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Comment: 2 Solutions... (Score 1) 334

by Gription (#47933127) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives
- First solution would be to use a Windows thin client. Set it up, write the configuration to flash and then lock it. If it goes BOOM just turn it off and turn it back on and it will be exactly the same as it was. Mail will have to be on the web because nothing will be saved locally.

- Second idea would be to use a terminal server / remote desktop. Give them just enough to log into a system that you maintain at your location. Make sure there are no visible links to a web browser (or anything else) on their local computer.

One thing people should tell their parents/grandparents/non-techie friends, "Anything fun, cool, and/or free on the web is inherently dangerous. If you can't tell how they are making money then you should suspect everything you see."

Comment: That is it... (Score 1) 75

by Gription (#47822295) Attached to: SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech
Yup. That is it. He holds U.S. and international patents which they have blatantly ignored and his legal challenge was met with lawyers that basically made it into $ vs $$$$ and $$$$ wins.

(Told him he should find a high end patent attorney to take the case on contingency. He is so fed up with attorneys that he would rather shoot the next one he sees rather then talk to one more. He says he will never patent another thing.)

Comment: Re:Would it really be worse without patents? (Score 1) 75

by Gription (#47811211) Attached to: SpaceX Challenges Blue Origin Patents Over Sea-Landing Rocket Tech
I know a guy that has patents for a wheel centercap that always shows the car's emblem upright. Basically it has a weight and bearings to insure that it doesn't turn with the wheel. Kind of cool item for anal car nuts. He also holds international patents for the same.

Some time after he started producing center caps for the aftermarket Rolls Royce starts putting the same type of non rotating center caps on their cars. His attorney approached them and tried to pursue getting some type of licensing, damages, or cease and desist, and ended up out his considerable attorney fees.

So to the question of "Are many companies stupid enough to willingly infringe patents? ...
Uhhh, yeah. Pretty much all of them.

Comment: Not really the issue (Score 1) 473

by Gription (#46218097) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

Amazingly, pretty much nothing about people's income has kept pace with the cost of living during the last 30 years. And they are wondering why less people are flying airplanes?

It isn't that income has kept pace. The problem is that the cost of product liability insurance has risen to the point where what was a $15,000 plane in the 50s would be a $350,000+ plane now days.

Too bad that it hasn't reached the point where the attorneys have been crushed under the weight of the $$$ that they have skimmed off the general economy.

Comment: It followed a few of the plot lines, but ... (Score 5, Insightful) 726

by Gription (#45363597) Attached to: Critics Reassess <em>Starship Troopers</em> As a Misunderstood Masterpiece
Heinlein's Starship Troopers is a masterful morality play. The movie can only be seen as such by someone desperately searching for meaning that isn't really there. The fun technical wizardry of the jump suits was written out of it so the obvious CG element was lost..

So why did they bother to call it Starship Troopers? A fun movie but no trace of what was special in the original remains.

Comment: Re:This is why I'm keeping my truck for forever (Score 4, Interesting) 658

by Gription (#45207437) Attached to: Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile
Why is it that people get this Pollyanna idea that a meaningful percentage of government spending goes to actually accomplishing meaningful expenditures such as, "building and maintaining roads and bridges"?

The vast, vast, VAST majority of spending goes to administration. Most of that "administration" is used to administrate other administrators. The quantity of money that is used to accomplish ANYTHING by a government entity is nothing short of astounding.
A simple roadwork example: A public works engineer explained to me the cost of converting a simple 90 degree intersection of two 2-lane roads, from Stop signs to a traffic light. The bill for the studies, planning, engineering, purchasing, and installation? ...
[... wait for it ...]
Total cost was $250,000 ...
[... wait for it ...]
in 1990 dollars.

People complain that schools don't have enough money. Bull! School districts get plenty of money but the quantity of administration has grown to the point where the majority of money goes to support the disproportionately large percentage of "administrators" who of course, because they are in positions of power, command higher salaries. And at the same time they don't actually educate a single child.
Think I'm exaggerating? Download the 2011-2012 report:
Column "F" is the dollars that are spent annually per student. The statewide calculation works out to $8382 (cell F962). Figure a small average class size of 20 children and that works out to $167640. For that kind of money don't you think you could hire a well paid teacher, get a great building, fill the classroom with new books each year, buy cheap desks every few years, have a part time assistant, pay the electric bill, and in the end make one hell of a profit? Then to add to it, instead of just doing one room of 20 kids, do 20 rooms of 20 kids. If you couldn't siphon off an astounding quantity of money while vastly improving the service you aren't trying.
Well an astounding quantity of money IS being siphoned off by extraneous administration (which describes most of government). And it isn't providing anything to justify the burden to the taxpayer.

In reality class sizes are more like 30+ children ($251460) so we are really being bilked. BTW - This isn't hard to see if you are looking. I haven't been studying this or working in the industry. I found and calculated ALL of these numbers while I was writing this post so it isn't hard to figure out and see that we are being used.

Comment: Re:This is why I'm keeping my truck for forever (Score 2) 658

by Gription (#45206805) Attached to: Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile

. . .

Don't bet on it. The only thing the government is less likely let go of once they have it in their hands, than power, is money.

. . .

Let's be very clear on this: Money IS Power.

This is not a figure of speech. Exactly what is money? You can define it by what it looks like and what we use it for but that dances around the simple truth:
Money is numerical denomination of power. If I have two simoleons I can convince someone to give me twice as much of something then if I have just offer just one. That "something" may be physical goods, time, or labor.
Money is a physical representation of power.

Comment: Uhhh... (Score 1) 233

by Gription (#44993237) Attached to: Producing Gasoline With Metabolically-Engineered Microorganisms
So you don't think the fact that the carbon from fossil fuels is way underground has some sort of effect? Say like, keeping that carbon out of the atmosphere?
Where does the carbon come from when you are "Using bugs to create more fossil fuels"? Are you expecting microbial alchemy?

So if someone does get a scheme that does a good job of making hydrocarbons using microbes what do you think the effect of pumping surplus back into the ground?

Comment: I realize that you will never get it. (Score 1) 341

by Gription (#44729307) Attached to: The Golden Gate Barrage: New Ideas To Counter Sea Level Rise

Swapping batteries is technically possible but that doesn't make it less dumb. EVs of the last few years can do an 80% quick charge in half an hour. The only way to make charging an EV take 12 hours would be to try to do a full charge on a high-capacity model from a 110v socket.
But what makes it dumb most of all is that it requires long-term planning and sacrifice to solve a very short-term problem. Batteries are already good enough for most uses, and as capacity goes up the swappable battery infrastructure makes less and less sense. In 20 years it will seem as silly as having an F1-like quick tire change setup on every car and a pit crew with pre-heated tires in every gas station.

So your "obvious" solution is to queue up cars to wait their turn (for god knows how long) so they can sit in a place that they don't want to be for half an hour? You must not have anything you do with your time. Let's just ignore the part about repeated fast charging damaging the battery and voiding the warrenty.
You have no reason to charge the CAR. You only have a reason to charge the BATTERY. Keeping the car there is silly. Even more naive is to give the requirement for "long-term planning and sacrifice" as a reason it shouldn't be done. ALL energy infrastructure requires long term planning. The current gasoline distribution infrastructure takes an amazing quantity of planning that is quite detailed for more then a decade into the future.

As far as sacrifice... Does it really have to be spelled out for you? What do you think you are paying for? If it is really hard and requires "sacrifice" you get to charge a price for it. Whole industries have risen on the idea that a company can do the difficult work so the consumer has to do none. (Really the "sacrifice" comment is the dumbest thing you have said. Don't advertise stupidity.)
BTW - I did notice that you ignored that fact that battery swaps have already been embraced by one manufacturer because the consumer public needs the service.

About the power companies, isn't that supply and demand thing supposed to work? When the power cuts out the power companies aren't making money.

Well it hasn't solved the current problem where the grid can't handle the seasonal highs that are expected every year. So why hasn't your "obvious" solution panned out every year? (Maybe the problem is that it requires "long-term planning and sacrifice" to build and improve an electric grid.)

A simple look at what consumers are willing to put up with will tell you that you have less then 5 minutes to get the vehicle full of energy. You can pump it in as gasoline, you can pump it in as hydrogen, you can get it in as charged batteries. If the person has to wait more then 5 minutes they will never go for it. That leaves you with a choice of gasoline power, fuel cell power, or swappable batteries.
I am going to be driving over 2000 miles in the next week. I will enjoy the fact that I WILL NOT be sitting for 10+ hours during that time doing 20+ "fast charges". I will also enjoy the fact that you have no part in the long term planning and sacrifice of our nation's energy infrastructure.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 341

by Gription (#44726287) Attached to: The Golden Gate Barrage: New Ideas To Counter Sea Level Rise
Swappable batteries are dumb because everyone will go for 12+ hour charges every couple hundred miles? Really?? I guess we will no longer have interstate freeways...
Batteries are just a commodity. You can buy a propane bottle based on exchange of the bottle and you think it is impossible to buy a battery based on exchange. How about a 30 second idea on how it can work from someone who isn't even connected to the industry: You pay for a battery that is good for 1000 charges. For the next 1000 exchanges you only pay for the cost of the energy to charge it and the swap fee at the service station.
A battery is a box that holds power. It is easy to design modular boxes that can be swapped in and out. Instead of a D cell have a Z cell. A sub compact takes, say, 12 of them. A minivan takes maybe 20. That's technically impossible?
Yeah, impossible crazy idea and they will never do it:
(The only problem with the Tesla solution is it is brand/model specific.)

So what is your economic incentive to get power company share holders to invest to add additional reserve to the power system when we can't get enough power into large metropolitan areas to begin with? Hoping real hard? Blankly saying that "in the future the grid can be improved" is planning based on fantasy.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business