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Comment: Re:here's a prototype without the camo paint (Score 1) 247 247

I rented a gasoline powered Chevy Spark a year ago. It's one of the worst cars I've ever driven. The seats felt damned uncomfortable (even though there was plenty of room for me), the dashboard was a clusterfuck to put it mildly and I knew when I was going 65 on the freeway because I knew damned sure I didn't want to go any faster in the thing. It just felt unstable. It was worse than the car I had in college, and it was an under-powered piece of crap from the early 1980s. I hear the Spark EV is a lot better. Then again my last three cars were a '91 Ford Probe, '06 Toyota Prius, and currently a Tesla model S. The only car that I've driven that was worse was the one I learned to drive on, a 1970 Toyota Corona with shitty brakes that barely worked.

Comment: Re:Let's try this for a law (Score 1) 164 164

Tell that to the families of people killed when a large airplane crashes because some idiot flew his drone in the flight path. It's only a matter of time. I'm sure it will comfort them when the idiot is arrested, if they can find out who was piloting it. While there are plenty of responsible people flying drones, there are also plenty of idiots who ignore the existing laws.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 1066 1066

I ran into a similar issue. I work on bootloaders for my company's 64-bit MIPS processors and due to size constraints disabled the normally enabled exception code (my bootloader has an exception handler). Anyway, it is usually easy to find the fault since the result is -1. It took me a while to figure that one out. If it were zero I probably never would have found the problem.

Comment: Re:California (Score 3, Informative) 346 346

My lawn is turning brown. A lot of grass is grown for the beef industry which is one of the biggest wastes of water in the state. It takes something like 6,000 gallons of water for each pound of beef. Almonds don't really grow anywhere else in the country and California produces a majority of the world's supply and 99% of the almonds grown in the US. Almonds are native to the Mediterranean climate of the Middle East. The funny thing is that wild almonds are highly toxic and contain an enzyme which creates cyanide. Each wild almond can contain 4-9mg of cyanide. Sweet almonds contain a small fraction of that since they lack the enzyme. Almonds are considered a cash crop due to the high prices they demand. With the drought, though, a lot of farmers are cutting back on their water usage, though last weekend when I drove along highway 120 I saw at least one orchard running their sprinklers in the middle of the day with pools of water around the trees.

99% of the walnuts grown in the US are grown in California. The Persian and English walnuts are the most common for eating and like almonds like a Mediterranean climate. The black walnut is much less popular and there are varieties native to both the eastern North America and California and some other places.

Before the major drought, growing these was not a major issue in California. Unlike other crops, though, it takes years until a tree can produce and they don't do well in other areas of the country.

Hops, barley, wheat, etc. needed for beer can be grown just about anywhere and don't necessarily have to be grown in the state for the brewers.


Comment: Re:does marketing hype matter? (Score 1) 288 288

Except that Apple tends to do even that in a non-standard way. In Apple's design, for example, they swap ground and the mic hookup compared to everyone else. Also, at least one set of Apple headphones would refuse to work unless they were given a 30v pulse to enable them according to someone I know who designed some non-Apple hardware and had to reverse engineer why the Apple headphones wouldn't work with it.

Comment: Re:The Problem is People Density (Score 1) 599 599

Actually, residential usage has remained flat even though the population has doubled. Residential usage per-person has dropped significantly, otherwise the percentage used by the cities would have gone up and agriculture would have gone down. 80% of the water is used by agriculture and the most profitable crops tend to be water intensive, i.e. almonds. California grows most of the almonds in the world and 99% of the almonds in the US due to the climate. They don't grow well elsewhere. Most of the fresh fruit in the country is grown in California. We should just stop exporting to the rest of the country. Agriculture is only a small fraction of the state's GDP and are overly represented in the state government and tend to be very conservative (i.e. republican).

Comment: Re:Water for people (Score 1) 599 599

California uses very little coal. Most power is generated by natural gas, renewable sources (hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass) with very little coal power generation in the state. Electricity in California is also about the most expensive electricity in the country, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me other than the fact that the California Public Utilities Commission is corrupt and gives utilities cart blanche to raise rates whenever they want.

Comment: No WMC means no upgrade for me (Score 2) 468 468

My only PC that always boots Windows 7 is my home theater PC since I use the Windows Media Center to record broadcasts and use it as a DVR. As far as I know, Linux is not a solution because some of the channels I record are set not to copy and MythTV will not support that. I also have a Ceton Echo which lets me view the content in my bedroom. This also only works with Windows 7. None of the other packages I see out there can handle the protected content.

Comment: Re:Tesla enables Edison to win the endgame? (Score 1) 597 597

Actually that's false. Most compressors are AC motors though some applications are moving towards DC. Brushless AC motors are fairly easy to make and don't require any electronics to control them, though high power ones will use a capacitor since 3-phase power is not generally available for residential use in the US. Most fans, blowers and compressors are AC motors. Some higher-end blowers use DC when full variable speed motors are needed.

Comment: Re:Tesla enables Edison to win the endgame? (Score 1) 597 597

DC actually works quite well over long hauls. One nice thing about using HVDC instead of AC is that you can carry more current over the same wire since you no longer have to deal with the skin effect. It also makes it easier when it comes to synchronization. With HVDC they still have to periodically switch the direction of the DC current throught he lines.

Comment: Re:Please stop Elon. (Score 1) 234 234

I'd say Musk relies far less on tax dollars than Jobs did. Apple, despite all their billions, pays virtually no taxes. Tesla got a government loan and paid it off early with interest. There's a tax subsidy for buying an electric car, but it's no different if you buy a Leaf or a Model S. The carbon tax credits Tesla gets are not a major source of revenue and they don't come out of your taxes, but from companies that pollute.

Unlike Jobs, Elon is an engineer. He doesn't go around suing everyone over stupid patents either (he makes them available free of charge to everyone, using them for protection only).

Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.