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Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 316

First, thank you for your money (I get 80.2c per kWh because I'm a solar generator in Ontario). I pay about 20c per kWh of the grid so about a 4x subsidy. Cost of installation and the corresponding feed in tariff have gone down a bunch though and since it is a silicon tech I suspect it will keep improving for a while (there is a lot of power needed to make the material though). We might get to the point where a solar install isn't paid much a premium over other forms (which still might be a net win when you consider I don't get union salary, pension and benefits, I have to pay for the maintenance and the land it sits on etc).

I guess it all depends on how you live and with how many people. I only have myself and a boarder in my house. But my bill is usually around $110 or so a month, similar sized house (1500sqft I think, not counting basement). I generally only have a light on and a computer/TV on in the room I'm in. I don't leave lights on anywhere else in the house, he pretty much does the same thing. We (royal we) tend to use too damn much power. We don't realize how inefficient we are compared to a lot of other places in the world mainly because of our wealth I guess. Example: many of us to save $1 on a pound of chicken so we buy 50lbs of it and now need to keep a deep freeze running. Still might be a net savings but we do turn cheap meat into high electric bill/use. Or a friend coming over "sometime after 7" so we turn a light on and leave it on for hours so "they can see their way to the door" (how these people make it down a sidewalk is beyond me).

Canada (and probably pretty much anywhere else) has lots of areas were we screw ourselves over energy policy. Example Quebec selling power to the US when our prices are high in Ontario, and I might add for years receiving transfer payments from other provinces which helped pay their bills. The provincial government spending pretty much the cost of a power plant in planning, construction, and cancellation fees because they want to buy some votes. Potentially (I realize they are expensive but we have a lot of the stuff) refining our own oil rather than selling it the the US at a steep discount because it is "heavy" not "sweet crude", then getting screwed over when they refuse to allow us to build a pipeline etc.

Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 316

Also, it doesn't always do it, but snow tends to slide right of panels: smooth black surface ... think about it. Snow tends to fall near the freezing point, often the panels will be slightly hotter because they are dark. You get a layer of slippery crap underneath the pile of snow and big mounds of the stuff will fall off at a time. At least that is what happens on my roof and it isn't that steep (about a 5/12 slope).

Comment Re: Mission accomplished (Score 1) 316

I have fixed solar on my roof and live near Toronto. Not as far north as a lot of people I suppose (ex. most of europe), nearly all of Russia but still relatively harsh winters/short days.

I get about 1/5th the power in my worst month versus best. Even then I generate about half my needs/consumption with half my roof (admittedly I live in a household of 2). If this became the way we power things I'd imagine we'd have fields of panels, but if not even that we'd have more back split or whatever they are called houses where all the roof points in one direction, you could then use the whole roof for generation. A combination of this and storage technology would eliminate the need for peaker plants. Sure we'll still need base load plants but we could use only the best tech for those rather than whatever we can turn on and off quick enough to ramp up power. My understanding is that the fees power generators charge for power at peak times is tied to higher prices generators charge during this time. Those higher prices give perverse intensives to keep inefficient, highly polluting plants around (if you can make a days pay in 4 hrs wouldn't you?).

Comment Re:Mission accomplished (Score 1) 316

I Have a 7kWh setup and no if it is cloudy you get peanuts. The whole sky doesn't have to be covered just as soon as a cloud comes in front of the panels you can see a huge power fall off, from say 5kW on a typical day to as the previous poster mentioned triple digit watts. At that rate the panels aren't economical. On a whole they are just not during those periods.

The problem is if you have a constant base load you need you can't rely on solar (unless you are willing to install 10-50x the panels you need on a clear day). The biggest benefit for renewables are if we can shutdown peaker stations. For that I think we really need moderate duration storage, say 12hrs so we can make it over night and cloudy bits and should it continue to be cloudy have time to fire up the coal/oil/whatever plants. Some from of nuclear or hydroelectric (IMO) should supply the base load.

