, and might be together in the final.  Still, the point remains that about the longest anything stayed on screen in that trailer was about three seconds).  Interestingly, though, the Seventh Son trailer did show a fair bit more about the movie, and what's going on in it.

Anyway, will definitely watch HtTYD2.  Might watch Seventh Son on blu-ray, when the time comes.  It has potential, but I'm in no hurry (of course, I now see that it's still half a year off; I guess I'll be waiting quite a long while).


Speaking of dysfunction (and heading downhill towards third-world status), I thought I'd written before about corruption surrounding construction of the Sochi Olympics site. I think what I thought I'd written about before was an article talking about there being as much as $30B in graft involved in the construction. Given an initial estimate of $12B for entire construction, it just blew my mind that a number like that was even feasible.

I can't find that article now, but I just ran across a newer article on the ongoing theft in the Economist. It neither confirms nor corroborates the specific figure I'm remembering, but certainly shows that the spirit of what I'm remembering is correct.

Of course, there are two other big issues to go with it. The first is, why host the winter olympics in one of the warmest places in Russia? And two, how much money was spent in bribes to the IOC to land the Olympics in the first place?

Kind of makes you feel sorry for the Russian people, doesn't it?

Also, the talk in the first article of how corporatist policies sunk the USSR kind of begs the question of where the US is going, as many people are trying to raid the US treasury for everything they can take, as well. And having a disturbing amount of success, as can be seen by the size of corporate bailouts, and what those companies have suffered since (nothing, aside from a small amount of public shaming and a few toothless regulations).

Dysfunction competition?

The interactions between the House and Senate have had an interesting reversal of late. It used to be that the Senate would say, in conference, "You've got to take our version of this bill, because this is all we can pass".

It was, more or less, a tacit admission that the Senate was fundamentally broken.

But now, the House can say the same thing. In fact, I think the House is a bit more broken than the Senate, right now. Just no interest in governing from the majority there. Seriously, how many times do we need to have Obamacare symbolically revoked?

Is it really any wonder that there hasn't been a budget passed in several years?

So where does that leave us, as a country?  Heading downhill towards third-world status, unfortunately.

Taking off the chrome?

I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to Chromebooks; they're just too limited for what I'd want to do (plus, they probably send a lot of user data (think browsing history, in particular) back to Google, and I wouldn't go along with that). But they are kind of interesting, and this update on their sales is kind of intriguing, on a couple of levels.

The first is that they're growing. The second is that sub-$300 is a notebook market segment; I wouldn't have been surprised had that been too low to be considered its own segment for desktops, let alone notebooks. I wonder how sales of the iPad mini compare to notebooks in that price range.

The last reason that it's interesting is that Apple's profit on a Mac (all segments, not just notebooks) averages out at about $250, which is close to the total price on these notebooks. Strong evidence right there that Apple will never directly compete there (though my guess is that the iPad mini outsells by a significant margin every unit in that market segment, combined, and at a higher profit margin).


What is a fair wage?

Via Crooks & Liars, lowpayisnotok found a site that McDonald's put up to help its employees with budgeting.  It might shock you to learn that, on that site, McDonald's implicitly agrees that it doesn't pay its employees enough money.  In fact, it implies that they need $15/hr, even after assuming they have ridiculously cheap healthcare and no heating bills (and rent that is absurdly cheap for any city).

Maybe this can be the start of some real work to get big companies to actually pay a living wage.  Kudos to all involved in this.

Archive heaven?

Interesting tidbit on Kurzweil AI, about a new storage medium.  Yes, the title's a little over the top; it isn't unlimited, but it's ridiculously huge (something like 360TB in a CD-sized disc, if I'm reading it right).  Like just about everything appearing on that site, though, it's a long way from commercial availability, unfortunately.  (I'd read the site a lot more often if that wasn't the case.)


Switch to Z

I'm a little behind on my comics reading, and just got to this one.  Having two kids, and a third on the way, it just killed me.  Doonesbury doesn't often have me laughing out loud (laughing in pain at how incisive the sarcasm is is far more common), but this one did.  And the one before it was actually quite touching, as well.


Some minor game updates

I haven't played Jetpack Joyride in quite a while.  I just stopped playing Tiny Tower today; I'd passed my goal of reaching 1B dollars in it.  I was hoping the game would go haywire or something.  No such luck.  I just picked up Where's My Water? (free today) and played a few levels, just to see what it was about.

I'm also playing a bit more Candy Crush.  My wife got that one, and I started playing it a while ago.  I stopped when I hit the level where you had to pay to continue.  Apparently, they decided to change that so you could play quests to move on; essentially, you replay earlier levels with more points required to move past them (and a wait of a day after solving each level of the quest).  I've gotten past two of the three quests (the first was quite easy (lv 23); the second quite tough (lv 33; I managed to get all the jellies once without getting the requisite points).  Thinking third likely to be easier than second, though we'll see), and am hoping to move on tomorrow.

I've been playing bejeweled a bit lately.  I'd gotten to around 1.5M in classic mode quite a few times, and recently broke through for much bigger scores (~6M once, then several more 3-5M, then 9.5M.  Suddenly, 1.5M is barely in my top ten).  Mostly, the difference has been more care in making sure that matches lead to more matches instead of just picking matches willy-nilly.

I've also started playing Words with Friends.  I've had it for eons, but wasn't playing.  Now, I'm giving it a better try, and mostly having fun.  Definitely good practice for keeping the brain in shape.


Future is now?

I was pretty surprised to read that Trey Ratcliff is switching from Nikon to Sony NEX.  I knew he was at least playing with those after he talked about his shots from the CN Tower in Toronto (which I liked seeing, as I had been there fairly recently, although I didn't go outside like he did).

I remember his article about mirrorless overtaking DSLRs in the not-too-distant future, and generally agreed with him.  I was a little skeptical about his time-frame (seemed a little optimistic), but mostly agreed.

But he's decided that that time-frame was actually pessimistic, and is already switched over.

His reasoning is interesting, and it makes a lot of sense (I have a friend who fairly recently switched from Canon 1D to Sony NEX; it also made total sense for him, as most of his shooting is on hiking trips).  I don't think NEX would make a lot of sense for me, at least not now (I do too much shooting of my kids in some combination of fast action and low light, where NEX would have problems.  I also do a little bit of sports shooting), but I can still see going in that direction in a few years (especially if they come out with a full-frame mirrorless with very fast auto-focus).

I did wonder about a couple things he mentioned.  One, images looking very grainy in the viewfinder when shooting at night seemed to conflict with what he said about being certain of focus.  Maybe the focus peaking makes that not a problem.  Two, he was saying something about a weakness of the NEX that I was unclear of what he was saying.  He seemed to say that, whatever the problem was, shooting on a tripod largely obviated it.  Would be curious to know what the actual problem was.

I liked his suggestions for what Sony could do to improve; I'd go with all of them.  The second one was particularly interesting to me; I'd never heard of that feature, but have had a few situations where I was wishing for that (trying to shoot long exposures with people moving, and had no idea how long of an exposure I really needed.  I wanted an indication of those people there, but also to see them move.  Of course, while I tried to work around it, I really needed my tripod and neutral density filter for those shots, too).

Anyway, it's an interesting read.  If I get a backup camera, I'll definitely think about something along those lines.

I want to teach the world to sing...

Not sure I can go into the mental perturbations leading to that title, but a friend and I saw Man of Steel yesterday, and it was quite interesting.

It's a reboot (re-imagining, perhaps) of the entire Superman mythology.  The arc of it is pretty familiar to anyone who remembers the old Superman movies, though the vision (and technology) are quite different.

I've never been a huge fan of Superman (liked it, but never followed it closely), so I was never wedded to any view of Krypton, and liked what was in this movie.  It was not without flaws (I'll get back to this), but it was quite interesting.  The flight sequences (especially the four-winged steeds) seemed a tribute to Avatar (though I didn't see it in 3D, so I can't compare them in that way), and Russell Crowe (as Jor-El) did a very good job.

I also liked the way the story was told via flashbacks; those were blended in quite well without bogging down the story.  And the way they showed Clark having problems adjusting to Earth was quite interesting.  Similarly, the handling of the "Fortress of Solitude" was pretty neat, and I liked the back-story they came up with for that.

And as action, it was fast and furious for quite a bit of the movie, but I was glad they didn't feel the need to make that the entire movie.

The ending, where Superman confronts the general about a drone, was a pretty cool scene as well.  I think the dialog could have been improved (the captain giggling about him being "hot" was particularly lame, but also making Superman sound a little less stuck-up seemed appropriate to me), but it was a good sequence.  The friend with whom I watched it said that came out of a graphic novel; I'm minded to look up the original.

Despite the problems I'm about to mention, I did end up liking the movie overall.

But here are some of the problems.  On Krypton, Zod says he wants the Codex, but tries to kill Jor-El a couple of times to get it.  Problem there?  He would have destroyed the Codex in the process, if he had succeeded.  He also tried to destroy Superman's ship, which also would have destroyed the Codex.  Secondary, the Scientist (Jor-El) outfights the Warrior (Zod).  Extremely unlikely at best, given what we find out later about Kryptonian genetics.  Also, the process to get the Codex seemed awfully easy, for something so valuable.

Less important, but Zod's rebellion seems to have lasted no more than an hour.  For one which resulted in killing one of the ruler's, that's an awfully brief insurrection.  And, thinking about it now, he gave up awfully easily.  I can't see how he knew he was defeated.

More important, Krypton's leaders seem not to have believed Jor-El about the planet dying, despite the amazing technology to which they had access.  Also despite the fact that it seemed to blow up almost immediately.

Similarly important, why let Zod live, when you know the planet is about to die (as seemed the case at that point)?  It seems more like rewarding him than punishment.

The sequence where Superman is coming into his powers was pretty cool; I mostly liked it (the sonic booms were especially cool).  But the animal fly-bys were not a good idea; the wind of his passage at that altitude and speed would have killed them.

There was also the ghost of Jor-El taking up residence in Zod's ship; he took a lot of control when Lois was there, but never showed up again.  It seems like he could have done a lot of things to subtly hose up Zod.

But the biggest flaw gets back to the Codex.  They had Superman's blood, so what need did they have for him after that?  And yet they kept chasing him.

Anyway, despite all that, I did end up liking it overall.  I'll probably get it when it comes out on Blu-ray.



I'd heard about oobleck quite a while ago, but never experienced it for myself.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, for reasons neither of us can remember, it came up in conversation with a friend of mine.  That might have been it, but a friend of his visited last weekend, and mentioned it to him when they were visiting the Air & Space Museum downtown.

I wasn't there, but they did a small experiment with it that weekend.

But when he came over for our annual barbecue, he cleaned out the corn starch from a local Safeway, and brought all of it over.  We found a decent-sized rubbermaid tub to put it in (18"x24", maybe, and ended up with a depth of four inches or so), and mixed it up on the back patio.

That was amazingly cool, and started being that way while we were still mixing it.  You can put your hand into it easily, but have trouble pulling it out (this was actually a bigger problem when I was trying to step in it).  Or you can punch it, and, if you do it right, end up with a hand still dry.

You can grab a handful, make a ball out of that handful, and it will just drip back between your hands as soon as you try to stop shaping it.  You can run on top of it (and again, keep your feet dry if you're fast enough), then sink into it as soon as you stop moving.

I need to get the video from another friend; I was too busy playing to even take pictures, let alone video.

But he and I will need to try again; I've got some interesting ideas for pictures/videos to get from it.


Even less fair than I thought...

I've long been much less than a fan of college sports; the amount of money going into the system is far beyond what's needed for corruption, and there's been no doubt of corruption for many years.

I was pleasantly surprised by the NCAA's final sanctions on Penn State.  I didn't think it was great, but it was a lot more than I expected from them (I thought I'd written about that, but if I did, I can't find it).

But beyond that, there are many examples of schools getting pretty nominal penalties for what seem like fairly major problems (usually recruiting violations).  And there are plenty of examples of athletes getting the book thrown at them for pretty minor violations (usually, very poor kids accepting gifts.  Frequently very small gifts).  And there are whole books to be written about how unfair all that is, no doubt.

But what I just found out about today is how coaches at NCAA schools are given the ability to be very vindictive towards "their" athletes.  The lede:
It’s obvious to anyone who cares enough to look that major college sports are fundamentally unjust. The NCAA rakes in billions of dollars while the players get nothing. Most Division I athletes aren’t even guaranteed a four-year education—tear a ligament or get passed on the depth chart and your scholarship can vanish after a single season. But ask a bunch of coaches, and they’ll tell you that something else is rotten in college athletics. The problem with NCAA sports, they believe, is that the servants aren’t indentured enough.

Yeah, there's a lot of deserved irony in there.

And will the NCAA do anything to improve?  Well, past experience has shown that they need to be dragged, kicking and screaming.  Let's hope things get better.


Startup nation

I was just reading Paul Graham's latest essay on startups, and there's some very interesting things in there (although I don't agree with all of it).

He mentions a couple of things; the first of which was how starting a startup now seems like a reasonable thing to do after getting an undergrad degree.  I never thought about that, and I wonder what today's undergrads think of it (no, I'm not saying I have any insight at all into that, let alone more than Paul;  I just wonder about perspective).  Still, it's a very interesting thought.

And an interesting twist on it that he didn't explore (as a VC, he'd likely see it as irrelevant for investors) at all is the effect of Kickstarter and similar "capital markets" (for lack of a better term).  If you can get your costs down low enough, you can go directly to customers now, and that's a new situation entirely.  I've bought (or thought about buying) a couple of gadgets that recently came out of kickstarter.

I also thought it was interesting what he revealed about how Y Combinator makes its decisions about which companies to fund.  Not sure what to make of it, but interesting, nonetheless.

This paragraph, though, I found particularly interesting:
One thing we can say for sure is that there will be a lot more startups. The monolithic, hierarchical companies of the mid 20th century are being replaced by networks of smaller companies. This process is not just something happening now in Silicon Valley. It started decades ago, and it's happening as far afield as the car industry. It has a long way to run.
To take it apart, I certainly agree with the first statement.  But I'm not at all sure I agree with the second; the amazing amount of consolidation across most industries is impressive (well, depressive, actually).  I really don't see the replacement happening.  Mostly what I see are the big companies buying up the small ones.  How many phone companies are there?  How many broadband companies?  How many media companies?  How many airlines?  How many banks?

Aside from a couple of companies (Yahoo! and Google are the two I can think of off the top of my head), I mostly see startups doing some shaking up of industry, and then getting bought by one of the behemoths.

There's a lot of reasons for that, but it mostly boils down to the government not caring about antitrust.

So I'm not terribly sure startups have really had that much effect, broadly speaking.  The potential is there, for sure, but I'm not sure it's really happened.

The part where I strongly disagree with the article is actually in one of the footnotes (referenced at the end of the above paragraph, I now note).  It says that the networks of companies are a prime cause for the concentration of wealth in this country.  I can list a whole bunch of reasons that have more effect.

  1. The idea of companies existing to create shareholder value.  This idea has been an enormous rip-off that has actually decreased shareholder value by putting more money into executive leadership.
  2. All that Merger and Acquisition activity to which I alluded has removed a lot of middle-management and administrative jobs (particularly the latter).
  3. The destruction of the labor union.  Unions represent about 9% of workers nowadays.  In the 50s, it was more like 70%.  That allows for a lot more downward pressure on wages.  These three factors, together, have sent CEO salaries from 50-ish times average wage to 300-ish times it.
  4. The failure of the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.  In the 60s, minimum wage was, in today's dollars, about $10.50.  Working full-time at minimum wage, back then, was enough to stay out of poverty.  That is certainly not the case any longer.
  5. Tax policy from the 80s onward has largely been targeted at concentrating wealth into one clade.  This has accelerated greatly in the last twelve years or so, but has been ongoing since '81 or '82 (trickle-down economics).
  6. The gradual dismantling of the public school system.  It hasn't happened yet, but it's well underway (especially see what's happening in Michigan and Texas, which are much further along this path than most of the country), and this might completely undermine much of what Paul theorizes is coming.  Why?  Because education is a major, driving force for people working in startups.  If they can't get that education (because only the rich can get the fundamentals), then there won't be any workers to drive that.
  7. One could even make a case that the money being allowed back into politics (particularly via SuperPACs) since Citizens United is a bigger factor.
All in all, a very interesting read.

Aperture thoughts

I previously mentioned having some problems with Aperture on import.  Those problems have continued (off-and-on), but I'm still using it.

More importantly, I mentioned wanting to see an update to the software.  That still hasn't happened (other than a point update with support for some more cameras (D7100, most notably)), but here's some thoughts on what I'd like to see from it.

The biggest is more support for ETTR.  That is, an exposure adjustment to use during RAW conversion (the current exposure adjustment is just done on the TIFF that comes out of the RAW).  The next would be automatic lens-distortion corrections.  The next biggest would be better object removal; not something I use a lot, but every so often it'd make a big difference.

I'd also like to see some feature additions.  Any of panorama stitching, HDR, or focus stacking would be fantastic, since I could cut down on the number of packages I use.  Working with Topaz, so their packages could be better integrated, would also be nice, although there's probably nothing there that Topaz couldn't do, themselves, if they wanted.