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Comment: Sad to say, they have a point - not what you think (Score 3, Interesting) 533

by DCFusor (#49506469) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power
I've been off-grid solar since around 1979. It was just too much money they wanted to run wires to my place in the boonies, so why not? I started small, it's really nice now - even charges my Volt... The entire time, batteries have been the limit - you become a battery expert, or you get broke fast. You learn how to baby those suckers, and you do it, or you'll be replacing them often.

Most people who put in solar, expect the power co to essentially provide them with free batteries. They in fact aren't free. So they have a point. No, transformers work both ways just fine, and it's quite rare someone has enough to push more net into the grid even at peak times than they would draw at peak times. No one puts up that many panels (room can be an issue even if money isn't). Even though the power co doesn't currently use batteries, the effect is the same - they still have maintenance costs, have to keep wires up, trees off them, and now with this new source, have to be a lot more agile. Older coal and I'd suppose nuclear plants don't ramp up and down quickly as the sun goes behind a cloud, leading to further waste, or having to use faster responding nat gas turbine plants to handle wildly variable loads. I hate to defend these guys - they are evil, no doubt, always have been while I've had this particular company in my neighborhood - their feed-in tariff has varied from 2c/kwh for electricity you produce while charging you 14c/kwh for electricity they sell you - and they demanded two separate meters, so you'd have had to make 7x the electricity you created (after your own use) to just break even. Jerks. For a little while, law made them kinda fair, but they got that overturned first opportunity (they get the best law money can buy, right?). Entitled to a profit...gheesh. Nice to watch from a distance...a great distance. Popcorn helps.

One advantage to living in the boonies off-grid. The power company is aptly named - they have power to enforce building permits - your stupid local gov delegated that one almost everywhere. No permit required, your PP taxes are nil....heh. So I was able to afford 4 homes, taxed as barns...yeah, the solar cost a lot, as did the batteries, and you have to adapt a bit during the "dark month". But...all in all - I win, they can go and die in a fire. This has little or nothing to do with being green. It's more like I'm Scottish. I don't hate nature, but that's not the motivation. Libre was. Freedom to not have to have a job for monthly bills, and other advantages ruled the decisions. Building my own homes was fun too. And you feel like you've done something net-positive in the world. In the boonies you can get this done before the .gov even realizes you're here. And it's fun when there's a major storm, and the power co brings in outside help that asks if they can give you power - despite being the only place with lights on, and can they read your meter? Yeah, I show them my computerized meters....I've even gotten the comment from them "you can't run a house on that" - while I was actually doing exactly that and had been for decades. Doh!

Comment: Re:GM claims (Score 1) 330

by DCFusor (#49419209) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think
Well, by comparison the Volt is a luxury sport car. For one thing. As the commenters below mention, the VW isn't really as good as that anyway. No die-sel for me, at any rate. Stuff stinks here in the USA - even the supposedly low sulfur stuff. And you need to add that other junk periodically to clean the exhaust ($+hassle) - which is why GM looked at, then ditched a diesel version for the range-extender engine. I'm happy where I'm at.

Comment: Re:other stuff matters also? I claim it does (Score 4, Informative) 330

by DCFusor (#49405701) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think
Real life experience with my 2012 Volt (since Oct-2011) says yes, they get really reduced range in the cold (I get nearly 50 mpc in summer, around 35 in winter), when running the heater. So I don't - I preheat the car while on my off-grid power (the heated seats help a lot and don't draw squat in the scheme of things, they are a rounding error). The AC is killer-efficient and doesn't use diddly of the power, it's really effective too. I wish they had a heat pump for the cold times. Else, no issues. I'm not going to sell this one - I'll drive it till I can't anymore. For one thing, it's super fun to drive too - and surprisingly fast on the mountain twisty roads where I live. Sleepers are more fun sometimes...

Comment: GM claims (Score 2) 330

by DCFusor (#49405673) Attached to: Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think
That they'll replace my (2012) Volt battery free for the 8 year warranty if it drops to less than 80% new capacity, and current out of warranty replacements are priced at ~$2500 + labor (which is easy, but of course any dealer will overcharge). Just sayin. They probably lose money on that. Why should I care? Range anxiety? Get a Volt, there is none. Gets 40 mpg (good gasoline really matters to the number here, junk low octane ethanol gas is more like 26 mpg) on gasoline...I just don't think about it any more. And my particular Volt has never been charged from the grid since it left the factory (off grid solar, baby). At that, it probably costs less than replacing any major drivetrain component in any other car. And I don't wear out the engine (usually I get all-electric), brakes, you name it. It's looking like I won't be having to buy any new cars for a long time now. Those other costs (oil changes...) add up too. No one ever seems to work all this out fairly, but I can say my wallet is getting a lot fatter from owning one.

It's why I didn't get a Tesla, much as I admire them - and even Bob Lutz gives Elon credit for making it possible for him to shepherd the Volt through GM's BS management.

Comment: In my experience (Score 1) 538

Old chemistry university textbooks (even for beginners) contain everything you need to know about how to make explosives.

It may be less condensed (you actually may have to read 100 pages), and it may not be in the form of "mix a and b and cook on the oven at 200 degree", but I would not follow some simple recipe withou understanding every step anyway (i actually dont play with explosive chemistry at all, too many stupic kids blew off their fingers).


Comment: Re:Quantum Computing Required? (Score 1) 294

by drolli (#49331723) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Now Afraid of AI Too, Just Like Elon Musk

Former quantum computing researcher here:

Linking High-level Brain functions to Quantum Computing is BS. Long before we reach the technology to build a QC big enough to compete here, we will have the technology to build a calssical computer simulating the brain. As a matter of fact, since the brain is mainly associative and works in by throwing away lots of infromation, which is something which is not good for QC.

Comment: Hmmm. (Score 1) 522

by drolli (#49331553) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

The occurence of in a project may not necessarily reflect the attitude of the project towards gender issues, but may be more reflecting the percentage of women in a team.

It is funny how somebody who acts as a CTO tries to convert a test which specifically examines the dialogs (which are untimatly a important part of a movie) to something where the statistics will skew results to meaningless garbage to derive from some weird side definition.

Maybe she was mistaken, function calls are not human interaction. More interesting would be an closer look at the process of the creation of the function (like "at least two roles in the project interacting directly must be filled by women") Still, there would be the statistics issue with this, but at least it could tell something about the human interaction.

Comment: Stupid documentation (Score 1) 765

by drolli (#49315503) Attached to: A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy

Documenttion may be funny, but if the readme mainly consists of jokes i drop the attempt of using somethign without hesitation. I dont care if the jokes are good or bad (like here), but my experience is that people who do ot follow a naming scheme directly to whats going on usually produce worthless code anyway.

And: i am not a woman.

Comment: Yeah, Volt - no anxiety at all (Score 1) 286

by DCFusor (#49268855) Attached to: Elon Musk Pledges To End "Range Anxiety" For Tesla Model S
I have a 2012 with around 15k on the clock - I'm retired and don't drive much. It's never had to be charged via grid - I've been off-grid since 1979 (and yes, the old panels still put out, though I added more till I ran out of roof). That same system runs my whole 4 building campus, computer networks and so on - it's silly to charge the cost of it to just a car, which is actually a handy place to stuff extra when the house batteries are already full (often by 10-11 AM on a sunny day).

I get ~ 40 mpg on gasoline. There is no range anxiety. Further, the gasoline backup is a more efficient charger for my house (backup) than the Honda Inverter-Charger I also have (always wise to have more than one hot spare). When dumping around 600w into my home via an inverter I put on the 12v system of the Volt, hooked to a forklift charger, the engine runs ~ 90 seconds every ~15 minutes (this is about twice what my house uses "at idle" on average so I get net charge to the house system). There are serious advances in IC engines with all the ECM stuff (variable valve timing and so on, effectively, variable compression ratio - better gas gets you better efficiency).

There is no fscking way this pollutes more than my Honda Ridgeline, which gets at most 17 mpg...give me a break. I'm sorry about your illiquid investments in oil (and the useful idiots their shills have created). It's not my problem. I just go where I want, when I want. It's a great car and fun to drive.

I didn't do it to be green, it just worked out that way - just like I bought a farm and let it grow up to a nature preserve, because I'm too lazy to be a good farmer. Yeah, the furries are cute, but that's not the reason, I like being away from the nut-cases that inhabit most cities.
The key word is "freedom" as in libre - not having to have a job to pay an electric bill. It's amazing how much money you save driving for the cost of tire wear and insurance alone. Things like oil changes - only when it gets old, not ever X thousand miles. Brakes rarely needed, that's what regen buys you. Nothing wears out. Add those costs...or as I did, subtract them, and suddenly the wallet is too fat to sit on.

Disingenuous comparisons with just the CO2 output of fossil fuels are...stupid. Mining, EROEI, deaths, mercury, radiation (check those last two downwind of a coal plant) and so on should be added - you'll pay those costs someday, even if not in the power bill. Cost of right of ways, wire maintenance, plant maintenance - all gone with distributed solar. Yeah, it won't work in the north. Sorry guys. It works fine in Virginia.

Elon...I hope he does well. He's my only living hero. Most people would have retired to a beach after making that much money on PayPal, not "gone all in" for what they believe. Succeed or fail - the man is the man. Even Bob Lutz (always certain, sometimes wrong, as he says) admits that without the push by Elon, the Volt (which I like better, actually) would not have been done. Search on Charlie Rose's website for a very good interview with both of those people...he discourages hardlinks, but it's there.

I take the Volt whenever it isn't a truck-only job (like moving horse poop from my neighbors' hobby horse farms to my garden, or firewood). It's fun to dust off ricky rice-racer on the mountain twisties where I live - they seem to think Fast and Furious2 is how you win a race - it's fun, but nope. There's a vid on my youtube channel, with yes, a visiting GM engineer holding the cam as we hit a 15 mph hairpin at over 60mph and didn't slide to the yellow line. He needed toilet paper immediately thereafter. Lighten up and have some fun!

Comment: Re:Depends (Score 1) 184

And this is an excellent sample of how FOSS people alienate other people.

a) Person a says "i like commercial SW a"

b) Person a says "but i figured out that ultra-mature (>20y) FOSS b (which is nearly compatible to a) is even better for some things"

c) Person b says "use project c" (which is immature and incompatible)

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.