Comment Re:Its easier now (Score 1) 108

Open source, or even closed sourced but published libraries do help. Sometimes it is too much choice though, to the point where sometimes you wonder if you'd have been better to do it yourself. Ex: I've used 2-3 different JSON serialization tools for my project, one can map dictionaries, another can embed information about the class type neither do both etc. You spend time figuring out how one works, change your mind and have to change a bunch of element decorations to the new tool. Get stuck, go to the forums get a snotty reply like "why would you do that?", or "why don't you read the source code and figure it out yourself?". Mah. Things aren't just big chunks of code you can drop into your project. Often it takes A LOT of effort to find which one to use, how to use it, and to glue it into place. Again nothing novel but you can't exactly say in the 80's one guy was a genius and now you must be stupid because you aren't doing it all yourself even though you have "all these tools" available to you.

In some ways or systems have more components too and varying stuff needed for it, example my work I do C#, XML/XSD and t-sql programming, but my code is serialized using both JSON and SOAP off to Java/javascript/html clients on both desktops and mobile browsers, and consumed by C++ windows desktop apps. I need to understand from one end to the many terminating ends on the other. I can't dictate the programming language across the whole project (actually collection of products), can't control the OS or browser versions on the consuming end (though our testers/business guys can spit out the required ones to support, which ones actually work) etc. Things were easier in that regard when you could make an app that only used BASIC and only ran on a Commodore 64 and no networking.

Comment Re:Minecraft (Score 1) 108

Part of it I think is there is a lot of software features that don't make it into production and then a lot of supporting code to control the testing servers, test data generation etc etc. My work on my project for example, about 10 server devs, 5 client side, and 3 "tools" guys that keep the CI servers running, deploy all the test environments and generally automate things. So that is 30% right off the top that a customer will never "see". Then for one reason or another an API server side creates has maybe a 50% chance of actually having a client side developer call it, and often in a year or two by the time they get around to their side of the feature the UI has been completely re-thought up and so they need different data at different times, or different business rules etc. Obviously there is room for improvement here but the end result is roughly the same: maybe a factor of 2X could be generated, but still would have over 50% of the time wasted on non-customer generated activity. A profitable business will suck in business analysts, manual and automatic testers, the IT/devs that support those systems, potentially coder/technical sales guys (a la something like big Oracle Sql Server project) or coder/custom configuration guys (a la SAP and the like).

The beauty of the "one person" project is (we assume since we have little public evidence to the contrary): is they made something useful that actually hit a market demand the first time out. They had less need for support stuff because they don't have a dozen internal stakeholders and another dozen testers all demanding testing environments updated at different schedules with different featuresets turned on and off etc. Once they hit a homerun and be come popular I bet a whole lot of "business processes" get slapped on/around that golden goose and the efficiency goes way down. Of course those that choose not to make a business/worry about profitability like the Notepad++ guy can happily keep coding whichever features s/he want to add without adding a whole lot of bloat.

Comment Re:Its easier now (Score 4, Insightful) 108

The problem is there is trivial and then there is trivial. Yeah you can get a notepad clone up and going quickly. But if you want to compete with other editors that are out there for free you need to add syntax highlighting, efficient support for large files, likely tabbed content support, fonts, good search, potentially regex support etc. In short: we rarely need to create something completely new now. But we have an endless list of required features to compete. Often few are technically difficult to implement just a huge amount of work to get through and lots of nit-picky things like borders on controls rendering differently on different browsers and the like. You're not solving one of lifes mysteries but you still might burn a week figuring out why one does it different than the other and finding what magic combo makes all browsers happy at the same time.

Comment Re:Malaria treatments (Score 1) 311

It's stupid cheap pennies for old drugs and about $2 for new treatments for resistant strains (I'm not sure how many pills are needed for a full course of treatment though. The west generally just doesn't care enough to pay for it. The other issue I seem to recall is (I think it is the vaccine not the medication after you get it) spoils in the heat so needs to be refrigerated which is hard to keep up when going out into the boonies where there is little and unreliable electricity.

Electricity (both hugely available and cheap) would be my vote: not a medical tech but huge impact. Above mentioned medication wouldn't spoil, food could be more easily preserved so less gets wasted, non-fire based lighting and cooking means less fire, less inhalation of really crappy stuff including crap, pumps to move water around instead of people etc. Additionally, I suspect part of the reason a lot of cultures don't have windows and doors closed all the time is heat and to let the smoke out from their fires. Electricity would allow air conditioning other forms of heating your house, which would mean doors and windows are kept shut and less mosquitoes getting near people to spread malaria.

Comment any english majors out there? (Score 2) 318

Point 6: a whole bunch of semi-colon separated statements with no joining words. Does it mean they'll share the data when required by law, to protect themselves, security of the systems etc. Or do they connect them with ors: required by law, or "we want to" or ... ?

I'm fairly pro-MS and yeah I found this over the top biased towards MS "It's pretty clearly laid out this time. Reiterating it would only serve to be redundant." an ~10 line sentence connected with semi-colons is pretty far from "clearly laid out" to me.

Comment Re:Police state San Jose (Score 1) 258

Funny though as far as I know back in the horse and buggy days you didn't have to register your buggy. Somehow cars are these magic machines that the govenment needs to be able to track, know who owns, when they bought it, etc etc. I think it should be like a dog: you register it to help you out if it gets "lost" not because the government desires some sort of control.

Comment there's privacy and there's privacy (Score 2) 258

Sure someone might notice your car near a strip club. But they won't notice it every 3pm on Wednesday like a systematic scanning system would. Similarly,they might notice your car but they won't necessarily know that the car next to it belongs to your nanny. Not to mention people likely won't be certain in most cases (do you know your friends license plate?)

Not a 100% expectation of privacy shouldn't mean that the government is free to search and track whatever you do. Stupid loopholes like a cop pulling you over and asking you to get out of the car. If you don't close the door behind you it is fair game for them to lean and and take a look at whatever they want. If you do they can't. You shouldn't have to be a constitutional lawyer to realize that the thing that otherwise would be considered a dickhead move is fine for the cops to do, because you know, they have a $10 badge and some carnival lights on their car.

Comment ignores genetics ... bs (Score 2) 380

That quote was from a computer scientist. If energy in > energy out you will get obese. Genetics isn't going to magically create the fat for you, nor does it magically make exercise take no energy to perform, it just contributes to how big or small the right side of the balance is going to be.

I think part of the problem is even if you say have two people with the same hunger "drive" and they manage to eat the "right balanced diet" for that caloric level there is no guarantee that your desire to eat is going to match your bodies ability to burn that which you eat. So for example, people with this disease might have to live a life where they are always a bit hungry, or walk their asses off every day in order to force themselves to balance out. Anyways, there are many factors that go into obesity, but at some level it is a disease and like someone with asthma or liver failure it means your lifestyle might not be able to be the same as the next guys, or even the way you prefer. I don't like it that I need to workout 4-5 days a week to keep my body weight stable, but that is what I have to do because I have a slow metabolism and prefer exercise over eating very small portions (for me at least normal meal + exercise leaves me less hungry than taking the equivalent calories out of my meals instead, + it has nice side effects like benching 300lbs and a resting heart rate of 52).

Part of the problem is diet and exercise take time. A lot of other medical conditions don't really take that long each day to deal with, you take your pill, carry your inhaler in case you need it etc, but proper diet and exercise means you are probably spending an hour a day making food (or the equivalent hours working to pay for it prepared for you) and another hour or so being active (maybe more if you go to a gym and then need a second shower on workout days) which you might not be lucky enough to get from your work either. It can easily eat up 15 hours a week.

Comment Re:Misdirection (Score 1) 414

That's just it in a growing demand environment locals and H1Bs can still increase. Salaries could increase for both but if the demand had to be met with local supply the growth rate for citizens would be much higher. H1B has a big perk over outsourcing that some have mentioned: they basically are your slaves. If you deal with an outsourcing firm you have to babysit them, with bad timezone differences. The employees are pretty free to switch projects/employers etc. Bring the H1B's in they can't move easy, they can be trained in your preferred time, you can pick the individuals rather than hope/try to contract that the contractor supplies you with the types of people you want etc.

Comment how about power? (Score -1, Troll) 141

While making affordable tech for poor countries is nice, as is getting as many people on line. Why do we push this so much? To the point were people want to consider broadband a human right?

The printing press came out, no one said everyone deserves to get their stuff in print. The car came out: it wasn't ever considered a human right. Dido phone, refrigerator, power, running water etc. Poor people have many more problems to deal with before Twitter and Facebook reach the point of being the "next injustice" to fix. Some of those problems can be helped with computer tech for sure. But internet access to the home is way, way down on the list.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz