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Comment: Re:240V is fairly common (Score 1) 252

by evilviper (#47523635) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

So the voltage drop is so rubbish, the utilities have to overcompensate...

To be clear, the voltage drop is not predominantly from too-small wiring, but from other appliances on the circuit drawing lots of power.

It's all relative. European 230V isn't even quite double the voltage of the US' ~125V, so you still get plenty of voltage drop, yourself. Someone else could come along and say 230V is rubbish, and everyone should have gone with 420V or so, when we both had the chance... Of course the US' lower voltage has the advantage in lesser risk of electrocution, too. The higher 60Hz frequency incidentally gave us better TV...

Even though the common NEMA outlets are 120V, and that's unlikely to ever change, the wall outlets don't need to for big loads... any house built in the past 50 years probably has 240V available at least the electric box, as they get 2 opposing phases of ~130V from the power company. Big appliances like electric stoves, electric water heaters, central air conditioning, and larger split-system heat pumps or large window air conditioning units, ALL are run on 240V here in the US.

Big industrial customers make up 75% of electrical demand, and they're different beasts all together. 277V (single-phase) is pretty common in US industry, particularly for lighting and what not, while big electric motors run on 3-phase 480V or so. Wherever higher voltages are beneficial, they're available.

Comment: Re:240V is fairly common (Score 1) 252

by evilviper (#47523493) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

rough service lights at designed to be handled roughly, and a heavier duty filament that is rated for a higher voltage allows it to be banged around a lot, not because you can hook it up closer to an electrical box

False dichotomy... it's designed for BOTH purposes.

The only time I've see > 125 V is when helping someone who bought a very cheap generator, that could easily have been out of spec for 240 too.

That's your own lack of perspective. I'm an EE, I went through the training and could get an electrician's licenses if I so desired. I do electrical work on my own properties pretty often. At work I'm primarily responsible for monitoring the incoming power for our hundreds of servers at our data centers and our office server rooms, etc., and designing and ordering upgrades as they are needed. I also have friends who are licensed and working electricians with lots of experience. etc.

I just tested the wall outlets in my nice new apartment, a good long distance from an electrical box, and I've got 124.1V everywhere right now. That's not abnormal at all, but completely typical.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:So, like all other rewards programmes? (Score 2) 74

by evilviper (#47520833) Attached to: Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff

I'm wondering WHY they're asking for permission. Seems ludicrous to do so when everyone's already giving it up for free. Making it legit?

They're collecting all that information, but they have to keep it under wraps. They have to get permission, like this, to be able to release (sell) all your vital information to 3rd parties.

The public and our representatives don't care about privacy, much. But after the free-for-all is on for a while, one case will break-through in the media... Something about a violent criminal buying the information from Verizon, using it to figure out exactly when little Jill comes home from school every day, and how long she's there by herself before her parents get home. When cases like that get publicized, then in a sudden tidal wave of popular think-of-the-children support, we get a bunch of privacy laws passed.

Comment: Re:Pft (Score 1) 906

by evilviper (#47520265) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

for soldiers one would expect long endurance would be a plus. Ultrarunning is something where men and women appear to compete on a somewhat even footing.

Women are nearly competitive with men at long-distance running only because of their lower weight. Once they are outfitted with 100lbs of gear (which firefighters and soldiers are), they suddenly and dramatically lose their parity with men.

Comment: Re:Time to get rid of inverters (isn't it?) (Score 1) 252

by evilviper (#47519401) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

Assuming that our DC sources of electricity are already somewhat efficient, why don't we just have other things that use that current be DC as well?

It's not AC vs DC. Somewhere along the way, your input voltage won't match your output voltage, and conversion is needed. That voltage conversion is where the expensive equipment and losses come in. Adding a DC to AC step in there, adds very nominal losses to above voltage conversion step.

Since the world standardized on AC power over a century ago, it's as good of an output option as any other.

Comment: Re:240V is fairly common (Score 1) 252

by evilviper (#47519299) Attached to: Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

resistance loss is a serious issue even for the short runs within a building - so you may still see 110V at the socket, even if it's supposed to be 120V.

Not true. You're vastly more likely to see 130V at a socket, than ever seeing one at or below 110V. That's the actual voltage delivered near the electrical box, dropping down to 125V or so, after it has been run across a building. Rough-service bulbs in the US are designed and rated for 130V instead of 120V for just this reason... A 120V incandescent light very near an electric box can have a rather short life-span.

Comment: Re:Patent upgrade treadmill (Score 1) 186

by evilviper (#47517203) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

if it is impractical to deploy a new codec in the field alongside the existing codecs, a first mover will win. This is why U.S. OTA digital television is stuck on DVD/SVCD era codecs, but some countries whose digital transition happened later use H.264.

It's not true that H.264 is significantly better than MPEG-2 video, when used at high bit rates as in HDTV. Every video codec developed since MPEG-2, and every audio codec developed since MPEG-1 Layer II, has been focused on low-bit rate video that needs to look good, but doesn't need to actually be identical to the original.

This is because the first-generation audio and video codecs already got quite close to the theoretical limits of perceptual entropy, so there is NO room to double the efficiency while still making it indistinguishable from the uncompressed original. There's still tons of headroom, however, to make something low bit rate that just looks "good" and comprehensible without obvious distracting artifacts.

Comment: Re:At fucking last (Score 2) 186

by evilviper (#47517137) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

The article mentions Youtube, without giving any specifics. Seems they're shipping the plugin greyed out, disabled etc. and then WebRTC stuff will work (does anyone have either used that?) and then maybe you'll be able to use html5 video in some future version, maybe.

You don't need H.264 for Youtube. You can watch everything there, and at several other sites using the "Video WithOut Flash" plugin:

It works pretty damn well.

Comment: Re:In an imperfect world... (Score 1) 186

by evilviper (#47517093) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

The geek sees everything in terms of the "open" web.

But there is more to digital video than video distribution through the web.

The "distribution" is orthogonal to the codec being used. Most of the things that make a good "digital video" codec for the "web", also make it exceptionally good for physical media, dedicated hardware, etc., etc.

Which is why the mainstream commercial codecs dominate here.

No, MPEG codecs dominate, because they had NO open competitors, until *just now*.

VP3 was okay at the time, but it wasn't support by anything, Theora went nowhere for a DECADE and was awful compared to contemporary codecs, by the time they finalized their not-quite-VP3 format, and started pushing for adoption.

VP8 was a good codec, but it didn't get open sourced until LONG after H.264 had an overwhelmingly dominant installed base. The MPEG-LA also did their dammedest to threaten to sue anyone who used it, but now such challenges have been conclusively settled in court.

It's only just now, this year, that VP9 is being released for unencumbered use right about the same time as HEVC/H.265 came out. So it's only now that we'll see if the market is ready, willing, and able to adopt open formats.

Memory fault -- brain fried