Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:2kW isn't enough power for a home (Score 1) 503

by Areyoukiddingme (#49601465) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

With some extensive re-wiring of the power panel to move high-load devices (AC, washer/dryer, dishwasher, possibly even the gas furnace blower motor) to another panel, the 10kW unit MIGHT be useful to keep the fridge and lights going during a short-term power outage.

Why would you do that? Every single one of those things has an off switch. In all but extraordinarily rare cases, use of every one of those things is discretionary. You don't need to rewire your panel in order to keep the house running during quite a long power outage. Just don't use heavy draw appliances. If you are affluent enough to buy one or more of these battery packs in the first place, you can certainly afford to buy a few paper plates and an extra pair of underwear, if it comes to that.

Yeah, you're probably not going to be an early adopter, if you don't have solar panels already, if you don't have an electric car already, if you're not subject to substantially high differential energy pricing, and if you live in a region with a better-than-average grid maintenance organization. But the price will only come down once the gigafactory comes online. It's very likely that these packs will get cheap enough to fit in a discretionary budget just for rare convenience. My existing UPSes certainly fall into that category. You may already have a few for the same reason. It's just a somewhat bigger UPS, when all those other conditions apply.

Regardless of your individual situation, it's a gamechanging device for the vast majority of the world.

Comment: Re:What if this happened at Wal-Mart? (Score 1) 482

Let's suppose Wal-mart started a floor at something reasonable, say 20$ an hour.

Walmart has decided to try it. To $9, not $20, but that's their minimum for 2015. 500,000 employees will make more money, costing Walmart $1 billion more than it would otherwise have spent on salaries this year. All of it going to the people in the very lowest income bracket, who are practically required to spend every dime they earn, because they're at or below the poverty line.

We'll see how it works, both for the economy and for Walmart. (Personally I think Walmart damn well knows that some large fraction of that billion dollars will be returned right back to them in increased spending at Walmart by poverty-stricken people.)

Comment: Re:"Close" Only Counts (Score 1) 342

I'm sure they'll make up for it in volume.

The Coward is a ULA partisan who comes in here to spout lies pretty regularly. They're not losing money. They're profitable on every launch, by a healthy margin. The Coward can't understand how it happens, since the ULA can barely turn a profit when they charge $480 million for the same thing, so he assumes they're taking a loss.

Elon Musk hasn't been so rich that he can run a rocket company for 13 years out of his own pocket. (Probably he is now, because of Tesla stock, but he wasn't for most of that period.)

Comment: Re:ULA sux (Score 1) 78

by Areyoukiddingme (#49449665) Attached to: SpaceX To Try a First Stage Recovery Again On April 13

...calling on citizens to play a role in the future of space launch by voting for the name of the new rocket that will be responsible for the majority of the nation’s future space launches.

Not just pandering, but rather arrogantly optimistic, aren't they. Considering their competition is 1/10th the price and will shortly have identical certifications to bid on government contracts...

And considering the Senate Launch System, we should just rewrite it for them: "...the new rocket that will be responsible for not a single one of the nation's future space launches."

Comment: Re:Protest? (Score 1) 629

Instead of just whining on a forum... does anyone have any ideas on what can actually be done for this kid? Should we start a fund for his defense? Can we organize a local protest? Should we write letters to local officials?

Write his name down on your short list to hire as a system administrator. The police won't release his name because he's a juvenile, but it's probably on Facebook.

Comment: Re:Huh.,.wait... (Score 2) 229

I think all of the chips I've bought from Intel have been made in Malaysia or China.

Intel is actually substantially bizarre in their practices. The chips themselves are made in the US billion dollar fabs. Then very carefully packed into shipping containers and shipped to Malaysia, where they are removed from the shipping containers and inserted into the production packages. And then shipped to China and Taiwan to be put on boards (and small amounts back to the US to be sold retail by NewEgg).

Why the chip packaging step isn't so completely automated that it can be done for peanuts on site at the fab, I'm sure I don't know.

Comment: Re:Too many pixels = slooooooow (Score 1) 263

by Areyoukiddingme (#49420601) Attached to: LG Accidentally Leaks Apple iMac 8K Is Coming Later This Year

And cinema 4k is 4096 x 2160; whereas monitor resolution 4k is 3840x2160 -- which comes up a bit short.

Monitor 4K is also 4096x2160, so far as I'm concerned. The other resolution has a different name that we need to push HARD: UltraHD. It's already in a lot of marketing materials. That's what we need to use to refer to 4X HD.

Comment: Re:So they are screwed (Score 1) 214

by Areyoukiddingme (#49294855) Attached to: Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon

Since the authorization is for exploration, not exploitation, and they fall under the umbrella of the USA, they cannot set up a mine on the moon and do anything.

Silly. Ships at sea float around with Nigerian flags all the time, because on paper, the company that owns the ship is Nigerian. Of course the Nigerian company is owned by an American oil company, but it still counts.

So it will be with the Earth's moon.

Comment: Re:Politicians will be stupid but scientists/techn (Score 1) 356

by Areyoukiddingme (#49294461) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

"Due to its low specific energy, poor charge retention, and high cost of manufacture, other types of rechargeable batteries have displaced the nickel–iron battery in most applications" The poor charge retention seems to suggest that the in-out efficiency will be low as well.

Two thirds of that is FUD. Low specific energy is the only valid reason in that list, and "low" is very much a relative thing. A bank of nickel-iron batteries big enough to power your house still takes up a small corner in that house. It's not like you have to fill your basement with racks and racks of them.

"High cost of manufacture" is blatant bullshit. It's nickel and iron and a case and some water and some potassium. The process can be 100% automated and involves forming materials as complex as... nickel-plated steel tubes (*gasp*). They're expensive because there has been no mass production for decades, because they work too well. They're a lifetime battery with only a tiny amount of care, and can retain 40% of their rated capacity for a century even if they're abused (there are original manufacture Edison Company nameplate nickel-iron batteries still in operation today).

Charge efficiency is a little poor in the original Edison cell design, at 65%. Discharge efficiency is 85%.

Do you want a nickel-iron battery in your cell phone? Definitely not. Charge density is the only thing that matters in that form factor. Do you want nickel-iron in your car? Still no, because again, density is really important. Do you want nickel-iron batteries in your basement? Oh hell yes. 100% non-toxic materials, the potassium-hydroxide electrolyte isn't nearly as hazardous as sulfuric acid, a float charge all day long doesn't hurt them at all (unlike every other chemistry), and most importantly, you buy them ONCE, install them, and use them, for decade after decade after decade, without substantial charge capacity loss.

The biggest failing of nickel-iron batteries is they are incompatible with capitalism. No constant revenue stream for replacements.

Comment: Re:Why Force Your Children to Live in the Past? (Score 1) 734

by Areyoukiddingme (#49253609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Now your just making bullshit up. Dead last? You can't even make up a plausible lie.

True, with the caveat "in the developed world." Obviously not true if you include undeveloped countries. The difference is also not very large. A couple years, at most, and only a year, for most. Still technically true, and not just a statistical fluke.

Comment: Re:From the linked information (Score 1) 267

But the people who actually own Teslas are seeing them to be closer to half the cost of the car (Model S, which I believe is $80,000, so $40,000 for the pack).

Eh? Based on what numbers pulled out of whose ass? No Model S battery pack is out of warranty yet, so no one anywhere has paid out of pocket for a replacement battery pack.

The sales guy's are the only figures, at the moment. When the warranty begins to run out, then we'll see, but by the time that happens, the current conditions will not apply. Tesla's Gigafactory will be online and the world supply of lithium ion cells will have doubled. That can't help but put downward pressure on the price of cells and packs made of those cells.

In any case, $40,000? I call bullshit.

Comment: Re:FCC CREATES Internet monopolies (Score 1) 234

* The city would completely control my access to rights of way and pole attachments, and would be motivated to keep me from getting that access or make it expensive;

So, exactly the way it is right now, except right now they do it at the behest of lobbyists, rather than their own interest. No change, from your perspective.

* The city would engage in horizontal monopoly leverage from its other monopoly businesses (trash, water, sewer, and in many places energy) and would enjoy cross-subsidies from them; for example, it wouldn't have to build a new billing system but could use its existing one;

While true, just how much did setting up and running your billing system cost you? Not much I bet, especially compared to the labor required to install hardware.

* The city could also use its ability to tax, and bonding authority, to obtain capital for the buildout at bargain rates;

Yeah, that's a bummer.

* The city, with its deep pockets and by expending some of that capital, could engage in predatory pricing, offering its service below cost due to taxpayer subsidies. It could do this at the outset, to take customers away, or possibly permanently;

I'll stop with the point by point here, because many of these points can be rolled together.

It very much depends on the model the city uses to "be an ISP." The Swedish model seems to work extraordinarily well. The city isn't really an ISP, in that case. They own (read, install and maintain) the wires/fiber that reaches individual subscribers, bring the other end into a building, and say "have at it" to people like you, who then offer the actual Internet service. You run the billing still, you run the routing and traffic shaping, and you arrange for and pay for the uplink to the Internet at large. You pay the city some fixed amount per subscriber, but set your own rates.

That's the model any of us who are paying attention would like to see. It provides all the room in the world for competition, while solving the natural monopoly/conflict of interest problems in the last mile. It allows competitors to differentiate themselves as much as they like. The city provides a dumb pipe. The ISP provide services through that pipe. Don't want IP TV? Pick an ISP that doesn't provide it. Want IP telephony? Pick an IP that provides it. Want a really cheap, slow connection? Pick the ISP that pays for a tiny uplink to save money. Sure the last mile fiber will be radically underutilized, but Grandma Jones doesn't use Skype video, so she doesn't care as long as her Facebook games work. (Though I suspect the old Grandma Jones stereotype is fading fast. She wants to be able to see the grandbaby, and Skype and Facetime are making it easier and easier.)

Will there be cities that provide the whole service? Probably so. In that case, yeah, you won't be competing. No one will. That leaves a monopoly provider, but in this case it's a monopoly provider that doesn't have a major profit motive, and does have to answer to votes quite regularly. They're not as unaccountable as you make out. In time, those votes may result in changes. It's quite possible that cities that initially build themselves out as the ISP will transition to the Swedish model, just to avoid the hassle.

This ruling will allow cities to actually try. We'll see how it plays out.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert